‘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 reviewFool’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.
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