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' 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 smallfolk 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.
George Raymond Richard Martin (born September 20, 1948), sometimes referred to as GRRM, is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He is best known for his ongoing A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels.
Critics have described Martin's work as dark and cynical. His first novel, Dying of the Light, set the tone for most of his future work; it is set on a mostly abandoned planet that is slowly becoming uninhabitable as it moves away from its sun. This story, and many of Martin's others, have a strong sense of melancholy. His characters are often unhappy, or at least unsatisfied - trying to stay idealistic in a ruthless world. Many have elements of tragic heroes in them. Reviewer T. M. Wagner writes, "Let it never be said Martin doesn't share Shakespeare's fondness for the senselessly tragic." This gloominess can be an obstacle for some readers. The Inchoatus Group writes, "If this absence of joy is going to trouble you, or you're looking for something more affirming, then you should probably seek elsewhere."
His characters are often considered multi-faceted, each with surprisingly intricate pasts, inspirations, and ambitions. Publisher's Weekly writes of his on-going epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire "The complexity of characters such as Daenarys , Arya and the Kingslayer will keep readers turning even the vast number of pages contained in this volume, for the author, like Tolkien or Jordan, makes us care about their fates." No one is given an unrealistic string of luck, however, so misfortune, injury, and death (and even false death) can befall any character, major or minor, no matter how attached the reader has become. Martin has described his penchant for killing off important characters as being necessary for the story's depth: "...when my characters are in danger, I want you to be afraid to turn the page, (so) you need to show right from the beginning that you're playing for keeps."
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