A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

George R.R. Martin, illus. by Gary Gianni. Bantam, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-53348-7
The three interlocking novellas in this collection, all previously published, make for a rousing prelude to Martin's bestselling Song of Ice and Fire saga. Set 90 years before the events in A Game of Thrones, they chronicle the experiences of Ser Duncan the Tall, a humble hedge knight whose honorable comportment is often at odds with the schemes of the royals who rule the Seven Kingdoms. In "The Hedge Knight," Duncan is forced to fight a brutal trial by combat for defending a commoner against a cruel prince's son. In both "The Sworn Sword" and "The Mystery Knight," Duncan advances further toward fulfilling his destiny as a knight of the Kingsguard, foreseen in dreams throughout the stories. The stories are top-heavy with tournaments and bloody battles, but also rich in human drama and the colorful worldbuilding that distinguishes other books in the series. The appearance of youthful versions of characters who figure in the later novels makes this collection a must-read for Martin's legions of fans. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Compact Disc - 978-0-00-815459-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-1960-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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