"The Hedge Knight" is a novella based on the "Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R.R. Martin, and takes place 100 years before the events depicted in A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1). This is the first book regarding Martin's "Tales of Dunk and Egg" stories, and follow the exploits of a Hedge Knight (basically a knight who is not employed) named Dunk and his squire named Egg. THIS IS A GRAPHIC NOVEL (comic book) based on the story that was originally published in Legends: Short Novels By The Masters of Modern Fantasy, and follows Ser Dunk as he enters a jousting tournament only to find he is soon fighting for more than just recognition.
For anyone who has read the Song of Ice and Fire series, "The Hedge Knight" follows the same writing style. Although the characters are new, most of the names have been mentioned by Martin in his previous books. I found that I had to do a little research after I read it to understand the families and who exactly the characters were as they relate to present events, but once I did I was pretty impressed with how well Martin had tied the stories together, as this novella focuses on the Targaryen family, who is only mentioned according to their past exploits in A Game of Thrones. That being said, no knowledge of the later books is necessary to enjoy the story, and fantasy, medieval, and comic fans should enjoy "A Hedge Knight" as a standalone graphic novel. It definitely makes it more enjoyable to have read the other series going into it though.
Although I am familiar with comics, this is the first graphic novel I have ever purchased, and is well worth the price. It is hardbound and well produced, printed with high quality paper and has a beautiful cover. I would definitely recommend this "premiere hardcover" edition over the second edition that is currently being sold, especially since the pricing is similar. The adaptation is written by Ben Avery, who does a fantastic job of accurately translating the novella to this medium. The artwork is by Mike S. Miller and is even more exceptional. The characters in "The Hedge Knight" are not as developed as those from Martin's other books and this story doesn't have as much suspense or the plot twists we've come to expect, but as a short story it certainly entertains and provides another look at the world Martin has created, as well as giving insight into some of the names Martin has only touched upon in previous books. Given the choice, I am also glad I read it for the first time in the graphic novel, rather than the short story that was printed in the Legends anthology.
The Dunk and Egg stories are continued in the short story, "The Sworn Sword," which can be found in Legends II: Dragon, Sword, and King and will be out as a comic book in the Summer of 2007.