In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
©1996 George R.R. Martin, (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc., published in arrangement with Random House Audio Group,a division of Random House, Inc.
"Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes...He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least." (Publishers Weekly)
"The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga." (Booklist)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"This novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal." (Chicago Sun-Times)
I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Roy Dotrice does a fantastic job as a narrator, he really brings the characters to life for you. I highly recommend this book and the books that follow.
This audiobook is a great start to a vast and epic story. I think Roy Dotrice is an awesome narrator. His voices are well fit and greatly add to Martin's characters. His voices are distinct and recognizable. It is clear that he puts a lot of careful thought and creativity into his voices.
I think what I like best about Martin's writing is the opportunity to step inside the minds of so many well developed characters. The setting for this story is very large and complex, but you get to see struggles from all sides and many view points. Characters find themselves in outward struggles with other lords and houses as well as inward struggles with family and duty. Aside from the fantasy/science fiction aspect of the book, much of the story feels like it could be "real life" in the place and time it takes place.
I started with A Game of Thrones and enjoyed it so much I downloaded A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords shortly after and have not been disappointed. Once I was done with them, I started listening to them all over again.
I hope Martin can finish up the series (supposedly 6 books when complete) and I hope Dotrice is able to narrate all of them. I've heard that the next book, A Feast for Crows, is due out this July and I can't wait to see it on audible!
This was one of my favorite books. It is well written and the reader does an excellent job. The reader does an incredible job of keeping the character's voices different so you know who is "talking" at any given moment.
If you are:
* looking for a story with clearly good or evil characters
* looking for a story with a happy ending (good people do not die, the good guy always wins)
* easily offended (sexual descriptions, discrimination, foul language, etc.)
* looking for a world similar to Tolkien's
Then this book is NOT for you.
However, if you are looking for great fiction with realistic characters then in my opinion, you will find none better than this. Roy Dotrice does an excellent job of reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed they way he brought the story to life.
critic at large
This is storytelling at its finest, both Mr. Martin's writing and Mr. Dotrice's narration. A downloadable map and genealogy somewhere would make it a little easier to follow at the beginning, but even without those the story just sweeps you away.
I would have to completely disagree with the reviews here that take issue with the reading of this fascinating story. I would rate any audiobook according to three criteria - one, the writing (just as with any book); two, the storytelling (for, when a book is read to you, you are truly in the grips of a storyteller); and three, the reading (a strory well told is much enhanced when it is also well read).
As a book, and judged on the writing alone, this is an amazing and fascinating tale. Martin blends together a history of the realm, a study and narration of differing cultures, an intimate look at family histories and an epic tale of fantasy. In so doing, his descriptive talents are sometimes simply awesome. When you get to the part where a character first dreams of his encounter with a crow, you will truly know you are being treated to the talents of a great writer.
The storytelling itself grabs ahold of you and refuses to release you. You will probably find yourself driving in to work a wee bit slower or perhaps pausing in the parking lot of your office after your morning commute as you hang on while being pulled along by the pace and plot changes of a well told story.
And as for the reader, his abilities to give unique voice to the characters adds so much to the characterization of the author. One understands more about the complex character that is the "imp" because the reader has imbued so much more into the character just through the use of his terrifc reading talents. There are many other examples where the reader seems to have latched onto the character's nature and then passes it along so well, with meaning and depth solely through his voice talents.
If you are a fan of excellent fantasy writing, a story well told and a story well read - I highly recommend A Game of Thrones.
The series is one of best i've ever read/listened. The story is so deep. The reader does an excellent job, each of the hundreds of characters has a distinct voice that remains consistant throughout all of the books. Just awesome!
Roy Dotrice is a tremendous talent. Never have I heard a narrator bring a story more to life. The actor's dramatic interpretation of the text aided by his wide range of accents and voices breathes Fire and Ice into an epic and richly crafted tale of Magic, Kings and Dragons. Three Cheers and 5 Stars to this incomparable writing and narrating team. Here's hoping they will continue to collaborate and add to this gripping and engaging series.
Having read the three currently available books in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, I was very excited to introduce them to my wife via Audible.com. After reading the negative reviews about the reader, I was leery; I did not want a bad reader to ruin one of the best fantasy sagas of all time. We gave it a shot anyway, and are extremely glad we did.
First let me say, in my opinion, this work of fiction is one of the most captivating, wide scoped and all encompassing works written. Martin's mix of fantasy and reality is what makes this series stand out. Unlike many other writers of this genre, Martin never lets you forget these are "real" people, with "real" feelings and needs. You will not find the knight in shining armor here; everyone has a past, everyone has a secret, no one is safe.
As for the reader, he, like many of the characters in the story, grows and matures as they do. His telling has added to the story, not taken away. I think perhaps a few of the negative reviews are more a reflection of the complexity of the story, rather than Roy's telling. If anything, I think the editor of the audio could have done a better job. If you remember that each chapter in this book is not numbered, but rather is titled by the name of a character who's perspective we are about to take, you'll be much better off. Sometimes, there is no pause between the end of a chapter and the beginning of another (it just sounds like the start of the next sentence). Since the chapters are not traditionally titled, this can lead to confusion.
This is not a story that one can passively enjoy. It is one that demands your attention and focus. Roy, appropriately, demands the same. Remember my little hint regarding the chapters, and you'll be fine!
Cheers to a fabulous story, and a telling to remember.
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