A Dance With Dragons: A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book Five

Hardcover | July 12, 2011

byGeorge R. R. Martin

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • THE BOOK BEHIND THE FIFTH SEASON OF THE ACCLAIMED HBO SERIES GAME OF THRONES

Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers the fifth book in his landmark series—as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.
 
A DANCE WITH DRAGONS
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: BOOK FIVE
 
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

Praise for A Dance with Dragons
 
“Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, A Dance with Dragons is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined.”The Washington Post
 
“Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times
 
“One of the best series in the history of fantasy.”—Los Angeles Times 

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From the Publisher

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • THE BOOK BEHIND THE FIFTH SEASON OF THE ACCLAIMED HBO SERIES GAME OF THRONESDubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers the fifth book in his landmark se...

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons—as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tutt...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:1040 pages, 9.49 × 6.43 × 2.03 inPublished:July 12, 2011Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553801473

ISBN - 13:9780553801477

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dance of Dragons Can't wait to get my hands on the next book! The waiting might just kill me. Mr. Martin, sir, please write faster!!!
Date published: 2015-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dance of Dragon Love it, I've enjoyed every book. Can't wait for the next ones. Very well written. Great story line and character building.
Date published: 2015-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from George is brilliant I'm in love with the characters. The story line is amazing if a little murky at times. The potential for speculation keeps you on the edge on your toes. Dying to read the next one. Ps please don't let the king crow die.
Date published: 2015-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long but progress I feel like I've been reading this book for years. Mostly because it can't be done in one long sitting. It lags in places but key characters progress and I'm loving forward to the ultimate outcome.
Date published: 2015-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend! Great read. Characters are so rich, I had a hard time putting the book down. Many plots and sub-plots made for a exciting read. Well worth the time.
Date published: 2015-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This was my second favourite, behind Storm of Swords. I loved all the Tyrion, Jon and Dany and the little bits of Arya, Sansa and Bran. I think I liked it so much because we saw a lot of book 1 game of thrones point of views which is the characters that we started with since the beginning. I would give this book a 4.5 stars if possible because I didn't really connect with the greyjoys or the Martell characters. Only Theon and Oberyn in previous books. I liked the two or so chapters with Asha but maybe I need more time on Victarion and Euron I'm not sure.. can't wait for the next one though!
Date published: 2015-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Compared to Feast, who wouldn't? Now hopefully Georgy gets Winds out soon.
Date published: 2015-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Martin needs to hurry with book 6. I hate the way HBO is now taking liberties with the story it could have been such a great series.
Date published: 2015-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best of the series yet Anyone who still question's George R R Martin's masterpiece series is clearly only acting to seem interesting.
Date published: 2015-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Solid continuation of the saga One of the best fantasy sagas ever, this 5th novel keeps a solid pace and leave the reader wanting for more.
Date published: 2015-03-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Song of Ice and Fire Dance with Dragons This is the most boring book of the series without question all of a sudden the Mother of Dragons is gone and all of these new characters get dropped on the reader? This book has turned me off Game of Thrones big timr
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, not great. Good, but not fantastic. Character development seems to have really stalled out in the last two books.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A song of ice and fire 5 Awesome! ! Couldn't put it down! Can't wait for the next one! !!!!!!!!!! Winter is coming! !!!!!!!!
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Another amazing book. Found myself unable to put it down and awash with emotions as events continue to unfold in a fan of fire and ice. Can't wait for the next one
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Can't wait for the next book.
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Dance with Dragons book five It was very entertaining hope the next one will be the end of each chapter s
Date published: 2014-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from From frustrating to fantastic I wasn't sure about this book. It didn't start off well. I had literally just finished reading the one before this and still had trouble going back in time in my mind to remember what the heck had happened chronologically. Not sure why Mr. Martin switched formats in the middle of the series but as a reader, it was a little frustrating. Overall the story was good though. I managed to push through the frustration, occasional boredom due to chapters with characters that I didn't really care about, and disgust at anything having to do with Theon and really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next one.
Date published: 2014-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Everything is coming together for the final battles.
Date published: 2014-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow Blown away...angry...but blown away another incredible novel
Date published: 2014-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good but sometimes prolonged There is a great book here. Just needed some editing. For a book this length, not enough happens and it is plagued by overused phrases and sayings that distract and annoy more than anything else. Still a lot of intriguing characters left and I'll be glad to open the next book.
Date published: 2014-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great A return for some of the beat characters who were missing in #4. Great read. Wish the 6th was here already.
Date published: 2014-06-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Much and more needed to happen The first 500 pages were perfect. Then we got into the AFFC POV's and it seemed to slow down to a trot. Remember when Catelyn went from Winterfell to Kings Landing in a chapter in AGOT? Yeah well now it takes everyone two books to get where they're going. The past two books could have been trimmed to one book of 900 pages and not lost much. Compound that with the lame cliffhanger of a main character and this book leaves a terrible taste in your mouth. There is no climax. Think ACOK buildup to the Blackwater and then have to wait for the next book to read the battle. Thats what this is. You're a good writer GRRM, you just need an editor to trim the fat!
Date published: 2013-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Please Martin, don't become Jordan This book had a whole lot to do about nothing until the last 150 pages when 10 things happened, but none of them of real consequence barring one event. Martin's first 4 books were brilliant - he's a great writer and a great story teller - but this last book reminded me of Robert Jordan's "let's drag it out another 6 books" WoT series style of writing. The absolute waste of time from some of the character perspective's (Reek, Daenerys) was mind blowing. So empty in some cases that the HBO series will probably combine Books 4 and 5 or Books 5 and 6 into one season, when/if they get that far. I was half way through the book, stopped, looked at what page # I was on and asked "has anything happened that's even interesting?". The answer was Arya and she had maybe 15% of the book. I hope Martin pulls his boots up for his next book. The first 4 books had me begging for the next book to come out, but after Book 5 I feel like telling Martin to take his time lol.
Date published: 2013-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Dance of Dragons This book continues where book 3/4 left off. For me it was finally achance to read about some of my favorite characters that I haven't read about since book 3. It was excellent I did find however that the story picked up during the last half of the book.
Date published: 2013-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The plot inches forward ... It took me entirely too long to get through this book. I kept putting it down in favour of something else/new, and then finally went back to it and plowed through. Thank goodness I did! As other reviewers have mentioned, this book doesn't advance the plot as much as its 1000+ pages would warrant, but it was still really good. The last 20% or so make me keen for the sequel, which I hope isn't as far off as all have predicted. When the characters of Westeros told their narratives, I was enthralled, and when we crossed over to the free cities (Meereen etc) I was completely confused by all the characters and alliances. Those sections were a bit unwieldy, and to a large extent, unnecessary as far as I can tell for plot development. However, if you are a fan of this series, every book is a "must read" ... and this one is no exception.
Date published: 2013-01-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A LITTLE LONG WINDED The seven Kingdoms are still in a very precarious state. Closing in are all the players vying for the Throne of Swords. They are all closing in but seemingly are not getting any closer. Everyone is in exile, in prison or too far away and too busy staying alive to take a clear foothold. I liked the book and it pains me to post what amounts to a negative review, especially since I have been a fan of this series from book one, but this one just dragged things out a little too much. I enjoyed the sections of the book dealing with Tyrion and Reek and it was wonderful to see Cersei get a much needed come-uppance. Those parts are what redeemed the book in my eyes. It’s one thing to write an epic saga, but one has to know when to pull the various factions in just a little bit tighter. I also felt that towards the end of the book things were becoming a little too comic-book-ish. I certainly could have done without the lengthy descriptions of Tyrion riding around on his pig. Another excellent series where I felt this happened was the Left Behind series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. As things progressed, rather than becoming tighter with more anticipation it sank into cartoonishness. Interestingly enough, it also involved a pig. Ever since Fonzie tried to “jump the shark” that has become a catch-phrase for television shows that have no where else to go. Maybe “riding the pig” could be a catch-phrase for epic book series that are not winding up quickly enough?
Date published: 2012-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I've only ever done the fox trot but what the heck, let's dance with some dragons A Dance with Dragons is the fifth novel in the seven planned novel series of A Song of Ice and Fire. The fifth novel builds and expands on where the rest of the series has left off, with unexpected twists and turns. A Dance with Dragons just helps stoke the fires for wanting the sixth and seventh books to come out even faster. Great novel, I loved it just like the first for four novels. Check out this series. Don't be intimidated by there size, they will grab hold of your imagination and keep you turning page after page.
Date published: 2012-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A real masterpiece Mr. Martin has managed to have me fall in love all over again. The fourth book was a bit of a disappointment but this brought me right back in. This is the most real life fantasy there is. So many story lines and characters it's hard to keep up sometimes but of course there's so many characters! He's created an entire world and enough culture to fill it. Absolutely awesome.
Date published: 2012-09-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Tedious. Loved the first 3 books. 4 was still good. Book 5 is painful. Do we really need to add new characters and subplots to the point that I feel I need to take notes while reading. I read for pleasure. This book has been a lesson in pain.
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Dance With Dragons I cannot even begin to fathom how Mr Martin keeps track of all the characters and bloodlines in his books but I must say it is sure fun to read about all the inner workings and political machinations that he puts into his story. Can't wait to see where he take it from here.
Date published: 2012-07-09
Rated out of 5 by from Really enjoying this series cant wait for the next one. I love the format of following a single character for each chapter and love the way it all ties together.
Date published: 2012-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read I've now read the first 5 books of this series and absolutely love them, can't wait for The Winds Of Winter to be released. George R.R. Martin is a great author ands leaves you craving more, the way he writes his characters can have you love them and then hate them. Awesome read so addicting!
Date published: 2012-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the Wait :) :) I think this book was the best in series so far. I can't wait until the next book is released and I am hoping it isn't too far in the future. I suppose I'll have to get my Game of Thrones fix through HBO for now :D
Date published: 2011-11-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A disapointment I have enjoyed reading the series of books. The last one was too confusing for me. It took a few chapters to begin making sense of the plot. The author tried to put too many characters in the story. After so many pages, the end is a disapointment; I feel we are no closer to understand where every little stories are going than at the beginning of the book. Too many references to legends the reader is unable to understand. Better luck with the next Mr Martin!
Date published: 2011-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from And people called me crazy... I jumped on the Song of Ice and Fire bandwagon about 5 years ago, just after Feast for Crows came out. I loved the series then, and I love it now, especially with that awesome new television adaptation which is fabulous and I hope continues to be so! I have waited five years for this book, and many of my friends thought me crazy for hanging on so long to wait for the fifth of seven novels. Well I must say it was worth the wait. I loved it! I was so glad to see these old friends after so long! Granted the first few chapters were a tad confusing as I was trying to play catch up after five years hiatus, but that's to be expected. We're brought back to Westeros, Braavos, Pentos, the Dothraki Sea, along with some well remembered and loved characters. All the major player come back: Dany, Jon, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaimie and Bran, along with some supporting characters from previous books and interesting new ones. One of which has made me reconsider the highly speculated path of one much beloved Crow. Some of the character chapters also made me reevaluate my opinion of the featured character, which is always a good thing as it depicts writing skill and character development. Not all characters though. Some are still jerks. Something I thought was quite interesting that I think is a first for these books is the chapter names. Usually, the chapters are named after characters: Jon, Cersei. Sansa, Arya, Eddard, etc. And while that tradition continues in Dance with Dragons, I think a new tradition has been introduced alongside it. I noticed that some chapters weren't the character's name, but rather that character's perception of them self. For example in one chapter someone goes briefly to Winterfell, and repeats this mantra to themselves: "There are ghosts in Winterfell and I am one of them". Then sure enough the next chapter for that character is entitled Ghosts in/of Winterfell. I thought that was really nifty. Be warned however: The last character chapter is a cliffhanger. If you don't want a cliffhanger ending for anyone, hang on a bit before you read Dance with Dragons. It might make you angry. Made me angry, but in a total shock and "oh my God that did NOT just happen!" kind of way. But no matter how you slice it, Dance with Dragons is a must must must must read for any SoIF fans. Enjoy.
Date published: 2011-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well Worth the Wait. It was 6 years ago, that I found A Song of Ice and Fire and have been waiting for this book. Perhaps that is why I never gave up, or despaired. It is a book that leaves more questions than answers, but there is plenty of action unlike Feast, which in my opinion dragged on too much. It drastically sets up the last two novels in the series which will hopeful be coming quicker down the pipeline.
Date published: 2011-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding George R. R. Martin has done it again.
Date published: 2011-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THIS WILL BE AWESOME! People, relax. It takes time for a master writer to create an epic work of fiction, which this obviously is. I finished the fourth book just recently, and cant wait for July 12. All those who are freaking out about how long its been between books, RELAX! All long series are like this. I've been reading another series since the beginning, and its 3 or 4 years between books! A Song of Ice and Fire is so detailed, with so much going on, of course its going to take a long time! Martin won't let us down!
Date published: 2011-06-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from *sigh* Read the first four books, very quickly, and loved them. That was YEARS ago. I now am not sure if I really give a tinker's damn about this series anymore, and that is saying quite a bit. And the very weird part is this past week, I was in Northern Ireland for a family member's funeral. I happened to be in one of the bookstores in Belfast International Airport. This book is in mass market paperback there. I almost had a heart attack. Can someone explain this to me ?
Date published: 2011-06-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just So We're All Clear... I absolutely love Martin no matter how many more years I have to wait for this bloody book, but please keep in mind that he does more than sit and work on a single story all day. He edits a ridiculous amount of things, he writes other stories, he goes to conventions as a guest speaker, and he's working on the HBO series. The man has a lot on his plate, so it's understandable for the books to be taking a long time to be released. That being said, Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons were written as one book, which had to be split into two due to publishing constraints. Feast for Crows came out in 2005, and we're still waiting for essentially the second half that should have been out 6 years ago. Thus, the anger is definitely understandable, and the book should have come out either at the same time as Crows, or a few months after. But, he keeps going back and fixing/changing things in the plot. Arya, Cersei, Jaime, Sansa...none of these characters will be in Dance with Dragons, as Feast for Crows held one half of the characters' chapters, and Dragons will hold the second, so we won't be getting plot points cleared up from the end of Crows for another decade or so. Suffice to say, the man is extremely busy outside of writing this series, and I'd be more understanding if the book wasn't supposed to be out around 2005/2006. Go check his blog if you want information straight from him on the progress of the novel, but in the meantime, start a new series. As someone above said, the Malazan series is excellent if at times confusing. Goodkind's Sword of Truth is also consistently excellent. So be angry, but be constructive with the anger, and start another series. The book will come out eventually, and hopefully Martin won't die before the series is done.
Date published: 2011-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Oh what a tangled web... It seems quite obvious to me that this book is either (a) not written at all at this point or (b) is such a mess that it needs to be re-written; either way, it's going to dissappoint. That is a ridiculous release date (Christmas 2012) and I am sure is "subject to change." Perhaps at one point there was a plan to this story but the threads have either unravelled, tangled or broken. IF it ever gets done, I'll read the mass market edition - maybe. This is quite a disservice to his loyal readers who deserve much better, so I am not sure I want to give any support to this sham. I've moved on to Steven Erikson and his 'Malazan Book of the Fallen' 10 volume series which I think are better written and have been published at regular intervals with a consistent level of excellent quality. For those of you who have given up or have say two years to kill, maybe give "Gardens of the Moon" a try.
Date published: 2010-12-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Completely DISGUSTED!!! I was...and I repeat WAS a very big fan of George...but sadly I must say that I am done with him and have told many others of his lack of true devotion to his fans. Lies and excuses are no way to keep your fans. I will not be supporting George by purchasing any more of his books. I have enjoyed them...but I am now actually angry. It is not even a matter of patience any more. It has gone totally beyond the realm of ridiculous. Bye bye George!! Maybe someday when the series is completed I will consider reading it again...IF I LIVE THAT LONG!!!
Date published: 2010-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just be patient I think everyone just needs to sit and relax. The book will get here when it gets here and there's nothing that we say right now that will make it come any faster! Being a writer has to be a tough job, I can't imagine thinking of all the things he has, with all the varying plot lines, and still know where I'm wanting everything to head. I will gladly wait out the time for the book to be released, and last I saw that would be 2012; however, many books can be bumped up in their release date, so everyone please relax and keep your eyes peeled for it! I know I will.
Date published: 2010-02-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I'm sorry but I missed the point... I, like the others commenting, am waiting for the fifth book in this series. Thankfully, I have only come to this series recently, so the wait for me should (according to the current release date) be manageable. My dilemma is this. I don't know that I care what happens next. Most books, in my extensive experience, have a point. Have a purpose. Make you yearn for a specific ending. Conflict is generated to make that specific outcome uncertain. But this series has gone in so many different directions with so many different characters that cohesion of any kind has been lost. Even if, in book 5, we find out that Bran has turned into an ice giant and started communing with the Gods of Old directly, it will in no way affect whether Daenerys makes it across the sea to retake the Seven Kingdoms. And I speak of two of the only three characters that I am at all interested in. The other being Jon Snow. When I first picked up these books, I assumed (wrongly) that these were going to be about the Starks and about Daenerys. I understood that the Baratheon/Lannister storyline was important back/co-story but I had no idea it was to become THE story. I am disappointed. Very disappointed. To start with a complex family relationship and a clear threat to it (ie. Dany) and fracture it is frustrating. As the Starks have been killed off, MORE focus should have been put on the remaining members. Not less. My last point of complaint is about the introduction of characters that "seem" to have some importance in late book three and book four. Was it necessary to introduce us to the knight that is protecting Myrcella, give him a back story and then kill him off rather pathetically within the same HALF of a novel? Where is the fun in that? I will end my commentary here. I have written more than enough. And sadly, could write more. Will I read this book? Yes. Will it give me any kind of satisfaction? That remains to be seen but I'm not confident of a positive answer. Sadly done Mr. Martin. Poorly done. Perhaps, as another commentatory mentioned, you should have stuck with one thing at a time.
Date published: 2010-01-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Getting frustrated When I started this series a few years ago, I read all 4 books back to back, I couldn't put them down. I read them not realizing that it would take YEARS to get the next installment. I wish someone would have warned me before I even picked up the first book. I will be warning anyone I know that wants to read them to wait until a definitive, realistic release date is set. They are amazing books, but seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Why does it have to be delayed yet again? I really would like to know what the problem is.
Date published: 2009-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Make a choice I am a very big fan of Mr. Martin's work. And despite the delays in publication of this book i will continue to remain a fan until series end. I am frustrated that this book has taken so long to come out, I cannot wait to read it as many other fans of Mr. Martin. However I am willing to wait. It may be a long and frustrating wait, but I am willing to do so as I have realized a few things. 1. Mr. Martin has a life. He does not need to be nor does he deserve to be chained to a desk to fulfill our demands. He began writing this series because he has a passion and interest for it, but as we all know if we spend months on one thing we lose that sed passion and interest. As much as I want him to hurry, I wont push it because I do not want him to be fed up with the series and crank out big steamy piles of nothing. 2. Mr. Martin has never once said that it would be ready by the times that most publishers do. Until the book is done, he refuses to make any promises, which I am glad for. These dates are therefore NOT Mr. Martin's fault. 3. There are other books in this world. My literary interest is not limited to A Song of Ice and Fire. As a result I will read other books until this one comes available, where I will re read the series to reacquaint myself with the characters and such. 4. Mr. Martin is not Robert Jordan. He will not 'pull a Jordan' and I think he's getting pretty angry at everyone saying that. 5. Harassing him like this will not make him want to finish the book, or finish it just to mess over all the fans who hounded him. All i keep hearing is that Mr. Martin needs to hurry up, sit down, stop writing other books yada yada yada. I've worked with toddlers with more patience and better manners than some of these Song of Ice and Fire fans. 6. I see that fans have 2 choices. Force the book or wait. If you force the book, you'll get a big steamy runny pile of nothing. If you wait you'll get gold. I've made my choice. What about you?
Date published: 2009-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow, another long wait I really love this series. But this is getting rediculous. Plus how do you get the audio version at the end of this year, and not the hardcover book? Very confused on that one. Hurry up, we're all waiting!!!!
Date published: 2009-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Get on with it-----PLEASE!!!! Mr Martin really needs to concentrate on one book/series at a time. To me that is why it's taking forever to get this book done. He has too many fingers in too many pies (Hunter's Run, Wild Card books, etc). Then he's out travelling here and there at book conventions, signings, etc. Mr Martin, please park your butt and finish this series. I'd really be upset to have wasted my time and money if you went and did what Robert Jordan did, which is what I've always feared when getting into a series I really like. Sorry Mr Jordan but I'm glad you told Mrs Jordan how the book was to end so Brandon Sanderson (who I've also read) can finish your work.
Date published: 2009-06-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well that's interesting After months and months of waiting the publication date of A Dance with Dragons is finally announced. But there must be some mistake with it, December 2035 for the hardcover edition!? At that time will the author still be around to finish the series? As a consolation though publishers will let us purchase an AudioBook version as earlier as September of this year! Personally i think the author should stop going to so many conventions etc and do some serious writing and give his fans what they really want, more books!
Date published: 2009-06-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Turned Off Are you kidding? There must be some mistake - the book will be published in 2035? Some of his current readers will no longer be of this world by then. What is the problem?
Date published: 2009-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hopeful and frustrated... I truly, thoroughly enjoy Martin's Ice and Fire series - I read the first four books one immediately following the other, as I simply couldn't put them down! As much as I hate to admit it, however, I am beginning to lose interest as I become increasingly frustrated with the wait for the fifth book... Since a fall 2008 publication date was first announced months ago, the date has already been pushed back more than a year, and I feel like it'll be another decade at least before I might finally be able to enjoy the denouement of this epic saga (IF Martin manages to tie everything up within seven books, as I believe has been intended to date)... I'm trying to be patient, but I just hope the story winds up being worth such a wait!!!!
Date published: 2008-12-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Pushed back... yet again... I have thoroughly enjoyed the ice and fire series and have been eagerly awaiting its next installment. When I saw the release was scheduled for fall 2008 I was jubilant. I'd been warned when I started the series, "You're going to be waiting a long time for the last books, they're never going to be done". I just shrugged and read them anyways. Now, it seems, the people telling me to look elsewhere for a good fantasy series may have been right. 2013? Are you kidding me? By then most people won't care enough. It will go unread by most fans just for the fact that it's been so long, and god only knows when the next one will come out... 2020? I think it's a combination of too many projects at once, writer's block, and perhaps disinterest. It's speculation but it's all I've got. Here's to hoping I remember to look for this in 2013. Probably won't, but hey, who knows.
Date published: 2008-10-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from i refuse to wait until 2013!!!!!!!! worth the wait? who could know? this book went from a September 30, 2008 release date to an April 2013 release date. Why? It must be the kind of dreck that even his publisher wouldn't bother with. George has lost a faithful reader with this delay, a delay which just underlines the pathetic direction the series took beginning in A Storm of Swords. Try plotting your work a little instead of wasted rambling that contains little to no forethought, and perhaps your novels won't get delayed by 5 YEARS!!! By the way, the Wildcards books suck hard.
Date published: 2008-09-30

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Tyrion He drank his way across the narrow sea.The ship was small and his cabin smaller, and the captain would not allow him abovedecks. The rocking of the deck beneath his feet made his stomach heave, and the wretched food they served him tasted even worse when retched back up. Besides, why did he need salt beef, hard cheese, and bread crawling with worms when he had wine to nourish him? It was red and sour, very strong. He sometimes heaved the wine up too, but there was always more. "The world is full of wine," he muttered in the dankness of his cabin. His father had never had any use for drunkards, but what did that matter? His father was dead. He ought to know; he'd killed him. A bolt in the belly, my lord, and all for you. If only I was better with a crossbow, I would have put it through that cock you made me with, you bloody bastard. Below decks there was neither night nor day. Tyrion marked time by the comings and goings of the cabin boy who brought the meals he did not eat. The boy always brought a brush and bucket too, to clean up. "Is this Dornish wine?" Tyrion asked him once, as he pulled a stopper from a skin. "It reminds me of a certain snake I knew. A droll fellow, till a mountain fell on him." The cabin boy did not answer. He was an ugly boy, though admittedly more comely than a certain dwarf with half a nose and a scar from eye to chin. "Have I offended you?" Tyrion asked the sullen, silent boy, as he was scrubbing. "Were you commanded not to talk to me? Or did some dwarf diddle your mother?" That went unanswered too. This is pointless, he knew, but he must speak to someone or go mad, so he persisted. "Where are we sailing? Tell me that." Jaime had made mention of the Free Cities, but had never said which one. "Is it Braavos? Tyrosh? Myr?" Tyrion would sooner have gone to Dorne. Myrcella is older than Tommen, by Dornish law the Iron Throne is hers. I will help her claim her rights, as Prince Oberyn suggested. Oberyn was dead, though, his head smashed to bloody ruin by the armored fist of Ser Gregor Clegane. And without the Red Viper to urge him on, would Doran Martell even consider such a chancy scheme? He may clap me in chains instead, and hand me back to my sweet sister. The Wall might be safer. Old Bear Mormont said the Night's Watch had need of men like Tyrion. Mormont may be dead, though. By now Slynt may be the Lord Commander. That butcher's son was not like to have forgotten who sent him to the Wall. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life eating salt beef and porridge with murderers and thieves? Not that the rest of his life would last very long. Janos Slynt would see to that. The cabin boy wet his brush and scrubbed on manfully. "Have you ever visited the pleasure houses of Lys?" the dwarf inquired. "Might that be where whores go?" Tyrion could not seem to recall the Valyrian word for whore, and in any case it was too late. The boy tossed his brush back in his bucket and took his leave. The wine has blurred my wits. He had learned to read High Valyrian at his maester's knee, though what they spoke in the Nine Free Cities... well, it was not so much a dialect as nine dialects on the way to becoming separate tongues. Tyrion had some Braavosi and a smattering of Myrish. In Tyrosh he should be able to curse the gods, call a man a cheat, and order up an ale, thanks to a sellsword he had once known at the Rock. At least in Dorne they spea the Common Tongue. Like Dornish food and Dornish law, Dornish speech was spiced with the flavors of the Rhoyne, but a man could comprehend it. Dorne, yes, Dorne for me. He crawled into his bunk, clutching that thought like a child with a doll. Sleep had never come easily to Tyrion Lannister. Aboard that ship it seldom came at all, though from time to time he managed to drink sufficient wine to pass out for a while. At least he did not dream. He had dreamt enough for one small life. And of such follies: love, justice, friendship, glory. As well dream of being tall. It was all beyond his reach, Tyrion knew now. But he did not know where whores go. "Wherever whores go," his father had said. His last words, and what words they were. The crossbow thrummed, Lord Tywin sat back down, and Tyrion Lannister found himself waddling through the darkness with Varys at his side. He must have clambered back down the shaft, two hundred and thirty rungs to where orange embers glowed in the mouth of an iron dragon. He remembered none of it. Only the sound the crossbow made, and the stink of his father's bowels opening. Even in his dying, he found a way to shit on me. Varys had escorted him through the tunnels, but they never spoke until they emerged beside the Blackwater, where Tyrion had won a famous victory and lost a nose. That was when the dwarf turned to the eunuch and said, "I've killed my father," in the same tone a man might use to say, "I've stubbed my toe." The master of whisperers had been dressed as a begging brother, in a moth-eaten robe of brown roughspun with a cowl that shadowed his smooth fat cheeks and bald round head. "You should not have climbed that ladder," he said reproachfully. "Wherever whores go." Tyrion warned his father not to say that word. If I had not loosed, he would have seen my threats were empty. He would have taken the crossbow from my hands, as once he took Tysha from my arms. He was rising when I killed him. "I killed Shae too," he confessed to Varys. "You knew what she was." "I did. But I never knew what he was." Varys tittered. "And now you do." I should have killed the eunuch as well. A little more blood on his hands, what would it matter? He could not say what had stayed his dagger. Not gratitude. Varys had saved him from a headsman's sword, but only because Jaime had compelled him. Jaime... no, better not to think of Jaime. He found a fresh skin of wine instead, and sucked at it as if it were a woman's breast. The sour red ran down his chin and soaked through his soiled tunic, the same one he had been wearing in his cell. He sucked until the wine was gone. The deck was swaying beneath his feet, and when he tried to rise it lifted sideways and smashed him hard against a bulkhead. A storm, he realized, or else I am even drunker than I knew. He retched the wine up and lay in it a while, wondering if the ship would sink. Is this your vengeance, Father? Have the Father Above made you his Hand? "Such are the wages of the kinslayer," he said as the wind howled outside. It did not seem fair to drown the cabin boy and the captain and all the rest for something he had done, but when had the gods ever been fair? And around about then, the darkness gulped him down When he stirred again, his head felt like to burst and the ship was spinning round in dizzy circles, though the captain was insisting that they'd come to port. Tyrion told him to be quiet, and kicked feebly as a huge bald sailor tucked him under one arm and carried him squirming to the hold, where an empty wine cask awaited him. It was a squat little cask, and a tight fit even for a dwarf. Tyrion pissed himself in his struggles, for all the good it did. He was up crammed face first into the cask with his knees pushed up against his ears. The stub of his nose itched horribly, but his arms were pinned so tightly that he could not reach to scratch it. A palanquin fit for a man of my stature, he thought as they hammered shut the lid and hoisted him up. He could hear voices shouting as he was jounced along. Every bounce cracked his head against the bottom of the cask. The world went round and round as the cask rolled downward, then stopped with a sudden crash that made him want to scream. Another cask slammed into his, and Tyrion bit his tongue. That was the longest journey he had ever taken, though it could not have lasted more than half an hour. He was lifted and lowered, rolled and stacked, upended and righted and rolled again. Through the wooden staves he heard men shouting, and once a horse whickered nearby. His stunted legs began to cramp, and soon hurt so badly that he forgot the hammering in his head. It ended as it had begun, with another roll that left him dizzy and more jouncing. Outside strange voices were speaking in a tongue he did not know. Someone started pounding on the top of the cask and the lid cracked open suddenly. Light came flooding in, and cool air as well. Tyrion gasped greedily and tried to stand, but only managed to knock the cask over sideways and spill himself out onto a hard-packed earthen floor. Above him loomed a grotesque fat man with a forked yellow beard, holding a wooden mallet and an iron chisel. His bedrobe was large enough to serve as a tourney pavilion, but its loosely knotted belt had come undone, exposing a huge white belly and a pair of heavy breasts that sagged like sacks of suet covered with coarse yellow hair. He reminded Tyrion of a dead sea cow that had once washed up in the caverns under Casterly Rock. The fat man looked down and smiled. "A drunken dwarf," he said, in the Common Tongue of Westeros. "A rotting sea cow." Tyrion's mouth was full of blood. He spat it at the fat man's feet. They were in a long dim cellar with barrel-vaulted ceilings, its stone walls spotted with nitre. Casks of wine and ale surrounded them, more than enough drink to see a thirsty dwarf safely through the night. Or through a life. "You are insolent. I like that in a dwarf." When the fat man laughed, his flesh bounced so vigorously that Tyrion was afraid he might fall and crush him. "Are you hungry, my little friend? Weary?" "Thirsty." Tyrion struggled to his knees. "And filthy." The fat man sniffed. "A bath first, just so. Then food and a soft bed, yes? My servants shall see to it." His host put the mallet and chisel aside. "My house is yours. Any friend of my friend across the water is a friend to Illyrio Mopatis, yes." And any friend of Varys the Spider is someone I will trust just as far as I can throw him. The fat man made good on the promised bath, at least... though no sooner did Tyrion lower himself into the hot water and close his eyes than he was fast asleep. He woke naked on a goosedown featherbed so deep and soft it felt as if he were being swallowed by a cloud. His tongue was growing hair and his throat was raw, but his cock felt as hard as an iron bar. He rolled from the bed, found a chamberpot, and commenced to filling it, with a groan of pleasure. The room was dim, but there were bars of yellow sunlight showing between the slats of the shutters. Tyrion shook the last drops off and waddled over patterned Myrish carpets as soft as new spring grass. Awkwardly he climbed the window seat and flung shudders open to see where Varys and the gods had sent him. Beneath his window six cherry trees stood sentinel around a marble pool, their slender branches bare and brown. A naked boy stood on the water, poised to duel with a bravo's blade in hand. He was lithe and handsome, no older than sixteen, with straight blond hair that brushed his shoulders. So lifelike did he seem that it took the dwarf a long moment to realize he was made of painted marble, though his sword shimmered like true steel. Across the pool stood stood a brick wall twelve feet high, with iron spikes along its top. Beyond that was the city. A sea of tiled rooftops crowded close around a bay. He saw square brick towers, a great red temple, a distant manse upon a hill. In the far distance sunlight shimmered off deep water. Fishing boats were moving across the bay, their sails rippling in the wind, and he could see the masts of larger ships poking up along the bay shore. Surely one is bound for Dorne, or for Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. He had no means to pay for passage, though, nor was he made to pull an oar. I suppose I could sign on as a cabin boy and earn my way by letting the crew bugger me up and down the narrow sea. He wondered where he was. Even the air smells different here. Strange spices scented the chilly autumn wind, and he could hear faint cries drifting over the wall from the streets beyond. It sounded something like Valyrian, but he did not recognize more than one word in five. Not Braavos, he concluded, nor Tyrosh. Those bare branches and the chill in the air argued against Lys and Myr and Volantis as well. When he heard the door opening behind him, Tyrion turned to confront his fat host. "This is Pentos, yes?" "Just so. Where else?" Pentos. Well, it was not King's Landing, that much could be said for it. "Where do whores go?" he heard himself ask. "Whores are found in brothels here, as in Westeros. You will have no need of such, my little friend. Choose from among my serving women. None will dare refuse you." "Slaves?" the dwarf asked pointedly. The fat man stroked one of the prongs of his oiled yellow beard, a gesture Tyrion fond remarkably obscene. "Slavery is forbidden in Pentos, by the terms of the treaty the Braavosi imposed on us a hundred years ago. Still, they will not refuse you." Illyrio gave a ponderous half-bow. "But now my little friend must excuse me. I have the honor to be a magister of this great city, and the prince has summoned us to session." He smiled, showing a mouth full of crooked yellow teeth. "Explore the manse and grounds as you like, but on no account stray beyond the walls. It is best that no man knows that you were here." "Were? Have I gone somewhere?" "Time enough to speak of that this evening. My little friend and I shall eat and drink and make great plans, yes?" "Yes, my fat friend," Tyrion replied. He thinks to use me for his profit. It was all profit with the merchant princes of the Free Cities. "Spice soldiers and cheese lords," his lord father called them, with contempt. Should a day ever dawn when Illyrio Mopatis saw more profit in a dead dwarf than a live one, he would find himself packed into another wine cask by dusk. It would be well if I were gone before that day arrives. That it would arrive he did not doubt; Cersei was not like to forget him, and even Jaime might be vexed to find a quarrel in Father's belly. A light wind was riffling the waters of the pool below, all around the naked swordsman. It reminded him of how Tysha would riffle his hair during the false spring of their marriage, before he helped his father's guardsmen rape her. He had been thinking of those guardsmen during his flight, trying to recall how many there had been. You would think he might remember that, but no. A dozen? A score? A hundred? He could not say. They had all been grown men, tall and strong... though all men were tall to a dwarf of thirteen years. Tysha knew their number. Each of them had given her a silver stag, so she would only need to count the coins. A silver for each and a gold for me. His father had insisted that he pay her too. A Lannister always pays his debts. "Wherever whores go," he heard Lord Tywin say once more, and once more the bowstring thrummed. The magister had invited him to explore the manse. He found clean clothes in a cedar chest inlaid with lapis and mother-of-pearl. The clothes had been made for a small boy, he realized as he struggled into them. The fabrics were rich enough, if a little musty, but the cut was too long in the legs and too short in the arms, with a collar that would have turned his face as black as Joffrey's had he somehow contrived to get it fastened. At least they do not stink of vomit. Tyrion began his explorations with the kitchen, where two fat women and a pot boy watched him warily as he helped himself to cheese, bread, and figs. "Good morrow to you, fair ladies," he said with a bow. "Do you perchance know where the whores go?" When they did not respond, he repeated the question in High Valyrian, though he had to say courtesan in place of whore. The younger fatter cook gave him a shrug that time. He wondered what they would do if he took them by the hand and dragged them to his bedchamber. None will dare refuse you, Illyrio claimed, but somehow Tyrion did not think he meant these two. The younger woman was old enough to be his mother, and the older was likely her mother. Both were near as fat as Illyrio, with teats that were larger than his head. I could smother myself in flesh, he reflected. There were worse ways to die. The way his lord father had died, for one. I should have made him shit a little gold before expiring. Lord Tywin might have been niggardly with his approval and affection, but he had always been open-handed when it came to coin. The only thing more pitiful than a dwarf without a nose is a dwarf without a nose who has no gold. Tyrion left the fat women to their loaves and kettles and went in search of the cellar where Illyrio had decanted him the night before. It was not hard to find. There was enough wine there to keep him drunk for a hundred years; sweet reds from the Reach and sour reds from Dorne, pale Pentoshi ambers, the green nectar of Myr, three score casks of Arbor gold, even wines from the fabled east, from Meereen and Qarth and Asshai by the Shadow. In the end, Tyrion chose a cask of strongwine marked as the private stock of Lord Runceford Redwyne, the grandfather of the present Lord of the Arbor. The taste of it was languorous and heady on the tongue, the color a purple so dark that it looked almost black in the dim-lit cellar. Tyrion filled a cup, and a flagon for good measure, and carried them up to gardens to drink beneath those cherry trees he'd seen. As it happened, he left by the wrong door and never found the pool he had spied from his window, but it made no matter. The gardens behind the manse were just as pleasant, and far more extensive. He wandered through them for a time, drinking. The walls would have shamed any proper castle, and the ornamental iron spikes along the top looked strangely naked without heads to adorn them. Tyrion pictured how his sister's head might look up there, with tar in her golden hair and flies buzzing in and out of her mouth. Yes, and Jaime must have the spike beside her, he decided. No one must ever come between my brother and my sister. With a rope and a grapnel he might be able to get over that wall. He strong arms and he did not weigh much. With a rope he should he able to reach the spikes and clamber over. I will search for a rope on the morrow, he resolved. He saw three gates during his wanderings; the main entrance with its gatehouse, a postern by the kennels, and a garden gate hidden behind a tangle of pale ivy. The last was chained, the others guarded. The guards were plump, their faces as smooth as a baby's bottom, and every man of them wore a spiked bronze cap. Tyrion knew eunuchs when he saw them. He knew their sort by reputation. They feared nothing and felt no pain, it was said, and were loyal to their masters unto death. I could make good use of a few hundred of mine own, he reflected. A pity I did not think of that before I became a beggar. He walked along a pillared gallery and through a pointed arch, and found himself in a tiled courtyard where a woman was washing clothes at a well. She looked to be his own age, with dull red hair and a broad face dotted by freckles. "Would you like some wine?" he asked her. She looked at him uncertainly. "I have no cup for you, we'll have to share." The washerwoman went back to wringing out tunics and hanging them to dry. Tyrion settled on a stone bench with his flagon. "Tell me, how far should I trust Magister Illyrio?" The name made her look up. "That far?" Chuckling, he crossed his stunted legs and took a drink. "I am loathe to play whatever part the cheesemonger has in mind for me, yet how can I refuse him? The gates are guarded. Perhaps you might smuggle me out under your skirts? I'd be so grateful, why, I'll even wed you. I have two wives already, why not three? Ah, but where would we live?" He gave her as pleasant a smile as a man with half a nose could manage. "I have a niece in Sunspear, did I tell you? I could make rather a lot of mischief in Dorne with Myrcella. I could set my niece and nephew at war, wouldn't that be droll?" The washerwoman pinned up one of Illyrio's tunics, large enough to double as a sail. "I should be ashamed to think such evil thoughts, you're quite right. Better if I sought the Wall instead. All crimes are wiped clean when a man joins the Night's Watch, they say. Though I fear they would not let me keep you, sweetling. No women in the Watch, no sweet freckly wives to warm your bed at night, only cold winds, salted cod, and small beer. Do you think I might stand taller in black, my lady?" He filled his cup again. "What do you say? North or south? Shall I atone for old sins or make some new ones?" The washerwoman gave him one last glance, picked up her basket, and walked away. I cannot seem to hold a wife for very long, Tyrion reflected. Somehow his flagon had gone dry. Perhaps I should stumble back down to the cellars. The strongwine was making his head spin, though, and the cellar steps were very steep. "Where do whores go?" he asked the wash flapping on the line. Perhaps he should have asked the washerwoman. Not to imply that you're a whore, my dear, but perhaps you know where they go. Or better yet, he should have asked his father. "Wherever whores go," Lord Tywin said. She loved me. She was a crofter's daughter, she loved me and she wed me, she put her trust in me. The empty flagon slipped from his hand and rolled across the yard. Grimacing, Tyrion pushed himself off the bench and went to fetch it, but as he did he saw some mushrooms growing up from a cracked paving tile. Pale white they were, with speckles, and red ribbed undersides as dark as blood. The dwarf snapped one off and sniffed it. Delicious, he thought, or deadly. But which? Why not both? He was not a brave enough man to take cold steel to his own belly, but a bite of mushroom would not be so hard. There were seven of the mushrooms, he saw. Perhaps the gods were trying to tell him something. He picked them all, snatched a glove down from the line, wrapped them carefully, and stuffed them down his pocket. The effort made him dizzy, though, so afterward he crawled back onto the bench, curled up, and shut his eyes. When he woke again, he was back in his bedchamber, drowning in the goosedown featherbed once more while a blond girl shook his shoulder. "My lord," she said, "your bath awaits. Magister Illyrio expects you at table within the hour." Tyrion propped himself against the pillows, his head in his hands. "Do I dream, or do you speak the Common Tongue?" "Yes, my lord. I was bought to please the king." She was blue-eyed and fair, young and willowy. "I am sure you did. I need a cup of wine." She poured for him. "Magister Illyrio said that I am to scrub your back and warm your bed. My name – " " – is of no interest to me. Do you know where whores go?" She flushed. "Whores sell themselves for coin." "Or jewels, or gowns, or castles. But where do they go?" The girl could not grasp the question. "Is it a riddle, m'lord? I'm no good at riddles. Will you tell me the answer?" No, he thought. I despise riddles, myself. "I will tell you nothing. Do me the same favor." The only part of you that interests me is the part between your legs, he almost said. The words were on his tongue, but somehow never passed his lips. She is not Shae, the dwarf told himself, only some little fool who thinks I play at riddles. If truth be told, even her cunt did not interest him much. I must be sick, or dead. "You mentioned a bath? Show me. We must not keep the great cheesemonger waiting." As he bathed, the girl washed his feet, scrubbed his back, and brushed his hair. Afterward she rubbed sweet-smelling ointment into his calves to ease the aches, and dressed him once again in boy's clothing, a musty pair of burgundy breeches and a blue velvet doublet lined with cloth-of-gold. "Will my lord want me after he has eaten?" she asked as she was lacing up his boots. "No. I am done with women." Whores. The girl took that disappointment entirely too well for his liking. "If m'lord would prefer a boy, I can have one waiting in his bed." M'lord would prefer his wife. M'lord would prefer a girl named Tysha. "Only if he knows where whores go." The girl's mouth tightened. She despises me, he realized, but no more than I despise myself. That he had fucked many a woman who loathed the very sight of him, Tyrion Lannister had no doubt, but the others had at least the grace to feign affection. A little honest loathing might be refreshing, like a tart wine after too much sweet. "I believe I have changed my mind," he told her. "Wait for me abed. Naked, if you please, I expect I'll be a deal too drunk to fumble at your clothing. Keep your mouth shut and your thighs open and the two of us should get on splendidly." He gave her a leer, hoping for a taste of fear, but all she gave him was revulsion. No one fears a dwarf. Even Lord Tywin had not been afraid, though Tyrion had held a crossbow in his hands. "Do you moan when you are being fucked?" he asked the bedwarmer. "If it please m'lord." "It might please m'lord to strangle you. That's how I served my last whore. Do you think your master would object? Surely not. He has a hundred more like you, but no one else like me." This time, when he grinned, he got the fear he wanted. Illyrio was reclining on a padded couch, gobbling hot peppers and pearl onions from a wooden bowl. His brow was dotted with beads of sweat, his pig's eyes shining above his fat cheeks. Jewels danced when he moved his hands; onyx and opal, tiger's eye and tourmeline, ruby, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, jet and jade, a black diamond and a green pearl. I could live for years on his rings, Tyrion mused, though I'd need a cleaver to claim them. "Come and sit, my little friend." Illyrio waved him closer. The dwarf clambered up onto a chair. It was much too big for him, a cushioned throne intended to accomodate the magister's massive buttocks, with thick sturdy legs to bear his weight. Tyrion Lannister had lived all his life in a world that was too big for him, but in the manse of Illyrio Mopatis the sense of disproportion assumed grotesque dimensions. I am a mouse in a mammoth's lair, he mused, though at least the mammoth keeps a good cellar. The thought made him thirsty. He called for wine. "Did you enjoy the girl I sent you?" Illyrio asked. "If I had wanted a girl I would have asked for one. I lack a nose, not a tongue." "If she failed to please... " "She did all that was required of her." "I would hope so. She was trained in Lys, where they make an art of love. And she speaks your Common Tongue. The king enjoyed her greatly." "I kill kings, hadn't you heard?" Tyrion smiled evilly over his wine cup. "I want no royal leavings." "As you wish. Let us eat." Illyrio clapped his hands together, and serving men came running. They began with a broth of crab and monkfish, and cold egg lime soup as well. Then came quails in honey, a saddle of lamb, goose livers drowned in wine, buttered parsnips, and suckling pig. The sight of it all made Tyrion feel queasy, but he forced himself to try a spoon of soup for the sake of politeness, and once he had tasted he was lost. The cooks might be old and fat, but they knew their business. He had never eaten so well, even at court. As he was sucking the meat off the bones of his quail, he asked Illyrio about the morning's summons. The fat man shrugged. "There are troubles in the east. Astapor has fallen, and Meereen. Ghiscari slave cities that were old when the world was young." The suckling pig was carved. Illyrio reached for a piece of the crackling, dipped it in a plum sauce, and ate it with his fingers. "Slaver's Bay is a long way from Pentos," said Tyrion, as he speared a goose liver on the point of his knife. No man is as cursed as the kinslayer, he reminded himself, smiling. "This is so," Illyrio agreed, "but the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble." He clapped his hands again. "Come, eat." The serving men brough out a heron stuffed with figs, veal cutlets blanched with almond milk, creamed herring, candied onions, foul-smelling cheeses, plates of snails and sweetbreads, and a black swan in her plumage. Tyrion refused the swan, which reminded him of a supper with his sister. He helped himself to heron and herring, though, and a few of the sweet onions. And the serving men filled his wine cup anew each time he emptied it. "You drink a deal of wine for such a little man." "Kinslaying is dry work. It gives a man a thirst." The fat man's eyes glittered like the gemstones on his fingers. "There are those in Westeros who would say that killing Lord Lannister was merely a good beginning." "They had best not say it in my sister's hearing, or they will find themselves short a tongue." The dwarf tore a loaf of bread in half. "And you had best be careful what you say of my family, magister. Kinslayer or no, I am a lion still." That seemed to amuse the lord of cheese no end. He slapped a meaty thigh and said, "You Westerosi are all the same. You sew some beast upon a scrap of silk, and suddenly you are all lions or dragons or eagles. I can bring you to a real lion, my little friend. The prince keeps a pride in his menagerie. Would you like to share a cage with them?" The lords of the Seven Kingdoms did make rather much of their sigils, Tyrion had to admit. "Very well," he conceded. "A Lannister is not a lion. Yet I am still my father's son, and Jaime and Cersei are mine to kill." "How odd that you should mention your fair sister," said Illyrio, between snails. "The queen has offered a lordship to the man who brings her your head, no matter how humble his birth." It was no more than Tyrion had expected. "If you mean to take her up on it, make her spread her legs for you as well. The best part of me for the best part of her, that's a fair trade." "I would sooner have mine own weight in gold." The cheesemonger laughed so hard that Tyrion feared he was about to rupture and drown his guest in a gout of half-digested eels and sweetmeats. "All the gold in Casterly Rock, why not?" "The gold I grant you," he said, "but the Rock is mine." "Just so." The magister covered his mouth and belched a mighty belch. "Do you think King Stannis will give it to you? I am told he is a great one for the law. He may well grant you Casterly Rock, is that not so? Your brother wears the white cloak, so you are your father's heir by all the laws of Westeros." "Stannis might grant me the Rock," Tyrion admitted, "but there is also the small matter of regicide and kinslaying. For those he would shorten me by a head, and I am short enough as I stand. But why would you think I mean to join Lord Stannis?" "Why else would you go the Wall?" "Stannis is at the Wall?" Tyrion rubbed at his nose. "What in seven bloody hells is Stannis doing at the Wall?" "Shivering, I would think. It is warmer down in Dorne. Perhaps he should have sailed that way." Tyrion was beginning to suspect that a certain freckled washerwoman knew more of the Common Speech than she pretended. "My niece Myrcella is in Dorne, as it happens. And I have half a mind to make her a queen." Illyrio smiled, as his serving men spooned out bowls of black cherries in sweetcream for them both. "What has this poor child done to you, that you would wish her dead?" "Even a kinslayer is not required to slay all his kin," said Tyrion, wounded. "Queen her, I said. Not kill her." The cheesemonger spooned up cherries. "In Volantis they use a coin with a crown on one face and a death's head on the other. Yet it is the same coin. To queen her is to kill her. Dorne might rise for Myrcella, but Dorne alone is not enough. If you are as clever as our friend insists, you know this." Tyrion looked at the fat man with new interest. He is right on both counts. To queen her is to kill her. And I knew that. "Futile gestures are all that remain to me. This one would make my sister weep bitter tears, at least." Magister Illyrio wiped sweetcream from his mouth with the back of a fat hand. "The road to Casterly Rock does not go through Dorne, my little friend. Nor does it run beside the Wall. Yet there is such a road, I tell you." "I am an attainted traitor, a regicide and kinslayer." This talk of roads annoyed him. Does he think this is a game? "What one king does another may undo. In Pentos we have a prince, my friend. He presides at ball and feast and rides about the city in a palanquin of ivory and gold. Three heralds go before him with the golden scales of trade, the iron sword of war, and the silver scourge of justice. On the first day of each new year he must deflower the maid of the fields and the maid of the seas." Illyrio leaned forward, elbows on the table. "Yet should a crop fail or a war be lost, we cut his throat to appease the gods, and choose a new prince from amongst the forty families." Tyrion snorted through the stump of his nose. "Remind me never to become the Prince of Pentos." "Are your Seven Kingdoms so different? There is no peace in Westeros, no justice, no faith... and soon enough no food. When men are starving and sick of fear, they look for a savior." "They may look, but if all they find is Stannis – " "Not Stannis. Nor Myrcella. Another." The yellow smile widened. "Another. Stronger than Tommen, gentler than Stannis, with a better claim than the girl Myrcella. A savior come from across the sea to bind up the wounds of bleeding Westeros." "Fine words." Tyrion was unimpressed. "Words are wind. Who is this bloody savior?" "A dragon." The cheesemonger saw the look on his face at that, and laughed. "A dragon with three heads."

Editorial Reviews

“Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, A Dance with Dragons is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined.”—The Washington Post   “Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times   “One of the best series in the history of fantasy.”—Los Angeles Times