Author: George R. R. Martin
Publication Date: 2011 (1998)
Genre: FantasySource: Borrowed from Hubby
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders--Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon--who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles. (Goodreads Synopsis)
This is a great continuation from the first book as our characters are split further apart by the many claimants to the Iron Throne. We still have narrative from our book one narrators, but several new voices have also been added. Of these, most are good, but I find Davos' storyline a little dull.
Martin just keeps adding more and more layers to the story and this really is a series of epic proportions - both in the number of characters and in the complexity of the plot. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but I did love how Martin would get you believing one thing and then turn it all around a few chapters later.
On to book three!