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A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1 | [George R. R. Martin]

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: A favorite of Audible listeners, the first book in Martin's series introduces a world of deep intrigue, dark fantasy, and varied characters. It might prove overwhelming, were it not for Roy Dotrice. With a voice so seasoned and gripping that he may have stepped from, well, a George R. R. Martin novel, Dotrice gives each character their own persona and regionality, helping to anchor the listener throughout the action and intrigue. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, 1997

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (24203 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephen 05-02-11
    Stephen 05-02-11 Member Since 2007

    Steve Smith

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
    Overall
    "The characters"

    I can add nothing about the plot and writing that others have not already said. It is a great plot and great writing. But what I find unique is the intense identification I have as a reader with so many different characters. I love the fact that I am cheering for more than one, more than two, indeed, more than three protagonists to each/all win the day. I feel that I know and love Robb, Jon, Arrya, Daenerys, Bran and even Tyrion. I want them all to win. I cannot recall any other book I have ever read where I have cared so much for the interrelated connections between so many different characters. I feel I know them and I want them to succeed, and I want them to come together so that I can cheer for them as a disparate whole.

    This is not just fantasy. There is really not that much fantasy in this book. It is really great character development no matter the genre. I strongly recommend this book. And Roy Dotrice is a fabulous narrator.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lansdale, PA, United States 04-21-11
    Linda Lansdale, PA, United States 04-21-11 Member Since 2002
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    3
    Overall
    "Game of Thrones-great listen"

    This story grabs you and pulls you in and doesn't let you go. The characters are complex and throughly human. The narration by Roy Dotrice is one of the best I have heard. Given the length of the story and number players he does an amazing job. One of my favorite fiction series and narrators.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MAB_51912 United States 03-25-11
    MAB_51912 United States 03-25-11

    MAB_51912

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
    Overall
    "Epic story... beautifully told."

    I have already read this series and took to listening to them recently to prepare for the fifth installment. The reading was perfect for many of the characters, though for others, at times, the reader seemed less acquainted with the characters he was portraying. Older, powerful knights sounded decrepit and sad when they should have sounded distinguished and noble. However, other characters, most characters, were deadon. All in all, the story is wonderful and the reading the same. Enjoy!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Pearland, TX, United States 02-12-11
    Edward Pearland, TX, United States 02-12-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    127
    15
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "4 star story, 5 star reader, 2 star editing job"

    Many reviews have been written for this book. I picked it up based on the recommendation of a friend I trust in these matters. The books is a solid start to what I hope will be a strong series. I do think that the reader did a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life and giving them different, distinct voices. There's a fairly large cast of characters to keep track of, but Mr. Dotrice made it possible for me to keep everyone straight.
    One thing that I had to take a full star off for - the terrible editing job. I lost count of how many times sections would get repeated. Sometimes a single sentence, sometimes several. Whenever one of these hit, it would be very distracting and knock me out of the story for a bit. If there were just one or two, I could let it go, but there were probably closer to two dozen incidents of this sloppy editing. Particularly for a two credit audibook, it's simply inexcusable. I know that Audible had the latest Wheel of Time book fixed and reposted when a sizeable section turned up missing. They really need to put an editor on this one to go and fix all the repetitions. Hopefully the future books don't suffer this same fate.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DARLA Maineville, OH, United States 01-24-11
    DARLA Maineville, OH, United States 01-24-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Wonderful Story. Entertaining to listen to."

    I picked this book based on a recommendation from a relative. I love the story and the characters. It is dramatic, heartbreaking and adventurous. The narration of this book is wonderful and entertaining.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Santa Monica, CA, United States 01-11-11
    Benjamin Santa Monica, CA, United States 01-11-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    29
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "A Good Book"

    Bought this book on an Audible recommendation b.c I liked "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell." On that recommendation I figured this book would have a similar subject matter and academic air, comparable to JS&MN. It turns out it did not, though this is not a bad thing (just wanted to put the warning out there).

    This is not a book about magic or magicians and has very little fantasy in it, but nevertheless vivid and well written. I've never been a reader of Knight's or Medieval tales but this being my first, I was not disappointed.

    AUTHOR is fantastic at doing all the character voices and a great actor to boot.

    Also, Lots of blood and gore and some sex make this book unsuitable for young children.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jere Carrollton, TX, United States 01-09-11
    jere Carrollton, TX, United States 01-09-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    "Hooked"

    OK, you hooked me into the series with book one. You do need to reedit the audio book, there were multiple passages re-read.by the narrator.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerry Belleville, NJ, United States 12-29-10
    Kerry Belleville, NJ, United States 12-29-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Just amazing"

    I rarely consider 2 credit audiobooks but I saw the promo for the HBO series and was curious. After reading the reviews here I knew I would either love it or hate it. Well, love it is. After several restarts at the beginning (to keep the many characters straight) I was hooked. There are several threads working that could all be interesing by themselves, but taken as a whole they are impossible to put down.

    I not only plan to listen to the rest of the series, I will also buy and read the books. BTW, if you get the Kindle sample for the book there are maps of the North and the South to help with the geography.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Simi Valley, CA, United States 12-26-10
    David Simi Valley, CA, United States 12-26-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    117
    2
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    0
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    "Great series -- no ending?"

    First, two caveats for readers considering this series: The narrator changes for the fourth book and many people find the change a deal breaker. I have to admit that it was jarring, but I got back into the story quickly after the change. Perhaps listen to a sample of this book then a sample of book four to see if the change will wreck your enjoyment. That aside, I think the biggest problem is that the author seems to have given up on this series. The remaining books have been listed on Martin's site for years now with no movement or updates. I hope I'm wrong. I hope he'll release the final books and make me eat my words. But it's been so long since the release of book four that I'd have to re-read the entire series to get anything from new books. I urge you to put this series in your wishlist. If Martin ever gets back to it, then I highly recommend A Song of Ice and Fire. It is a very dark, gritty and realistic feeling world that is a refreshing change from the usual G-rated fantasy. Wonderful characters and twisting, interwoven plots make the hours just fly past.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    virginia MOSCA, CO, United States 11-28-10
    virginia MOSCA, CO, United States 11-28-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Between Genres"

    Soon to be an HBO miniseries, I wanted to catch up on one of my kids' favorite book series. GRR Martin doesn't quite know if he is writing historical fiction, an epic tale, or epic fantasy. I've heard subsequent books favor the epic fantasy genre. I wasn't going to keep listening to the series because there are too many bad outcomes and unhappy events to my liking, but in the end he left me just enough positive and interesting scenarios for the better loved characters that I am intrigued and will download Book II for my next big drive. The narration is masterful, the pace excellent, the prose sufficiently descriptive to captivate one's listening ear.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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