The book is a fictional history of the universe inhabited by the characters from the Game of Thrones phenomenon, and is published worldwide this week. Sadly it is not The Winds Of Winter, the long-long-long-awaited sixth instalment in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Reviews of Fire and Blood have ranged from the very positive to the very negative.
The Sunday Times published an enthusiastic critique, calling it “a masterpiece of popular historical fiction.”
While the piece acknowledges that the book is essentially “a piece of epic procrastination” while the wait for TWOW continues, writer Dan Jones says it is “brilliant” nonetheless.
“Martin is an avid consumer and regurgitator of history: his Westeros writing pulses with influences from Plantagenet-era Britain and beyond,” he explains.
“Here, his tale of Aegon the Conqueror is a marvellously perverted, pumped-up rendering of the Norman conquest of England, while his most admirable king and queen, Jaehaerys I and his wife-sister Alysanne, are a terrific reworking of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.”
The Times was not anywhere near as enthusiastic, with Hugo Rifkind calling the tome “dire”.
“Essentially, it is all one long synopsis for about 50 books that he will never get around to writing, which itself has only been written because he can’t get around to writing the other two Game of Thrones books that his fans are waiting for,” he said.
“Worse still, after a doorstop of a thing, we’re still a century and a half short of GoT even beginning, which means there’s another volume of this interminable, self-indulgent crap to come.”
i News called the book “overstuffed”, with Sarah Hughes saying it is “partially redeemed by the sense of mischief that permeates every page.”
“Long-standing ASOIAF fans desperate to see how Martin will conclude his series might find it hard to forgive him for dallying down these pleasant side streets but it’s hard to truly hold it against him when the joys of wandering along with him can be great,” she added.
Publishers Weekly were critical, saying “Martin’s evocative storytelling style and gift for gripping narrative are mostly absent from this dry history.
“Fans hungry for the next Song of Ice and Fire novel will find this volume whets, but does not satisfy, their appetites.”
Fire and Blood is out tomorrow, November 20.