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A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (A Song of Ice and Fire) Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
The three interlocking novellas in this collection, all previously published, make for a rousing prelude to Martin's bestselling Song of Ice and Fire saga. Set 90 years before the events in A Game of Thrones, they chronicle the experiences of Ser Duncan the Tall, a humble hedge knight whose honorable comportment is often at odds with the schemes of the royals who rule the Seven Kingdoms. In "The Hedge Knight," Duncan is forced to fight a brutal trial by combat for defending a commoner against a cruel prince's son. In both "The Sworn Sword" and "The Mystery Knight," Duncan advances further toward fulfilling his destiny as a knight of the Kingsguard, foreseen in dreams throughout the stories. The stories are top-heavy with tournaments and bloody battles, but also rich in human drama and the colorful worldbuilding that distinguishes other books in the series. The appearance of youthful versions of characters who figure in the later novels makes this collection a must-read for Martin's legions of fans. (Oct.)\n
“Readers who already love [George R. R.] Martin and his ability to bring visceral human drama out of any story will be thrilled to find this trilogy brought together and injected with extra life.”—Booklist
“The real reason to check out this collection is that it’s simply great storytelling. Martin crafts a living, breathing world in a way few authors can. . . . [Gary Gianni’s illustrations] really bring the events of the novellas to life in beautiful fashion.”—Tech Times
“Stirring . . . As Tolkien has his Silmarillion, so [George R. R.] Martin has this trilogy of foundational tales. They succeed on their own, but in addition, they succeed in making fans want more.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Pure fantasy adventure, with two of the most likable protagonists George R. R. Martin has ever penned.”—Bustle
“A must-read for Martin’s legion of fans . . . a rousing prelude to [his] bestselling Song of Ice and Fire saga . . . rich in human drama and the colorful worldbuilding that distinguishes other books in the series.”—Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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If you are expecting something like GAME OF THRONES you can go ahead and kill that expectation or put it on a shelf to languish. This book is delightfully different. In fact it reminds me of the historical classics like THE BLACK ARROW and IVANHOE. And if it wasn't for a handful of instances with naughty language the story would be suitable for 6th Graders on up. However it does use the C-word for lady bits and a few other choice words I can't recall at the moment, so it's not a book I'd hand to a youngster. (Editors, come out with a kid's version! You'll make more money)
When I first began reading I wasn't sure what I thought but it wasn't long until I got caught up in Dunk and Egg's meanderings through the kingdoms. Dunk is a huge young man that is as close to an honest, chivalrous knight as you can come. Egg is a prince in hiding and then a prince in training as a Dunk's squire.
As Dunk is a 'Hedge Knight', which is to say he freelances, they meander from job to job taking in the occasional tourney. They, of course, run across fair maids and evil doers. Adventures spring from politics, jealousy and greed, and the fact that Dunk is still learning his trade and finding his own way in the world.
What makes the story so engrossing is that Martin knows his medieval stuff. He knows about the tournaments of the times, the weaponry, the garments, and even the food. All this serves to bring the story alive.
And as I sit here typing this review I find myself wondering what Dunk and Egg are doing today. Which means that Martin has done his job admirable. He's made me like the setting and characters so much that I not only care about what great adventures they are working up to, but also about what they are doing when absolutely nothing much is going on.
In the first season of the Game of Thrones, old Nan asks Bran if he wants to hear the stories of Sir Duncan the Tall. He seems to have loved those before his fall. But he tells her no, he wants to hear about the Long Night. A shame for these stories—captured in this lovely book are well worth listening to.
Sir Duncan the Tall was indeed a knight—but he was born on the extremely wrong side of the tracks and got lucky. There had been a (different) rebellion against the Targaryens and a knight lost his nephew and squire. Which is why Ser Duncan (he was called Dunk then) became his squire. Dunk never really got over the guilt of that. He was a squire and a knight because a kid got killed. And that just shows you how decent a man he is.
And being decent was as bad for your health back then as it was in the world the Game of Thrones represents. It was a feudal world and only the well-born could afford honor (literally). A fact made crystal clear to us in one of the stories. But Ser Duncan, who could not afford to sleep inside an inn most nights, insisted on being honorable anyway. In that world, loyalty was never fixed. But Ser Duncan’s was. And Dunk made that world a better place just by being in it.
Maybe he wasn’t the brightest as he keeps telling us (and himself) he isn’t. Or maybe he’s a true knight as the common people say in one novella.
And I highly recommend you decide (and read these three novellas). They’re well worth it. R.R. Martin may never finish The Game of Thrones. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t written some other really good books set in Westeros.
This is one of them.
A couple of reviewers have mentioned that this is a good introduction to the world of Westeros, but I (lightly) disagree. After reading ASOIF up through A Dance with Dragons, to read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms brings greater depth to the events and characters that are merely mentioned in the stories. To suddenly be part of a world where Targaryens reign, mostly peaceful, to read about Aegon the Unlikely, and Aemon Targaryen as a youth--of Bloodraven, who has a thousand eyes and one--lends significance to things in ASOIF that I think wouldn't be felt the same way if A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is read first. But it's good whichever way it's read