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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) [Mass Market Paperback]

George R.R. Martin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6,599 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 4, 1997 A 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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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

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.

Product Details

  • Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 831 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (August 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553573403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553573404
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6,599 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,078 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
5,128 of 5,380 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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2,815 of 3,019 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle editing - AARRRGGGHHHH! April 13, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
NB: THIS REVIEW REFERS TO THE KINDLE EDITION ALONE! This is a great book, and I've eaten up the series and have been on tenterhooks for George RR to get his finger out and publish A Dance with Dragons for YEARS now. (And the tv series!! Be still my beating heart!!!) But I have to comment on the extremely bad editing of the Kindle edition of A Game of Thrones. It is sloppy and unprofessional. When I first got my kindle, I never experienced this, but now it seems like every book gets worse and worse. I thought Sacajawea was bad, but A Game of Thrones starts out with poor editing and gets progressively more appalling as you get further into the book. People who only read the kindle edition will think that Princess Elia comes from Dome, since that is how it is (almost) consistently spelled throughout the book. (It's Dorne). But on the other hand, the `tom cat' is a `torn cat'- go figure. Little things like that at first, but now, in the last third of the book, the mistakes are coming on nearly every page. Random parentheses, inappropriately capitalized words, italics that make no sense, sentences that end abruptly - that kind of thing. It would be irritating, but something I would just accept in a free edition of a book (maybe). But for a Kindle book that costs more than the paperback, I expect more. I also own a hard copy of this book, and none of these typos are in that edition. I'm not sure how the Kindle editions are made, but I expect the same kind of professional editing that you get in print books. You don't get that here, disappointingly.
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677 of 723 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best of Fantasy in the last 20 years August 25, 2003
By A. Ryan
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I spent quite a while staring at the blank screen in front of me to come up with a fitting description of A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. Should I compare it to the classic Lord of the Rings for its impressively epic scope? Would it be best to focus on the honest, often painful humanity of the many characters - so rare in a fantasy novel - that personalizes each point of view? Perhaps I could impress other customers here with the sheer brilliance of a plot that weaves so many seemingly disparate stories together to form a believable alternate universe in which not only politics, intrigue, war, adventure and romance can coexist plausibly, but magic as well. How could I do such a work justice?
I might as well get this part out of the way first. Obligatory Synopsis: in a fantasy continent that bears a familiarity to Middle Ages England, Winter is coming. Winter in this world means a sort of mini ice age that will last for seven years before receding. In the always-frosty Northern area, the races of nonhuman beings are gathering to advance with the snows; there are hints that there is an ancient, evil power behind their forces. At the same time in the South, political infighting for the Throne has begun. Overseas, the daughter of the dispossessed former King is maneuvering forces of her own for a bid for the throne. All this is told through the various stories of both "good guys" and not-so-good guys.
For starters, AGOT can't be accurately compared to any other book or series in the Fantasy genre (not without insulting it). The nearest thing of its type is the laborious Wheel of Time series by Jordan - see what I mean? And yet this first in the Song of Ice and Fire series is fathoms above that aimless, droning style.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Plot-driven with very few worthy characters
Book One feels entirely driven by a plotting plan....or should I say plodding plan? The superficiality of the characters is due to the fact, I believe, that they are stick figures... Read more
Published 5 hours ago by D. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Great book, once you start its hard to put down. Looking forward to reading the rest of the books in these series.
Published 1 day ago by Omar
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Narration
The day I started reading this book I did not imagine it to be nearly as good as what HBO has been able to pull off. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Soroosh Akef
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Primer
This was my fourth fantasy book and pleased with the story. It did not have overly lengthy lineage that was presented in another series I started to read. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Marco U. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome read! Loved it!
Published 2 days ago by Bonita S Tafoya
4.0 out of 5 stars Digs deeper
Well written and adds depth to characters that the tv series can't.
Published 2 days ago by Greg Coonfare
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Great book!
Published 2 days ago by sergiolib
4.0 out of 5 stars Never in history has the TV show been better than the book, until...
Thats not to say the book is bad, it's fantastic, the show is just better. That's probably because the show is a word for word clone of the book, with a $5,000,000 per episode... Read more
Published 3 days ago by nes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As advertised.
Published 3 days ago by Richard Armstrong
1.0 out of 5 stars Strange Reversal - Great TV Show but terrible and boring books unless...
Usually movies and tv shows don't live up to their literary source but in this case the opposite is true. Great and addictive television, smartly cast with fantastic visuals. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Long term customer
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Something like this but less torture
Try The Sorcery Code it is clean and fits your criteria also, I would recommend Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern - Volume 1) though it has less of that feel... Read More
Feb 12, 2014 by Jenny T. Chavez |  See all 5 posts
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