George R. R. Martin's wonderful epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire continues in its second book, A Clash of Kings. In the first book, A Game of Thrones, Martin introduced us to some compelling characters, including Ned Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Robb Stark, Jon Snow, Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister. Ned Stark took up the position as Hand of the King but when the king was murdered, all hell broke loose. Ned was executed, leaving his daughter, Sansa, in the power of the Lannisters while his younger daughter, Arya, managed to escape.
In book two, A Clash of Kings audiobook, we sorely miss Ned Stark but the story is still gripping, with several different claimants to the throne. One of them is Joffrey Baratheon, allegedly the dead king's son but in reality the son of the queen who is having an incestuous relationship with her brother. Despite the fact that Joffrey is only in his teens, he's already a full-blown sociopath who enjoys inflicting pain. Robb Stark declares himself King in the North and marches downwards to conquer more lands. The dead king's two brothers, Stannis and Renly, are also contenders but Renly is murdered, leaving Stannis to stake his claim.
Stannis has the help of a sorceress named Melisandre whose uses her dark magic to help him put together an army and attack King's Landing where Joffrey has set up rule. Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf who is now the Hand of the King, does his best to defend King's Landing but they almost lose the fight until help arrives from other Lannisters.
Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen continues her journey to King's Landing with her three dragons who are still very young. She tries to get help from the city of Qarth but finds herself in a situation where she can't trust anyone. She is taken captive but manages to escape with the help of her fire-breathing dragons.
Arya Stark also has some interesting adventures on her way back home. She pretends to be a boy and ends up at Lannister-held Harrenhal where she is privy to political talks as a cup-bearer.
In this tale of war, politics and incestuous relations, alliances are formed and broken and you begin to see more and more depth in all the characters. Daenerys is particularly interesting, given that she's helpless at the beginning of the series but rises up and become more powerful as the story progresses. She was being abused by her brother in book one and now, with her three dragons, she has become a force to be reckoned with. The other most compelling character is Arya who, at barely 12 years of age, is making her own way north, trusting her instincts about who is friend and who is foe.
George R. R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, NJ. He grew up in the projects where he would often retreat into a fantasy world and come up with stories to entertain friends and family. He studied journalism in college and has been a writer ever since, writing short stories, novels and even television shows. His series A Song of Ice and Fire has been his most popular series so far and his books have won several awards, including the Locus Poll award and the Hugo Award. He was declared "one of the most influential people of 2011" by Time Magazine. The first two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire series have also been adapted for television in the HBO show A Game of Thrones.
Download A Clash of Kings now from The Audio Bookstore for a journey into a fantasy world full of war, politics, intrigue and, when you least expect it, love.