Name: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
Author: George R. R. Martin
Number of Pages: 355 (Hardback)
Published: 6th October 2015 by Harper Voyager
A century before A GAME OF THRONES, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros…
A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R.R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.
Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne there was Dunk and Egg.
A young, naïve but courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals – in stature if not experience. Tagging along with him is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg – whose true identity must be hidden from all he and Dunk encounter: for in reality he is Aegon Targaryen, and one day he will be king. Improbable heroes though they be, great destinies lie ahead for Dunk and Egg; as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.
A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS brings together for the first time the first three official prequel novellas to George R.R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory.
Featuring more than 160 illustrations by Gary Gianni, one of the finest fantasy artists of our time, this beautiful volume will transport readers to the world of the Seven Kingdoms in an age of bygone chivalry. – from Goodreads
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms contains three short stories featuring Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall, a Hedge Knight, and Egg, his young squire. The tales told here occur a century before the events of Game of Thrones.
The first tale, The Hedge Knight, tells how Dunk becomes a hedge knight after Ser Arlan, the knight he squired for, passes away. On his travels Dunk meets a young boy who goes by the name Egg who wants to become his squire. The heroes and villains spring to life as Dunk tries to make a name for himself at Ashford, but ends up taking on more than he could ever have imagined.
I really like the atmosphere of the tourney ground, the way it comes to life in the small details; the food, the puppet shows, the various challengers and champions from the different regions and houses, all with their sigils and crests. This was probably my favourite of the three stories.
In The Sworn Sword Dunk is in the service of Ser Eustace Osgrey and finds himself involved in a dispute with their neighbour, a woman ominously known as the Red Widow, as several of her husbands met various untimely ends.
In The Mystery Knight Dunk and Egg venture to Whitewalls and unwittingly stumble upon treachery, which leads to a confrontation very few of the conspirators probably ever saw coming.
What a wonderful book. Not only is it another opportunity to venture to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, which is great for any fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, but the illustrations are just beautiful. You could spend ages looking at the detail, and they really add an extra dimension to the story.
I love the way George R R Martin writes. He really gets into the mind of his characters and shows their inner thoughts. The developing friendship between Dunk and Egg is a joy to read, particularly the way Dunk tries to keep his new young squire from being unruly or losing his temper and risking exposing certain facts (trying not to spoil anything here).
There is an array of colourful characters throughout all three stories, some who are brave and heroic, and some who are not what they first claim to be, and we’re treated to glimpses of new places in Westeros.
The story collection ends with ‘the end of the beginning’ and assures us that Dunk and Egg went on to many more adventures, so hopefully sometime in the future these will be written too because I really enjoyed the camaraderie and companionship of Dunk and Egg, and would love to see their story develop to it’s conclusion.