A Clash of Kings : Song of Ice and Fire

  • by George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by Roy Dotrice
  • Series: Song of Ice and Fire
  • 37 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And 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.

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What the Critics Say



Locus Award, 1999


"A truly epic fantasy....The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail...for the comparatively modest role of magic...and for its magnificent action-filled climax....[Martin] provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fans of epic fantasy should appreciate this lavishly detailed sequel to A Game of Thrones." (Library Journal)
"Dotrice's range of vocal tones, from gravelly and commanding to silkenly dangerous, creates a mood of insistence that holds the listener captive throughout the epic story." (AudioFile)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I'm hooked, but narration...

Would you listen to A Clash of Kings again? Why?

No. I seldom listen to books more than once.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Tyrion Lannister. Obvious underdog, bullied his whole life. He's coming up in the world and doing big things. Will he stay humble? It seems like a question Tyrion would ask himeself.
That's why I like the character so much.


Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Roy Dotrice?

Roy does 2 or 3 voices voices very well.
But! his females all sound like toothless old crones in pirate movies. Even the young beautiful ones.

The remainder of male characters sound like grumpy Leprechauns. I'm not joking. They really do. It's getting quite old and it's very disappointing.

That said Roy has the perfect amount of drama. His voice is excellent for reading the back story. You find yourself lost in the story till it comes time to narrate a female part. Then he snaps you out of it like being awakened from a sleep by a power saw in your bedroom.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

37 hours N/A.


Any additional comments?

Just finishing up book 2. Already bought book 3.
I'm excited about the series and will be more than ready to move on after book 3.
Regardless of how it leaves me hanging.

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- Peter

Problematic, but good on the whole.

What did you like best about A Clash of Kings? What did you like least?

Martin's series is grand and ambitious in its scope, and that is simultaneously its blessing and its curse. The writing is strong, but the pace of the story is at once somehow quick, drawing the ear to the next page, and painfully slow. His use of different perspectives to tell the story is refreshing, but there are certain characters that it seems should be added to that list who remain absent, while some characters can grow simply tiresome at times. Nonetheless, if you're here for more of what you got in "A Game of Thrones", you'll find plenty.

That being said, Dotrice's narration is, to say the least, a mixed bag. Some characters, mainly the older male characters, are given excellent voices. Similarly, the voice he uses to narrate the general text itself is deliberate and clear. That being said, the list of characters who are nearly destroyed by his flamboyant voicing is long and unfortunate. He miserably fails at voicing literally every female character in the book, especially Brienne of Tarth and Mellisandre, and he manages to butcher most of the younger characters, including Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark. His most distracting and consistent failures come with two of the most important characters, Tyrion Lannister (who is given to sound like a shamefully caricatured leprechaun) and Lord Varys, whose sloppy annunciation and unmstakeable lisp are a shame to Mr. Dotrice and an absolute failure to grasp the character. Also worth mention are his terrible performances as Hodor the stableboy and Yoren the black brother. With Hodor the failure is less distracting, since he only says one word anyway, but Yoren is consistently annoying and hard on the ear in every scene.

Nonetheless, the writing is strong enough that a careful listener can work around the narration. I would recommend this recording of this book, but be aware of what you're getting yourself into beforehand.


What other book might you compare A Clash of Kings to and why?

More important, I think, are the books I would not compare it to. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Heinlein's works and essentially all other rote fantasy material is not fundamentally comparable. Often, the books read more like a novelized, fictionalized history of Scotland or England, and that's a compliment. Martin understands the kind of society he's mimicking, and as such he manages to write what is mostly a political novel with fantasy elements, rather than a fantasy novel with politics.


Would you be willing to try another one of Roy Dotrice’s performances?

I will, but *only* because his is the only available narration of these books. Otherwise, I would not be caught dead listening to another of his performances.


Did A Clash of Kings inspire you to do anything?

Keep reading the series.


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- Robin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-30-2004
  • Publisher: Random House Audio