Once again, I am off in search of fantasy books to match the greatness of the A Song of Fire and Ice series. Amazon seemed to think this book was up to the challenge, so I decided to give it a try. While it has some of the gritty edge of Martin's books, this novel really fell short. The plot is at times very dull and lacks any sort of larger story arc that one would expect from an epic trilogy. Most of the time is spent establishing the characters. That's fine and all and it may pay off in later books, but I found myself wanting them to just do something, anything besides wander about and use the F-word.