A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online
A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online_top
A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online__right

Description

Product Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • THE BOOK BEHIND THE FIFTH SEASON OF THE ACCLAIMED HBO SERIES GAME OF THRONES

Don’t miss the thrilling sneak peek of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Six, The Winds of Winter

Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers the fifth book in his landmark series—as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

Praise for A Dance with Dragons

“Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, A Dance with Dragons is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined.”The Washington Post

“Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times

Review

“Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, A Dance with Dragons is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined.” The Washington Post
 
“Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.” —The New York Times
 
“One of the best series in the history of fantasy.” —Los Angeles Times

About the Author

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire— A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons—as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle), and Dreamsongs Volumes I and II. He is also the creator of The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps from A Song of Ice and Fire featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts, and The World of Ice & Fire (with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson). As a writer-producer, Martin has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Tyrion


He drank his way across the narrow sea.
The ship was small and his cabin smaller, and the captain would not allow him abovedecks. The rocking of the deck beneath his feet made his stomach heave, and the wretched food they served him tasted even worse when retched back up. Besides, why did he need salt beef, hard cheese, and bread crawling with worms when he had wine to nourish him? It was red and sour, very strong. He sometimes heaved the wine up too, but there was always more. "The world is full of wine," he muttered in the dankness of his cabin. His father had never had any use for drunkards, but what did that matter? His father was dead. He ought to know; he''d killed him. A bolt in the belly, my lord, and all for you. If only I was better with a crossbow, I would have put it through that cock you made me with, you bloody bastard.

Below decks there was neither night nor day. Tyrion marked time by the comings and goings of the cabin boy who brought the meals he did not eat. The boy always brought a brush and bucket too, to clean up. "Is this Dornish wine?" Tyrion asked him once, as he pulled a stopper from a skin. "It reminds me of a certain snake I knew. A droll fellow, till a mountain fell on him."

The cabin boy did not answer. He was an ugly boy, though admittedly more comely than a certain dwarf with half a nose and a scar from eye to chin. "Have I offended you?" Tyrion asked the sullen, silent boy, as he was scrubbing. "Were you commanded not to talk to me? Or did some dwarf diddle your mother?"

That went unanswered too. This is pointless, he knew, but he must speak to someone or go mad, so he persisted. "Where are we sailing? Tell me that." Jaime had made mention of the Free Cities, but had never said which one. "Is it Braavos? Tyrosh? Myr?" Tyrion would sooner have gone to Dorne. Myrcella is older than Tommen, by Dornish law the Iron Throne is hers. I will help her claim her rights, as Prince Oberyn suggested.

Oberyn was dead, though, his head smashed to bloody ruin by the armored fist of Ser Gregor Clegane. And without the Red Viper to urge him on, would Doran Martell even consider such a chancy scheme? He may clap me in chains instead, and hand me back to my sweet sister. The Wall might be safer. Old Bear Mormont said the Night''s Watch had need of men like Tyrion. Mormont may be dead, though. By now Slynt may be the Lord Commander. That butcher''s son was not like to have forgotten who sent him to the Wall. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life eating salt beef and porridge with murderers and thieves? Not that the rest of his life would last very long. Janos Slynt would see to that.

The cabin boy wet his brush and scrubbed on manfully. "Have you ever visited the pleasure houses of Lys?" the dwarf inquired. "Might that be where whores go?" Tyrion could not seem to recall the Valyrian word for whore, and in any case it was too late. The boy tossed his brush back in his bucket and took his leave.

The wine has blurred my wits. He had learned to read High Valyrian at his maester''s knee, though what they spoke in the Nine Free Cities... well, it was not so much a dialect as nine dialects on the way to becoming separate tongues. Tyrion had some Braavosi and a smattering of Myrish. In Tyrosh he should be able to curse the gods, call a man a cheat, and order up an ale, thanks to a sellsword he had once known at the Rock. At least in Dorne they spea the Common Tongue. Like Dornish food and Dornish law, Dornish speech was spiced with the flavors of the Rhoyne, but a man could comprehend it. Dorne, yes, Dorne for me. He crawled into his bunk, clutching that thought like a child with a doll.

Sleep had never come easily to Tyrion Lannister. Aboard that ship it seldom came at all, though from time to time he managed to drink sufficient wine to pass out for a while. At least he did not dream. He had dreamt enough for one small life. And of such follies: love, justice, friendship, glory. As well dream of being tall. It was all beyond his reach, Tyrion knew now. But he did not know where whores go.

"Wherever whores go," his father had said. His last words, and what words they were. The crossbow thrummed, Lord Tywin sat back down, and Tyrion Lannister found himself waddling through the darkness with Varys at his side. He must have clambered back down the shaft, two hundred and thirty rungs to where orange embers glowed in the mouth of an iron dragon. He remembered none of it. Only the sound the crossbow made, and the stink of his father''s bowels opening. Even in his dying, he found a way to shit on me.

Varys had escorted him through the tunnels, but they never spoke until they emerged beside the Blackwater, where Tyrion had won a famous victory and lost a nose. That was when the dwarf turned to the eunuch and said, "I''ve killed my father," in the same tone a man might use to say, "I''ve stubbed my toe." The master of whisperers had been dressed as a begging brother, in a moth-eaten robe of brown roughspun with a cowl that shadowed his smooth fat cheeks and bald round head. "You should not have climbed that ladder," he said reproachfully.

"Wherever whores go." Tyrion warned his father not to say that word. If I had not loosed, he would have seen my threats were empty. He would have taken the crossbow from my hands, as once he took Tysha from my arms. He was rising when I killed him. "I killed Shae too," he confessed to Varys.

"You knew what she was."

"I did. But I never knew what he was."

Varys tittered. "And now you do."

I should have killed the eunuch as well. A little more blood on his hands, what would it matter? He could not say what had stayed his dagger. Not gratitude. Varys had saved him from a headsman''s sword, but only because Jaime had compelled him. Jaime... no, better not to think of Jaime.

He found a fresh skin of wine instead, and sucked at it as if it were a woman''s breast. The sour red ran down his chin and soaked through his soiled tunic, the same one he had been wearing in his cell. He sucked until the wine was gone. The deck was swaying beneath his feet, and when he tried to rise it lifted sideways and smashed him hard against a bulkhead. A storm, he realized, or else I am even drunker than I knew. He retched the wine up and lay in it a while, wondering if the ship would sink.

Is this your vengeance, Father? Have the Father Above made you his Hand? "Such are the wages of the kinslayer," he said as the wind howled outside. It did not seem fair to drown the cabin boy and the captain and all the rest for something he had done, but when had the gods ever been fair? And around about then, the darkness gulped him down

When he stirred again, his head felt like to burst and the ship was spinning round in dizzy circles, though the captain was insisting that they''d come to port. Tyrion told him to be quiet, and kicked feebly as a huge bald sailor tucked him under one arm and carried him squirming to the hold, where an empty wine cask awaited him. It was a squat little cask, and a tight fit even for a dwarf. Tyrion pissed himself in his struggles, for all the good it did. He was up crammed face first into the cask with his knees pushed up against his ears. The stub of his nose itched horribly, but his arms were pinned so tightly that he could not reach to scratch it. A palanquin fit for a man of my stature, he thought as they hammered shut the lid and hoisted him up. He could hear voices shouting as he was jounced along. Every bounce cracked his head against the bottom of the cask. The world went round and round as the cask rolled downward, then stopped with a sudden crash that made him want to scream. Another cask slammed into his, and Tyrion bit his tongue.

That was the longest journey he had ever taken, though it could not have lasted more than half an hour. He was lifted and lowered, rolled and stacked, upended and righted and rolled again. Through the wooden staves he heard men shouting, and once a horse whickered nearby. His stunted legs began to cramp, and soon hurt so badly that he forgot the hammering in his head.

It ended as it had begun, with another roll that left him dizzy and more jouncing. Outside strange voices were speaking in a tongue he did not know. Someone started pounding on the top of the cask and the lid cracked open suddenly. Light came flooding in, and cool air as well. Tyrion gasped greedily and tried to stand, but only managed to knock the cask over sideways and spill himself out onto a hard-packed earthen floor.

Above him loomed a grotesque fat man with a forked yellow beard, holding a wooden mallet and an iron chisel. His bedrobe was large enough to serve as a tourney pavilion, but its loosely knotted belt had come undone, exposing a huge white belly and a pair of heavy breasts that sagged like sacks of suet covered with coarse yellow hair. He reminded Tyrion of a dead sea cow that had once washed up in the caverns under Casterly Rock.

The fat man looked down and smiled. "A drunken dwarf," he said, in the Common Tongue of Westeros.

"A rotting sea cow." Tyrion''s mouth was full of blood. He spat it at the fat man''s feet. They were in a long dim cellar with barrel-vaulted ceilings, its stone walls spotted with nitre. Casks of wine and ale surrounded them, more than enough drink to see a thirsty dwarf safely through the night. Or through a life.

"You are insolent. I like that in a dwarf." When the fat man laughed, his flesh bounced so vigorously that Tyrion was afraid he might fall and crush him. "Are you hungry, my little friend? Weary?"

"Thirsty." Tyrion struggled to his knees. "And filthy."

The fat man sniffed. "A bath first, just so. Then food and a soft bed, yes? My servants shall see to it." His host put the mallet and chisel aside. "My house is yours. Any friend of my friend across the water is a friend to Illyrio Mopatis, yes."

And any friend of Varys the Spider is someone I will trust just as far as I can throw him.

The fat man made good on the promised bath, at least... though no sooner did Tyrion lower himself into the hot water and close his eyes than he was fast asleep.

He woke naked on a goosedown featherbed so deep and soft it felt as if he were being swallowed by a cloud. His tongue was growing hair and his throat was raw, but his cock felt as hard as an iron bar. He rolled from the bed, found a chamberpot, and commenced to filling it, with a groan of pleasure.

The room was dim, but there were bars of yellow sunlight showing between the slats of the shutters. Tyrion shook the last drops off and waddled over patterned Myrish carpets as soft as new spring grass. Awkwardly he climbed the window seat and flung shudders open to see where Varys and the gods had sent him.

Beneath his window six cherry trees stood sentinel around a marble pool, their slender branches bare and brown. A naked boy stood on the water, poised to duel with a bravo''s blade in hand. He was lithe and handsome, no older than sixteen, with straight blond hair that brushed his shoulders. So lifelike did he seem that it took the dwarf a long moment to realize he was made of painted marble, though his sword shimmered like true steel.

Across the pool stood stood a brick wall twelve feet high, with iron spikes along its top. Beyond that was the city. A sea of tiled rooftops crowded close around a bay. He saw square brick towers, a great red temple, a distant manse upon a hill. In the far distance sunlight shimmered off deep water. Fishing boats were moving across the bay, their sails rippling in the wind, and he could see the masts of larger ships poking up along the bay shore. Surely one is bound for Dorne, or for Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. He had no means to pay for passage, though, nor was he made to pull an oar. I suppose I could sign on as a cabin boy and earn my way by letting the crew bugger me up and down the narrow sea. He wondered where he was. Even the air smells different here. Strange spices scented the chilly autumn wind, and he could hear faint cries drifting over the wall from the streets beyond. It sounded something like Valyrian, but he did not recognize more than one word in five. Not Braavos, he concluded, nor Tyrosh. Those bare branches and the chill in the air argued against Lys and Myr and Volantis as well.

When he heard the door opening behind him, Tyrion turned to confront his fat host. "This is Pentos, yes?"

"Just so. Where else?"

Pentos. Well, it was not King''s Landing, that much could be said for it. "Where do whores go?" he heard himself ask.

"Whores are found in brothels here, as in Westeros. You will have no need of such, my little friend. Choose from among my serving women. None will dare refuse you."

"Slaves?" the dwarf asked pointedly.

The fat man stroked one of the prongs of his oiled yellow beard, a gesture Tyrion fond remarkably obscene. "Slavery is forbidden in Pentos, by the terms of the treaty the Braavosi imposed on us a hundred years ago. Still, they will not refuse you." Illyrio gave a ponderous half-bow. "But now my little friend must excuse me. I have the honor to be a magister of this great city, and the prince has summoned us to session." He smiled, showing a mouth full of crooked yellow teeth. "Explore the manse and grounds as you like, but on no account stray beyond the walls. It is best that no man knows that you were here."

"Were? Have I gone somewhere?"

"Time enough to speak of that this evening. My little friend and I shall eat and drink and make great plans, yes?"

"Yes, my fat friend," Tyrion replied. He thinks to use me for his profit. It was all profit with the merchant princes of the Free Cities. "Spice soldiers and cheese lords," his lord father called them, with contempt. Should a day ever dawn when Illyrio Mopatis saw more profit in a dead dwarf than a live one, he would find himself packed into another wine cask by dusk. It would be well if I were gone before that day arrives. That it would arrive he did not doubt; Cersei was not like to forget him, and even Jaime might be vexed to find a quarrel in Father''s belly.

A light wind was riffling the waters of the pool below, all around the naked swordsman. It reminded him of how Tysha would riffle his hair during the false spring of their marriage, before he helped his father''s guardsmen rape her. He had been thinking of those guardsmen during his flight, trying to recall how many there had been. You would think he might remember that, but no. A dozen? A score? A hundred? He could not say. They had all been grown men, tall and strong... though all men were tall to a dwarf of thirteen years. Tysha knew their number. Each of them had given her a silver stag, so she would only need to count the coins. A silver for each and a gold for me. His father had insisted that he pay her too. A Lannister always pays his debts.

"Wherever whores go," he heard Lord Tywin say once more, and once more the bowstring thrummed.

The magister had invited him to explore the manse. He found clean clothes in a cedar chest inlaid with lapis and mother-of-pearl. The clothes had been made for a small boy, he realized as he struggled into them. The fabrics were rich enough, if a little musty, but the cut was too long in the legs and too short in the arms, with a collar that would have turned his face as black as Joffrey''s had he somehow contrived to get it fastened. At least they do not stink of vomit.

Tyrion began his explorations with the kitchen, where two fat women and a pot boy watched him warily as he helped himself to cheese, bread, and figs. "Good morrow to you, fair ladies," he said with a bow. "Do you perchance know where the whores go?" When they did not respond, he repeated the question in High Valyrian, though he had to say courtesan in place of whore. The younger fatter cook gave him a shrug that time.

He wondered what they would do if he took them by the hand and dragged them to his bedchamber. None will dare refuse you, Illyrio claimed, but somehow Tyrion did not think he meant these two. The younger woman was old enough to be his mother, and the older was likely her mother. Both were near as fat as Illyrio, with teats that were larger than his head. I could smother myself in flesh, he reflected. There were worse ways to die. The way his lord father had died, for one. I should have made him shit a little gold before expiring. Lord Tywin might have been niggardly with his approval and affection, but he had always been open-handed when it came to coin. The only thing more pitiful than a dwarf without a nose is a dwarf without a nose who has no gold.

Tyrion left the fat women to their loaves and kettles and went in search of the cellar where Illyrio had decanted him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was enough wine there to keep him drunk for a hundred years; sweet reds from the Reach and sour reds from Dorne, pale Pentoshi ambers, the green nectar of Myr, three score casks of Arbor gold, even wines from the fabled east, from Meereen and Qarth and Asshai by the Shadow. In the end, Tyrion chose a cask of strongwine marked as the private stock of Lord Runceford Redwyne, the grandfather of the present Lord of the Arbor. The taste of it was languorous and heady on the tongue, the color a purple so dark that it looked almost black in the dim-lit cellar. Tyrion filled a cup, and a flagon for good measure, and carried them up to gardens to drink beneath those cherry trees he''d seen.

As it happened, he left by the wrong door and never found the pool he had spied from his window, but it made no matter. The gardens behind the manse were just as pleasant, and far more extensive. He wandered through them for a time, drinking. The walls would have shamed any proper castle, and the ornamental iron spikes along the top looked strangely naked without heads to adorn them. Tyrion pictured how his sister''s head might look up there, with tar in her golden hair and flies buzzing in and out of her mouth. Yes, and Jaime must have the spike beside her, he decided. No one must ever come between my brother and my sister.

With a rope and a grapnel he might be able to get over that wall. He strong arms and he did not weigh much. With a rope he should he able to reach the spikes and clamber over. I will search for a rope on the morrow, he resolved.

He saw three gates during his wanderings; the main entrance with its gatehouse, a postern by the kennels, and a garden gate hidden behind a tangle of pale ivy. The last was chained, the others guarded. The guards were plump, their faces as smooth as a baby''s bottom, and every man of them wore a spiked bronze cap. Tyrion knew eunuchs when he saw them. He knew their sort by reputation. They feared nothing and felt no pain, it was said, and were loyal to their masters unto death. I could make good use of a few hundred of mine own, he reflected. A pity I did not think of that before I became a beggar.

He walked along a pillared gallery and through a pointed arch, and found himself in a tiled courtyard where a woman was washing clothes at a well. She looked to be his own age, with dull red hair and a broad face dotted by freckles. "Would you like some wine?" he asked her. She looked at him uncertainly. "I have no cup for you, we''ll have to share." The washerwoman went back to wringing out tunics and hanging them to dry. Tyrion settled on a stone bench with his flagon. "Tell me, how far should I trust Magister Illyrio?" The name made her look up. "That far?" Chuckling, he crossed his stunted legs and took a drink. "I am loathe to play whatever part the cheesemonger has in mind for me, yet how can I refuse him? The gates are guarded. Perhaps you might smuggle me out under your skirts? I''d be so grateful, why, I''ll even wed you. I have two wives already, why not three? Ah, but where would we live?" He gave her as pleasant a smile as a man with half a nose could manage. "I have a niece in Sunspear, did I tell you? I could make rather a lot of mischief in Dorne with Myrcella. I could set my niece and nephew at war, wouldn''t that be droll?" The washerwoman pinned up one of Illyrio''s tunics, large enough to double as a sail. "I should be ashamed to think such evil thoughts, you''re quite right. Better if I sought the Wall instead. All crimes are wiped clean when a man joins the Night''s Watch, they say. Though I fear they would not let me keep you, sweetling. No women in the Watch, no sweet freckly wives to warm your bed at night, only cold winds, salted cod, and small beer. Do you think I might stand taller in black, my lady?" He filled his cup again. "What do you say? North or south? Shall I atone for old sins or make some new ones?"

The washerwoman gave him one last glance, picked up her basket, and walked away. I cannot seem to hold a wife for very long, Tyrion reflected. Somehow his flagon had gone dry. Perhaps I should stumble back down to the cellars. The strongwine was making his head spin, though, and the cellar steps were very steep. "Where do whores go?" he asked the wash flapping on the line. Perhaps he should have asked the washerwoman. Not to imply that you''re a whore, my dear, but perhaps you know where they go. Or better yet, he should have asked his father. "Wherever whores go," Lord Tywin said. She loved me. She was a crofter''s daughter, she loved me and she wed me, she put her trust in me. The empty flagon slipped from his hand and rolled across the yard.

Grimacing, Tyrion pushed himself off the bench and went to fetch it, but as he did he saw some mushrooms growing up from a cracked paving tile. Pale white they were, with speckles, and red ribbed undersides as dark as blood. The dwarf snapped one off and sniffed it. Delicious, he thought, or deadly. But which? Why not both? He was not a brave enough man to take cold steel to his own belly, but a bite of mushroom would not be so hard. There were seven of the mushrooms, he saw. Perhaps the gods were trying to tell him something. He picked them all, snatched a glove down from the line, wrapped them carefully, and stuffed them down his pocket. The effort made him dizzy, though, so afterward he crawled back onto the bench, curled up, and shut his eyes.

When he woke again, he was back in his bedchamber, drowning in the goosedown featherbed once more while a blond girl shook his shoulder. "My lord," she said, "your bath awaits. Magister Illyrio expects you at table within the hour."

Tyrion propped himself against the pillows, his head in his hands. "Do I dream, or do you speak the Common Tongue?"

"Yes, my lord. I was bought to please the king." She was blue-eyed and fair, young and willowy.

"I am sure you did. I need a cup of wine."

She poured for him. "Magister Illyrio said that I am to scrub your back and warm your bed. My name – "

" – is of no interest to me. Do you know where whores go?"

She flushed. "Whores sell themselves for coin."

"Or jewels, or gowns, or castles. But where do they go?"

The girl could not grasp the question. "Is it a riddle, m''lord? I''m no good at riddles. Will you tell me the answer?"

No, he thought. I despise riddles, myself. "I will tell you nothing. Do me the same favor." The only part of you that interests me is the part between your legs, he almost said. The words were on his tongue, but somehow never passed his lips. She is not Shae, the dwarf told himself, only some little fool who thinks I play at riddles. If truth be told, even her cunt did not interest him much. I must be sick, or dead. "You mentioned a bath? Show me. We must not keep the great cheesemonger waiting."

As he bathed, the girl washed his feet, scrubbed his back, and brushed his hair. Afterward she rubbed sweet-smelling ointment into his calves to ease the aches, and dressed him once again in boy''s clothing, a musty pair of burgundy breeches and a blue velvet doublet lined with cloth-of-gold. "Will my lord want me after he has eaten?" she asked as she was lacing up his boots.

"No. I am done with women." Whores.

The girl took that disappointment entirely too well for his liking. "If m''lord would prefer a boy, I can have one waiting in his bed."

M''lord would prefer his wife. M''lord would prefer a girl named Tysha. "Only if he knows where whores go."

The girl''s mouth tightened. She despises me, he realized, but no more than I despise myself. That he had fucked many a woman who loathed the very sight of him, Tyrion Lannister had no doubt, but the others had at least the grace to feign affection. A little honest loathing might be refreshing, like a tart wine after too much sweet.

"I believe I have changed my mind," he told her. "Wait for me abed. Naked, if you please, I expect I''ll be a deal too drunk to fumble at your clothing. Keep your mouth shut and your thighs open and the two of us should get on splendidly." He gave her a leer, hoping for a taste of fear, but all she gave him was revulsion. No one fears a dwarf. Even Lord Tywin had not been afraid, though Tyrion had held a crossbow in his hands. "Do you moan when you are being fucked?" he asked the bedwarmer.

"If it please m''lord."

"It might please m''lord to strangle you. That''s how I served my last whore. Do you think your master would object? Surely not. He has a hundred more like you, but no one else like me." This time, when he grinned, he got the fear he wanted.

Illyrio was reclining on a padded couch, gobbling hot peppers and pearl onions from a wooden bowl. His brow was dotted with beads of sweat, his pig''s eyes shining above his fat cheeks. Jewels danced when he moved his hands; onyx and opal, tiger''s eye and tourmeline, ruby, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, jet and jade, a black diamond and a green pearl. I could live for years on his rings, Tyrion mused, though I''d need a cleaver to claim them.

"Come and sit, my little friend." Illyrio waved him closer.

The dwarf clambered up onto a chair. It was much too big for him, a cushioned throne intended to accomodate the magister''s massive buttocks, with thick sturdy legs to bear his weight. Tyrion Lannister had lived all his life in a world that was too big for him, but in the manse of Illyrio Mopatis the sense of disproportion assumed grotesque dimensions. I am a mouse in a mammoth''s lair, he mused, though at least the mammoth keeps a good cellar. The thought made him thirsty. He called for wine.

"Did you enjoy the girl I sent you?" Illyrio asked.

"If I had wanted a girl I would have asked for one. I lack a nose, not a tongue."

"If she failed to please... "

"She did all that was required of her."

"I would hope so. She was trained in Lys, where they make an art of love. And she speaks your Common Tongue. The king enjoyed her greatly."

"I kill kings, hadn''t you heard?" Tyrion smiled evilly over his wine cup. "I want no royal leavings."

"As you wish. Let us eat." Illyrio clapped his hands together, and serving men came running.

They began with a broth of crab and monkfish, and cold egg lime soup as well. Then came quails in honey, a saddle of lamb, goose livers drowned in wine, buttered parsnips, and suckling pig. The sight of it all made Tyrion feel queasy, but he forced himself to try a spoon of soup for the sake of politeness, and once he had tasted he was lost. The cooks might be old and fat, but they knew their business. He had never eaten so well, even at court.

As he was sucking the meat off the bones of his quail, he asked Illyrio about the morning''s summons. The fat man shrugged. "There are troubles in the east. Astapor has fallen, and Meereen. Ghiscari slave cities that were old when the world was young." The suckling pig was carved. Illyrio reached for a piece of the crackling, dipped it in a plum sauce, and ate it with his fingers.

"Slaver''s Bay is a long way from Pentos," said Tyrion, as he speared a goose liver on the point of his knife. No man is as cursed as the kinslayer, he reminded himself, smiling.

"This is so," Illyrio agreed, "but the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble." He clapped his hands again. "Come, eat."

The serving men brough out a heron stuffed with figs, veal cutlets blanched with almond milk, creamed herring, candied onions, foul-smelling cheeses, plates of snails and sweetbreads, and a black swan in her plumage. Tyrion refused the swan, which reminded him of a supper with his sister. He helped himself to heron and herring, though, and a few of the sweet onions. And the serving men filled his wine cup anew each time he emptied it.

"You drink a deal of wine for such a little man."

"Kinslaying is dry work. It gives a man a thirst."

The fat man''s eyes glittered like the gemstones on his fingers. "There are those in Westeros who would say that killing Lord Lannister was merely a good beginning."

"They had best not say it in my sister''s hearing, or they will find themselves short a tongue." The dwarf tore a loaf of bread in half. "And you had best be careful what you say of my family, magister. Kinslayer or no, I am a lion still."

That seemed to amuse the lord of cheese no end. He slapped a meaty thigh and said, "You Westerosi are all the same. You sew some beast upon a scrap of silk, and suddenly you are all lions or dragons or eagles. I can bring you to a real lion, my little friend. The prince keeps a pride in his menagerie. Would you like to share a cage with them?"

The lords of the Seven Kingdoms did make rather much of their sigils, Tyrion had to admit. "Very well," he conceded. "A Lannister is not a lion. Yet I am still my father''s son, and Jaime and Cersei are mine to kill."

"How odd that you should mention your fair sister," said Illyrio, between snails. "The queen has offered a lordship to the man who brings her your head, no matter how humble his birth."

It was no more than Tyrion had expected. "If you mean to take her up on it, make her spread her legs for you as well. The best part of me for the best part of her, that''s a fair trade."

"I would sooner have mine own weight in gold." The cheesemonger laughed so hard that Tyrion feared he was about to rupture and drown his guest in a gout of half-digested eels and sweetmeats. "All the gold in Casterly Rock, why not?"

"The gold I grant you," he said, "but the Rock is mine."

"Just so." The magister covered his mouth and belched a mighty belch. "Do you think King Stannis will give it to you? I am told he is a great one for the law. He may well grant you Casterly Rock, is that not so? Your brother wears the white cloak, so you are your father''s heir by all the laws of Westeros."

"Stannis might grant me the Rock," Tyrion admitted, "but there is also the small matter of regicide and kinslaying. For those he would shorten me by a head, and I am short enough as I stand. But why would you think I mean to join Lord Stannis?"

"Why else would you go the Wall?"

"Stannis is at the Wall?" Tyrion rubbed at his nose. "What in seven bloody hells is Stannis doing at the Wall?"

"Shivering, I would think. It is warmer down in Dorne. Perhaps he should have sailed that way."

Tyrion was beginning to suspect that a certain freckled washerwoman knew more of the Common Speech than she pretended. "My niece Myrcella is in Dorne, as it happens. And I have half a mind to make her a queen."

Illyrio smiled, as his serving men spooned out bowls of black cherries in sweetcream for them both. "What has this poor child done to you, that you would wish her dead?"

"Even a kinslayer is not required to slay all his kin," said Tyrion, wounded. "Queen her, I said. Not kill her."

The cheesemonger spooned up cherries. "In Volantis they use a coin with a crown on one face and a death''s head on the other. Yet it is the same coin. To queen her is to kill her. Dorne might rise for Myrcella, but Dorne alone is not enough. If you are as clever as our friend insists, you know this."

Tyrion looked at the fat man with new interest. He is right on both counts. To queen her is to kill her. And I knew that. "Futile gestures are all that remain to me. This one would make my sister weep bitter tears, at least."

Magister Illyrio wiped sweetcream from his mouth with the back of a fat hand. "The road to Casterly Rock does not go through Dorne, my little friend. Nor does it run beside the Wall. Yet there is such a road, I tell you."

"I am an attainted traitor, a regicide and kinslayer." This talk of roads annoyed him. Does he think this is a game? "What one king does another may undo. In Pentos we have a prince, my friend. He presides at ball and feast and rides about the city in a palanquin of ivory and gold. Three heralds go before him with the golden scales of trade, the iron sword of war, and the silver scourge of justice. On the first day of each new year he must deflower the maid of the fields and the maid of the seas." Illyrio leaned forward, elbows on the table. "Yet should a crop fail or a war be lost, we cut his throat to appease the gods, and choose a new prince from amongst the forty families."

Tyrion snorted through the stump of his nose. "Remind me never to become the Prince of Pentos."

"Are your Seven Kingdoms so different? There is no peace in Westeros, no justice, no faith... and soon enough no food. When men are starving and sick of fear, they look for a savior."

"They may look, but if all they find is Stannis – "

"Not Stannis. Nor Myrcella. Another." The yellow smile widened. "Another. Stronger than Tommen, gentler than Stannis, with a better claim than the girl Myrcella. A savior come from across the sea to bind up the wounds of bleeding Westeros."

"Fine words." Tyrion was unimpressed. "Words are wind. Who is this bloody savior?"

"A dragon." The cheesemonger saw the look on his face at that, and laughed. "A dragon with three heads."

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
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kjsem78
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
So Many Words, So Little Plot
Reviewed in the United States on July 10, 2017
How, HOW is this book averaging 4 1/2 stars?? When did abject overwriting and lack of plot advancement warrant such a rating? Here were my thoughts going into this book (Spoilers): 1. Surely Daenerys would finally at least BEGIN her journey to Westeros to claim... See more
How, HOW is this book averaging 4 1/2 stars?? When did abject overwriting and lack of plot advancement warrant such a rating? Here were my thoughts going into this book (Spoilers):

1. Surely Daenerys would finally at least BEGIN her journey to Westeros to claim the Iron Throne with her super Unsullied army. - Nope (But ANOTHER Targaryen, whom the reader has spent a whole 30 seconds with, is poised to fight for the throne).
2. Surely we''d see a good, dramatic trial for Cersei. - Not a chance.
3. Surely Tyrion would do something, ANYTHING to get the story moving. - Negative.
4. Surely the White Walkers would finally factor into the story. - No.
5. Surely Stannis would wreak havoc in the North and at least somewhat avenge the annihilation of the Starks and be a real threat for claiming the throne. - Sorry.
6. Surely Dorne would begin to play a larger role in the Game of Thrones. - Don''t be silly.
7. Surely Bran will begin to play a part in all of this. - Not quite. He''s a tree now. Or a crow. I''m not really certain.

How can Martin write SO many pages yet have so little happen? I mean, if you want to know what a character is eating to break their fast, or what color someone''s surcoat or tokar is, or what color the bricks of a city are that day, or that words are wind, then this book will be riveting to you. And are we supposed to care more about Westeros or Essos? Becasue ADWD sure is Essos-centric. In fact, 99% of Martin''s world seems to be made up of it, with the people living there viewing Westeros as some insignificant backwater. Reading AGoT, I thought that part of the world would just be a jumping-off point for Daenerys. But no, it now has become the virtual main setting of ASOIAF. Why did Martin make that decision? I want to find out what happens in Westeros. Or do I? I''m not sure what the reader is supposed to be focused on because Martin is just all over the place. Toward the end of the book, Dany hallucinates and talks to Jorah Mormont who reiterates that he told her to go to Westeros because Meereen was not where she belonged. I felt as if Martin was mocking us because it''s what every frickin'' reader would have told her as well. So why did you make us read hundreds of pages about her fretting away in Meereen?! And, at the end, she seemingly ends ups in the same place she was in AGoT!

There are also numerous characters whom I think Martin wants us to be invested in, but we just aren''t because they''re either not too interesting or they get lost in this morass of a book. I''m sure some readers do, but do most of us care at all about characters like Asha, Victarion, and Euron? Even Theon/Reek got old by the second half of the book. And honestly, are we supposed to care about what happens to the the billions of people in Meereen like the Brazen Beasts, Stormcrows, Sons of the Harpy, Hizdahr, etc.? Everyone in Meereen, save a couple, are pretty much terrible people and I couldn''t care less what their ultimate fate is.

And let''s talk about Quentyn Martell. He and his journey to court Dany get no little page time, but the only purpose he serves is to free the dragons. That''s it. Now that''s fine, but there was no reason for Martin to spend the chapters he did on him if he was a simple plot device.

Lastly, everything in this series is miserable and depressing; and this is coming from someone who LIKES dark books and movies. But, my goodness, nothing uplifting at all happens. It''s just one gloomy event after another and everyone is either angry, oppressed, or psychotic. Martin goes out of his way to ensure that absolutely nothing remotely pleasant happens. I understand there are books with such tones, but after nearly 5,000 pages of it, you get a bit worn down. I know a big appeal of the series are the "gray" characterizations, and I agree, but does nearly everyone have to be a murderous sociopath with no regard for human life? This worked in the first three books because we weren''t sure what characters we were going to root for or against. But now, we know who has a shred of decency or not and the incessant melancholy is tiresome.

This was the first book which I had to put down and read another book in between with before mustering up the motivation to finish. Usually, I''d just abandon a book I wasn''t enjoying, but after reading 4,000 pages of the series I couldn''t quit on it. Books 1-3 were fantastic. A Feast For Crows began the downslide but I figured it was merely setup. But ADWD was even worse than setup because NOTHING HAPPENS. I''m really torn over whether I''ll read The Winds of Winter if and when it''s released. I don''t think I have it in me to read another novel like ADWD. I only started this series a few months ago, so I read all these books back-to-back (excluding the one I read three-quarters of the way through ADWD to keep my sanity), so I saw the decline of storytelling with this series happen in real time.
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Nancy D. Griffeth
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Martin got lost on the way to the end of the story
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2017
So many dead-end story lines. So many dead-end characters. You could argue that this reflects the real world accurately, but if stories reflected the real world accurately they’d be too boring to finish. That’s where this one is going.
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muley
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mr. Martin, Write That Book!
Reviewed in the United States on December 21, 2017
I did not get involved with the TV show when it first came out, although my entire family was obsessed with it. I like to read the book that movie/TV projects are based on before I see how characters are portrayed, as I like to see the characters and story in my own mind... See more
I did not get involved with the TV show when it first came out, although my entire family was obsessed with it. I like to read the book that movie/TV projects are based on before I see how characters are portrayed, as I like to see the characters and story in my own mind first. OMG...this author is amazing. The word painting is incredible, he is able to transport readers in to his world, and he leaves you desperately wanting more. I still have not seen one single episode, but I have seen far more of this world than any viewer has. Great book. Now, that being said, I am livid that the story simply STOPS, leaving every single character and situation hanging in limbo. There is no resolution for anyone or anything. Oh, please, Mr. Martin, finish this series before I am forced to contaminate my perceptions by finally watching the show (which I know does not follow the book exactly, and geez, how does your mind pictures compare to the commercial pictures?). Fortunately, or not, my daughters and I spend a lot of time discussing what they are seeing versus what I am reading, and I at least have some idea where my beloved Tyrion goes. And that is the only reason I gave this a 4 star instead of the 10 star it so deserves.
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Dan Berger
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Suitors angle for Dani''s hand - and dragons
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2018
This returns us to the main characters we saw little of in the previous book - Tyrion, Dani, Jon Snow - but meanwhile adds subplots not present in the TV series, or edited out for brevity. By the end the story lines are significantly different, although you can see where... See more
This returns us to the main characters we saw little of in the previous book - Tyrion, Dani, Jon Snow - but meanwhile adds subplots not present in the TV series, or edited out for brevity. By the end the story lines are significantly different, although you can see where they might still converge with television’s.

The previous book focused on Westeros’s center and southlands, this one on its north and the eastern continent of Essos. The free cities, those of Slaver’s Bay, and the companies of mercenaries are all in upheaval with Dani Targaryen’s freeing of slaves. We learn just how subtly the eunuch Varys has plotted for years. We see Westeros, devastated by years of civil war, as the forces in its north sort themselves out.

Tyrion Lannister, a price on his head after murdering his father, heads east, aided by Varys, to offer his services to Dani Targaryen as he dreams of revenge against sister Cersei. Before he falls into Jorah Mormont’s hands he first encounters the merchant Illyrio and then a small group transporting him east, from whom he learns much of Essos. He finally realizes who the group is: yet another Targaryen claimant to the Iron Throne, protected by a knight once close to Dani’s older brother, the late Prince Rhaegar.

Dani, ensconced in Meereen, struggles to rule the fractious city she conquered despite acts of terror meant to destabilize it. Two of her growing dragons are chained up, but a third is loose somewhere and Dani bears the guilt of it having (allegedly) killed a child.

Suitors angle for her hand. As her rule teeters, she vacillates over whether to make a loveless match benefitting her subjects, or to hold out for something better. She yearns for the Dothraki warlord Daario, off on a mission, but when he returns she realizes he’s not king material.

A suitor from the Martells in Dorne — the family of Dani’s slain sister-in-law — secretly makes his way east to find and court her. Pro-slavery armies from other cities besiege Meereen. What all these suitors want is the Iron Throne - and Dani’s three dragons, the nuclear weapons of the era.

Jon, Lord Commander of the Night Watch at the Wall, coexists uneasily with Stannis Boratheon who bailed them out against the wildlings. Stannis prickles against Jon’s refusal to take his side, as the Night Watch must remain neutral in Westeros affairs. The watch is a shadow of its former self, its stores tapped to feed Boratheon’s army and the defeated wildlings, its numbers decimated by war. Jon must rely on enemies and surrendered wildlings for manpower to guard against the living dead they know are coming from the north. And many of the Night Watch brothers resent his having allowed wildlings through the Wall, his efforts to make peace with them, and to rescue a large group now starving and threatened by the undead wights.

Theon Greyjoy finally emerges as Reek, the hideous Ramsay Bolton’s maimed and cowed prisoner. Bolton plans on marrying Arya Stark to seal his claim to Winterfell and the north, but has no idea his intended is an impostor.

Theon’s sister Asha, having failed to become Ironborn queen, holes up in a captured castle. Her uncle Euron, the new king, has married her off in absentia to a fat old lord, is likely coming after her, and Asha must plot her future. (While sporting with other lovers. She’s a pirate queen!) The TV show had her sailing east with Theon to aid Dani Targaryen, but here that’s done by Euron’s brother Victarion.

Bran, wandering in the north accompanied by Hodor, the Reed children and his direwolf Summer, is now accompanied by a mysterious ranger, a wight somehow still human and devoted to protecting him. We learn what’s up with wargs, humans who can psychically inhabit animals’ bodies, and there’s much of this in the Starks’ relationships with their direwolves. Bran is openly one; Jon has warg tendencies which he hides but which others suspect, and his enemies taunt him with it. I have been impatient with Bran’s story line in the novels as well on TV, but after reading this, it and the whole warg thing make more sense.

This book, the last released so far, ends far short of the story line on TV, and with plenty of snow as far south as King’s Landing. Winter is definitely here.
20 people found this helpful
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Happy Reader
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Knowing the characters helps when reading this series.
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2018
I enjoyed book 1, 2 and 3. Book 4 bogged down a bit so not my favorite. Book 5 is making me wish that the story would end because it''s time. I have almost finished it. The story as written is different in many ways from the TV series. I don''t mind that at all. Surprisingly,... See more
I enjoyed book 1, 2 and 3. Book 4 bogged down a bit so not my favorite. Book 5 is making me wish that the story would end because it''s time. I have almost finished it. The story as written is different in many ways from the TV series. I don''t mind that at all. Surprisingly, the author Martin did not have all the gratuitous sex as the TV series, but I guess that''s what sells on TV. Over all I''ve enjoyed reading the books but as I said, I''m ready for it to end.
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Lori
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wow
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2018
So the endings for everyone are crazy. I guess this is when Jon Snow disappears for a while in the HBO show. Crazy all around for all the characters, story lines are progressing nicely. Can’t wait. I liked that more characters were in this book (although Jaime was only in... See more
So the endings for everyone are crazy. I guess this is when Jon Snow disappears for a while in the HBO show. Crazy all around for all the characters, story lines are progressing nicely. Can’t wait. I liked that more characters were in this book (although Jaime was only in here briefly) still a lot of different people were in this, again had issues keeping the lesser known ones straight. There is no way that the HBO show could give everyone air time. Too much. Can’t wait to read the next book.
4 people found this helpful
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Oregon Coast Reader
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ghastly rubbish that never ends
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2012
Ice and Fire Books 1 through 3 are brutal, powerful, and engaging if you can look beyond the cruelty and enjoy the "game". Book 4 is brutal, ponderous and not very interesting. Book 5 is brutal, boring, circuitous, and disappointing, and contains nothing but cruelty.... See more
Ice and Fire Books 1 through 3 are brutal, powerful, and engaging if you can look beyond the cruelty and enjoy the "game". Book 4 is brutal, ponderous and not very interesting. Book 5 is brutal, boring, circuitous, and disappointing, and contains nothing but cruelty. Martin has lost the game, dropped the reins, left the building.

Having just slogged through "A Dance with Dragons", I am no longer interested in the fates of the characters -- those who remain -- and Mr. Martin''s world has become an endless, dreary hell of death, destruction and despair. I will not buy Books 6 through Infinity as I don''t want to read about unrelenting hatred, gratuitous violence, baby killing, blood sacrifice, grotesque animal abuse, face eating and/or excrement eating, body fluids, gore, little boys being thrown overboard because "their kind" shouldn''t be allowed to live, and men whose only use for women is to "take" them forcibly as a prelude to killing them. Really, how many child rapes can an author cram into a series? Hey! I enjoy sex scenes as much as the next person, but some of this dreadful stuff is kiddie porn.

It seems that Mr. Martin continues to write not to advance the story lines established in Books 1-3, but to vividly describe each and every horrible way a woman, man, child, infant, or beast can be gruesomely hurt and/or die. And, oh yeah, forget about dying and coming back to a happy afterlife! Indeed, every story development that could be considered even slightly uplifting was left hanging back in Book 3.

In some reviews of the early Ice and Fire books, Martin was favorably compared to Tolkien -- undeniably, Martin can write a powerful description. And, each author does have a double-barreled middle name! However, Tolkien developed an intricate, magical world in which loyalty, compassion, honor and even--gasp!--love could endure. Martin''s world is so dark and his characters so despicable that nothing worthy can endure. Tolkien wrote about a quest, Martin writes about --what? -- who cares?

Take the advice of many reviewers -- save your grey matter and skip this one.
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Plumb
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Long circuitous book of many characters
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2016
As other reviewers have mentioned, It seems to me that book 4 and book 5 should have been combined into one much shorter entity. I found myself skimming several parts (especially the Reek/Theon parts) because they were so iterative and slow moving. The quantity of... See more
As other reviewers have mentioned, It seems to me that book 4 and book 5 should have been combined into one much shorter entity. I found myself skimming several parts (especially the Reek/Theon parts) because they were so iterative and slow moving. The quantity of characters is so vast that one loses interest in some of them. The first book was amazing and the first 3 together were very, very enjoyable. I''m disappointed in the last two and frustrated that we have what started out as a fascinating journey turn into "a maze of twisty passages, all alike" (for those of you who remember the old Adventure game). You have to read the book, if you''ve read all the others, but it definitely doesn''t stand alone.
14 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Partick Potter
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A big improvement from book 4
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 20, 2020
A Dance with Dragons was a distinct improvement on book 4 in the series as it told the stories of the stronger characters of the series. That said, the book suffered from some of the problems book 2 had in a lack of conclusion and purpose in several storylines, particularly...See more
A Dance with Dragons was a distinct improvement on book 4 in the series as it told the stories of the stronger characters of the series. That said, the book suffered from some of the problems book 2 had in a lack of conclusion and purpose in several storylines, particularly Dearnys who spent the entire book faffing around in Meeren as well as Tyrion who faffed around getting there for no obvious purpose. This book is clearly setting up events that will reach a conclusion in the next instalment.
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Jaksenpollock
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Managed To Finish It - Just
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 11, 2014
Another turgid tome packed with anal minutiae re family trees and what people are wearing where the good characters are killed off and new ones introduced who you don''t care about. (And then killed off) The story progresses like a snail with an anvil tied round its neck and...See more
Another turgid tome packed with anal minutiae re family trees and what people are wearing where the good characters are killed off and new ones introduced who you don''t care about. (And then killed off) The story progresses like a snail with an anvil tied round its neck and I continually asked myself why I was reading it? There is I think more action in this than the previous Feast for Crows which I thought was dire. Why you may ask have I continued reading these books given my negativity? Well it''s because the first ones were so good, I keep hoping for the best and that the magic will return? I think in reality though that its going to be a rare case of the TV people doing a better job than the author who seems to have ran out of puff. I will read the Winds of Winter if it ever comes out, I just hope that the author gives us some resolution to at least some of the story lines he''s created and rewards us for our patience.
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Mr. Duncan Macfarlane
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Just as well written as his other books but far too slow and far too long
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2014
The quality of writing is just as excellent as any of the other books in the series, but it follows the trend of each book after the third becoming longer and slower than the last. There is excessive detail on trivial scenes like the appearance of a barge and river Tyrion...See more
The quality of writing is just as excellent as any of the other books in the series, but it follows the trend of each book after the third becoming longer and slower than the last. There is excessive detail on trivial scenes like the appearance of a barge and river Tyrion is on lasting pages on end. It would be forgivable to make the book over 1,000 pages long if a lot happened in it, but the important plot events could have been fitted into a book half or a quarter of the length without losing anything. Perhaps Martin is losing any self-discipline on chapter and book length due to his success as a writer. Personally I feel publishers should be giving him some word limits and deadlines.
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gstokes41
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not as exciting or fast paced as the first books but none the less very good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 20, 2014
Not as exciting or fast paced as the first books but none the less very good. I felt A Dance With Dragons was more of a summary in the aftermath of the events in Westoros for most of the book and a build up for what is to come from the east without a great deal of anything...See more
Not as exciting or fast paced as the first books but none the less very good. I felt A Dance With Dragons was more of a summary in the aftermath of the events in Westoros for most of the book and a build up for what is to come from the east without a great deal of anything really happening anywhere. Don''t get me wrong, new events, characters and plots are unfolding so it''s not stale and there looks to be some interesting developments coming after some big changes towards the end (one or two of which will shock if not anger most readers!) but it''s just slow going and basically a build up for what is to come whilst tying up loose ends from the previous books. That said, Martin still masters it. Whether you like the ending or not, the intrigue and anticipation he leaves with you at the end of the book is one of the great cliff hangers from A Song of Ice and Fire (IMO). Thanks to his notorious style of killing off a favourite character and then leaving you with the small hint that they may yet be back...the next book couldn''t come soon enough.
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AK
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A partial return to form but little resolution
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 2, 2012
In order to better manage the length, GRR Martin decided to split the last installment of the series into two books, both happening concurrently but following different characters, this one and A Song of Ice and Fire (4) - A Feast for Crows (Reissue) (making it largely (but...See more
In order to better manage the length, GRR Martin decided to split the last installment of the series into two books, both happening concurrently but following different characters, this one and A Song of Ice and Fire (4) - A Feast for Crows (Reissue) (making it largely (but not completely) irrelevant in which order you read the two). Fortunately, the current volume is the more interesting of the two, having the more lively set of characters covered - still this is not to say that the quality of the book and the fascination of the events is on par with A Song of Ice and Fire (3) - A Storm of Swords: Part 2 Blood and Gold (Reissue). As mentioned, you get the more interesting characters, such as Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister to follow but even they are not in the middle of action but rather being described as characters in this book. If you were hoping for a real dance of dragons, a thundering finale, you will be disappointed. Some characters get killed off again, some wheels are set in motion or simply turn a bit further but in terms of resolution to the story you are not much closer than you were at the end of the third book. The dragons burst onto the scene shortly and without much effect, the rest of the book offers hardly anything really placing it firmly into the fantasy sphere, and the new characters introduced get too superficial an entry to be a real enrichment. Unfortunately, this all means a rather long wait for the next volume and a hope that at least some action will result or that the author returns to form fully, and manages to successfully operate the gargantuan cast once again. I would not advise fans of the series completely giving up at this point but it may well become more and more of an uphill battle, if the pace does not pick up with the next installment.
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A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice online sale online sale and Fire: Book Five online