It's a time that could either be in times past or times forward--a timeless time--where the Seven Kingdoms were won over and Robert sits on the throne. It begins with the House of Stark. The master of the house, Lord Eddnard Stark [Ned Stark] receives word the king, his friend Robert, is coming to visit Winterfell, one of the northern-most territories of the Seven Kingdoms and it all unfolds from there.
Gritty, at times shocking, and lusty, the book doesn't roll along in chapters, but instead, perspectives. I loved this point. There are more than enough characters to go around... Ned's children make for an interesting set, along with his wife. Then there are the Lannisters, whose family married into power--the king's wife Cersei is a great character you love to hate, right off the bat.
This book has it ALL. Blood, war, feasting, sex--oh the sex! It's as salacious as it is just downright wrong at times....but I ate up every sexy word. And I downloaded the second book just as fast as my little fingers would click the buttons! I also loved the different imagery that each household evoked--they have their own animals that fly on their banners... and of course, I loved the Stark's the best: The Direwolf. The direwolf represented to me all of the wild and wonderful things the Stark family stands for, and you can find out why when you read!
I could see how this book would easily translate to the screen; the writing is so descriptive and because it's not narrated by a single character, there isn't a lot that can be left to the wayside for that reason. I have heard that some take issue with the portrayal of women in the book; some people felt that it was womanizing, and I can hear that, but c'mon people, it's a story and there is a certain tone and effect that the author is going for. I would consider myself a feminist, but I didn't feel offended by any of the portrayals of the women in the book, and I rather liked most of the women in the book for that matter.
This book requires an imagination and a hunger for entertainment. It's not for the faint of heart, let's put it that way... there are some chapters that get pretty graphic. If you like that sort of thing, though, you'll love this first book in the series. It's nice and long so that makes for great entertainment, and you can pick it up cheap for your Kindle--always a great selling point for me, personally.