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A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One [Paperback]

George R.R. Martin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,115 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 28 2002 Song of Ice and Fire (Book 1)
A NEW ORIGINAL SERIES, NOW ON HBO.

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

A GAME OF THRONES

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

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A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One + A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-in Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two + A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three
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From Amazon

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 --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
99 of 103 people found the following review helpful
By Ravnos
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First off, I'm a heavy duty fan of GRRM. I've read over a 100 different fantasy authors in my time (started at 12; I'm now 32). Took about 5 years off from the genre b/c I felt it was all getting too formulaic and cliched.

So, when I came back to fantasy at the end of 1999, I read the usual: Goodkind, Jordan, etc. and then someone told me about GRRM and man, that was the kicker!

Here are the reasons to choose GRRM. I've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who won't like this series:

WHY TO READ GRRM

(1) YOU ARE TIRED OF FORMULAIC FANTASY: good lad beats the dark lord against impossible odds; boy is the epitome of good; he and all his friends never die even though they go through great dangers . . . the good and noble king; the beautiful princess who falls in love with the commoner boy even though their stations are drastically different . . . you get the idea. After reading this over and over, it gets old.

(2) YOU ARE TIRED OF ALL THE HEROES STAYING ALIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE UNDER CONSTANT DANGER: this gets even worse where the author kills a main hero off but that person comes back later in the story. Or, a hero does die but magic brings him back.

This sometimes carries to minor characters where even they may not die, but most fantasy authors like to kill them off to show that some risked the adventure and perished.

(3) YOU ARE A MEDIEVAL HISTORY BUFF: this story was influenced by the WARS OF THE ROSES and THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR.

(4) YOU LOVE SERIOUS INTRIGUE WITHOUT STUPID OPPONENTS: lots of layering; lots of intrigue; lots of clever players in the game of thrones.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy for the non-fantasy reader July 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My husband, an avid fantasy reader, has tried for years to get me interested in the genre. One evening when I was desperate for something to read, he handed me this book and begged me to give it a chance. I was hooked from page one! The writing is exceptional, and the characters--especially the women--are well developed. What strikes me most about Martin's work is that it is brutally honest and the characters act and think like real people...they don't seem at all like the stereotypical "heroes" I've encountered in other books. One word of caution to those who don't read a lot of fantasy, be sure to give yourself a few chapters to get into this book. Until I figured out how this world worked I found myself confused a lot, and I kept having to ask my husband to clarify certain points. Once I "got it" though, I had no trouble reading. This book (and entire series) is so amazing it transcends genre and can appeal to any reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not Great June 30 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was good, but nowhere near great. When I see the Tolkien comparisons, it makes me shake my head. While I'm not a Tolkienite, there are certain things I give him credit for, and many of those center around knowing appropriate language. Martin is a great writer, but he falters in this genre. In some cases, on the first page in fact, he alters phrases but retains their original meaning. Except the changes he makes often remove the context that provides the meaning. It threw me out of his story too many times, and reminded me very much of a schmeerp (something changed just to make it fantastical, not because it makes sense). Other words or phrases are distinctly 20th-century, and also derive meaning from things that didn't exist prior to very modern times. Ok, if you're writing sci-fi or modern fiction but jarring in a setting so closely tied to medieval Europe. Others have discussed the similarities to this work and the War of the Roses, but the similar plot doesn't bother me so much as the similar names. It looks like a schmeerp again, esp. if you know the history or have read Shakespeare's historical plays.
Warning: Possible Spoilers
I read both horror and romances so neither the sex nor the violence bothered me. Gratuitous description did. The continuous description of the glistening rings in someone's hair were just as bad the continuous description of other glistening body parts. Some of Martin's similes are also groan-worthy. When Drogo made love to Dany by picking her up "like a child" - yeesh. Others have also mentioned the postmodernist idealogy in this book but I don't think the gray morality is quite so bad as some claim.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Fantasy that keeps me reading... March 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'd been suffering from Fantasy Novel Attention Deficit Disorder for months before I found A Game of Thrones! I was tired of rereading the great stuff like the Amber Chronicles and Lord of the Rings, and tired of getting bored after reading the first few pages of juvenile treatments of the genre...such as Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind and even, yes, the great Weis and Hickman (I cut my fantasy teeth on their Dragonlance novels as a teen, but now I can't get through a chapter). Apologies to all you fans of the aforementioned, but they don't come close to the subtle and mature read of A Game of Thrones. The magic in this novel is there for just the right amount of accent and is not used as a deus ex machina prop. The language is melodic and, at least for me, lends itself to the easy recollection of multiple characters. The plot and atmosphere are unique, and Martin often offers tiny morsels to enjoy (even the use of the spelling "Ser" for "Sir" is a nice touch). I haven't finished reading the thing yet, but I know I will finish this and greedily devour the rest in the series! Trust me on this one, if you find yourself a hardcore fantasy lover and can't stand the overly-magical, redundant fantasy trash out there now, invest in this book! It'll rescue you from its mediocre counterparts.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Fantastic!! Very happy that I ordered it and I look forward to ordering the next book when finished. Roy Dotrice is a wonderful story teller.
Published 1 month ago by Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars SONG OF FIRE AND ICE
EXCELLENT BOOK. THE FORMAT AND STYLE MAKE IT FEEL LIKE EVERY CHAPTER IS A NEW FAIRYTALE.THE FORMAT IS GREAT AND MUCH EASIER TO READ THAN IN PRINT FORMAT. Read more
Published 2 months ago by paul bolton
5.0 out of 5 stars Dog Ate It
So my dog ate my moms first copy of this book so I had to replace it. I figured I'd get the standard box set copy of the book that everyone has. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Teddy Bronco
5.0 out of 5 stars Book one of Game of Thrones
Really enjoyed book one so have now ordered book two look forward to a good read and then it will (I hope) be on to book three
Published 4 months ago by Mavis Schwyrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard read
I bought this book nearly 2 years ago. I am sure one day I will plug thru it but the reading is hard...old english type of wording. Otherwise great!
Published 6 months ago by R Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
When I started watching GoT I wasn't, sadly, aware that it was created on the basis of a book. If I knew, I would definitely have read it first because one of my biggest pet peeves... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Sasha Homenko
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
love the tv series and thought id give the book a try. Great book. george martin did not dissapoint. love it
Published 6 months ago by Umesh Kumar
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Interesting and captivating. A story you can not stop reading. Great literature to enjoy at any age, any moment, any place.
Published 8 months ago by Veronica
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the show
Really enjoyed this book, cover to cover. The only boring parts are with Bran. My favourite character is the hound to give you an idea of how bad ass I am
Published 9 months ago by lord Spicer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I read this book after seeing the three current seasons of Game of Thrones. Seeing the show beforehand doesn't take anything away from reading this book because of how expansive... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Regis Joseph
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