This is Part One of Book 2 of the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Series.
George R. R. Martin’s superb fantasy epic continues in consummate style as bloodshed and alchemy lay waste the Seven Kingdoms. This second volume of A Song of Ice and Fire is unabridged and split into two parts. The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves. At King’s Landing, the head of Lord Eddard Stark rots on a spike for all to see. His daughter Sansa is betrothed still to his killer’s son Joffrey – Queen Cersei’s son, though not the son of her late husband Robert. Even so, Joffrey is now a boy-king, Cersei is his regent, and war is inevitable. In Dragonstone, Robert’s brother Stannis has declared himself king, while his other brother Renly proclaims himself king at Storm’s End – and Eddard Stark’s fifteen year old son Robb wears the crown of the north at Winterfell.
A comet in the night sky, red and malevolent, the colour of blood and flame, can only be an omen of murder and war. Stannis’s child Princess Shireen dreams of dragons waking from stone. And a white raven has brought word from the Citadel itself, foretelling summer’s end. It has been the longest summer in living memory, lasting ten years, and the small folk say it means an even longer winter to come…The first rule of war is never give the enemy his wish. But winter will be the biggest enemy. From beyond the Wall the undead and Others clamour for freedom, and from beyond the sea the long-dead Dragon King’s daughter hatches her revenge. Robb Stark will be exceedingly lucky to reach adulthood.
©2011 George R. R. Martin (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"A Game of Thrones grabs hold and won’t let go. It’s brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"I read my eyes out. I couldn’t stop until I’d finished and it was dawn." (Anne McCaffrey)
"Colossal, staggering… Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world… one of the greats of fantasy literature." (SFX)
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
Carries on from 'Game of Thrones' and doesn't disappoint. Some characters have disappeared whilst others develop into excellent characters. What is so good about this story is that the characters are not two dimensional cartoon types. Their motivations, ambitions and fears project them through the story with enough twists and different outcomes you will never see coming. I hope the magic of this series doesn't end.
Complimentary to the print version - and also to the TV series
All of them - this is truly ensemble cast
It's already been done!
There are two or three great characters in these books - Tyrian the Imp for example - but the brief contacts we have with them are interposed with swathes of long winded faux medieval pageantry of one kind or another.
Remember "Sir Brentin Waythorpe of house Moon" ? No, well don't worry because even though we'll spend a few paragraphs describing his flags, mail and family tree, he'll have no role in the story and will never be heard of again. It's as if you've paused a scene in a movie and got someone to describe all the extras in massive detail. At times this feels like the kind of literature you should buy by the kilogram, not the book!
The other big problem I personally have is the constant brutality dished out by the many random "Sir Knights" - A three year old has "his face smashed in by a morning star" before a similar fate meets his wailing mother. This delightful interlude adds NOTHING to the plot or character of those involved - we already know they're treasonous adulterous baddies! The book is flush with these little treats, often involving children, and it is not an educational publication about the horrors of war, it's an airport fantasy novel.
Everyone who is not a "high born" character is voiced as a semi retarded yokel - this gets really jarring after a very short time.
Only if you've got a really long flight and don't mind a lot of meaningless brutality thrown in with your fantasy fluff.
Book 1 sets the bar very high. Book 2 jumps that bar with the ease of a pole vaulter facing a limbo pole. It really is that good.
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