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First volume of a brilliant new fantasy series: the most powerful, original and absorbing new epic since Tolkien's Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.As Warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.