George R. R. Martin’s A CLASH OF KINGS (A SONG OF ICE & FIRE #2)

The King is dead and chaos reigns. Sitting on the Iron Throne is the vicious boy-king Joffrey, ruled over by his ambitious, ruthless, amoral and disquietingly beautiful mother Queen Cersei. But many do not accept the boy-kings rule, and six other rulers rise to claim their place, including the Stark heir Robb.

This volume opens with the flight of Princess Arya Stark, pretending to be the boy ‘Arry, and ends with…but that would spoil the suspense, so I won’t tell you that.

As I mentioned in my last review, there are echoes of the Wars of the Roses in these volumes. Joffrey is as vicious as Edouard of Lancaster, the heir to the Lancaster cause and son of the ruthless and arrogant Queen Marguerite of Anjou. Who his father was, was something that no-one was really sure of (as in Joffrey’s case), but the betting was that it was Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset rather than King Henry VI.

What is so wonderful about this book is the accrual of detail that makes the lives of these characters so real, and by extension the world of that long-vanished past of the 15th-century real as well. Most second novels are extremely disappointing. This is just as wonderful as the first. Five stars.