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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 (32922 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Beth S. Brodovsky 07-24-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Great Epic"

    If you are a regular listener of long, complex audiobooks you should have no trouble with either the narrator or character names in this series. There are many, many characters with unusual and often similar names. I listen while I run so, it has my complete attention (and is a welcome distraction). It takes some getting used to, but sticjk with it. I can't imagine a more perfect narrator for this style of book. His gruff voice lends itself well to the story.

    I am a big fan of long, epic fantasy fiction, and this one is very engaging. An important note to any who may have children or teens who love Lord of the Rings and other fantasy fiction, this is not PG. It is pretty explicit in language and action.

    If you like this also check out the Lords of the Otori series - the best audiobooks I have ever heard.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Jeannette, PA, USA 07-12-05
    Adam Jeannette, PA, USA 07-12-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Wow"

    This has got to be the best audio book I have listened to. I normally do not like books that have so many different main characters and different storylines going at once but this one has been great. There is so much detail that you can really see the story unfold in your minds eye.

    It is deffinately not a feel good fluff piece it is obviuosly fantasy but with a touch of real world sorry and tragedity. This is not a story for the faint of heart or stomache. It depictions of war in a midevil setting are true to form and gruesome.

    I cant wait to see how it all turns out and look for to the next 2 books.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Austin, TX, USA 06-27-05
    Steven Austin, TX, USA 06-27-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
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    "Characters so real I was shouting at them!"

    I contend that one of the marks of an outstanding writer is one who creates characters so real, including flaws and failings, that I find myself thinking "Why would you do that? Don't do that!" or "C'mon - everyone KNOWS what's going to happen here. Are you just blind?" Fortunately for me, the characters never respond.

    Martin has created some very real characters and an amazingly detailed environment. The skill with which he paints everything from the people to the scenery is impressive.

    I've listened to all three books in this series, and I was totally captivated from beginning to end.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey C Moreno Valley, CA, USA 05-15-05
    Stacey C Moreno Valley, CA, USA 05-15-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    "Realism"

    I have to say that this book was great! As opposed to those that don't like that main characters die, I found this refreshing. This fact alone makes you really wonder what is going to happen next, unlike most books where you can be pretty certain the characters will make it though the tough times. It may be a bummer to see someone die that you have come to like, but that is how life is. It isn't all bright and sunny days, where the good triumph and evil is destroyed, just remember 'The Winter is Coming.'

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall St. Paul, MN, USA 04-07-05
    Randall St. Paul, MN, USA 04-07-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    6
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    "Testosterone and Blades"

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books of this series. The plot is complex and the author does a good job of character development.

    The first three books are filled with intrigue, plots and war. This is not usually what interests me in a fantasy book but Martin's characters kept me captivated.

    My one complaint is that I feel that his world lacks beauty and grace. Tolkien this is not. In Martin's world it is the villians and louts that seem to prosper. This is a book of trechery and blind honor. Martin does not shrink from killing off his characters.

    The story line moves slowly, in part I think because he spends so much time developing his characters and a very complex story line.

    The writing is far bettter than Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

    I reccomend this book. The reader is really terrific.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Schoharie, NY, USA 03-27-05
    Frank Schoharie, NY, USA 03-27-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    4
    4
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    "XLNT portrayals!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series and approached the audio version with a bit of trepidation. This is a LOT of listening, so the actor doing the portaryals had better be up to the task. Mr. Dotrice does a SUPERB job! His accent and inflections are beyond wonderful! Dick Hill had been my all-time favorite reader -- now he must share his "title" -- this series would be worth buying just to enjoy the readings. The story itself is among thte best in the fantasy genre, even in spite of some unnecessary digressions the author sometimes takes -- they are usually so intriguing that the story is all the richer for it. PARENTAL WARNING: there is a goodly amount of very graphic sex and violence -- all very appropriate to the story, but you must decide if your adolescent reader is ready for it. The earthiness adds to the reality of the tale: so realistic, you'll wish you were reading history instead of fiction.
    Oh -- and unlike MANY fantasy writers today, these characters actually develop!! And you don't waste time with "reluctant heroes" that can't quite seem to grow into their role. (Robert Jordan, take note. There is more action in any single chapter of Martin's books than all of Jordan's over-padded tomes combined!)

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Westlake, LA, United States 02-22-05
    Larry Westlake, LA, United States 02-22-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    24
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    "Wonderful Reading / Wonderful Story"

    If you are a fiction fan you can't go wrong with this series. The series is unpredictable, exciting and graphic. You get an excellent idea of how the world works from king to peasant. The book almost reads like a mystery novel once you get hit with the twists and turns the story takes. Martin is a master of the shocking plot twists in fiction writing, and his descriptions of the action, landscapes, and details make this series a gem to read. The narrator here is THE best I have heard on any audiobook thus far. Each character has their own voice and this caries through the other books in the series. You can't go wrong with this one at all folks.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Isaac D. Garrison South Mississippi 01-17-05
    Isaac D. Garrison South Mississippi 01-17-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    117
    5
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    "Maybe even better than the"

    Just a short review. Some of these reviews say that the reader is difficult to understand. Well, maybe if you are not paying attention, like my dad when he is trying to do something else at the same time. Otherwise, I think he is awesome. I was constantly amazed that all those voices were just one person, and he seemed to hit the mark on everyone (sandor, for instance). Anyway, thats just the reader. I think i had my earphones in for a month, listening to all three of these books. Now I just cant wait for the next one. If you like fantasy i.e. Lord of the rings, wheel of time etc.. you will Love this series. It is for the 18+ crowd, however (R for v,l,n and sc). Happy reading

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abby Goldsmith 01-15-05 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Riveting epic story!"

    I'm hooked on this series by George R.R. Martin. This is an unusual fantasy epic, with 6 books planned (3 completed), but worth the time investment. The characters are extremely realistic, well-rounded, and deep. Their relationships are fascinating. Every chapter ends on a cliff-hanger, yet somehow it doesn't get tedious. It's just pure fun.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Minneapolis, MN, USA 12-22-04
    Anthony Minneapolis, MN, USA 12-22-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
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    273
    8
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    0
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    "Enjoy the journey as the destination is far off!"

    I very much like this series and recommend it but, with over 100 hours of audio time, don't start with the expectation that it ends with the third book. In a very real sense it seems like it is only getting started. Similar to Robert Jordan's series this may well be a long series.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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