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A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin
Bantam Spectra Books, 975 pages

Art: Stephen Youll
A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Northwestern University, graduating with degrees in journalism. Martin refused active service: instead he served with VISTA, in Cook County, Illinois. In addition to his writing credits, Martin has served as Story Editor for Twilight Zone, and as Executive Story Consultant, Producer and Co-Supervising Producer for Beauty and the Beast, both on CBS. He also was Executive Producer for Doorways on CBS. At 21, he made his first pro sale to the magazine, Galaxy. Actively involved in SFWA, Martin now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

George R.R. Martin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Interview: George R.R. Martin
SF Site Review: A Clash of Kings
SF Site Review: A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Wayne MacLaurin

The first thing you'll notice about A Storm of Swords is that it's big; in fact, it's over 200 pages longer than A Clash of Kings. That's OK because the series, Song of Fire and Ice, is a large tale -- six books in all.

Martin immediately immerses the reader in the epic tale that started with A Game of Thrones and continued in A Clash of Kings. The prologue sets the tone by laying out the fate of the men of the Night Watch who had gone beyond the Wall. From there Martin quickly reintroduces his characters and story lines in the familiar pattern of moving from chapter to chapter, from character to character, as the tale unfolds.

While Martin does continue to follow the saga within the Seven Kingdoms, he also spends a bit more time beyond the Wall with Jon Snow and across the sea with Daenerys Targaryen. Daenerys' tale, in particular, moves the plot ahead significantly and offers some intriguing possibilities for the next book or two. And, as I expected from A Clash of Kings, the goings-on beyond the Wall offer other possibilities of where Martin will take the story next.

It's particularly impressive that while jumping back and forth amongst the characters, no one character really takes over. Every story is given more or less equal billing (with respect to intensity and importance) and I never found myself dismissing one chapter, hoping to get back to "something better." Given how many characters and stories he is juggling, this speaks volumes about Martin's skill as a writer.

As it turns out, Martin's skill with his story comes in handy as he continues to gnaw away at his cast. Revealing details wouldn't be any fun, so I'll simply advise would-be readers not to get too attached to any character. There is a good chance your favourite character may get killed off in some horrible fashion. It's actually a pleasant surprise (in an oddly disturbing manner) to see a writer willing to sacrifice his characters for the story. With the number of battles, the political in-fighting and the general nastiness of some of the story, it would read false if Martin didn't have his main characters suffer the same fate as so many of the rest of the cast.

With the end of A Storm of Swords, Martin is half finished his epic. However, so little has been revealed that we have only begun to glimpse what the true saga really is. It's as if you are peering through a dirty window, cleaning small portions of it -- one square inch at a time -- so more and more of the room beyond is slowly revealed. Each glimpse uncovers a new wonder, but you can never be sure of exactly what you are seeing.

A Dance with Dragons will no doubt reveal a bit more....

Copyright © 2001 Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

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