This is a collection of Novella’s from the Game of Thrones world. They take place about 100 years before the series properly starts. What makes these stories interesting is that the Targaryen family is still very much in power in this era. It takes place shortly after “The Second Blackfyre Rebellion” in which a bastard Targaryen attempted to overthrow the reigning king. In the proper series the Targaryen name is Mudd, but here it’s quite noble. The book is brand new but the stories are not, they have been informally known as “The Tales of Dunk and Egg.”
There are 3 stories in this collection. They are nice, but they are not quite as great as the rest of the series, which means they are in fact considerably good however they are unfairly compared to one of the best fantasy series ever being written. There are two minor problems with the stories. First, the stories only have one POV character, Sir Duncan the Tall, who is a Hedgeknight (the GoT version of a Knight Errand). They are fairly short when compared with the series, so this isn’t a huge problem, it only takes away from some of the magic from the series proper. The other problem is much more major, but is a problem with the reader and not the writer. The main series is read by Roy Dotrice, who is perhaps the best living voice actor, this collection however is read by Harry Lloyd who has a tendency to mumble some of the internal monologue sections. This is a major problem because while driving (when I do most of my reading) I miss a lot of the text, it’s very annoying. Aside from this though he is a decent narrator, but again unfairly compared to another master.
On the plus side there is a lot of detail with heraldry, and there’s a lot of arms mentioned here that aren’t mentioned in the main series. I love heraldry in general and these stories nail the topic well. The best story in the collection is “The Mystery Knight” which features a vast amount of heraldry, a meandering and twisting story plot, and two more characters that I therouly enjoyed” Sir Uthor Underleaf and John the Fiddler. The other two stories are also quite good.
Despite a few flaws here and there, this collection is a great quick read while we all wait for the next real book in the series to come out. I think next year I will be rereading what had come out from the song of ice and fire so far and I will be using this book as a starting point.