Early reviews of this book scared me away, but Game Of Thrones Season 8 fever lured me back. As I experience severe withdrawal symptoms during the weekly wait between episodes, this book is the perfect antidote to keep me going.
If anything, this book confirms George R.R. Martin as one of the greatest storytelling geniuses of our time. This is volume one of two depicting the family tree of just one family in the mythical world of Westeros. That fact in itself is incredible.
I read somewhere that this book is basically a collection of ideas that Martin would have scribbled on the back on an envelope (pretty big envelope if you ask me) as he pondered the backstory of his main characters in A Song Of Fire And Ice.
The depth and scope of the material is astounding here. Written in a casual non-fiction style, Fire and Blood reads like a history book. I read Mary Beard’s fantastic Roman history tome SPQR last summer and the experience was similar. The only difference was that her historical subject was REAL! I find it absolutely unbelievable that Martin can write seven hundred pages of imagined history here and have another volume to go.
In some ways, Fire and Blood is an even better read than A Song Of Fire And Ice because the pace is lighting fast. History has no time for sweeping dialogue, thoughtful prose or descriptive text. Instead we get a fast paced cycle of blood and betrayal, battles and births and death and deception. Kings and Queens come and go amongst scheming lords, children and siblings.
Superfans will note the familiar families and settings used throughout and several cases of history repeating itself. Super sleuths might even figure out the ending of the Game Of Thrones TV series here if they look closely enough. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book and once again the addition of illustrations (by Doug Wheatley) only served to greatly enhance the reading experience.