Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead...victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard's son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King's Landing. Robert's two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.
A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.
A fiery comet shoots across the sky and everyone in Westeros and beyond has their own idea of what it means, whether it be war or victory or the coming of dragons.
At Dragonstone the Red Woman Melisandre now holds sway over Stannis Baratheon, the rightful heir to the throne by the laws of succession. Old Maester Cressen decides that the only way forward is to kill this witch and stop her fiery cult dedicated to the Lord of Light from destroying faith in the Seven Gods that all but the North and Iron Islands worship. He seeks an ally in Davos, loyal right hand man to Stannis but Davos is more wary of crossing her. Stannis himself is aware that he does not have the men to take King's Landing but rejects all suggestion of allying with his brother Renly or Robb Stark, who he regards as usurpers and would rather see dead. Renly has married rich and beautiful Margaery Tyrell to gain the support of her father in his quest for the Iron Throne.
At King's Landing, nobody is happy to hear that Tyrion will be the new Hand of the King while his father Tywin takes on Robb in battle. Tyrion has risked smuggling Shae into the city and has to rely on Varys to help keep her safe when he discovers that she is there. Tyrion also decides it is time that Joffrey is taken in hand as his mother Cersei is losing all control over him, but his tough approach turns the boy King against him. He also needs to discover who on the Small Council is likely to betray him first, and also decides that Janos Slynt's only reward for betraying Ned Stark will be to spend the rest of his life in the Night's Watch. He blackmails his cousin Lancel into spying on Cersei.Sansa is doing all she can just to survive but manages to save the life of a drunken Knight Ser Dontos, with some help from The Hound, and the grateful man swears to help her escape.
Yoren heads north, with the disguised Arya, and has to fend off the Goldcloaks who are searching for Robert's bastard son Gendry. It is not long before the convoy comes under attack and all their lives are in danger. Her brother Robb has been crowned as King in the North but his decision in not trading the captive Jaime Lannister for his sisters has angered his mother Catelyn. His envoy to the Iron Islands Theon Greyjoy faces ridicule and coldness from his father Balon and sister Asha, and soon thoughts of glory and proving himself become more important than Robb's orders. The Night's Watch go out on the Great Ranging to find Benjen and discover that the wildlings are indeed all joining together under the leadership of a King Beyond The Wall. The Halfhand gives Jon an undercover spy mission to infiltrate the wildlings camp and Samwell wants to save Gilly from her pervert father and her son from being sacrificed to the White Walkers.
As Dany looks for allies in Qarth, word reaches her of Robert's death and the battle for the Iron Throne roars to life. Joffrey is furious about the rumours of incest surrounding his birth and his thirst to quieten the people may cost many lives including Sansa's. The Baratheon brothers prepare to take each other on for the right to challenge Joffrey, Tyrion readies the battle plans to defend King's Landing and Balon rebels against Robb and Joffrey with his own plan to take the North. The Night's Watch are about to face a battle against the dead instead of the living. Betrayal is all around and the scent of death is in the air as the Battle of the Blackwater approaches...
What a great book! Can I just say that I hate Theon as much as I hate Joffrey??? He is the most obnoxious arse in Westeros! He is a hundred times worse than the TV version. Stannis is just as cold and ruthless with the wonderful Davos trying to stop him from going over to the Dark Side. I really don't like Jorah either. I loved following all the different sides as we build up to the King's Landing battle, and the betrayals and backstabbings are flowing out of every page. Seeing the Stark children so young in this book is kind of scary, and it feels strange to be rooting for people on both sides of the battles. It says a lot about how well these characters are written. There is enough description for you to see and imagine these worlds but not enough to become boring. At the moment my favourites remain Jon, Sam, Tyrion, Dany, Davos...but there are just so many bad characters to enjoy too, like Stannis, Tywin, Cersei and Jaime. I'm loving the series and the books get better as they go beyond this one.
Read June 2017