The Armageddon Rag
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The Armageddon Rag

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,522 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Onetime underground journalist Sandy Blair has traveled far from his radical roots in the ’60s?until the bizarre and brutal murder of a millionaire rock promoter draws him back. As Sandy sets out to investigate the crime, he finds himself on a magical mystery tour of the pent-up passions of his generation. For a new messiah has resurrected the once legendary rock band Nazg...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Bantam (first published 1983)
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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...more
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...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 t...more
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...more
...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
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
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...more
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
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...more
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 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
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
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...more
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:

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
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
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
Gregor Xane
The author sets out to accomplish the impossible: to make a fictional rock n' roll band seem realistic and awesome in a novel. Does he succeed? No. Like I said, you just can't do it. But, aside from that, the book is entertaining, even if a bit dopey at times.
Nic Margett
This is the first non-ASOIAF book of Martin's that I've read, and I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit. He had a great way of keeping you guessing at the ending right the way through, a real page turner. His descriptions of the music are fantastic, giving you a real sense of the driving force behind the book. The only thing I didn't really like about it was when he sat in his car talking to visions of his friends, it was a total cheese-fest, really cringe worthy. Overall though, that was a small...more
Ryan Ross
Loved the setting and the mystery. Got a bit too "trippy" in many parts though.
Alex Jones
To start off this definitely isn't Game of Thrones, but it is a very well-written story. It is about a 60s hard rock band reforming with some murder, under-the-covers fantasy and a lot of nostalgia. A lot of this book felt like a love-letter to the 60s, which was interesting and enjoyable from an academic perspective, but would probably mean a lot more to someone who wasn't born three decades after them. The story itself was enjoyable, if deliberately unclear at times, but it was written so well...more

Armageddon Rag è un libro scritto da Martin sull'onda della nostalgia per il periodo americano degli anni '60. Il protagonista Sandy Blair, l'unico vero personaggio profondo e ben caratterizzato, incarna questo sentimento nostalgico e la disillusione mautrata dopo che i tutti i sogni giovanili degli anni '60 di cambiare in meglio il mondo son stati disattesi.

Il libro è di base un thriller con una buona trama e una bella atmosfera fatta di musica rock e mistero soprannaturale. Bellissima la...more
George R.R. Martin mixes fact, fantasy, and fiction into a delicious cocktail made to spur and goad our insides to believe and question humanity and our purpose. Dialogue and inner conversations portray several levels, superficial, exploratory bestows significance on more subtle references or hidden meanings, devices and triggers that move us.

It is our choices that define us. All humans have these. Our alikeness internally ends here. We all think we know certain people but everyone of us can be...more
Jason Mills
Mar 27, 2011 Jason Mills rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Martin and music
Recommended to Jason by: George R R Martin...
The Nazgûl were the rock band that had it all, but their career was extinguished at its peak when their singer was shot dead at a concert in '71. Now it's 10 years later and their erstwhile promoter has been ritually murdered in a manner that connects with that earlier killing. Sandy Blair, a failing novelist and ex-journalist, finds himself embarking on a quest to get to the bottom of the murder.

The journey takes him across America, interviewing the remaining members of the Nazgûl and meeting u...more
3.5 stars

This is my first GRRM book outside of the Song of Ice and Fire Series (which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest fantasy series I have read so far!). But while I am waiting for Mr. Martin and his “elves” to finish “Winds of Winter” (or even to get beyond that elusive “page 37”…;)), I decided to read some of his earlier fiction. I discovered this 1983 book while browsing the book shelves at Barnes and Noble…I know this is going to sound very “non-intellectual” but what initially got...more
The Armageddon Rag: Or, Old Man Martin Yells at Those Kids to Get Off His Lawn is a pretty good book once you get past the bitter out-of-touch quality the narrator and hero brings to the story. I'm all for celebrating the 60s but when your former radical journalist everyman starts sincerely grumbling about the "green-haired teenyboppers" running around these days there's a huge problem. At times the whole book threatens to be subsumed by musty waves of regressive sentiment.

Sandy Blair gets a cal...more
This is the first book by George that I've read. A copy of Game of Thrones is lying around, but now I'm not so sure I'm going to read it.

I first heard of this book when I came across an old recording of "The Nazgul" made for a movie of the book. The movie was never made, but the recording still lurks in a few archives on the internet. (The band was Robert Hunter, John Cipollina, Merl Saunders, Tony Saunders, and G. Birch, recorded on 6/13/85). Anyway, the recording inspired me to read the book....more
Franco Vite
Iniziamo subito col commento generale, evvia! :)

provai a leggere un romanzo di Martin della serie fantasy, di cui non ricordo il nome e non ho voglia di cercare - che scrivo 'ste due righe di corsa, come sempre - e, per quanto scritto bene, non mi prese ed accannai senza manco finirlo. Messo da parte il libro, messo da parte l'autore.

E invece no! Ho scoperto recentemente, non ricordo manco dove, che Martin ha scritto anche roba non fantasy, e che questo libro era una sorta di auto...more
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La Stamberga dei ...: Armageddon Rag di G.R.R. Martin 1 1 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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