Read again? Yes.
The fourth of five wrist-creaking supernovels in 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'
The worst of the fighting has ended, most of the knights expended. Now the realm belongs to the roving bandits and carrion-eaters.
Catelyn and Robb Stark were murdered by the Freys over a broken promise.
Bastard Boy-King Joffrey has died by poison; his uncle Tyrion is blamed for it by the boy's scheming mother Cersei, imprisoned only to be freed by his brother Jaime.
Joffrey's younger brother Tommen takes the throne.
Lord Tywin Lannister is dead at the hand of his son Tyrion, who then escapes to parts unknown.
Sansa Stark is spirited out of the city the night of Joffrey's death.
Arya Stark has made it to Braavos, where she becomes an acolyte of professional assassins.
Jon Snow has returned to command the Night's Watch and defend the Wall against a massive Wildling army only to learn that the Wildlings aren't looking to destroy the realm. They're running from the same cold, implacable enemy who made the Wall necessary to begin with, centuries before: The Others and their icy army of the dead.
Cersei Lannister continues to scheme and manipulate as she rules the realm in her son's name. With her father Tywin out of the way, there's no one to keep her from pursuing her game of thrones. Many thousands of lives have been lost because of this stupid power-hungry woman, but in her eyes other people are there to do her bidding.
Daenerys Targaryen has consolidated her rule by taking a city and settling there. But her eyes are still fixed on the far horizon, Westeros and its Throne.
Despite the long haul--six months for 4 books, thanks to some health issues--this series is beyond worth reading. Martin's characters and plot are vivid through all four books.