George R. R. Martin began his series, A Song of Ice and Fire, with such a compelling plotline in A Game of Thrones that it was hard to believe he could keep it up in sequels to the book. Yet, A Clash of Kings, the second book in the series managed to be equally gripping, developing some of the characters that hadn't been fleshed out in book one, in place of characters we had lost, like Ned Stark. In book three, A Storm of Swords audiobook, Martin continues to astound us by taking characters that we've grown to think of in a certain way and turning them around so that we see a whole new side to their personality.
Until now, we believed that Jaime Lannister was one of the bad guys. Not only was he having an incestuous relationship with his sister, he apparently killed the king before Robert Baratheon by stabbing him in the back which resulted in his nickname, “kingslayer.” Now, we have Jaime refusing his sister's advances and revealing a secret that suddenly casts him in a new light. As a result Jaime is now seen as an unsung hero.
Plus, we'd grown to think that the Stark family was finally making a comeback after Ned Stark's death, in the shape of Robb Stark who had become King in the North with many followers. But Robb makes a fatal mistake that has tragic results for the entire Stark family.
So once again, the chess pieces have changed completely at the end of this book and Martin continues to keep us guessing about what will happen next. One might wonder why exactly this series is so popular given that the fantasy element is very small and it's mostly about a fictional kingdom where people keep killing one another. And it's not always the good guys killing the bad guys. It's usually bad guys killing bad guys. And yet, there's something about the book that keeps us hopeful that good will triumph in the end. Even if someone with integrity like Ned Stark or Robb Stark is killed, someone else rises up in his place to keep the flame going.
Martin, known to many of his fans as
GRRM, has been a writer since childhood. He studied journalism in college and started his career writing fiction, at which he was quite successful at first. However, his fourth novel wa not so well received and he turned from books to TV, getting involved in writing for the Twilight Zone remake. When that series came to an end, he became a producer for Beauty and the Beast, only returning to writing novels in the early 90's. The result was A Song of Ice and Fire, his most successful work yet. The books that comprise the series have frequently been on the NYT bestseller list and have also won numerous awards. A Storm of Swords won the Locus award, the Geffen award and the Nebula award.
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world.
But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. Download and start listening now!