A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)

4.6 3174
by George R. R. Martin, Roy Dotrice

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Here is the second volume in George R.R. Martin magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genreSee more details below



Here is the second volume in George R.R. Martin magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones 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 stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.


A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun Times
We have been invited to a grand feast and pageant: George R. R. Martin has unveiled for us an intensely realized, romantic but realistic world....If the next two volumes are as good as this one, it will be a wonderful feast indeed.
Denver Post
The major fantasy of the decade...compulsively readable.
Science Fiction Chronicle
The major fantasy publishing event of 1996.
VOYA - Bonnie Kunzel
The fantastical, bloody, pulse-pounding, sometimes stomach-churning but always page-turning saga that began with A Game of Thrones (Bantam, 1997) continues. The action could be followed without reading book one, even though no prequel or introduction is provided. This work begins with a prologue describing the appearance of a comet in the dawn sky and its meaning to the inhabitants of Dragonstone, then goes on to the accounts of multiple narrators from all over the Seven Kingdoms as they clash for the Iron Throne. After the murder and mayhem that evidently marked the end of book one, several new contenders for the throne have come forth. With King Robert dead, his younger brothers, Lord Stannis of Dragonstone and Lord Renly of Storm's End, are willing to fight to the death over their claim of king. Lord Stannis has gone over to the Lord of Light and now has the help of the sorceress and priestess Melisandre. Thirteen-year-old Joffrey, already proclaimed king, is the spoiled, sadistic child of his mother's love affair with her brother. She will fight to keep him on the throne and so will her other brother, the clever and honorable dwarf Tyrion, sent to keep watch over their father's interests in the kingdom. In the north the son of Lord Stark, whose father was slain along with the king, has declared himself king--a strong claim because his family is allied with direwolves. Finally, across the ocean, a fifteen-year-old exiled queen has hatched three dragons and is coming back to reclaim her throne. I cannot wait for them all to meet in the next volume. This work of superior world building inhabited by fully-developed characters is for a mature audience because of the violence, strong language, and sexual encounters. Great cover and a great read! VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult).
Library Journal
A war for succession as king of the realm pits brother against brother in a battle of armies and politics. Caught in the struggle are seven noble families whose fortunes and lives depend on how well they play the game of intrigue, blackmail, kidnapping, treachery, and magic. Martin has created a rich world filled with characters whose desires for love and power drive them to extremes of nobility and betrayal. Fans of epic fantasy should appreciate this lavishly detailed sequel to A Game of Thrones (Spectra, 1996). Recommended for most fantasy collections.
Cleveland Plain-Dealer
A classic work of fantasy.
Kirkus Reviews
Second installment of Martin's fantasy "A Song of Ice and Fire," following A Game of Thrones (1996), that enormous yarn about the strife-torn Seven Kingdoms and the various powerful families that aspire to rule them. The rewards are considerable: a backdrop of convincing depth and texture; intricate, flawless plotting; fully realized characters; and restrained, inventive magical/occult elements. The drawbacks, though, also loom large: non-self-contained entries; a cast of thousands, and, as a result, the impossibility of remembering, especially after the passage of more than two years, who's who or what's been going on. Martin declines to supply a recap or synopsis; the list of characters, itself 28 pages long, doesn't help. Nonetheless, the inaugural volume was both admirable and eyepopping, so fans will certainly plunge right in. And since this one tips the scales at a gargantuan 896 pages, you can build up your biceps as you read.

From the Publisher
“Martin amply fulfills the first volume’s promise and continues what seems destined to be one of the best fantasy series ever written.”—Denver Post

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Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Song of Ice and Fire Series, #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.84(w) x 6.06(h) x 2.58(d)

Read an Excerpt


At Winterfell they had called her "Arya Horseface" and she'd thought  nothing could be worse, but that was before the orphan boy Lommy Greenhands had  named her "Lumpyhead."

     Her head felt lumpy when she touched it. When Yoren had dragged her  into that alley she'd thought he meant to kill her, but the sour old man had

only held her tight, sawing through her mats and tangles with his dagger. She  remembered how the breeze sent the fistfuls of dirty brown hair skittering  across the paving stones, toward the sept where her father had died. "I'm  taking men and boys from the city," Yoren growled as the sharp steel scraped

at her head. "Now you hold still, boy." By the time he had  finished, her scalp was nothing but tufts and stubble.

     Afterward he told her that from there to Winterfell she'd be Arry the  orphan boy. "Gate shouldn't be hard, but the road's another matter. You got a  long way to go in bad company. I got thirty this time, men and boys all bound  for the Wall, and don't be thinking they're like that bastard brother o'  yours." He shook her. "Lord Eddard gave me pick o' the dungeons, and I didn't  find no little lordlings down there. This lot, half o' them would turn you over  to the queen quick as spit for a pardon and maybe a few silvers. The other  half'd do the same, only they'd rape you first. So you keep to yourself and  make your water in the woods,alone. That'll be the hardest part, the pissing, so don't drink no more'n you  need."

     Leaving King's Landing was easy, just like he'd said. The Lannister guardsmen on the gate were stopping everyone, but Yoren called one by name and their wagons were waved through. No one spared Arya a glance. They were looking for a highborn girl, daughter of the King's Hand, not for a skinny boy with his hair chopped off. Arya never looked back. She wished the Rush would rise and wash the whole city away, Flea Bottom and the Red Keep and the Great Sept and  everything, and everyone too, especially Prince Joffrey and  his mother. But she knew it wouldn't, and anyhow Sansa was still in the city

and would wash away too. When she remembered that, Arya decided to wish for  Winterfell instead.

     Yoren was wrong about the pissing, though. That wasn't the hardest part at all; Lommy Greenhands and Hot Pie were the hardest part. Orphan boys. Yoren had  plucked some from the streets with promises of food for their bellies and shoes  for their feet. The rest he'd found in chains. "The Watch needs good men," he  told them as they set out, "but you lot will have to do."

     Yoren had taken grown men from the dungeons as well, thieves and poachers and rapers and the like. The worst were the three he'd found in the black cells who must have scared even him, because he kept them fettered hand and foot in the back of a wagon, and vowed they'd stay in irons all the way to the Wall. One  had no nose, only the hole in his face where it had been cut off, and the gross  fat bald one with the pointed teeth and theweeping sores on his cheeks had eyes like nothing human.

     They took five wagons out of King's Landing, laden with supplies for the Wall: hides and bolts of cloth, bars of pig iron, a cage of ravens, books and paper and ink, a bale of sourleaf, jars of oil, and chests of medicine and spices. Teams of plow horses pulled the wagons, and Yoren had bought two coursers and a half-dozen donkeys for the boys. Arya would have preferred a real horse, but the donkey was better than riding on a wagon.

     The men paid her no mind, but she was not so lucky with the boys. She was two years younger than the youngest orphan, not to mention smaller and skinnier,  and Lommy and Hot Pie took her silence to mean she was scared, or stupid, or

deaf. "Look at that sword Lumpyhead's got there," Lommy said one morning as  they made their plodding way past orchards and wheat fields. He'd been a dyer's  apprentice before he was caught stealing, and his arms were mottled green to

the elbow. When he laughed he brayed like the donkeys they were riding.  "Where's a gutter rat like Lumpyhead get him a sword?"

     Arya chewed her lip sullenly. She could see the back of Yoren's faded black  cloak up ahead of the wagons, but she was determined not to go crying to him

for help.

     "Maybe he's a little squire," Hot Pie put in. His mother had been a baker  before she died, and he'd pushed her cart through the streets all day, shouting  "Hot pies! Hot pies!" "Some lordy lord's little squire boy, that's  it."

     "He ain't no squire, look at him. I bet that's not even areal sword. I bet it's just some play sword made of tin."

     Arya hated them making fun of Needle. "It's castle-forged steel, you stupid," she snapped, turning in the saddle to glare at them, "and you better shut your mouth."

     The orphan boys hooted. "Where'd you get a blade like that, Lumpyface?" Hot  Pie wanted to know.

     "Lumpyhead," corrected Lommy. "He prob'ly stole it."

     "I did not!" she shouted. Jon Snow had given her Needle. Maybe she  had to let them call her Lumpyhead, but she wasn't going to let them call Jon a  thief.

     "If he stole it, we could take it off him," said Hot Pie. "It's not his

anyhow. I could use me a sword like that."

     Lommy egged him on. "Go on, take it off him, I dare you."

     Hot Pie kicked his donkey, riding closer. "Hey, Lumpyface, you gimme that  sword." His hair was the color of straw, his fat face all sunburnt and  peeling. "You don't know how to use it."

     Yes I do, Arya could have said. I killed a boy, a fat boy like  you, I stabbed him in the belly and he died, and I'll kill you too if you don't  let me alone. Only she did not dare. Yoren didn't know about the  stableboy, but she was afraid of what he might do if he found out. Arya was  pretty sure that some of the other men were killers too, the three in the  manacles for sure, but the queen wasn't looking for them, so it  wasn't the same.

     "Look at him," brayed Lommy Greenhands. "I bet he's going to cry now. You  want to cry, Lumpyhead?"

     She had cried in her sleep the night before, dreaming of herfather. Come morning, she'd woken red-eyed and dry, and could not have shed  another tear if her life had hung on it.

From the Paperback edition.

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What People are saying about this

Robert Jordan
Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
It is perhaps the best of the epic fantasies—readable and realistic.
Raymond E. Feist
George R. R. Martin is one of our very best science fiction writers, and this is one of his very best books.
Marion Zimmer. Bradley
It is perhaps the best of the epic fantasies—readable and realistic.
Anne McCaffrey
Such a splendid tale and such a fantistorical! I read my eyes out.
From the Publisher
‘Nobody does fantasy quite like George R.R. Martin’Sunday Times‘Colossal, staggering… Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome’SFX‘The sheer mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads… Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias’Guardian

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