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Iron, Fire and Ice

The Real History That Inspired Game of Thrones
Written by: Ed West
Narrated by: Rory Barnett
Length: 20 hrs and 15 mins

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Publisher's Summary

A young pretender raises an army to take the throne. Learning of his father’s death, the adolescent, dashing and charismatic and descended from the old kings of the North, vows to avenge him. He is supported in this war by his mother, who has spirited away her two younger sons to safety. Against them is the queen, passionate, proud, and strong-willed and with more of the masculine virtues of the time than most men. She too is battling for the inheritance of her young son, not yet fully grown but already a sadist who takes delight in watching executions. 

Sound familiar? It may read like the plot of Game of Thrones. Yet that was also the story of the bloodiest battle in British history, fought at the culmination of the War of the Roses. George RR Martin’s bestselling novels are rife with allusions, inspirations, and flat-out copies of real-life people, events, and places of medieval and Tudor England and Europe. The Red Wedding? Based on actual events in Scottish history. The poisoning of Joffrey Baratheon? Eerily similar to the death of William the Conqueror’s grandson. The Dothraki? Also known as Huns, Magyars, Turks, and Mongols. 

Join Ed West, author of Skyhorse’s A Very, Very Short History of England series, as he explores all of Martin’s influences, from religion to war to powerful women. Instead of despairing while waiting for Season 8 of Game of Thrones, discover the real history behind the phenomenon and see for yourself that truth is stranger than fiction. 

©2019 by Ed West. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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  • Annabells
  • 2019-06-14

Fun history for all -not just Game of Thrones fans

Ed West gives an exciting retelling of medieval history, focusing on the British Isles. He makes the world feel larger, though, by alluding to tales of 'far away lands' like China and the Middle East. In addition to telling the historical people and events behind aspects of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series, West describes castle architecture, shares tidbits of daily life, and explores the religions and cultures of the peoples involved. He even includes quotes from historical documents and other sources. If you're well-read in history, you may not learn secrets you've never heard before, but I think you'll be entertained. Ironically, I found this book much more colorful than the official histories of Ice & Fire that are formally associated with the series. Rory Barnett's posh British accent is perfectly applied here. It's exactly what I want to hear from a reader of medieval British history. Pronouncing the Latin is not his strong suit (although I'm just nitpicking - I minored in the classics myself). Barnett reads clearly and with enough enthusiasm to keep the content interesting but not so much as would seem out of place for dark subject matter. A warning: this book covers medieval wars, torture methods including the rack, and punishments including beheadings, burnings at the stake, and more. This is not for the faint of heart.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Dean
  • 2019-07-21

Very good indeed .

As above . This has kindled my interest in the history of the lands of my ancestors . Bravo !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John Crooker
  • 2019-08-06

Real History

The real history behind ASOIF is so much more intriguing and gruesome you would’ve thought GRRM was making it up if he had wrote it!