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A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin
Bantam Spectra Books, 768 pages

Art: Stephen Youll
A Clash of Kings
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 Review: A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Wayne MacLaurin

A couple of years ago, George R.R. Martin took a break from his science-fiction writing and decided to give fantasy a try. The result was a book called A Games of Thrones. And what a book it was. Not only did it end up on almost everybody's "best of" list that year, but it was also nominated for Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

A Games of Thrones is a great book but suffers from being the first in a series. I say suffer because that's what we readers do... suffer the wait between books!

In the case of A Clash of Kings, the waiting was certainly prolonged. There were rumours of missed deadlines, major writer's block, editors vowing to hire hit-teams if deadlines were slipped much further and all sorts of stuff to fill countless episodes of any good daytime soap opera.

Well... A Clash of Kings is finally here.

Once again Martin treats us to a magnificent tapestry that is, at once, both stunningly detailed and amazing in its ability to draw the reader into its grasp. Again Martin juggles several distinct storylines: one tale follows Jon Snow and the events in the north as winter approaches; another follows the battle for supremacy of the Seven Kingdoms between four would-be-kings and their armies; and the third tells of the fate of Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, a continent away. But three plotlines are barely enough to contain Martin's vision and the tales are interwoven with smaller storylines that help maintain continuity throughout the stories.

This type of interwoven story is not uncommon but the trick is keeping the entire tale intriguing enough to keep the reader going. Martin does it so well that it's hard to decide which plotline, or which of the major characters, was the one I liked the most.

But, regardless of which character might strike the fancy of a given reader, I would be amazed if anybody other than Martin himself has any idea where this tale is going to take us. Martin keeps things moving so well and tosses in enough twists and stunning plot turns that I can't help but feel that we have been given only a small and very privileged view of a much more elaborate vision. I'm pretty sure that the approaching winter and the glimpses of what is going on beyond the Wall will take centre stage sooner or later (the living dead have a tendency to be rather determined) and Daenerys and her dragons are also up for some serious attention. But, beyond that... pick your player and roll the dice. Martin is keeping those secrets to himself for now.

Now it's back to waiting... but, the dust jacket offers some hope. Martin is currently working on A Storm of Swords.

Copyright © 1999 by 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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