In the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire, King Robert Baratheon appoints Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, as the King's Hand, an important position in the realm of Westereos. After much persuading, Eddard travels to court with his two young daughters, Arya and Sansa, who is betrothed to Robert's son Joffrey. When he takes his new position, Eddard discovers that King Robert's scheming Queen, Cercei Lannister controls the court and the former Hand was most likely murdered.
Meanwhile, his wife, Lady Catelyn believes someone in House Lannister is trying to murder her and her son, Bran. After King Robert dies and his cruel son Joffrey ascends the throne, the Lannisters have control and the Starks are persecuted. By the end of the book, the Starks are scattered across Westereos, Sansa, trapped at court, Arya traveling in disguise, sons Bran and Rickon left at Winterfell, and Eddard's bastard Jon Snow becoming a sworn brother of the Night Watch a group that keeps the northern border safe.
While civil war is threatening to break out over Joffrey's claim to the throne, an otherworldly threat is closing in on the north of the Wall where the Night's Watch keep vigil. Many sworn brothers are disappearing under mysterious circumstances.
Across the sea in the east are Daenerys and Viserys, the last of the Targaryen dynasty that was disposed by Robert Baratheon. Viserys sells his sister, Daenerys to a Dothraki horselord. Although she begins as a meek child, she eventually becomes a strong force and sets her sights on regaining her crown.
With the solid characterization and an intricate plot I highly recommend this whole series. Even though I picked this book up on a whim, having no knowledge of the series, I read A Game of Thrones compulsively and was drawn in enough to seek out the other volumes.
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Next book: A Clash of Kings
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I reviewed A Game of Thrones from my own personal library