This is book 5 in the series A Song of Ice and Fire which is most commonly known as The Game of Thrones series. Apparently George Martin is planning 7 books for the series. Considering that this last one took 6 years to write and get published after book 4 was published, Martin will probably die before he finishes the series. If he does die, a bunch of people are going to be really annoyed myself included.
This series is a HUGE saga that begins in the fictional land of Westeros. The land has been peaceful for a few years but now war is back and there are many different people who think they are the rightful heirs to the throne. On top of war, Winter is coming. This is a land where the four seasons come and go in a year but there are also periods of Summer where every year is mild and even the winter season is not too cold. During the periods of winter, it is cold and bitter and many people die all the year. Along with the normal issues of winter, the dead rise and come back to kill and make more dead. There are other things of concern this particular Winter. Things referred to as The Others but not yet explained other than to say that old grandmothers would tell children tales of The Others to frighten them in to behaving properly.
This book ranges far and wide and encompasses many characters (494 characters are featured on the Shelfari listing for the book). There are 182 settings many of which are in Westeros but others are across the sea and far east into other countries. Keeping some people and places straight can become difficult so I just kept reading and clues would come up that would remind me of who these people are/were or where exactly things were taking place. The books have a map drawn but I read these on my Kindle and the maps are too small to actually be able to read anything to be of use.
As book 1 of the series proved, Martin has no problem killing off his characters. He kills off good people, regular people, bad people and really evil people. Often, the person you most want dead doesn't die but the person you start to like the most does. I am hoping he is more expedient in writing and finishing books 6 and 7 but I'm not going to hold my breath.
As far as fantasy and adventure these books are great. The fact that HBO picked up Games of Thrones as a series should be a red flag to those who have issues with violence, sex and language because these books have it all and Book 5 is no exception.