If like me you’ve been waiting six years for the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, this novella might keep you happy for a while. The publication date of A Dance with Dragons was announced for the 12th of July, but I’m trying not to become too excited. After all, there were several false alarms over the years…

This is (in my not-so-humble-opinion) the best high-fantasy series around, but it’s been a such a long time that it’s hard not to exasperate while waiting for Martin to find a way out of the plot corners he got himself into.  Maybe the première of the HBO adaptation on the 17th will compensate a bit.

Meanwhile, for a quick but satisfying visit to Westeros, The Hedge Knight is just what the doctor ordered. It’s the first in a series of novellas set more than 80 years before the events of the main story. It follows the adventures of Dunk, future legendary member of the Kingsguard, and Egg, a Targaryen heir which will become King Aegon V.

Egg manages to become the squire of Ser Dunk, a poor hedge knight, without telling him of his royal blood. This is an important time for Dunk since he decided to enter an important tourney in search of fame, respect and gold.

However, even before the tourney starts Dunk manages to get into a fight with Prince Aerion and is sentenced to a Trial of Seven. To save his neck, he must find six other knights who are willing to fight besides him against seven of Aerion‘s men. But how will a humble hedge knight, who hasn’t even been properly knighted by his previous master, find six men to stand with him against the royal family?

As is usual for Martin, although the plot is good, it pales before the storytelling. Better yet, fans of A Song of Ice and Fire will notice people, events and places which will become key in the future. Details and major story lines are equally weaved into The Hedge Knight and you’ll discover why the Fossoways have a red and a green apple in their shield, and the start of the chain of events which will put the Mad King in the throne.

Are you also a Martin fan? I haven’t seen many references to him in the book blogs I follow.