Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (1999)

ACoK_UK_CurrentA Clash of Kings is the second book in Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series. Several characters return, including Tyrion, the imp who’s sent to King’s Landing by his father, the new Hand of the King. But Tyrion has a lot of work to do if he is to act the part of the Hand while his father battles Robb, King of the North. Readers may be surprised at Tyrion’s strong sense of justice considering his family’s behavior.

Sansa befriends a court fool in hopes of finding an ally and an escape from Joffrey, the insipid and cruel King of King’s Landing.

Jon Snow and the men of the Night’s Watch embark on a large-scale ranging of the lands beyond the Wall in hopes of solving the mystery that is the undead Others. What they find are deserted Wildling villages and whispers of an army amassing under King Manse.

A new character/narrator named Davos emerges giving readers an insight into King Stanis’s plans. The deceased King Robert’s elder brother aligns himself with a woman who claims the Lord of Light will lead him to victory over all the other false kings but Davos has his suspicions. This foreign woman dabbles in magic.

Bran, though crippled, learns he can walk with his wolf, Summer, as a shape shifter. Then Theon, the Stark’s former ward, leads a small band of men and captures Winterfell while Robb is in the south fighting the Lanisters. Bran, feeling more helpless than ever, yields to Theon, while Rickon becomes angrier and more petulant than ever, as reflected by his wolf, Shaggydog.

Arya makes her way north with Yoren of the Night’s Watch and his recruits, including Gendry (King Robert’s bastard), but their small band is soon waylaid and Arya must use all her skill and cunning to stay alive and unknown.

A Clash of Kings also continues the story of Daenerys, the last remaining Targarian, as she seeks refuge for her newborn dragons. Until her dragons are grown they are easy targets for greedy men, the usurper king of the Seven Realms, and others who would see the dragon line fail.

In this hefty tome, Martin continues his bloody, bawdy series. Intriguing and suspenseful, I enjoyed every moment of it. I’m sinking my teeth into book three, A Storm of Swords already! While there was one key death in this book, I have heard there are many more to come.

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