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Fire & Blood

300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History)
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 26 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7,822 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The thrilling history of the Targaryens comes to life in this masterly work by the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the inspiration for HBO's Game of Thrones.

With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally best-selling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen - the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria - took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why was it so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What were Maegor the Cruel’s worst crimes? What was it like in Westeros when dragons ruled the skies? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than 80 all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Listeners have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire & Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving listeners a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 George R. R. Martin (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A masterpiece of popular historical fiction.” (The Sunday Times)

“[Fire & Blood] explores the dragon-fueled secrets upon which the current saga is built." (Hollywood Reporter)

“[There are] treasures hidden in this new Targaryen history.” (Vanity Fair)

"Martin has done it again.... [Fire & Blood is] a beautiful weaving of the wars, marriages, deaths, dragons, and politics that shape the world Martin has created, leaving the reader feeling like this is a true history rather than a piece of fantasy. This is a masterpiece of world-building.... Beyond Martin’s legions of fans, anyone with a taste for richly, even obsessively detailed historical fiction or fantasy about royalty will enjoy this extraordinary work.” (Booklist, starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

150 years of Westeros history

'Fire and Blood' is a fictional history of Westeros. It is not historical fiction – in that it is written in the style of a history, not of a fiction book. Anyone expecting a fictional story will be disappointed. This book covers about half the Targaryen's reign of Westeros. 26 hours to cover 150 years, when GRRM has taken hundreds of hours to cover a few years in the main ASOIAF series. There is little dialogue - although there is some, covering more famous quote by people involved in the 'history'. In this way it's similar to what you might see in Will Durant's 'Story of Civilization' or other history texts. It may not be for everyone, and certainly not for those just joining the ASOIAF world, but it is a great addition.

The narrator here is not wholly reliable. The history is not completely set and known, as there is discussion by the narrator around discrepancies and how some of the stories didn’t appear until decades after the fact. There are other stylistic things here that would be in history books such as the narrator directly talking to the reader – ''and now we will leave this part of the story'' or ''we will come back to this guy later''.

Stylistically it works perfectly for what GRRM is trying to achieve.

There is some overlap here between this book and the previously released 'The World of Ice and Fire', but in much greater detail. GRRM said that he took out thousands of words from 'The World of Ice and Fire' when editing that book, much of which would form the basis of this book. So much of this book is not exactly new writing from GRRM as it is collected and edited works. There is a second book, currently unwritten, that will cover the rest of the time period in question. How quickly he writes that second book is part of his productivity question, whereas this book was partly already there.

One thing I have not seen any review mention, yet really should be is the PDF that comes with this book. It is beautiful. 100+ pages of illustrations of dragons, kings, battles etc. It’s a great addition to the book. It is not needed to enjoy the book, it's just the icing on the cake. I've added a full extra star to the 'overall' just for this PDF.

Narration by Simon Vance is great. It suits the book perfectly. I'm not sure he would be my choice for replacement of Roy Dotrice for the main series, but for a piece of fictional history like this he is great. He is well paced, easy to listen to and have a gravitas that works wonderfully with the text.

I'm looking forward to Book 2 of this history (although after Winds of Winter, please)


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For 'new' vs 'existing'

The Targaryen Conquest: Published in more or less same version in The World of Ice & Fire.

The Peace of the Dragon: briefly glossed over in The World of Ice & Fire, no parts of the text have previously been published.

The Sons of the Dragon: An abridged version of The Sons of the Dragon was released in October 2017 titled The Sons of the Dragon in the anthology The Book of Swords.

Heirs of the Dragon: An abridged version, The Rogue Prince, previously published in the anthology Rogues in 2014. This uses the majority of that text.

The Dying of the Dragons: Being about 60,000 words in length. An abridged version of 30,000 words was included in The Princess and the Queen, which was published in the anthology Dangerous Women in 2013.

Aftermath — The Boy King and His Regents: All new other than a very small piece in The World of Ice and Fire

So this is more than 50% all new content.

[If you enjoy this review please check out my other reviews. I review a lot of small press and indie books - support the small guys and you may find something new you will love]

171 of 184 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Casuals readers beware!

if you do not know about who the Targaryens are and how they came into power. This book is not for you.

If you suspect a story with characer driven development you will be dissapointed. This is a history book about all notable Targaryens, lords and events around westeros before, during and after the conquering of westeros.

I enjoyed this because I am a hardcore reader and want to know every detail there is to know.

69 of 77 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

26 Hours of lore, gore,and glory

Whoever said George RR Martin has been slacking is clearly insane. This audiobook features 26 hours of content. 26 hours of Targaryen history in all its bloody glory. While I’m still getting used to not having Roy Dotrice as our guide to Westeros they have found what I think will be a very capable replacement.
The work itself is fascinating. As someone obsessed with and rooting for a Targaryen restoration in the ASOIAF stories proper, 26 hours of Targaryen lore, gore, and glory is very appealing. Some of the histories will undoubtedly be familiar to practiced ASOIAF readers. Familiar episodes of Targaryen history like Aegon’s conquest, the sons of the dragon, and the Dance Of The Dragons are all featured. However there is also tons of new information to fill in the gaps of our knowledge. It also reads like a true medieval history which might be its greatest trick of all and it certainly equals The World Of Ice & Fire in its ability to sound like a genuine piece of history. While I wouldn’t recommend it to those dipping their toes in the world of ice & fire, for comitted fans or lovers of fantasy it’s perfect.

76 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

I am starting to feel like an easy mark...

I love the world of ice and fire so much i have read and listened to it multiple times during this long wait for new material from George. Naturally I was excited for some new history and background on house Targaryen, but as I started to listen to fire and blood I found myself checking to make sure I had not put on The world of ice and fire audio book. So much of this book is an exact copy and paste from the last history book with new paragraphs added here and there that I feel a tad ripped off. I will say that I do love the stories and especially the new info added, like the added info about cregan stark and the aftermath of The dance, I just wish it was all 80% new info instead of 20% new info. (These numbers are not researched are definitely not correct lol). All said.. I will still read and listen to this numerous times and am adding a star after having finished and read through halfway again.

62 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not audiobook material

Very hard to focus on unlike listening to other ASOIAF audiobooks; it's not terribly gripping information when presented in this format. It sounds like it'd be better in print, but this is the weakest book in the series. The performance was okay - I cannot fathom listening to it for 26 hours, however. I am a huge fan of the series, and it's a bit of a bummer. This sort of thing would have translated better to the comic series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Reviews from fanboys misleading.

This audiobook of 27 hours(!) reads like a genealogy of kings. There is very little character development or story telling. It is extremely tedious at its worst and barely entertaining at its best. I’m truly shocked at how many people have five-starred this title. On a positive note, the narration performance is amazing and I am certain I would not have finished the book had it been narrated by a less talented reader. Caveat Emptor for sure.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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A history

Listener beware - this is a history. There is no story here, just lots of names, lots of years, and lots of regret.

Don’t waste your credit like I did.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • Albany, NY
  • 12-01-18

meh

I feel like paying to read this book is like George Lucas saying he had a whole trilogy planned before and after Star Wars, Empire, and RotJ, but when I paid to see the prequel about Darth Vader, what I got was a guy sitting on a stool on the screen who narrates the plot of the story, devoid of any actual suspense or emotion. This isn't so much a story as notes or backstory necessary for a robust feature presentation. I have zero emotional connection to anything that's going on in this book. it's literally just backstory or scaffolding for the Song of Ice and Fire. The voice acting is fine, but it's tough to rate him, because he's literally playing one character the whole time: a maester reading a chronicle of Westeros.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A history in the truest sense

If you enjoyed the books 1-5 alone, don't bother. No characters developed here--just even summaries.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

meh

history text not stories so much can be tough to follow at times just average

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-19

A Good Read

Though I expected the story to be much more interesting .. but Simon's performance made it more enjoyable than it is.

Thank you Audible ❤

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sabine
  • 01-09-19

Brilliant performance!

Wonderful narration of epic fictional history of Westeros through the view on the Targaryen dynasty! If only it would be created as TV show - it would completely mind-blowing! All those wars and dragons!
Cannot wait for the next part!