This book is the first in a series where many characters vie for power in a world resembling medieval Europe. It begins as the King rides north to Winterfell to visit his friend Lord Stark. He wants Stark as his right hand man — there’s trouble afoot. Stark’s been warned the Queen’s powerful family, House Lannister, wants to seize power. There’s bad blood between the Starks and the Lannisters. The fragile peace vanishes when the King is killed and his violent son, Joffery, takes the throne. Tragedy befalls Stark when he learns Joffrey is not the rightful heir. The north rallies behind the Starks, and breaks away from the kingdom. Across the sea, the true heir, Daenerys, fights her own battles and learns to master dragons. Other characters include direwolves, and a wall to the far north manned by priest-warriors charged with keeping out a hostile race of people thought to be extinct. This is a wonderfully imagined book with a multi-layered plot. It’s a rich, densely written epic that will keep you up all night.