A Game of Thrones is a gripping introduction to the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. The prologue is mysterious, chilling and exciting enough an introduction and enough to get me gripped. Afterward that introduction, the setting switches to first of many different POV chapters from members of some of the major Houses on the continent of Westeros, showing their thoughts and motives behind the actions they take, whether they are innocent bystanders to the political intrigue (such as Arya) or in the heart of the action (Eddard, Tyrion). The story follows Eddard 'Ned' Stark and his family as Ned's old friend and King Robert travels up to Ned's ancestral home of Winterfell, in the far north of Westeros. Robert asks Ned to become his new Hand, or right hand advisor who acts on behalf of the King, after the recent death of the previous one, Jon Arryn. The story follows him and his two daughters Arya and Sansa as they travel to the southern heart of the Seven Kingdoms and enter court life, with Sansa becoming besotted by Prince Joffrey, Roberts son, Arya avoiding becoming a lady at all costs, and Ned trying to find out the truth behind Jon Arryn's sudden death. Meanwhile, Catelyn Stark tries to cope and find the truth after her son Bran is crippled suddenly. Other major characters are Jon Snow, Ned's bastard son who grew up at Winterfell and decides to join the Nights Watch on the Wall, a huge wall of ice and stone at the very north of the kingdom, protecting it from the mysterious forces on the other side; Tyrion Lannister, a quick-witted dwarf with a penchant for escaping disaster, and he has two siblings, Cersei, the Queen, and her twin brother Jaime, a revered knight. Later in the story Ned and Catelyn's oldest son Robb, and their ward Theon Greyjoy also become major players in the intrigue that surrounds these Houses, but I won't reveal how.
The book is gripping and cleverly written, and you never want to put it down once you pick it up. The story is told in form of various POV chapters from many of the major characters, showing what they think and why they do what they do. It's a clever way of story telling, as these characters come from all the different 'sides' and so there is not always a clear 'good guy' or 'baddie'. It's a fantastic book I picked up after hearing about the HBO series. Both are excellent and this is well worth a read!