A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
King Robert is dead, Eddard Stark executed, and there are no fewer than four kings claiming thrones. Three claim the Iron Throne of Westeros, Robb Stark claims the North, and Balon Greyjoy claims the Iron Islands and whatever lands his reavers can reach.
So begins A Clash of Kings. By the end of the book one will be dead, another driven off in defeat, and a third deprived of his lands by another.
The book begins with an appearance of a red comet, taken by each faction as a sign of their imminent success. Only Catelyn Stark sees concern, as the red comet matches the colour of House Lannister, her enemies.
The surviving point of view characters return in this book, along with two new ones, Theon Greyjoy and Davos Seaworth. Theon is returned to his father, his head full of plans for glory, but he has been away from home from ten years, and know little of his own people.
Davos is more interesting. Through him we see Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s eldest brother and one claimant for the Iron Throne. Davos is a commoner raised to a knight, and suffers slights from the other nobles who wait on Stannis. Davos is also a man who takes his religion seriously, and here lies the source of many of his doubts.
Stannis has turned to a new religion, worship of the Lord of Light. This is a foreign religion to Westeros, but many in Stannis’ service take up their king’s new faith. Not Davos, who finds comfort in his worship of the Seven, the dominant religion of Westeros.
Arya’s adventures take her through the war-ravaged riverlands, while at the Wall, Jon Snow is called to join in a great ranging, to go as far north as it takes to find the lost rangers. Tyrion must thwart his sister’s ambition and prepare for an attack by Stannis Baratheon.
Far from Westeros, Danaerys Stormborn, mother of dragons, gathers her small band of followers and makes plans for the future.
A Clash of Kings is a great continuation to the series, and the drama continues to unfold in unforeseen directions.