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Fire & Blood (A Song of Ice and Fire) Mass Market Paperback – August 24, 2021
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“The thrill of Fire & Blood is the thrill of all Martin’s fantasy work: familiar myths debunked, the whole trope table flipped.”—Entertainment Weekly
Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.
What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why was it so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What were Maegor the Cruel’s worst crimes? What was it like in Westeros when dragons ruled the skies? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley—including five all-new illustrations exclusive to this edition. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.
With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire & Blood is the the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.
Praise for Fire & Blood
“A masterpiece of popular historical fiction.”—The Sunday Times
“The saga is a rich and dark one, full of both the title’s promised elements. . . . It’s hard not to thrill to the descriptions of dragons engaging in airborne combat, or the dilemma of whether defeated rulers should ‘bend the knee,’ ‘take the black’ and join the Night’s Watch, or simply meet an inventive and horrible end.”—The Guardian
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“A brilliant book . . . vivid, memorable and personal.”—The Times
“Lean and efficient and slyly seductive and instructive . . . The text is filled with such a wealth of incident and so many colorful characters.” —Locus
“The overall narrative of the book is wonderfully fluid. . . . Fire & Blood was a great surprise to me. I found myself becoming deeply emotionally invested in the Targaryens, thrilling when they achieved great victories and lamenting when they succumbed to their more idiotic desires. (And they have a lot of idiotic desires.) This book feels like A Song of Ice and Fire. And you know how I know? Because I want the next book right away.” —Tordotcom
“[There are] treasures hidden in this new Targaryen history.”—Vanity Fair
“The world of ice and fire only gets more fascinating the more we learn about it.”—Mashable
“Martin is still a powerfully gifted, inventive writer. . . . [Fire & Blood] has hundreds of fascinating anecdotes, ranging from the cruel fate of a jester named Tom Turnip to a dragon that, tellingly, refuses to venture beyond the Wall. . . . Fire & Blood is a lavish object, with charts, family trees, and stunning illustrations by comic book artist Doug Wheatley. . . . In this sense it fits into a venerable tradition, from J.R.R. Tolkien in his Silmarillion to Diana Gabaldon in her companion to the Outlander series.”—USA Today
“[Fire & Blood] explores the dragon-fueled secrets upon which the current saga is built.”—Hollywood Reporter
“Martin has done it again. . . . [Fire & Blood is] a beautiful weaving of the wars, marriages, deaths, dragons, and politics that shape the world Martin has created, leaving the reader feeling like this is a true history rather than a piece of fantasy. This is a masterpiece of world-building. . . . Beyond Martin’s legions of fans, anyone with a taste for richly, even obsessively detailed historical fiction or fantasy about royalty will enjoy this extraordinary work.”—Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Doug Wheatley is a comic book artist, concept designer, and illustrator who has worked on such properties and characters as Star Wars, Aliens, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, and Conan the Barbarian, to name just a few. Wheatley was the artist on the comic book adaptation of the film Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and contributed illustrations to The World of Ice & Fire.
- Publisher : Bantam (August 24, 2021)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 800 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593357531
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593357538
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.83 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #78,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Why am I telling you this about Tolkien in a review for GRR Martin? This should seem fairly obvious by now: GRR Martin has the same longing Tolkien did. He has the same love of the grand, sweeping historical epic. So far he has been giving us his 'Lord of the Rings,' his drama of the minutiae, but in the process he got caught up in the grand and glorious visions of the Targaryens, just as Tolkien was swept up into the glories of the First Age. It’s no mistake this book is being called the “GRRMillion.”
Martin's popularity is granting him a chance that Tolkien unfortunately never had in his lifetime: To create his myth IN FULL. To give us the grand sweep of things in the greater world, beyond just the characters we know and love in 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'
Please accept this book for what it is, rather than complaining about what it does not aim to be. And what exactly is it? An artefact from Westeros. It should be read not as a book Martin wrote, but one he transcribed, from the original text by Archmaester Gyldayn. It will require some work on the part of the reader. The lines have been drawn, and we are being asked to fill in the colors with our imaginations. This participatory reading is what can make history so engaging—it takes work, but the work pays off.
We have two choices: We can claw after the next GoT book, complaining that the author hasn’t yet met our demands. Or we can allow the author a chance to fill out his universe. For my part, this stuff is more exciting than the series proper. We get to see the bigger picture that all of the Song of Ice and Fire is a part of. If you don't want this sort of thing, simply move on rather than ruining the experience for others.
I remember what it felt like to sit down one day as a boy and open 'The Silmarillion.' I was holding the Bible of the Elves. It was a piece of that world. It was a text that might have been read by a scholar in Minas Tirith. It was magic. Martin has the chance to give us this now. Imagine being Samwell Tarly, sitting in the Citadel's library, opening up this ponderous and magical tome about the history of the Targaryens for the first time.
Why now, though? Why not wait until he's finished telling the main story? For my part, I'd rather follow the passion of a writer than get mediocre work demanded by fans. Martin created this universe for us; let him follow his vision for how it should proceed. He was caught up in the glorious history of his universe as he was telling his story, and he wants us to have it in all of its rich complexity. I can only wish that Tolkien had had the same opportunity in his lifetime. We only see fragments of what that might have been. But Martin is giving us his own great mythology, in his own lifetime, whole and complete; and I am a boy again with wonder.
This, my friends, is going to be a feast.
If he hasn't written to your liking, why don't you go write a series for yourself and spare us all the entitled attitude.
I have found this book incredibly fascinating, but I enjoy history textbooks and the like. This is a wonderful imagination of an imaginary world and its history, and it feels like a book equivalent of sinking into a long, hot bath.
- Do you enjoy reading history books?
- Are you a serious fan of this fictional world, and want to know the background behind everything?
If you answered yes to both, you will enjoy this.
Personally, I do enjoy history books, but I prefer learning about fictional worlds in a more conventional format - a character-centric story, e.g., along the lines of GRRM’s other books.
For example - I just don’t care that much about the names of various nobles who’s names are only mentioned to name the leader of an army that the Targaryans flew over and burned. I’d much rather have a story from, say, Aegon’s immediate viewpoint and experiences. That is not what this book is about though.
I think there will be a lot of folks who enjoy this book, but if you were looking for a book that “humanizes” the list of names that preceded the main series, this isn’t the book you are looking for.
Top reviews from other countries
Having a new ASOIAF book instead *would* have been great, or even preferable, but this does not mean Fire and Blood should be cast aside or (as seems to be the case in some corners of the internet) poorly-reviewed by people who refuse to read it because of what it is not.
In short - an enjoyable read containing many of the tropes, themes and writing hallmarks which many readers love from the main series, and well-worth reading.
What an absolute money cow. I'm fuming.