Having read all of [a:Martin|346732|George R.R. Martin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1351944410p2/346732.jpg]'s Song of Fire and Ice
significantly faster than he's writing new ones, and considering he doesn't seem to be making much progress with the next one: four years between the last book and the next, I was at a bit of a loose end for my Westeros fix. Luckily Martin has already published a trio of prequel short stories. Prequel is stretching the definition as this first one is set approximately 100 years before the events of [b:A Game of Thrones|822993|A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)|George R.R. Martin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1343523394s/822993.jpg|1466917]
but the families and names from Westerosi history all sound a little familiar – the Targaryens are on the iron throne and the Baratheons are still glory-seeking tourney addicts.[b:The Hedge Knight|11970747|The Hedge Knight (Tales of Dunk and Egg, #1)|George R.R. Martin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1310018362s/11970747.jpg|25687092]
is the first story of Dunk and Egg. Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall as he becomes known, is a hedge knight – so called because they are knights without land or master, generally poor, who often sleep in hedges – the final act of his own master, Ser Alan of Pennytree, was to knight his squire Dunk. As an otherwise unproven knight, he wants to make his fortune so he enters the tourney lists. Egg is the young lad who tags along after him, just wanting to be his squire. It doesn't take too long to work out Egg's back story.
In true Martin style, it doesn't take too long for fights to break out and trouble to kick off. Before you know it the tourney is over and Dunk's sense of honour has led him way out of his depth and having to duel against proper knights – he could almost be a Stark. The story is self-contained – although there are already two follow on stories that feature the same characters, there's no need to worry about Martin not writing the sequel in seven years time.