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The Hedge Knight
George R.R. Martin, Adapted by Ben Avery, Art by Mike S. Miller & Mike Crowell
Devil's Due Publishing, 160 pages

The Hedge Knight
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: Windhaven
SF Site Review: A Storm of Swords
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 Adam Volk

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The comic book has come a long way since its emergence in the late 30s. Once the realm of anthropomorphic cartoon animals and spandex-clad superheroes, the modern comic book is now a legitimate literary and artistic medium. The graphic novel in particular is perhaps one of the most innovative developments in the industry, thanks to the pioneering work of a handful of talented writers and artists, including the likes of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. No longer the pop-culture pariah it once was, the graphic novel exists now as an intriguing and respected new form of story telling.

Such is the case with George R.R. Martin's The Hedge Knight, a lavishly illustrated and highly entertaining graphic novel from Devil's Due Publishing. Martin has earned a well deserved reputation as one of the top writers working in the field of fantasy today, due in part to his highly successful A Song of Ice and Fire series. The novels, which are loosely based on the historical events surrounding the War of the Roses, chronicle the fates and fortunes of a disparate cast of characters struggling to survive in a land wracked by civil war, strife and bloodshed. Martin's writing is crisp, his characters and plots textured and realistic, and he skillfully avoids the usual pitfalls and clichés associated with the fantasy genre. In short, the series of novels are nothing short of brilliant. In The Hedge Knight, Martin -- along with the assistance of writer Ben Avery, illustrator Mike S. Miller and inker Mike Crowell -- continues the tradition established in A Song of Ice and Fire and offers readers yet another glimpse into the elaborate world of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms.

The Hedge Knight itself takes place a hundred years before the events in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and chronicles the misadventures of Dunk, a burly and somewhat oafish commoner who has spent his life as a squire to Ser Arlan; a now elderly hedge knight who earns his living wandering aimlessly from both jousting tournament and battlefield alike. Like many young squires, Dunk naturally longs for the day when he too can take up the mantle of a knight; a chance he is finally given when the elderly Ser Arlan finally passes away on a mud splattered road in the middle of nowhere. Armed with nothing more than his former master's sword and a weary steed, Dunk makes his way to the great tournament at Ashford Meadow posing as an ill-born hedge knight and determined to earn fame and fortune on the jousting field.

Along the way to Ashford Dunk encounters Egg, a young boy living near a road-side tavern, who despite Dunk's best efforts, eventually becomes his squire. When Dunk eventually reaches Ashford Meadow however, he soon finds that he is completely out of his league, and with no reputation, no gold, and no noble born status. He becomes a virtual outcast amidst the seasoned knights and pompous aristocrats that flock to the tournament. Adopting the name Sir Duncan the Tall, Dunk eventually finds sponsorship with an influential noble house even as he finds his attention drawn to the beautiful Tanselle, a skilled puppeteer and artist plying her trade at the tournament.

But before the newly reborn "Sir Duncan" can try his luck on the jousting field, Dunk finds himself caught up in a deadly political confrontation after rescuing Tanselle from death at the hands of a brutal lord, and discovers that there is more to Egg than meets the eye. The story culminates in a frantic battle with Dunk's very life on the line, and results in a series of key events that will reshape the history of Westeros and have a direct bearing on future events as they relate to Martin's novels. An additional illustrated short story unrelated to Dunk's trials and tribulations, chronicles the Battle on Redgrass Field, a key moment in Westeros history which sheds some light on the dreaded house Targaryen and provides the basis for one of the Seven Kingdoms pivotal legends. It is these clever details that offer a unique glimpse into Martin's intricate and well-developed world and readers already acquainted with A Song of Ice and Fire will instantly recognize many of the allusions and references peppered throughout the text.

It is in Martin's pacing, plot and dialogue however, where The Hedge Knight truly shines. What might outwardly appear as a rather contrived tale of a squire seeking to become a knight is in reality a complex, multi-layered and highly innovative tale combining Martin's usual stylistic balance of action and character. The reader can't help but care about Dunk, Egg and Tanselle, and all are complex, well-developed characters complete with their many foibles and moral ambiguities. The Hedge Knight, in terms of the writing alone is well worth picking up, but the brilliant narrative is also complemented by the gorgeous artwork of Mike S. Miller and the vibrant colouring job by Team Kandora. In both instances the quality of the visual work is truly impressive. Miller's art in particular is almost cinematic in scope, shifting between kinetic action sequences and more subdued character driven moments. It is this calibre of artwork and writing that elevates the work into a truly unique artistic and literary experience.

In the end The Hedge Knight is well worth picking up and remains a stunning example of both the visual and literary potential of the comic book medium. With the fourth book in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire nearing completion, and fans eagerly clamoring for more, The Hedge Knight offers a wonderful opportunity for both new readers and fans alike to take a glimpse into the brilliant and vibrant world that is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.

Copyright © 2005 Adam Volk

Adam Volk may or may not be a zombie cyborg. He is also an editor with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (www.edgewebsite.com), a freelance writer, a comic book creator and a regular reviewer for the Silver Bullet Comic Books website (www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com.).


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