King Robert Baratheon is dead and the Seven Kingdoms are in chaos. Prince Joffrey has become King Joffrey and ordered the beheading of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell. Robert Baratheon's own brothers, Stannis and Renly, make claims to the crown now on Joffrey's head. There is a King in the North, Robb Stark of Winterfell. Armies are marching, Houses are choosing sides. Winter is coming.
The Starks are scattered, with Lady Catelyn at her father's castle in Riverrun with her eldest son, King Robb. Brandon and Rickon are at Winterfell, with Bran acting as Lord and Prince while Robb is off at war. Sansa is now a hostage in the court at King's Landing. Arya has escaped King's Landing and is on her way to the Wall where her bastard brother, Jon Snow, has taken the black.
Tyrion Lannister is sent to court to act as the Hand of the King while his father, Lord Tywin, gathers a host to protect Joffrey's throne. Cersei is Joffrey's Regeant, speaking for the King until he is of an age to rule. Jamie is leading men to fight against the others who proclaim to be Kings.
There is so much going on that this book didn't spend much time with one of my favorite characters, Daenerys Stormborn of the Targaryen line. She is still searching for a way to cross the sea with her bloodriders and take back the Iron Throne from all those that seek to sit upon it. I can't wait until she becomes more of a focal point in a book. I was dismayed to find chapters from Theon Greyjoy's point of view, as he is an asshole and I longed to have someone deliver a brutal comeuppance. When he got his due, I was annoyed that an even larger asshole had entered the picture!
I'm not doing a great job reviewing this book, since there is so much going on that I can't possibly tell you all about my thoughts on the Onion Knight or who I really want to have the throne. Robb? Daenerys? Tyrion somehow? No idea. But I am enjoying these books more than I ever thought I would and I have the next two sitting beside me right now. If you haven't read them yet, don't worry. I haven't spoiled much that hasn't already been spoiled elsewhere. You can still read since you've no idea when things will occur and enjoy the journey through the book.