Martin, George R. R. A Clash of Kings. New York: Bantam, 10/2000. 1009pp.
This is a great follow up to A Game of Thrones. Like any second-of-a-six-volume-series, it advances the plot without answering too many questions. Like the first volume, it's brutal, violent and realistic, with only slight touches of fantasy. A hard book about a hard world, no compromises, lots of surprises. As the title implies, this volume concerns the shattering of the old, monolithic kingdom into competing claims for the throne and the backstabbing and political wrangling that follows.