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Dying of the Light Paperback – September 28, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A whisperjewel summoned him to Worlorn, and a love he thought he'd lost. But Worlorn isn't the world Dirk t'Larien imagined, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew. She is bound to another man, and to a dying planet that is trapped in twilight, forever falling toward night. Amid this bleak landscape is a violent clash of cultures in which there is no code of honor--and the hunter and the hunted are often interchangeable.

Caught up in a dangerous triangle, Gwen is in need of Dirk's protection, and he will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means challenging the barbaric man who has claimed her--and his cunning cohort. But an impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounds them all, and it's becoming impossible for Dirk to distinguish between his allies and his enemies. While each will fight to stay alive, one is waiting for escape, one for revenge, and another for a brutal, untimely demise.

About the Author

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons—as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle), and Dreamsongs Volumes I and II. He is also the creator of The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps from A Song of Ice and Fire featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts, and The World of Ice & Fire (with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson). As a writer-producer, Martin has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553383086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553383089
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid '90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he's allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Tango on September 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Purely by accident, while looking for something else in the library, I stumbled on a couple of George R. R. Martin's books, a collection of short stories called "A Song for Lya" and one of his early novels, "Dying of the Light", both published in the 70s. Friends have been recommending his later fantasy writing to me for years, so I thought - what the heck, I'll give him a go.

My god. I had no idea!

The short stories were enough to leave me wanting more, but it was "Dying of the Light" that really took my breath away. The writing is completely engrossing; I found myself missing bus after bus and staying late at work because I couldn't drop the book even for the ten minutes it would take to get to the bus stop. It's one of those rare books where everything fits together perfectly: the characters, the atmosphere, the setting, the way the story is resolved.

The premise seems deceptively simple: a man is asked by his former lover to meet her on a strange planet that has no star, a dying world that has been all but abandoned. But when he gets there, he finds that his Gwen has found a new place for herself among the ruins, and what's more -- she is married. So why did she call him? And is she really as happy as she seems to be? I should mention that the man she's married belongs to an alien culture where the strong hunt the weak for sport. Oh, and he already has a husband. Things only become more complicated when we meet all the characters and find out more about their cultures.

And the cultures alone are spectacular. It would be grossly unfair to try to cover them all, and completely unnecessary in a review. Suffice it to say that the breadth of Martin's imagination is matched only by the iron grip he has on his world and the plot of the story.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amy ( on April 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I became a fan of George Martin when I read "The Hedge Knight" in Legends and from there I went straight to a "Game of Thrones." Eager for more of his work, I was browsing in my university's library and came across "Dying of the Light".
I was amazed at the beauty of the writing, the vividness of the imagery, and the originality of the story. I would like to see more stories about the "manrealm" and especially the Kavalaar people (how about some "teyn" poetry?)
I would give this book five stars except the ending was too sad. Actually, it was so sad I've been up late every night for the past week thinking about it. Also, no one I know has ever even heard of George Martin, let alone this book, so I have no one to talk to. "Dying of the Light" is full of dark and lonely imagery, and even though it has made me feel depressed, it is a wonderful story.
(I would have liked to see Garse and Dirk become teyns!)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Doug M on November 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many readers, I was introduced to George R. R. Martin through his excellent "Song of Ice and Fire" series. After I finished "A Feast for Crows" I decided to check out Martin's first novel, "Dying of the Light". The novel's unique setting--a dying planet where the light never shines beyond dusk--had me immediately hooked on the story. Martin's relatable characters and his incredibly detailed alien cultures kept me reading through the first half of the novel, and the second half detailed a breathtaking cat-and-mouse sequence that rivals anything else I've ever read. There is a deep theme of sadness, loss, and dying that runs through "Dying of the Light" so it is not a light-hearted adventure tale. Some readers may be put off by this, but I found it incredibly refreshing and satisfying. The plot unfolds as a direct consequence of the choices made by the main characters; none of whom are stereotypical heroes or villains. These consequences add up to produce an ending that is fitting and sad at the same time. "Dying of the Light" kept me up at night for about a week after I finished it, as I could not stop thinking about the characters, their motives, and their decisions. For me, this is the mark of a great book, and it is why I prefer sad novels to happy ones--they really make the reader think about the story after they turn the last page. For those readers familiar with Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire", this novel contains the gritty realism present in that series, but it also contains themes of love and loss present in the T.H. White classic "The Once and Future King". "Dying of the Light" is one of my very favorite novels, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a quality read, regardless of whether or not you are familiar with Martin and his other work.
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59 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Iglesias Alvarez on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Dying of the Light" was George R.R. Martin's first novel, and it certainly shows. He is very ambitious in this initial attempt and the results are mixed. The book is usually catalogued as Science Fiction, but it hardly feels like it. Sure, there is a glimpse of a history of human expansion into other galaxies and even 'Old Terra' is mentioned, but it is a mere background to set the story, not a relevant ingredient. Even when Martin uses scientific aspects ( technological applications ) throughout the book it is in a rather superficial and somehow 'pulp' way; Martin is more interested in the landscapes and in his characters.
As I said, the book feels over ambitious, the length being to short to be able to develop in a proper way the complex cornucopia of names, places, languages and customs that Martin set to create. The drive of the plot depends entirely in the amusing planet Worlorn, a once bright world where for a decade a 'Festival Of the Worlds' was held, but which now is turning dark, little by little leaving the sun than once brightened it. Worlorn is now almost unpopulated but the past glory of its cities still remains and is the stage for a story which moves around a past romance and the traditions of war-like people called Kavalar.
Martin tries hard to make his characters be as 'flesh and bone' as possible but in my opinion he only partially achieves it: At the end of book the Kavalar characters seem much more interesting than the main ones, Dirk and Gwen (although probably that was all along Martin's final intention).
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