A CLASH OF KINGS
George R.R. Martin


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Book Two of A Song Of Ice And Fire
Bantam, 1999
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Fantasy

When King Robert died in A GAME OF THRONES, he left a power vacuum in the Seven Kingdoms. Anyone with any prospect is taking a shot at the crown, and some with no prospect at all. No candidate is strong enough to seize control.

Crown Prince Joffrey is a thirteen-year-old sadist whose legitimacy is in question. Joffrey’s psychopathic tendencies make him a loose cannon in the hands of his mother’s family, the corrupt, power-hungry Lannisters.

Renly, King Robert’s younger brother, makes his move when older brother Stannis doesn’t. Renly, lighthearted and popular, easily attracts the entire strength of the South.

Stannis, proclaimed the true heir by men of honor, sits cautiously in his castle Dragonstone, until a sorceress sponsored by his wife begins predicting successes which come true.

Robb Stark, sixteen-year-old heir to Eddard Stark, the statesman friend of King Robert, is acclaimed King of the North. His enemies call him the Young Wolf, and he has never lost a battle. Unfortunately, he can’t be every place he is needed.

Theon Greyjoy, scion of the Kings of the Iron Islands, has lived half his life as a hostage, to keep his father's pirates from dominating the shipping lanes. Freedom and control of a raiding fleet has gone to his head.

Daenerys Targaryen is sole heiress of a dynasty swept from the Seven Kingdoms by King Robert. Her power base was suddenly cut from beneath her, but she is slowly growing another, on the far side of the Summer Sea. Her new title is Mother of Dragons.

In A CLASH OF KINGS, author George R.R. Martin continues his fantasy series A Song Of Ice And Fire. Most of our friends from A GAME OF THRONES, through whose eyes we experience this rich tale, have returned. In addition we watch Theon Greyjoy as he struggles to win respect, and Ser Davos Seaworth’s struggle to respect his king.

Tyrion Lannister, known in A GAME OF THRONES as the Imp, is doing a spectacular job of ruling as the representative of his family, but his attempts to win esteem are doomed from the start. The children of his foe Eddard Stark, scattered throughout the Kingdoms, are finding within themselves the strength of their heritage, and surviving. Eddard’s widow Catelyn provides us with one of the major cliffhangers of A CLASH OF KINGS. We won’t know until we move on to the sequel, A STORM OF SWORDS, whether Catelyn’s impulsiveness will precipitate a nationwide crisis once again.

Ignored, the real threat is in the North. Jon Snow, Eddard’s illegitimate son, and a tiny army of the Black Watch are attempting to assess the danger posed to the Kingdoms by the wild tribes, and by the dead-alive Others, to whom the wildlings sacrifice lives as tribute. With winter coming and rival powers savaging the Kingdoms, the Others and their allies will be free to sweep south, unless Jon and the rest of the Black Watch can stop them.

A CLASH OF KINGS is just as addictive as A GAME OF THRONES, more so if possible. Have your copy of A STORM OF SWORDS ready. Only heaven knows what we are going to do as we wait for the fourth book of this series to be written.

Oct 2003 Review

 

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