A Dance with Dragons is the fifth of seven planned novels in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by American author George R. R. Martin. In some areas the paperback edition was published in two parts titled Dreams and Dust and After the Feast. It is the first novel in the series to be published following the commencement of the HBO series adaptation, Game of Thrones.
A Dance with Dragons was originally intended to be the title of the second novel in the sequence, when Martin still envisioned the series as a trilogy. Some early US editions of A Game of Thrones (1996) list A Dance of Dragonsas the forthcoming second volume in the series. The 1998 anthology Legends, which features the novella The Hedge Knight from the same universe, lists A Dance of Dragons as the third installment of a four-book series. Like the previous four volumes in the Ice and Fire series, the book includes a lengthy appendix, with the volume running a total of 1,040 pages.
On March 3, 2011, publishing imprint Bantam Spectra announced that the novel would be released on July 12, 2011. Martin delivered the manuscript to his editor on April 27, 2011; however, as early as 2006, Martin made sample chapters available on his website and at Amazon.co.uk. Additionally, the German branch of Amazon.com (Amazon.de) released a reported 180 copies two weeks early by mistake. The US hardcover was officially published on July 12, 2011, having gone back to press for six printings (totaling more than 650,000 copies) prior to the 1,000+ page novel being available; 298,000 copies in print, digital, and audio formats were sold that first day alone, becoming publishing giant Random House‘s biggest book of 2011 and a runaway bestseller. The book was the second in the series to debut at the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list. A few weeks after publication, A Dance with Dragons went on to be #1 on both Publishers Weekly and USA Today Bestsellers lists.