Last year I read all of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series with great pleasure. I loved the writing, the unpredictability, the intrigue, the politics. And as a bonus there was the HBO TV show to enjoy. So, when I saw this novella, taking place in the same world but about a century before the main books, I couldn’t help myself, I had to have it and immediately read it. And in comparison to the main books, it is pretty short with its 143 pages (2006 Dutch edition).
It is the story of Dunk, squire to a hedge knight (a hedge knight offers his sword to any master he pleases, and travels around looking for employment). His knight dies, and Dunk decides to take his equipment and enter a tournament himself, as a knight. On his way there he meets Egg, a stable boy with an attitude who wants to be a squire. The book covers their adventures at the tournament of Ashford. There they meet the ancestors of the characters we know and love (or love to hate) from the main books, such as Lannisters, Baratheons and of course the Targaryens, who are still ruling the kingdoms.
Even though this was a short story, it is a true George R. R. Martin story. Unexpected happenings (I loved the twists), nasty characters, politics, goodness, chivalry. I was glad to be back in Martin’s world, and wished the story was much (much, much) longer. Four out of five stars.