A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin is great fun!
It comprises the first three novellas of the adventures of Ser Dunk and his young squire Egg, set 100 years before Game of Thrones. Ser Duncan The Tall is a seven foot tall hedge knight, who had only just finished learning the ropes as a squire to his own Ser Arlan. When the elderly hedge knight dies of a chill in the first chapter, Dunk inherits Ser Arlan’s horses and armor. He continues their profession as a low born knight for hire, seeking to join a Lord’s army. A couple of days after starting out, Ser Dunk takes shelter in a tavern overnight. Next morning the tavern’s 10 year old stable boy persuades Dunk to take him on as a squire and off they set on their adventures across Westeros.
It’s an unlikely pairing of a young, courageous, half trained knight (who can’t read) with a squire who is not what he seems. Egg is actually Aegon Targaryen, fourth and youngest son of the ruling family. Old and wise in the ways of political intrigue (and literate), yet naïve amongst the ways of common folk. Egg’s father, the Prince, allows him to continue as squire to Ser Dunk. It’s that or be held as a royal hostage in someone else’s castle!
Generously illustrated throughout by Gary Gianni, A Knight of Seven Kingdoms is a pleasure to read as it concentrates on only two main characters and their adventures. Unlike the Game of Thrones novels which span seven kingdoms and numerous sub-plots, this story is not as busy and spends more time on character development. For Game of Thrones fans, this book provides much history, featuring as it does the ancestors of the seven ruling families warring against one another.
George R. R. Martin has promised to write more Dunk and Egg stories, among his other work commitments.