FOOL’S ASSASSIN by Robin Hobb #fantasy #BookReview


‘Fantasy as it ought to be written’ George R.R. Martin

Robin Hobb returns to her best loved characters in a brand new series.

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz’s violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

My review

Fool's Assassin (The Fitz and the Fool, #1)Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Farseer trilogies are a much loved part of my young life, full of fantastical concepts and fabulous writing. It has been years since I read them, and so when this later volume, start of a trilogy set in FitzChivalry’s latter years, appeared as an ‘on sale’ item, I grabbed a copy and dived straight into it.
Fitz grew up a bastard scion of the royal family, trained as an assassin, and reviled for his beast-magic. I adored him.
Now, Fitz is living in retirement with his beloved Molly, under an assumed name in a manor house with a large estate gifted to him for his service to the royal family. Most of the story takes place here, and I use the term ‘story’ loosely, for although I still adore Hobb’s writing, and my memories of Fitz’s earlier escapades still fill me with great fondness for the novels, this book is more of a character study than a story. The writing, rich with detail and beautifully fluent, still drew me along, but I found myself often questioning just where it was going, as it details domestic situations covering years, and indeed, decades, without anything much happening.
Yes, there is an incident near to the beginning that is noted as something that, years later, has significance. But after it happens, we plunge back into the cosy home life for most of the remainder of the 641 pages.
Things spring to life around 50 pages from the end, and leave us with two dramatic situations leading into the next book. I loved reading about Fitz again, and how he has finally been allowed some peace and love in his life, but my feeling is this could have been accomplished in a far shorter span of pages. Despite all this, I will read the next book, but I suspect that if I had picked this one up without a prior relationship with the character, I would not have made it to the end of this one.

View all my reviews


  1. I think I’ve read everything Robin Hobb has ever written, Debby, including this one. I’ve loved all of her books and characters, especially Fitz. Now I’m thinking it’s about time for a re-read before long, though I still have some NEW fantasies awaiting me. (Like your most recent one.) So … THOSE first! And then I will go adventuring once again with Fitz and crew. (I must say, I far prefer the original cover to this one. I really thought it was wonderful!)

    Thanks for reminding me to add this series to my TBR-R pile. (To Be RE-Read). ❤️🤗❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve managed to re-read the odd book in the last year, but with so many new ones demanding to be read? So difficult to do!
      Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that you’ve read all the Fitz stories – I’ve just realised I haven’t, so now I shall, he is a masterful creation.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree. Fitz is masterful, and if you can start at the beginning and read straight through, you’ll love all he goes through. Good luck finding time to do so. (If I think about how far behind I am, I’m likely to snivel and cry, so I’m putting that out my mind for now.)😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read them all when they first came out, up to the Tawny Man trilogy, so I really should go back now and start there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great comment about a character-driven story vs. plot-driven. I’m reading Anne Cleeves right now who is a master of walking that line. There are times I think she steps over–as you say into character studies. You’ve explained well where I see the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricky, isn’t it? As authors we are exhorted to have a strong and clear plot, and yet some books written by great authors really don’t. Perhaps it’s because they’ve earned the status whereby they can do that because of their strength of characterisation and sheer brilliance of writing?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always appreciate your honest reviews and analysis Deb. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deb, I find analysing books really helpful for my own writing. And I enjoy doing it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you on that! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like Robin Hobb, and I enjoyed the whole trilogy, though I completely agree with you that the book was longer than necessary. The first book was my favorite by far. One of my challenges with the series is that I didn’t think the magic was well forecasted. A lot of it seemed book-specific versus building over the course of the reads, as if she thought it up as she went along. Still worth diving into. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aha! Thanks for sharing your opinion on that, I will see how it strikes me as I read the rest. Perhaps she WAS making it up as she went along, although you would expect a writer of her experience to have given it plenty of forethought.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll be curious about your opinion. It definitely felt pantsered to me. Such fun to speculate. Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just bought the next one, so my opinion should be around soon-ish 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. […] I did my review of book #1, FOOL’S ASSASSIN, many of you weighed in with memories of how much you’d loved this series. I may be rather […]


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