A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

“Dark wings, dark words, me mother used to say, but when the birds fly silent, seems to me that’s even darker.” He poked at the fire with his stick. “It was different when there was a Stark in Winterfell. But the old wolf’s dead and young one’s gone south to play the game of thrones, and all that’s left us is the ghosts.”
“The wolves will come again,” said Jojen solemnly.
“And how would you be knowing, boy?”
“I dreamed it” (p 334-5).

A Storm of SwordsNorth of the Wall, the Night’s Watch is failing. The Others decimate their numbers while revolt among the men leads to more deaths. Jon’s allegiance to the Night’s Watch will be tested as he rides with Mance Rayder. The Wall may very well fall if he fails. Meanwhile Samwell Tarly, the coward, becomes Sam the Slayer when he successfully slays a White Walker with a single slash of his dragonblade.

Bran and Rickon, thought to be dead, escape the doom that befell Winterfell. Rickon is taken by Osha, the wildling, to safety while Bran and Hodor, accompanied by Jojen Reed and his younger sister Meera, head north to find the three-eyed crow beyond the wall.

Tyrion, seriously injured in the battle for King’s Landing, finds himself as despised as ever, wed to Sansa Stark, and powerless to avoid a tide of accusations that threaten to claim his head.

Daenerys becomes conqueror and mother as her khal moves north but she faces two betrayals, one from her nearest and dearest of subjects. It is yet to be seem if she can rule as well as she conquers.

Jaime Lanister, once held by Robb Stark, is freed by Catelyn. Accompanied by Brienne, a former Rainbow Knight of Renly’s and sworn sword to Catelyn, Jaime makes his way south to King’s Landing to be traded for the Stark girls. He does not make it unscathed.

Robb remains undefeated on battlefield but loses the war from his bed sheets. He is one of two kings to pass in A Storm of Swords. Tywin Lanister plays Lord Frey against the wolf king but the Tyrell’s prove equally cunning at disposing of Joffry.

Lord Davos is named Hand of the King by Stannis, a dangerous position when the King’s will is bent by a priestess of R’hllor, Melisandre. Stannis is determined to gain the Iron Throne. Melisandre claims he has been chosen by R’hllor to fight the Evil that must not be named. But he lacks an army. Will he sacrifice an innocent child – his own brother’s bastard child, Edric Storm –  to raise stone dragons?

Arya goes from the frying pan into the fire and finds herself in the hands of Sandore Cleagon, the Hound. What will become of this fiesty, angry girl whose direwolf now leads a pack of man killers now her mother and older brother are dead?

Heads roll in this third installment and none are safe from Martin’s sword. Heroes become devils and brutes turn hero. Another gripping – if long – read.

Library copy | Bantam| $8.99 | ISBN 978-1439149645

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