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A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two [Hardcover]

George R.R. Martin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 2 1999 Song of Ice and Fire (Book 2)
THE BOOK BEHIND THE SECOND SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES, AN ORIGINAL SERIES NOW ON HBO.

George R. R. Martin, a writer of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination, has created a landmark of fantasy fiction. In his widely acclaimed A Game of Thrones, he introduced us to an extraordinary world of wonder, intrigue, and adventure. Now, in the eagerly awaited second volume in this epic saga, he once again proves himself a master myth-maker, setting a standard against which all other fantasy novels will be measured for years to come.

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead . . . victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel . . . and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment—a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.

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A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two + A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three + A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One
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From Amazon

How does he do it? George R.R. Martin's high fantasy weaves a spell sufficient to seduce even those who vowed never to start a doorstopper fantasy series again (the first book--A Game of Thrones--runs over 700 pages). A Clash of Kings is longer and even more grim, but Martin continues to provide compelling characters in a vividly real world.

The Seven Kingdoms have come apart. Joffrey, Queen Cersei's sadistic son, ascends the Iron Throne following the death of Robert Baratheon, the Usurper, who won it in battle. Queen Cersei's family, the Lannisters, fight to hold it for him. Both the dour Stannis and the charismatic Renly Baratheon, Robert's brothers, also seek the throne. Robb Stark, declared King in the North, battles to avenge his father's execution and retrieve his sister from Joffrey's court. Daenerys, the exiled last heir of the former ruling family, nurtures three dragons and seeks a way home. Meanwhile the Night's Watch, sworn to protect the realm from dangers north of the Wall, dwindle in numbers, even as barbarian forces gather and beings out of legend stalk the Haunted Forest.

Sound complicated? It is, but fine writing makes this a thoroughly satisfying stew of dark magic, complex political intrigue, and horrific bloodshed. --Nona Vero

From Publishers Weekly

The second novel of Martin's titanic Song of Ice and Fire saga (A Game of Thrones, 1996) begins with Princess Arya Stark fleeing her dead father's capital of King's Landing, disguised as a boy. It ends with the princess, now known as Weasel, having led the liberation of the accursed castle of Harrenhal. In between, her actions map the further course of a truly epic fantasy set in a world bedecked with 8000 years of history, beset by an imminent winter that will last 10 years and bedazzled by swords and spells wielded to devastating effect by the scrupulous and unscrupulous alike. Standout characters besides Arya include Queen Cersei, so lacking in morals that she becomes almost pitiable; the queen's brother, the relentlessly ingenious dwarf Tyrion Lannister; and Arya's brother, Prince Brandon, crippled except when he runs with the wolves in his dreams. The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail that dramatically increases narrative length even as it aids suspension of disbelief; for the comparatively modest role of magic (although with one ambitious young woman raising a trio of dragons, that may change in future volumes); and for its magnificent action-filled climax, an amphibious assault on King's Landing, now ruled by the evil Queen Cersei. Martin may not rival Tolkien or Robert Jordan, but he ranks with such accomplished medievalists of fantasy as Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson. Here, he provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites?and this is only the second course of a repast with no end in sight. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convoluted, but amazing Feb. 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm not sure how the author does it, but while other sprawling fantasy epics can have the characters and plotlines blend togther to the point where no one really cares anymore, this guy manages to make many different viewpoints and people distinct and three-dimensional. He juggles what seems to be an insane number of contenders for the throne to the Seven Kingdoms, and makes you realize what makes everyone different, and differently (or not) qualified to rule.
He is not afraid of killing his characters and what I also like is that everyone is believably shaded, morally. To often there are books like this with a hero that has one, single stock flaw, fighting villians that are plain crazy or evil without reason. These books have people that range all over the moral chart and it's refreshing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow up to Game of Thrones Jan. 18 2012
By J Reader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Clash of Kings is a great follow up to The Game of Thrones. The story is heavy with political intrigue. Even more so than the first of the series. If you are looking forward to exciting battle scenes you will have to wait until the final 100 pages.

The characters' stories and back stories are what I love most about this series. A Clash of Kings follows the same main characters as The Game of Thrones, with some interesting new ones added to the mix. Everyone is written with great care and detail. There are no stereotypical heros or villians. All of the characters are complex with clear, identifiable motivations.

This book continues where the last left off, with twists and turns, many of which caught me by surprize. I have yet to encounter a predictable story line in either of the first two books in this series. I enjoy the type of story where no one is safe and the plot is unpredictable. Nothing comes easy for the people of this fantasy world and seldom do things turn out as you would expect.

If you are interested in delving into a world of King's, Queen's, magic and betrayal take up this series. It is not a light read and at around 1000 pages each the first two books are substantial. That said, there are no lulls in the story and it flows easily from one story line to another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Get to the point already! June 26 2000
By BH
Format:Hardcover
Oh for the love of all that is good and holy! This book illustrates perfectly why there are no fantasy novels written about stable hands or cooks or characters that die off in a couple chapters. It seems as though we have regressed to the Dickensian era when writers were paid by the word because 40%+ of this novel was pure unadulterated filler. A variety of perspectives help the plot progress but too many create an immobile plot. We all knew that Jon Snow was going to end up beyond the wall but Lord above did Mr. Martin pull teeth in getting us there. And honestly, does anyone care to read about a demon crawling from the loins of a woman(*shudder*). It appears as though the author has caught a mutated strain of the Jordan/Goodkind virus. He's not writing a horrendous monstrosity like Mr. Goodkind but it's taken him only 2 books to get to the same level of gibberish it took Mr. Jordan 5 books to get to. Please...please...PLEASE! Get to the point already! The word trilogy exists for a reason...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
martin is a very entertaining writer but i was disappointed at the vulgarity that was totally unneccesary. any reference to sex has to have the 'f' word. i hear enough garbage each day and find it refreshing when a writer can communicate without swearing. many books contain a lot more bad language than this book but it turned me off. george you lost a reader for what it is worth. so long for this book and any you write.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good story but tarnished... May 18 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The plot to this story is immense, with many different facets. However, at every turn in the book the author would perform extreme violence or debase women in such a way that seemed to go beyond the context of the story. Perhaps the author wished to show the violent nature of people or portray a character as evil, but the nature of acts committed to women, from graphic rape to extreme violence instead brought me out of the book and made me angry at the author, not at the character committing the acts. Other talented authors have conveyed character motives and attributes in different ways, unfortunately this author did not. I will not be purchasing any future works from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor character development - boring!!! May 16 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It's really hard to relate to his characters. You only get about 8 - 10 pages at a clip, and wait over 100 pages until you get back to them. Really crowded!!! Too many characters, and most are under the age of 13. G. R. R. shows his lack of connection to this age group (and female characters especially) by making most of them wooden - you really start hoping that they die soon just to get them out of the way of the more interesting figures - like the dwarf. I won't be reading the next installment...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved the first book (maybe even an A+) but was disappointed in this one because of some of the things that pleased me in the first. Primarily the way that he lets awful things sometimes happen to good characters he's developed (like disability or death) - you really didn't know what was going to happen. He also was developing some very interesting deeper structures outside the basic warring noble families. The second novel keeps that going, but it seems like at times he's just casting dice to decide on plot lines. It may be he (rightly) feels his world and characters are robust enough to cope with such haphazard treatment, and that it reflects the context of the massive uncertainty of a civil war - but some sort of direction is enjoyable in a novel. The larger things are still there (the mysterious atrocities rising beyond the wall; the return of magic with Danerys and her dragons), but there's not much of a sense of a deadline with them.
In one way this may be good - you can just enjoy the interaction of substantial characters in a coherent fantasy world without it being forced into a typical exposition-rising tension-climax-dénouement structure. But I didn't enjoy it as much because the first did always seem to be more clearly going somewhere. Furthermore, while this is recounting the descent into treacherous conflict, the sheer volume and ubiquity of sickeningly brutal murder, molestation and mutilation of innocents is a bit overwhelming. George, are you just getting a little too much pleasure out of all this? I mean, it's your world and your narrative - you don't have to linger quite so long or often over these accounts. Or you could even pick things up a little!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
If you have watched the series and even if you've read the book, the audiobook brings it all together. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Donald Hind
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling
Full of twists and unexpected changes, one can never guess what is coming.

Very exciting. As with all big books, there are boring parts, few however. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Hesley tomazetti
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book. Nothing less, maybe even more!
As a physical product, this book is really a good one. Hard cover, sober black with the title engraved in metallic color on the side, really a good quality product. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Guillaume
5.0 out of 5 stars A great continuation of the saga
A great continuation of the saga that is George R. Martin has started, and further fuels the need to continue delving into the fantastic and treacherous world created by the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tara Seehra
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
Martin's ability to weave together massive parallel storylines without causing a headache is understated. I read this book so fast, I can't remember the major plot points. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Johnny Ferguson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I'm currently reading this novel. It gets a bit draggy in areas but all in all a great read !! There are so many characters and all with unique names that I find it helps me to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by nec442
5.0 out of 5 stars Character-driven fantasy, dark and sometimes demented, but a must read
My guilty secret--I read fantasy. And science fiction too. I just don't admit it often. Occasionally, an epic rises above great genre fiction and takes on a genuine life of its... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Derek Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I love these books. I love the character development that Martin provides. A must read, IMHO. Every bit as good as Tolkien
Published 10 months ago by decius01
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clash of Kings
I found this novel riveting! The detail, the wit, the humour and the depth of each character the author provided kept me turning the pages.
Published 11 months ago by Edward Spadafora
4.0 out of 5 stars The body count rises
A great sequel following the characters, established in Book 1, as they make their way around this vast and dangerous world. Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Richardson
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