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

George R. R. Martin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,968 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Aug 1997 Song of Ice and Fire (Book 1)

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.


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.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam USA; Reissue edition (4 Aug 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553573403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553573404
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,968 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George R.R. Martin is the author of six titles in the A Song of Ice and Fire series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords Part One: Steel and Snow, A Storm of Swords Part Two: Blood and Gold, A Feast for Crows and the long-awaited A Dance with Dragons. A Game of Thrones is now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean.

He has also written Fevre Dream, the ultimate science fiction horror novel, several collections of short stories and numerous scripts for television drama. He was also the co-author of SF adventure tale Hunter's Run. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Product Description


‘A Game of Thrones grabs hold and won’t let go. It’s brilliant.’
Robert Jordan

‘Colossal, staggering… Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world… one of the greats of fantasy literature.’

‘Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but 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.’

‘Such a splendid tale. I couldn’t stop till I’d finished and it was dawn.’
Anne McCaffrey

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

George R. R. Martin is the author of fourteen novels, including five volumes of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, several collections of short stories and numerous screen plays for television drama and feature films. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
715 of 731 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and surprising 23 Aug 2006
On my latest foray to buy some new fantasy, the till assistant suggested that I might like to try George R. R. Martin. I had seen his books before, but had never committed to reading them, but on this recommendation, I picked this book up for my summer holiday. Over 800 pages and less than 5 days later it was finished.

Although somewhat slow in starting, the storylines soon become engaging and you really do want to find out what happens next. The book also contains a large number of surprises and means that you're never really certain where each story will lead.

For me, the biggest surprise was in the unusual structure. As has been mentioned, each chapter is named after the character whose view it is written from. This is not something I have encountered before, but I enjoyed the format. It gave a nice insight into characters from all "sides" and allowed a good deal of depth to be included for them.

The book as a whole is almost three independent stories. Firstly, the "Game of Thrones" is the nickname of the power struggle between high-born families to influence or take the throne. As usual, we have the good (Starks, Tullys), the bad (Lannisters) and the undecided (Baratheon). This covers the majority of the book and has only an initial interaction to one of the other storylines,

The second storyline has minimal interaction with the first and follows a sworn brotherhood that forego all previous ties and become a new "family". They are sworn to defend the kingdom and man the vast wall that separates it from the wilds to the North.

The final storyline does not interact with the others and is only hinted at by the telling of rumours in the kingdom.
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373 of 389 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic fantasy 1 Sep 2006
I bought this book on the strength of previous reviews and am pleased to say I was not disappointed. As has been stated, GRRM's style is one of multiple viewpoints (initially confusing although by the middle of the book you know who's who, and in which 'house' they belong), within a continuous time thread. The writing is dark, gritty, and melancholic.

This isn't a 'quest' book; more of a history. And a realistic one at that. Although there is a complete lack of elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins etc, this book should be classed as high fantasy. Dragons, monsters, and magic exist in this world but they are relegated to the background. Nine tenths of this book deals in the down to earth machinations of the various courts. Heroes and villains do not exist. Everyone is painted in shades of grey. (Some greyer than others).

In the last 20 years there have been two books that completely blew me away. The first was Magician by Raymond E Feist, the second was Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb. A Game of Thrones is the third. If you enjoyed either of the first two you will surely enjoy this.

Having read the rest of the books in the Song of Fire and Ice sequence, I can reassure you the standards set by A Game of Thrones are maintained.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The series so far... 19 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have just finally finished the last available book of A Song Of Ice And Fire and as this is one of the best series I have ever read, I thought I'd write a review and post it for potential future readers. Since I made the mistake of reading some of the reviews on here and unfortunately came across a massive spoiler which ruined a huge plot development for me at the end of A Dance With Dragons (book 5) pt2 I will try and make my review as succinct and spoiler-free as possible.

Book 1 - A Game Of Thrones
I would watch the television series to get yourself better acquainted with the characters. The book has been done more than justice in the TV series and at first read it's quite tedious to try and get to grips with the Houses of Westeros and all the political intricacies. A good book though, with the first of many OH MY GOD that didn't just happen moments at the end.

Book 2 - A Clash Of Kings
Read this on holiday and couldn't put it down. The "sh.. hit the fan" well and truly after book 1 and Westeros turns into a free for all. Epic writing by Martin and his disregard for characters continue. Expect the unexpected. Also, the TV series season 2 does not do the book justice in the same way as season 1. You'll want to read this book.

Book 3 - A Storm Of Swords
The first of Martin's books split into two in paperback (these are the versions I read). By far the best book of the series so far. I laughed, I cried, I threw my book on the floor of the bus cursing. Possibly one of my top 5 favourite books of all time simply because of the sheer brilliant writing and subsequent emotion it provoked.

Book 4 - A Feast For Crows
From one of the best books I've ever read to one of the worst.
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236 of 249 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the kids 3 July 2002
By Fad
Suffice to say, from the top marks I'm awarding this book (and the whole series thus far) I found it to be an excellent read. No, that's insufficient, this is not only the best written Fantasy series (by far surpassing Tolkien in my opinion) I've read, it's almost certainly the most enjoyable book of ANY kind.
The writing style is intelligent and treats the reader accordingly, which is a refreshing change in the Fantasy genre, and the sheer bloody-mindedness of the plot subverts every preconception the reader may have while maintaining the traditional escapist elements familiar from 'lesser' works. The world of Fire and Ice is so fully realised it's hard to keep track of the history and vast array of characters but Martin guides you through it effortlessly and seems to have known from the first line exactly what is going to happen in every subsequent paragraph. His attention to detail is almost scary. The series also (incredibly) manages to improve with subsequent readings as the reader gets to grips with the innumerable plot developments and realises that the most unexpected of events was probably sign-posted ten chapters back.
One note of caution to prospective buyers however is that despite it's Fantasy trappings this is NOT a series suitable for children. Mr Martin does not shy away from explicit descriptions of horrific violence and sex and the language is frequently of the four-letter variety. Equally disturbing is the brilliant realisation of the multitude of characters in these books where the 'Heroes' prove capable of horrendous atrocities and the 'Villains' sometimes act with compassion and honour. And these characters can DIE; If a situation looks likely to be fatal, chances are it will be, which is almost unique in an on-going series and means every violent encounter is almost excrutiatingly tense.
So, not for the faint-hearted but certainly a series that sets entirely new standards for fiction, Fantasy or otherwise.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My son loves the book!
I bought this for my 16 year old son and he hasn't put it down since. Obviously a hit with him!
Published 6 hours ago by C S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down
the devil is in the detail and this has plenty.
I couldn't stop reading - so many great characters that you could not identify a main one. Read more
Published 1 day ago by tara kirk
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it after watching the series.
I had watched the episodes before, so there was no element of surprise. But I still found it an amazing book. Read more
Published 2 days ago by panos lepipas
5.0 out of 5 stars Catching up on Sky
A lovely flowing piece of fantasy. All the other reviews say it all, well rounded characters, a flowing plot and more intrigue than you can shake a stick at, Bought it on my son's... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Robert Squair
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
I ordered this book for my husband and son who both love it. Have since ordered more in the series. It arrived quickly so no problem with delivery.
Published 3 days ago by michelle coombes
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
A fantastically written book that's both easy to grasp, and as immersive as the television series themselves. Well worth the read!
Published 3 days ago by Matthew
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
It switches characters quite a bit , and remembering who belongs to what family is a bit of a problem at times, but you eventually get used to it,
A truly excellent story... Read more
Published 3 days ago by bellrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Excellent read, full of intrigue, mystery and suspense.
I would recommend this to G of T fans, yo uwill not be disappointed
Published 4 days ago by Susan Stanton
5.0 out of 5 stars Never seen TV series
Book is excellent not at all what I expected I am now hooked and will be reading them all on my kindle on to book 2 now!!
Published 4 days ago by mark Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars A song of ice and fire
Couldn't put it down, held my attention on every page, can't wait to start the next one, downloading as we speak
Published 4 days ago by Tracy tomlinson
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