The Mystery Knight (2010) by George R. R. Martin

Definitely the most involved and complicated of the three “Tales of Dunk and Egg” stories that have been released so far, “The Mystery Knight” sees Dunk and Egg interact with a much larger set of characters than in either of the first two stories, and encounter a more interesting and complex plot than they’ve come across before.

Where “The Sworn Sword” was weak, “The Mystery Knight” is strong, building off the backstory laid down in that story to create a compelling narrative where the actions of the many characters are grounded and contextualised in sensible worldbuilding, but compelling as relatable actions in their own right as well. “The Mystery Knight” feels more like an “A Song of Ice and Fire” novel than either of the first two stories, as it features the mix of mystery, politics, and plotting that were fairly absent in the prequel series until now, yet always very prevalent in the novel series.

Where the first two stories were charming yet “inconsequential” yarns in the grand scheme of the events Dunk and Egg would later become involved in, “The Mystery Knight” actually is an important event in that greater story of their lives that Martin has talked about in interviews, occasionally referenced in “A Song of Ice and Fire”, and would eventually detail more explicitly in the worldbook “The World of Ice and Fire”.

3

The charm and innocence of the first two stories isn’t lost though; Martin does a good job meshing the more critical narrative with Dunk’s worldview so that it feels like a natural, organic evolution of the series, rather than a jarring tonal change or anything. The story actually feels more comic than the first two if anything, with Dunk’s complete lack of understanding of when a principal character is flirting outrageously with him a highlight.

I give it four dragon eggs, and a red birthmark.

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