George R. R. Martin's Game Continues
In 1996, A Game of Thrones earned praise and awe as a remarkable high fantasy introducing five noble families clashing for power over the wondrous Seven Kingdoms. Three years later, A Clash of Kings became a national bestseller with the continued chronicles of the royal houses of Targaryen, Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Greyjoy, each battling to keep or carve a kingdom. George R. R. Martin will draw a new legion of fans with A Storm of Swords, the third novel in his beloved fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.
Fourteen-year-old exiled queen Daenerys Targaryen raises an army like a fantasy-world Joan of Arc, but the fire is on her side, for she walks with dragons. Determined to claim the Iron Throne from which her father had ruled until he was slain by Prince Jaime Lannister, Daenerys walks a gauntlet of treacherous slavers and sorcerers.
The war between Lannisters and Baratheons that concluded A Clash of Kings has not ended. Clever Tyrion Lannister, called the Imp for his short and crippled stature, struggles to retain his honor and authority as his father, Lord Tywin, and his elder sister, Cersei, as beautiful and evil as the witch Circe of The Odyssey, turn every hand against him. Though he longs only to live with his loving mistress, Shae, Tyrion's desires are as cruelly thwarted as those of young Sansa Stark, who once loved the immature, sadistic King Joffrey Lannister and who seeks to escape.
With noble Lord Stark executed for treason, his family is scattered. Lady Catelyn counsels her valiant son Robb, the King in the North, to seek not revenge but justice as he makes war against the Lannisters. Tomboy Arya is afoot in the wilderness, having lost both her pet wolf and her sword, though gaining surprising new friends, and young Bran Stark learns he has a latent and peculiar magical talent.
Jon Snow, bastard son of Stark and a Brother of the Night's Watch, treads the most perilous path of all. Ordered on an undercover mission north of the great Wall to discover the plans of the renegade Mance Rayder, he finds not only a powerful army raised to invade the Kingdoms but also terrifying supernatural creatures in pursuit, of which giants and shape-changers are by no means the deadliest.
Book Three of A Song of Ice and Fire is inexpressibly rich in both humor and horror. A Storm of Swords is eerily atmospheric, with tales of old hauntings, dreams of bad omen, the writhing air of ghosts, and ruins. Martin's gift for imagining histories within histories, fables and superstitions, marvelous geographies, and the secrets of the heart is so enthralling that no reader can possibly be satisfied until the next chapter of the saga appears.
Fiona Kelleghan is a librarian at the University of Miami. Book reviews editor for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, she has written reviews and articles for Science-Fiction Studies, Extrapolation, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Science Fiction Research Association Review, Nova Express, St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Neil Barron's Fantasy and Horror: A Critical and Historical Guide, Contemporary Novelists, 7th Edition, and American Women Writers. Her book Mike Resnick: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to His Work was published by Alexander Books in 2000.