Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
Series: The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #1
Also by this author: Ship of Magic
Published by Del Rey on August 12th 2014
'Fantasy as it ought to be written' GEORGE R.R. MARTIN
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.
Confession time. I am obviously a cruel and selfish reader. Why? I’m selfish because I so longed for another story of Fitz and Fool, another book to spend my time immersed in their world. And yet I feel cruel because I know how these stories go. Poor Fitz, things never fare well for him. So to wish for more stories, I almost feel like I am intruding on his peace, and wishing him more pain. I love Fitz, how can I wish his story to continue when I know that it’s liable to just bring him more heartache and sorrow and maybe even physical pain as well? That said, it is so freakin worth it. This is fiction. Heart-wrenching, gut punching, rip your heart at times, fiction.
Once again, Hobb has delivered a fabulous story. And of course, her characters and the way readers form an emotional attachment to them is such a strength of her writing. Rarely do I feel so emotionally invested in a characters plight as I do when I read a book by Hobb. And this is no exception. Hobb’s books may not be as fast paced as some others, but the introspective look at her characters makes them as gripping as anything else I have ever read.
This has a stronger feeling of “home” than any of the other books. It is set almost entirely at Withywoods, the home where Fitz has lived in with Molly since we last saw them at the end of the Tawny Man trilogy. Fitz’s life has a much more settled and domestic pace. He has done all he can to avoid Buckkeep Castle, Chade and all the machinations involved in being a bastard of the royal family. And he’s successful at that. At least for a while, at least until mysterious messengers arrive (and disappear), plunging poor ol’ Fitz back into his old ways of life as his only way to protect his future.
In addition to Fitz’s POV, we also get a new character POV in Fool’s Assassin. This character is quite a special individual and brings a new perspective on pretty much everything. She is reasonable, honorable, quite intriguing and for fear of spoilers, I’m saying nothing beyond that I love what she brings to the story and I really look forward to reading about her again in the next book.
My final comment/disclosure/forewarning: I know not everyone is a fan of cliffhangers. I know many people are more accepting of them when they know they are coming. So here it is, your warning that when you get to the end of Fool’s Assassin, the first thing you are liable to do is look up the expected publication date for the next book (which has not been announced yet, at least not at the time of writing this review). Personally, I was quite happy with it. I felt Fool’s Assassin told the beginning story of the trilogy. The course of events in this book are essential for setting up and understanding the larger story that we are just beginning to glimpse, and are waiting for in the next book. It took Fitz from his quiet retired life back into the maelstrom of all things Farseer.:Magic, intrigue, assassinations, prophesy. And heartache. Poor Fitz. I look forward to reading more of you in the next one.