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The Armageddon Rag

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,986 ratings  ·  198 reviews
“The best novel concerning the American pop music culture of the sixties I’ve ever read.”—Stephen King

From #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin comes the ultimate novel of revolution, rock ’n’ roll, and apocalyptic murder—a stunning work of fiction that portrays not just the end of an era, but the end of the world as we know it.

Onetime underground j
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Bantam (first published September 1983)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Zoran Krušvar
This is very important book for my relationship with mr. Martin. :-))

When "Song of Ice and Fire" started to get published in my country (Croatia) I was in a phase when I wanted to boycott all US products, because of US attack on whatever country US was attacking at that time.

At that point, major question for me was: shall I buy this "Game of Thrones" book by this US writer, or shall I boycott it as any other US product?

Fortunately, I have previously read "Armageddon Rag" and I've decided that t
...more
Sherwood Smith
Feb 04, 2014 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fantasy
Youth, anger, and rock and roll—three things with the power of magic, especially for those of us who were young in the sixties. In this combination murder mystery and road trip novel, Martin evokes that vividly, and then ponders where it all went.

The opening swiftly sets the scene: as the hippie generation swelled into student protest in the late sixties, the rock band called Nazgûl became the voice of a generation. Their rise to fame peaked on September 20th, 1971, at an enormous outdoor concer
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Ben Babcock
Did you know George R.R. Martin wrote novels before A Game of Thrones? Yes, it’s true! And you can read them! On paper, even! The Armageddon Rag is a 1980s tale of a journalist-turned-novelist recapturing the zeitgeist of the 1970s music scene. Spurred by a mysterious, sacrificial killing of a music promoter, Sandy Blair discovers that there might be more to it. Someone has a plan to reunite the band Nazgûl—particularly troubling since its lead singer is dead.

Sandy leaves the adult world of resp
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Siobhan
I really wanted to enjoy this one more than I did.

I love Martin’s work. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have the most extensive Martin collection, but I have read a decent number. Sadly, however, this one makes the cut as my least favourite George R. R. Martin book. Such a thing really disappoints me as I’d been sure that it would win me over in the end.

Alas, this book was made up of moments where I was really enjoying it and moments where I just wanted the whole thing to be over. To make matters w
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V.J. Chambers
I wanted to love this book. In fact, I did love it, except for the ending. There are so many things about it that are just fantastic. The music, for instance. Even though you can't actually hear it, you can. You know what it would sound like it if it were real. The Nazgul themselves, sort of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles are wrapped up into one super group. The Tolkien influences. The hints of darkness and the imagery of the end and even the Yeats stuff.

But it just didn't come tog
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Rob
...The Armageddon Rag is probably the most unusual novel Martin has written. If you look at his development as a writer up to the 1980s one can only wonder what might have happened if he had continued to write novels. The fragment of Black and White and Red All Over that Martin published as part of the collection Quartet: Four Tales from the Crossroads (2001), shows that he was well on his way to delivering another very good and very different novel. One of the good things about the enormous suc ...more
Markus Molina
Okokokok, I love me some George RR Martin, but this book is severely lacking. It is by far the worst I've read from him and in it he accomplishes something I never thought could be possible... he writes some very one dimensional characters!

The story is a gigantic leap from the song of ice and fire world and isn't as cleverly crafted as the fevre dream world. The characters in this book are unlikable and stale. The main protagonist is a close minded, hippie, doucebag journalist who is obsessed wi
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Susan
You'd think that mixing GRR Martin and detective novels, which are one of my favorite genres, would be a good thing. Sadly it didn't work out. In my case because this book is...how Stephen King put it...? "The best novel concerning the American pop music culture of the sixties I’ve ever read." -- and my knowledge and appreciation of pop culture -- any aspect of it, is practically nil. It's wildly different from the other fantasy stories that Martin wrote, with parts of it feeling weirdly biograp ...more
Zoran Krušvar
This is very important book for my relationship with mr. Martin. :-))

When "Song of Ice and Fire" started to get published in my country (Croatia) I was in a phase when I wanted to boycott all US products, because of US attack on whatever country US was attacking at that time.

At that point, major question for me was: shall I buy this "Game of Thrones" book by this US writer, or shall I boycott it as any other US product?

Fortunately, I have previously read "Armageddon Rag" and I've decided that th
...more
Anna
This was my first George R. R. Martin book. Like, you know, completely written by him, not him together with Gardner Dozois. And it was quite good. I might not really be an expert in 60's music or hippie movement, but this actually made me wish the Nazgul (screw the thingies on top of the letters, meh, too tired) were a real band. They sounded so goddamn _interesting_. 60's rock might not exactly be my cup of tea, for the most part, but I wished for a soundtrack of it to go with this.

I started
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Richard Sutton
Writers usually have a few stories that bounce around in their heads for years. Some of them eventually make it to the page, while others just circulate and create occasional moodiness or anxiety behind the scenes. As a bonafide, ex-commune hippie... politically, a real "man the barricades" kind of guy, vague feelings of guilt over how I, and my generation, seem to have lost the ideals that seemed so important back then have been circulating for years. I want to sincerely thank George Martin for ...more
Eric
As I was wondering through my home town's shopping centre, this book happen to catch my eye, the paperback version which I found had the eye of mordor on the front cover, being a fan of Tolkien, that peaked my interest.
As you read this review, please be aware that, unlike others who have read this, nostalgia did not effect the impact of this book, as I was born in 1995.
The idea was interesting, a book about sex, drugs and rock and roll, with some paranormal aspects and Tolkien references. The
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Ivana S.

Such a weird book.
I thought this would be a murder mystery mixed with some good rock music. And it was, for about 1/3 of the story. It was scary and interesting and hard to put down.

2/3 was about music. And it was great! I loved every single description of Nazgul on the stage, of concerts and songs - it was so real that I felt like I was right there, singing with the crowd. Those parts were just brilliant and I enjoyed them very, very much. For some reason, I think that ''Ragin'' would be my fa
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Isblue
This is the first time I've read this book since it was released in paperback, the first time. The book is not science fiction and it's barely fantasy. There are definitely elements of the horror genre. I wouldn't call it a mystery or a thriller though it contains both elements. I think my favourite thing about this book is the descriptive language. You can almost see the dreams and visions he describes, and you will quail. Powerful words give the reader some of the best writing on rock music an ...more
Chris
This hardback re-issue of George R.R. Martin's 1983 novel 'The Armageddon Rag' is strikingly eye-catching. The storyline is similarly grabbing. Compared to 'Fevre Dream' and 'A Song of Ice and Fire', this book's fantasy elements are very toned down. Instead, this book examines the power of rock music in our culture. Sandy Blair is a struggling writer/journalist hired to investigate the murder of a very rich rock promoter, most famous for making the Nazgul a world-renowned band.

The novel graduall
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Jack
It's rare that I hate a protagonist this much. He's emblematic of that "my 60s generation was the best generation, man!" sort of guy. "Today's music sucks, our music was REAL ROCK! Just listen to the lyrics, man!" He's the type prone to baby boomer self-aggrandizement, but without anything to actually show for it. On one level, it seems like Martin is critiquing this 60s-Golden-Age type, but on another level I think we're supposed to buy into his impotent angst and perhaps nod along in approval ...more
Stephanie
I loved this novel, and the author. this is the first time I've ready his work, and I was addicted from the very beginning. All day long, I couldn't wait to get back to it, and find out what happened next. And as a child of the 60's, I have to say the tone and FEEL of this novel was SPOT ON.
Constantly while reading, scenes played out in my head like I was watching a movie. Novels like this are few and far between, and I was addicted to the sound of the characters and their lives, and their voice
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Alan
Oct 04, 2008 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who wonder where we went wrong
The place names are pure music legend:

Woodstock,
Altamont,
Monterey,
West Mesa...

West Mesa?

It is Sept. 20, 1971. The Nazgul, premier rock group of the 1960s, are performing on West Mesa near Albuquerque in front of 60,000 fans when a high-powered rifle bullet rips out the life of Patrick Henry "Hobbit" Hobbins, the Nazgul's lead singer. He dies instantly, and the 60s die with him.

The Armageddon Rag begins 10 years or so later, in the decade foreshadowed by Orwell. The three surviving Nazgul have l
...more
Marva
The tolkeinesque references, making beauty out of words on love making, the MUSIC to wake the dead and the devilish murders and doomed spheres!! I like this, not great still pretty good and readable! Depends on your lust for music and the lust for the sake of lust (through the already written letters and the images you imagine)
Dave
To begin I am an enormous fan of A Song of Ice and Fire fan. I am on halfway through my third read of that series. I have read the Princess and the Queen, and all the Dunk and Egg novellas. So I thought it might be time to delve into Martin's past writing.
I came to this work looking for the nidus of Martin's writing, and I came away extremely disappointed. I love the asoiaf series and its related tales because of the characters. I am not a huge Fantasy fan and am not too interested in medieval
...more
Michael
Like a lot of folks, I wasn't quite sure what I was reading when I started Armageddon Rag. I had just finished Fevre Dream by Martin, and the quicker pace of Fevre Dream through me off a bit to start since I started reading Armageddon Rag the same day that I finished Fevre Dream.

As I got deeper into Rag, I got accustomed to the pace. The story definitely took time to develop, and I grew impatient a few times. I had problems identifying with a lot of characters, but I'm chalking that up to me al
...more
K115987
Premessa: quando ero adolescente negli anni ’90 io e la mia cricca di amici avevamo il mito degli anni ’60 americani, l’impegno, gli hippies, la voglia di cambiamento, ma soprattutto la musica che accompagnava tutto ciò: Jimi, i Doors, i Black Sabbath, i Deep Purple e tutto il panorama musicale rivoluzionario di quegli anni. Leggere questo libro, scritto da uno dei miei autori preferiti, mi sembrava una tappa obbligata, anche se sono passati 20 anni (ma col senno di poi mi vien da dire “soprattu ...more
Nicolas
Vous connaissez toutes ces histoires de groupes de qui se sont reformés et qui ont plus ou moins réussi ?
Bien, eh bien cette histoire est la seule version qui tienne.
Elle raconte comment les nazguls se sont reformés pour accomplir un acte de portée magique.
Et pour ça, l'auteur choisit comme narrateur un journaliste payé pour enquêter sur la mort de leur ancien manager. Ce narrateur, qui a connu la vague de liberté du début des années 70, va en profiter pour reprendre contact avec ses amis de l'é
...more
Jamie
Reading this book now is perhaps a bit unfair as the late 60's are now approaching fifty years in our rear view. The book certainly seems dated despite the preponderance of Classic Rock radio stations on the dial. But even those stations play the 80s pop rock maligned in the book.

It's also likely a book that will only fully resonate with people who lived through the 60s. It's an interesting story, sure, but hard to relate to something that happened before you were born. And I say that being a f
...more
Heather
Sandy Blair has left his underground journo roots behind, only to find himself drawn back to the sleazy rock 'n' roll of the Nazgul following the murder of a millionare rock promoter. But as he sets off on the trail for the story of his lifetime, it's far darker and more demonic than even he could imagine.

And, jeez, it took so long to get to the supernatural darkness hinted at in the blurb that you forgot it was coming, and it was pretty much irrelevant when it did.

See, by the time it started g
...more
L.M. Cooke
This was a good book. It was not, however, as good as I hoped it would be, given how much I've enjoyed some of this author's other work, hence the 3-star 'OK' rating.

Given my love of music, and the fact that The Doors are my favourite all-time band, I was very interested to read this. I can't quite put my finger on what didn't gel for me. Possibly the main protagonist, who wasn't especially likeable. Possibly the extended road-trip feel of it - a road-trip that was fairly pointless; but then aga
...more
Ell Eastwood
Nov 23, 2014 Ell Eastwood rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who read American Gods and thought "I need a book that's fivehundred times worse than this"
Torn between two and three stars. I would just LOVE to give this book five stars and say that it's a cult classic that wasn't appreciated as it should've been, because it really does have it all going for it, doesn't it? GRRM writing a mystery-fantasy novel that is a nostalgia trip to the rock music of the sixties? It should be so good, but it's not.

The biggest problem is the main character. OH MY GODS, how did GRRM write this shit and then go on to create all those wonderful GoT characters? I d
...more
John Owen
An early eighties book by George Martin, and one which is in direct contrast to his current output. This is possibly the best novel about rock and roll I've ever read. Martin really seems to understand the music and the people behind it, and constructs a tremendously exciting storyline around the band central to the story, the Nazgul. Think of them as a prototype of todays heavy metal bands and you're not far wrong, with a heavy emphasis on the occult. The main character, Sandy, a former rock mu ...more
Fantasy Literature
The Armageddon Rag is the book that almost destroyed George R.R. Martin’s career. It was meant to be the work that put him on the map: he’d been getting bigger and bigger advances for his previous novels, and this was the planned bestseller that would make Martin a household name. It didn’t sell. In fact, it was such a monumental commercial flop that Martin couldn’t even get a small advance for another book, let alone the six-figure deals he’d been seeing up until then. It’s hardly worth saying ...more
frazzledsoul
Ugh.

Sometimes it's nice to quickly slog through a book to determine that it's the opposite of everything that you think is worth believing. The last experience I had like that was reading The Mists Of Avalon when I was 18. Everything in that book that was expected to make me sympathize with the protagonists only made me hate them more. At least with this book, no one is pretending that it's a classic.

I suspect in 1983 the world was a little kinder to disenchanted ex-hippies who finally had to fa
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La Stamberga dei ...: Armageddon Rag di G.R.R. Martin 1 5 Nov 28, 2013 03:06AM  
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George R. R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,
...more
More about George R.R. Martin...
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) A Clash of Kings  (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4) A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

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