Paperback 704 pages (January 6, 2003)

Publisher: Voyager
ISBN: 000647988X

This autumn, George R R Martin will release A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in his massive epic fantasy sequence, A Song of Fire and Ice. If you haven’t tried it yet, you might have time to read this, it sequels and catch up. A slightly drunk Irishman on the tube told me I should read them, and he was not wrong. Time will tell if this series (when it ends) will be listed alongside Tolkien and Stephen Donaldson as a true fantasy heavyweight and work of ‘mainstream literature’ in its own right. It does look that way though. The fifteen plus POV’s, half dozen main and multiple sub-plots make this the best and most groundbreaking ‘traditional’ fantasy series in publication at the moment. The massive fan-base on the Internet pays tribute to the effects of these books on a reader. The first book opens with Eddard Stark, Warden of the North and his family, drawn into a complex web of intrigue and conspiracy in the royal court of Westeros. We also move further south, where the usurped heir to the throne of westeros plans his revenge. The fantasy elements are kept to a minimum, at times it reads that a historical novel of the Wars of the Roses or the Hapsburg -Valois conflicts. The detail to chivalry and genealogy, as well as the history and tradition of the realm is awesomely well thought out. The writing is beautifully readable, with layered tapestries of narrative and wonderful imagery throughout. Each of the many characters has its’ own distinctive style. This is quite possibly the pinnacle of modern fantasy story telling. I’ve never read any better. The plot twists and turns like a mad thing. This is possibly the best of the three released so far, the third one tends to suffer from being caught between two many threads. Even three books in, I’ve no idea how it’s going to end. I just hope Martin has. ]]>

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