A Game of Thrones: Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire.pdf

A Game of Thrones: Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire.pdf


Amazon.com Review
Readers of epic fantasy series are: (1) patient--they are left in suspense between each volume, (2) persistent--they reread or at least review the previous book(s) when a new installment comes out, (3) strong--these 700-page doorstoppers are heavy, and (4) mentally agile--they follow a host of characters through a myriad of subplots. In A Game of Thrones, the first book of a projected six, George R.R. Martin rewards readers with a vividly real world, well-drawn characters, complex but coherent plotting, and beautifully constructed prose, which Locus called "well above the norms of the genre."

Martin's Seven Kingdoms resemble England during the Wars of the Roses, with the Stark and Lannister families standing in for the Yorks and Lancasters. The story of these two families and their struggle to control the Iron Throne dominates the foreground; in the background is a huge, ancient wall marking the northern border, beyond which barbarians, ice vampires, and direwolves menace the south as years-long winter advances. Abroad, a dragon princess lives among horse nomads and dreams of fiery reconquest.

There is much bloodshed, cruelty, and death, but A Game of Thrones is nevertheless compelling; it garnered a Nebula nomination and won the 1996 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. So, on to A Clash of Kings! --Nona Vero

From Publishers Weekly
In a world where the approaching winter will last four decades, kings and queens, knights and renegades struggle for control of a throne. Some fight with sword and mace, others with magic and poison. Beyond the Wall to the north, meanwhile, the Others are preparing their army of the dead to march south as the warmth of summer drains from the land. After more than a decade devoted primarily to TV and screen work, Martin (The Armageddon Rag, 1983) makes a triumphant return to high fantasy with this extraordinarily rich new novel, the first of a trilogy. Although conventional in form, the book stands out from similar work by Eddings, Brooks and others by virtue of its superbly developed characters, accomplished prose and sheer bloody-mindedness. Although the romance of chivalry is central to the culture of the Seven Kingdoms, and tournaments, derring-do and handsome knights abound, these trappings merely give cover to dangerous men and women who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. When Lord Stark of Winterfell, an honest man, comes south to act as the King's chief councilor, no amount of heroism or good intentions can keep the realm under control. It is fascinating to watch Martin's characters mature and grow, particularly Stark's children, who stand at the center of the book. Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes, including Hugos, Nebulas, Locus Awards and a Bram Stoker. He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least. Major ad/promo.

From Library Journal
The author of such sf classics as The Armageddon Rag (1983) marks the beginning of a new fantasy series about a world where the summer and winter seasons can span generations.

From Booklist
The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire, combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga. The family is the Starks of Winterfell, a society in crisis due to climatic change that has created decades-long seasons, and a society almost without magic but with human perversity abundant and active. Martin reaches a new plateau in terms of narrative technique, action scenes, and integrating (or not injecting) his political views into the story. He does not avoid a dauntingly large cast and a daunting number of viewpoint shifts, but these are problems seemingly inseparable from the multivolume fantasy genre. Accordingly, one doubts there will be any other comfortable entry point into this example of the genre except at the beginning. Judging by this beginning, however, it promises to repay reading and rereading, from first volume to last, on account of its literacy, imagination, emotional impact, and superb world-building. Roland Green
'A Game of Thrones grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant.' Robert Jordan 'Such a splendid tale. I couldn't stop till 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 'Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but the sheer-mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads... Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias.' Guardian

"The major fantasy of the decade . . . compulsively readable."—Denver Post

"We have been invited to a grand feast and pageant: George R.R. Martin has unveiled for us an intensely realized, romantic but realistic world."—Chicago Sun-Times

"A Best Book of 1996: Martin makes a triumphant return to high fantasy . . . [with] superbly developed characters, accomplished prose, and sheer bloodymindedness."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A splendid saga . . . . Inventive and intricately plotted."—BookPage

"Magic . . . George R.R.Martin's first fantasy epic [is set] well above the norms of the genre."—Locus

"Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical! I read my eyes out and couldn't stop 'til I finished and it was dawn."—Anne McCaffrey

"The major fantasy of the decade . . . compulsively readable."—Denver Post

"We have been invited to a grand feast and pageant: George R.R. Martin has unveiled for us an intensely realized, romantic but realistic world."—Chicago Sun-Times

"A Best Book of 1996: Martin makes a triumphant return to high fantasy . . . [with] superbly developed characters, accomplished prose, and sheer bloodymindedness."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A splendid saga . . . . Inventive and intricately plotted."—BookPage

"Magic . . . George R.R.Martin's first fantasy epic [is set] well above the norms of the genre."—Locus

"Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical! I read my eyes out and couldn't stop 'til I finished and it was dawn."—Anne McCaffrey

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally ever since. He has written fantasy, horror, and science fiction, and for his sins spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer/producer, working on Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid 90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he's allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, a big white dog called Mischa, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula who think they run the place.

From the Paperback edition.

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.  They set forth at daybreak to see a man beheaded, twenty in all, and Bran rode among them, nervous with excitement.  This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his lord father and his brothers to see the king's justice done.  It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran's life.

The man had been taken outside a small holdfast in the hills.  Robb thought he was a wildling, his sword sworn to Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall.  It made Bran's skin prickle to think of it.  He remembered the hearth tales Old Nan told them.  The wildlings were cruel men, she said, slavers and slayers and thieves.  They consorted with giants and ghouls, stole girl children in the dead of night, and drank blood from polished horns.  And their women lay with the Others in the Long Night to sire terrible half-human children.

But the man they found bound hand and foot to the holdfast wall awaiting the king's justice was old and scrawny, not much taller than Robb.  He had lost both ears and a finger to frostbite, and he dressed all in black, the same as a brother of the Night's Watch, except that his furs were ragged and greasy.

The breath of man and horse mingled, steaming, in the cold morning air as his lord father had the man cut down from the wall and dragged before them.  Robb and Jon sat tall and still on their horses, with Bran between them on his pony, trying to seem older than seven, trying to pretend that he'd seen all this before.  A faint wind blew through the holdfast gate.  Over their heads flapped the banner of the Starks of Winterfell: a grey direwolf racing across an ice-white field.

Bran's father sat solemnly on his horse, long brown hair stirring in the wind.  His closely trimmed beard was shot with white, making him look older than his thirty-five years.  He had a grim cast to his grey eyes this day, and he seemed not at all the man who would sit before the fire in the evening and talk softly of the age of heroes and the children of the forest.  He had taken off Father's face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell.

There were questions asked and answers given there in the chill of morning, but afterward Bran could not recall much of what had been said.  Finally his lord father gave a command, and two of his guardsmen dragged the ragged man to the ironwood stump in the center of the square.  They forced his head down onto the hard black wood.  Lord Eddard Stark dismounted and his ward Theon Greyjoy brought forth the sword.  "Ice," that sword was called.  It was as wide across as a man's hand, and taller even than Robb.  The blade was Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke.  Nothing held an edge like Valyrian steel.

His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel, the captain of his household guard.  He took hold of Ice with both hands and said, "In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, by the word of Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, I do sentence you to die."  He lifted the great sword high above his head.

Bran's bastard brother Jon Snow moved closer.  "Keep the pony well in hand," he whispered.  "And don't look away.  Father will know if you do."

Bran kept his pony well in hand, and did not look away.

His father took off the man's head with a single sure stroke.  Blood sprayed out across the snow, as red as summerwine.  One of the horses reared and had to be restrained to keep from bolting.  Bran could not take his eyes off the blood.  The snows around the stump drank it eagerly, reddening as he watched.

The head bounced off a thick root and rolled.  It came up near Greyjoy's feet.  Theon was a lean, dark youth of nineteen who found everything amusing.  He laughed, put his boot on the head,and kicked it away.

"Ass," Jon muttered, low enough so Greyjoy did not hear.  He put a hand on Bran's shoulder, and Bran looked over at his bastard brother.  "You did well," Jon told him solemnly.  Jon was fourteen, an old hand at justice.

It seemed colder on the long ride back to Winterfell, though the wind had died by then and the sun was higher in the sky.  Bran rode with his brothers, well ahead of the main party, his pony struggling hard to keep up with their horses.

"The deserter died bravely," Robb said.  He was big and broad and growing every day, with his mother's coloring, the fair skin, red-brown hair, and blue eyes of the Tullys of Riverrun.  "He had courage, at the least."

"No," Jon Snow said quietly.  "It was not courage.  This one was dead of fear.  You could see it in his eyes, Stark."  Jon's eyes were a grey so dark they seemed almost black, but there was little they did not see.  He was of an age with Robb, but they did not look alike.  Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast.

Robb was not impressed.  "The Others take his eyes," he swore.  "He died well.  Race you to the bridge?"

"Done," Jon said, kicking his horse forward.  Robb cursed and followed, and they galloped off down the trail, Robb laughing and hooting, Jon silent and intent.  The hooves of their horses kicked up showers of snow as they went.

Bran did not try to follow.  His pony could not keep up.  He had seen the ragged man's eyes, and he was thinking of them now.  After a while, the sound of Robb's laughter receded, and the woods grew silent again.

That was when Jon reappeared on the crest of the hill before them.  He waved and shouted down at them.  "Father, Bran, come quickly, see what Robb has found!"  Then he was gone again.

Jory rode up beside them.  "Trouble, my lord?"

"Beyond a doubt," his lord father said.  "Come, let us see what mischief my sons have rooted out now."  He sent his horse into a trot.  Jory and Bran and the rest came after.

They found Robb on the riverbank north of the bridge, with Jon still mounted beside him.  The late summer snows had been heavy this moonturn.  Robb stood knee-deep in white, his hood pulled back so the sun shone in his hair.  He was cradling something in his arm, while the boys talked in hushed, excited voices.

The riders picked their way carefully through the drifts, groping for solid footing on the hidden, uneven ground.  Jory Cassel and Theon Greyjoy were the first to reach the boys.  Greyjoy was laughing and joking as he rode.  Bran heard the breath go out of him.  "Gods!" he exclaimed, struggling to keep control of his horse as he reached for his sword.

Jory's sword was already out.  "Robb, get away from it!" he called as his horse reared under him.

Robb grinned and looked up from the bundle in his arms.  "She can't hurt you," he said.  "She's dead, Jory."

Bran was afire with curiosity by then.  He would have spurred the pony faster, but his father made them dismount beside the bridge and approach on foot.  Bran jumped off and ran.

By then Jon, Jory, and Theon Greyjoy had all dismounted as well.  "What in the seven hells is it?" Greyjoy was saying.

"A wolf," Robb told him.

"A freak," Greyjoy said.  "Look at the size of it."

Bran's heart was thumping in his chest as he pushed through a waist-high drift to his brothers' side.

Half-buried in blood stained snow, a huge dark shape slumped in death.  Ice had formed in its shaggy grey fur, and the faint smell of corruption clung to it like a woman's perfume.  Bran glimpsed blind eyes crawling with maggots, a wide mouth full of yellowed teeth.  But it was the size of it that made him gasp.  It was bigger than his pony, twice the size of the largest hound in his father's kennel.

"It's no freak," Jon said calmly.  "That's a direwolf.  They grow larger than the other kind."

Theon Greyjoy said, "There's not been a direwolf sighted south of the Wall in two hundred years."

"I see one now," Jon replied.

Bran tore his eyes away from the monster.  That was when he noticed the bundle in Robb's arms.  He gave a cry of delight and moved closer.  The pup was a tiny ball of grey-black fur, its eyes still closed.  It nuzzled blindly against Robb's chest as he cradled it, searching for milk among his leathers, making a sad little whimpery sound.  Bran reached out hesitantly.  "Go on,"Robb told him.  "You can touch him."

Bran gave the pup a quick nervous stroke, then turned as Jon said, "Here you go."  His half brother put a second pup into his arms.  "There are five of them."  Bran sat down in the snow and hugged the wolf pup to his face.  Its fur was soft and warm against his cheek...

A Game of Thrones is a contemporary masterpiece of fantasy. The cold is returning to Winterfell, where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime. A time of conflict has arisen in the Stark family, as they are pulled from the safety of their home into a whirlpool of tragedy, betrayal, assassination, plots and counterplots. Each decision and action carries with it the potential for conflict as several prominent families, comprised of lords, ladies, soldiers, sorcerers, assassins and bastards, are pulled together in the most deadly game of all--the game of thrones.


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