This past weekend I picked up the first volume in epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I doubt it will surprise anyone to learn that I did this after enjoying the first few episodes from the HBO series that named after first novel: A Game of Thrones. After looking them over in the bookstore this past weekend I came to realize that I had seen this series before. There are four novels in the series published so far: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows. Each is nearly a thousand pages. A fifth book, A Dream of Dragons is scheduled for publication in July of this year after a six-year interval and I have seen mentions of a sixth and even a seventh addition. The earlier books in the series have been around for serveral years — Game of Thrones was published in 1996. For whatever reason I never picked one up. Maybe it was Mooch’s insistance that I read Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Mars Trilogy.

In his 2005 review of A Feast of Crows for Time magazine, Lev Grossman declared Martin the American Tolkien and described Martin’s voice in this way with impressive praise:

What really distinguishes Martin, and what marks him as a major force for evolution in fantasy, is his refusal to embrace a vision of the world as a Manichaean struggle between Good and Evil. Tolkien’s work has enormous imaginative force, but you have to go elsewhere for moral complexity. Martin’s wars are multifaceted and ambiguous, as are the men and women who wage them and the gods who watch them and chortle, and somehow that makes them mean more. A Feast for Crows isn’t pretty elves against gnarly orcs. It’s men and women slugging it out in the muck, for money and power and lust and love.

So I’m looking forward to digging into this lengthy epic series. What I’ve read so far, combined with what has been adapted to the HBO television series has whet my appetite. I’m glad to hear there is plenty more out there: thousands and thousands of pages more.