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If you recognized that title, you know of George R.R. Martin. I was overwhelmed by this author's first book, A Game of Thrones, swept into the second A Clash of Kings, dashed willy-nilly into A Storm of Swords and am now waiting breathlessly for the fourth book due out this fall A Feast for Crows and the fifth (due ??) A Dance of Dragons. Martin has been a screenwriter for years and is well honed in writing, though I believe these are his first novels.

If you haven't "found" these books and enjoy fantasy, go for it. They read more like a middle ages history (but not remotely dry) but set on a world where summers and winters can last generations and where some long forgotten horrific creatures or force in the past caused a great wall to be built in the north to isolate it/protect the kingdom. The lands to the south are reminiscent of desert societies in our world and used to be home to long dead dragons.

In the north lands, a king who took the throne from its previous occupant (and killed that family in the process) has uneasy alliances with other great families, all very realistically portrayed, with fostered kids to ensure alliances and covert plans by some individuals/families to gain more power than under the current regime. Of course, some of the previous royal family managed to escape, and intend to regain the throne from the "usurper." The book mainly follows the Starke family, who support the current king.

Each chapter has a character's name and follows their portion of the story for a while (third person though). Don't get to attached to anyone, since main characters actually die. On the other hand, don't presume a character has died even if the text implies it, since the perceptions of the character may be inaccurate (they assumed someone died for example.)

Moonglade
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...you know of George R.R. Martin. ... Martin has been a screenwriter for years and is well honed in writing, though I believe these are his first novels.

RailRoad has been doing sf for a long time: he either won a Nebula Award or was a finalist for his creepy novella "Sandkings" in the 80s.
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If you recognized that title, you know of George R.R. Martin. I was overwhelmed by this author's first book, A Game of Thrones, swept into the second A Clash of Kings, dashed willy-nilly into A Storm of Swords and am now waiting breathlessly for the fourth book due out this fall A Feast for Crows and the fifth (due ??) A Dance of Dragons. Martin has been a screenwriter for years and is well honed in writing, though I believe these are his first novels.

Warning: These are very, very good, but depressing.

I was so upset by the end of the first book that I waited for a couple of years before picking up the next one.

-mapletree
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I understand that the books are violent and gory, so I've been hesitant to pick them up.

Thuvia
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I understand that the books are violent and gory, so I've been hesitant to pick them up.

And John Carter of Mars wasn't??!!?? :)

Moonglade
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There's a difference between "running down a hallway cleaving skulls" and a graphic description of what that entails. Burroughs was not gory. His violence was tame. I love Agatha Christie and Nero Wolfe, but wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole Dean Koontz and others of his ilk. I admit that I'm a wuss. The music from "Night Gallery" scared me. I still regret reading "Presumed Innocent" (because of its prison scenes) not to mention "Marine Sniper."

I read reviews of "A Song of Fire and Ice" on Amazon and was put off. Am I wrong?

Thuvia
Not as pathetic as I sound
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Thuvia: You are not pathetic, just gifted with a graphic imagination. Nothing wrong with that.

I didn't find GRRM's books running with blood, yet they are realistic. People die, and messily since swords tend to be used. And for one death, molten gold, but the bastard deserved to die IMO.

Even thought I tend to "suspend disbelief" easily enough (I honestly wonder where the dwarves or elves are when I read Tolkien and "surface for a break), I also at some level always remember it's just a book/movie. Perhaps that gets me through books/movies that others find squeamish.

Moonglade
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I read reviews of "A Song of Fire and Ice" on Amazon and was put off. Am I wrong?

Probably not. I do remember them as containg explicit descriptions of violence.

-mapletree
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Even thought I tend to "suspend disbelief" easily enough (I honestly wonder where the dwarves or elves are when I read Tolkien and "surface for a break), I also at some level always remember it's just a book/movie. Perhaps that gets me through books/movies that others find squeamish.

That's one way. Me, I've been desensitized through exposure to violence in the media ;-)

-mapletree
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Actually, one book that I read a couple years back that I definitely wanted to throw across the room at the end was Margaret Hickman and David Baldwin's Dark Heart. An excellent book with a crappy ending that was begging for a sequel yet FOUR years later, nada. Grrrrrr!

Having opened this bucket of worms, anyone like Weis/Hickman's Death Gate series of 7 books?

Moonglade
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Having opened this bucket of worms, anyone like Weis/Hickman's Death Gate series of 7 books?

Didn't read that one. Recently finished The Rose of the Prophet series by them. First book great, second and third OK.

-mapletree

ps - Tracy Hickman is a guy.
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I admit that I haven't really read sci-fi/fantasy for a while, but had no idea I was so out of touch. I haven't heard of any of these authors. Now that I'm out of my WWII reading frenzy, I'll check out some of the authors mentioned. Hooray for libraries. Thanks.

Thuvia
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I admit that I haven't really read sci-fi/fantasy for a while, but had no idea I was so out of touch. I haven't heard of any of these authors. Now that I'm out of my WWII reading frenzy, I'll check out some of the authors mentioned. Hooray for libraries. Thanks.

Great site for book reccomendations: www.alexlit.com

You spend half an hour entering your opinion (good, bad, OK) on any fifty books. It will compare your opinion to the thousands of people in it's database and reccommend books. If you like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, it will reccommend books that other people who liked those three items enjoyed. It's very cool and has lead me to a lot of new authors. Their recommendations tend to lean to F/SF due to the nature of the internet reading population, so it might help.

-mapletree
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Did you like "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire"? I first read references to her in (I'm kind of ashamed to say) Barbara Cartland books. I'd been dying for years to read a biography about her and then discover two in the same year. Go figure...feast or famine.

Thanks for the site reference.

Thuvia
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Did you like "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire"? I first read references to her in (I'm kind of ashamed to say) Barbara Cartland books. I'd been dying for years to read a biography about her and then discover two in the same year. Go figure...feast or famine.

Ha, ha, actually I just checked it out. It's by my bedside, but I haven't started it yet. I've been looking forward to it for a while.

-mapletree
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Did you like "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire"? I first read references to her in (I'm kind of ashamed to say) Barbara Cartland books. I'd been dying for years to read a biography about her and then discover two in the same year. Go figure...feast or famine.

Forgot to mention - if you like Cartland, you'll love Georgette Heyer.

-mapletree
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