Fool's Assassin: Book new arrival I of 2021 the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy outlet online sale

Fool's Assassin: Book new arrival I of 2021 the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy outlet online sale

Fool's Assassin: Book new arrival I of 2021 the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy outlet online sale

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Product Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.
 
Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.
 
FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.
 
Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.
 
Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . . .

Praise for Fool’s Assassin
 
“Hobb knows the complicated workings of the wayward human heart, and she takes time to depict them in her tale, to tell her story sweetly, insistently, compellingly. . . . A book meant to be inhabited rather than run through.” The Seattle Times
 
“[FitzChivalry Farseer is] one of the best characters in fantasy literature.” Fantasy Book Review
 
“[Hobb’s] prose sparkles, her characters leap off the page.” Tordotcom
 
“Modern fantasy at its irresistible best.” —The Guardian
 
“Fantastic . . . emotionally rich storytelling.” —Library Journal (starred review)

Review

Praise for Fool’s Assassin
 
“[Robin] Hobb knows the complicated workings of the wayward human heart, and she takes time to depict them in her tale, to tell her story sweetly, insistently, compellingly. . . . A book meant to be inhabited rather than run through.” The Seattle Times
 
“[FitzChivalry Farseer is] one of the best characters in fantasy literature.” Fantasy Book Review
 
“[Hobb’s] prose sparkles, her characters leap off the page.” Tordotcom
 
“Modern fantasy at its irresistible best.” —The Guardian
 
“Fantastic . . . emotionally rich storytelling.” —Library Journal (starred review)
 
Praise for Robin Hobb
 
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.” —George R. R. Martin

About the Author

Robin Hobb is the author of the Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy, the Tawny Man Trilogy, the Soldier Son Trilogy, and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. She has also written as Megan Lindholm. She is a native of Washington State.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

9780553392425|excerpt

Liss / FOOL''S ASSASSIN

Chapter 1

Withywoods



Burrich, old friend,

Well, we are settled here, I suppose. It has not been a pleasant time for me, or for you if your somewhat terse message conceals as much as I suspect it does. The house is immense, far too large for the two of us. It is so like you to ask after our mounts before inquiring after my own health. I will answer that query first. I’m pleased to tell you that Silk has taken the change in stable quite calmly, as the well-­mannered palfrey she has always been. Tallfellow, in contrast, has made a new hobby out of bullying the resident stallion, but we have taken steps to be sure their stalls and paddocks are well separated now. I’ve reduced his grain and there is a young stableman here named, oddly enough, Tallman, who was absolutely ecstatic to receive my request that he take the horse out and run him hard at least once a day. With such a regimen, I am sure he will soon settle.

My lady wife. You did not ask after her, but I know you well, my friend. So I will tell you that Patience has been furious, wounded, melancholy, hysterical, and altogether of a hundred different minds about the situation. She berates me that I was unfaithful to her before we met, and in the next instant forgives me and blames herself that she has not furnished me an heir, given that “it is evident that the problem is entirely with me.” Somehow, we two will weather this.

I appreciate that you have taken command of my other responsibilities there. My brother has told me enough of your charge’s temperament that I send my sympathy to both of you and my deepest thanks. On whom else could I rely at a time such as this, for a favor so extreme?

I trust you to understand why I remain circumspect in this regard. Give Vixen a pat, a hug, and a large bone from me. I am confident that I owe as much to her vigilance as to yours. My wife is calling for me down the halls. I must end this and send it on its way. My brother may have words for you from me when next your paths cross.

Unsigned letter from Chivalry to Stablemaster Burrich

Fresh snowfall perched in white ramparts on the bare black birch limbs that lined the drive. White gleamed against black, like a fool’s winter motley. The snow came down in loose clumps of flakes, adding a fresh layer of glistening white to the banked snow in the courtyard. It was softening the hard ridges of fresh wheel tracks in the carriageway, erasing the boys’ footprints in the snow and smoothing the rutted pathways to mere suggestions of themselves. As I watched, another carriage arrived, drawn by a dapple-­gray team. The driver’s red-­cloaked shoulders were dusted with snow. A page in green and yellow darted from the steps of Withywoods to open the carriage door and gesture a welcome to our guests. From my vantage I could not tell who they were, save that their garb bespoke Withy merchants rather than gentry from one of the neighboring estates. As they passed out of my view and their driver moved the carriage off to our stables, I looked up at the afternoon sky. Definitely more to come. I suspected it would snow all night. Well, that was fitting. I let the curtain fall and turned as Molly entered our bedchamber.

“Fitz! You aren’t ready yet?”

I glanced down at myself. “I thought I was . . .”

My wife clicked her tongue at me. “Oh, Fitz. It’s Winterfest. The halls are festooned with greenery, Patience had Cook create a feast that will probably sustain the whole household for three days, all three sets of minstrels that she invited are tuning up, and half our guests have already arrived. You should be down there, greeting them as they enter. And you’re not even dressed yet.”

I thought of asking her what was wrong with what I was wearing, but she was already digging through my clothing chest, lifting garments, considering them, and discarding them. I waited. “This,” she said, pulling out a white linen shirt with ridges of lace down the sleeves. “And this jerkin over it. Everyone knows that wearing green at Winterfest is good luck. With your silver chain to match the buttons. These leggings. They’re old-­fashioned enough to make you look like an old man, but at least they’re not as saggy as those you have on. I know better than to ask you to wear your new trousers.”

“I am an old man. At forty-­seven, surely I’m allowed to dress as I please.”

She lowered her brows and gave me a mock glare. She set her hands to her hips. “Are you calling me an old woman, sirrah? For I seem to recall I have three years on you.”

“Of course not!” I hastily amended my words. But I could not resist grumbling, “But I have no idea why everyone wishes to dress as if they are Jamaillian nobility. The fabric on those trousers is so thin, the slightest bramble would tear them, and . . .”

She looked up at me with an exasperated sigh. “Yes. I’ve heard it from you a hundred times. Let’s ignore that there are few brambles inside Withywoods, shall we? So. Take these clean leggings. The ones you have on are a disgrace; didn’t you wear them yesterday when you were helping with that horse that had a cracked hoof? And put on your house shoes, not those worn boots. You’ll be expected to dance, you know.”

She straightened from her excavation of my clothing chest. Conceding to the inevitable, I’d already begun shedding garments. As I thrust my head out of the shirt, my gaze met hers. She was smiling in a familiar way, and as I considered her holly crown, the cascading lace on her blouse and gaily embroidered kirtle, I found a smile to answer hers. Her smile broadened even as she took a step back from me. “Now, Fitz. We’ve guests below, waiting for us.”

“They’ve waited this long, they can wait a bit longer. Our daughter can mind them.”

I advanced a step. She retreated to the door and set her hand to the knob, all the while shaking her head so that her black ringlets danced on her brow and shoulders. She lowered her head and looked up at me through her lashes, and suddenly she seemed just a girl to me again. A wild Buckkeep Town girl, to be pursued down a sandy beach. Did she remember? Perhaps, for she caught her lower lip between her teeth and I saw her resolve almost weaken. Then, “No. Our guests can’t wait, and while Nettle can welcome them, a greeting from the daughter of the house is not the same as an acknowledgment from you and me. Riddle may stand at her shoulder as our steward and help her, but until the king gives his permission for them to wed, we should not present them as a couple. So it is you and I who must wait. Because I’m not going to be content with ‘a bit’ of your time tonight. I expect better effort than that from you.”

“Really?” I challenged her. I took two swift steps toward her, but with a girlish shriek she was out the door. As she pulled it almost shut, she added through the crack, “Hurry up! You know how quickly Patience’s parties can get out of hand. I’ve left Nettle in charge of things, but you know, Riddle is very nearly as bad as Patience.” A pause. “And do not dare to be late and leave me with no dancing partner!”

She shut the door just as I reached it. I halted and then, with a small sigh, went back for my clean leggings and soft shoes. She would expect me to dance, and I would do my best. I did know that Riddle was apt to enjoy himself at any sort of festivity at Withywoods with an abandon that was very unlike the reserved fellow he showed himself at Buckkeep, and perhaps not precisely correct for a man who was ostensibly just our former household steward. I found myself smiling. Where he led, sometimes Nettle followed, showing a merry side of herself that she, too, seldom revealed at the king’s court. Hearth and Just, the two of Molly’s six grown sons who were still at home, would need very little encouragement to join in. As Patience had invited half of Withy and far more musicians than could perform in one evening, I fully expected that our Winterfest revelry would last at least three days.

With some reluctance, I removed my leggings and pulled on the trousers. They were a dark green that was nearly black, thin linen, and almost as voluminous as a skirt. They tied at my waist with ribbons. A broad silk sash completed the ridiculous garment. I told myself that my wearing them would please Molly. I suspected that Riddle would have been bothered into donning similar garb. I sighed again, wondering why we must all emulate Jamaillian fashions, and then resigned myself to it. I finished dressing, badgered my hair into a warrior’s tail, and left our bedchamber. I paused at the top of the grand oak staircase; the sounds of merriment drifted up to me. I took a breath as if I were about to dive into deep water. I had nothing to fear, no reason to hesitate, and yet the ingrained habits of my distant boyhood still clutched at me. I had every right to descend this stair, to walk among the glad company below as master of the house and husband to the lady who owned it. Now I was known as Holder Tom Badgerlock, common-­born perhaps but elevated alongside Lady Molly to gentry status. The bastard FitzChivalry Farseer—­grandson and nephew and cousin to kings—­had been laid to rest twoscore years ago. To the folk below, I was Holder Tom and the founder of the feast they would enjoy.

Even if I was wearing silly Jamaillian trousers.

I paused a moment longer, listening. I could hear two distinct groups of minstrels vying to tune their instruments. Riddle’s laugh rang suddenly clear and loud, making me smile. The hum of voices from the Great Hall lifted in volume and then fell again. One set of minstrels gained ascendancy, for a lively drumbeat suddenly broke through the voices to dominate all. The dancing would soon begin. Truly, I was late, and had best descend. Yet there was sweetness to standing here, above it all, imagining Nettle’s flashing feet and sparkling eyes as Riddle led her through the dance steps. Oh, and Molly! She would be waiting for me! I had become a passable dancer over the years, for her sake, as she loved it so. She would not easily forgive me if I left her standing.

I hurried down the polished oak steps two at a time, reached the hall foyer, and was there suddenly ambushed by Revel. Our new young steward was looking very fine indeed in a white shirt, black jacket, and black trousers in the Jamaillian fashion. His green house shoes were startling, as was the yellow scarf at his throat. Green and yellow were the Withywoods colors, and I suspected these accoutrements were Patience’s idea. I did not let the smile curve my mouth but I think he read it in my eyes. He stood even taller and looked down at me as he soberly informed me, “Sir, there are minstrels at the door.”

I gave him a puzzled glance. “Well, let them in, man. It’s Winterfest.”

He stood still, his lips folded in disapproval. “Sir, I do not think they were invited.”

“It’s Winterfest,” I repeated, beginning to be annoyed. Molly would not be pleased at being kept waiting. “Patience invites every minstrel, puppeteer, tumbler, tinker, or blacksmith she meets to come and sojourn with us for a time. She probably invited them months ago and forgot all about it.”

I did not think his back could get stiffer, but it did. “Sir, they were outside the stable, trying to peer in through a crack in the planking. Tallman heard the dogs barking and went to see what it was about and found them. That is when they said they were minstrels, invited for Winterfest.”

“And?”

He took a short breath. “Sir, I do not think they are minstrels. They have no instruments. And while one said they were minstrels, another said, no, they were tumblers. But when Tallman said he would walk them up to the front door, they said that he needn’t, they only wished to beg shelter for the night, and the stable would be fine.” He shook his head. “Tallman spoke to me privately when he brought them up. He thinks they’re none of what they claim to be. And so do I.”

I gave him a look. Revel folded his arms. He did not meet my glance, but his mouth was stubborn. I found a bit of patience for him. He was young and fairly new to the household. Cravit Softhands, our ancient steward, had died last year. Riddle had stepped up to shoulder many of the old man’s duties, but insisted that Withywoods needed a new steward trained. I’d casually replied that I did not have time to find one, and within three days Riddle had brought Revel to us. After two months, Revel was still learning his place, I told myself, and considered that perhaps Riddle had infused him with a bit too much caution. Riddle was, after all, Chade’s man, insinuated into our household to watch my back and probably spy on me. Despite his current merriness and devotion to my daughter, he was a man steeped in carefulness. Given his way, we’d have had a guard contingent at Withywoods to rival the Queen’s Own. I reined my mind back to the question at hand.

“Revel, I appreciate your care. But it’s Winterfest. And be they minstrels or wandering beggars, no man should be turned from our door on such a holiday, or on such a snowy evening. While there’s room in the house, they need not sleep in the stable. Bring them in. I’m sure all will be well.”

“Sir.” He was not agreeing, but he was obeying. I suppressed a sigh. That would do for now. I turned to join the throng in the Great Hall.

“Sir?”

I turned back to him. My voice was stern as I asked him, “Is there something else, Revel? Something pressing?” I could hear the tentative notes of musicians bringing their instruments into harmony, and then the music suddenly opened into blossom. I’d missed the start of the first dance. I gritted my teeth as I thought of Molly standing alone, watching the dancers whirl.

I saw his teeth catch for an instant on his lower lip. He decided to press on. “Sir, the messenger still waits for you in your study.”

“Messenger?”

Revel gave a martyred sigh. “Hours ago, I sent one of our temporary pages looking for you with a message. He said he shouted it at you through the door of the steams. I have to inform you, sir, this is what comes of us using untrained boys and girls as pages. We should have a few here permanently, if only to train them for future need.”

At my wearied look, Revel cleared his throat and changed tactics. “My apologies, sir. I should have sent him back to confirm you’d heard him.”

“I didn’t. Revel, would you mind dealing with it for me?” I took a hesitant step toward the hall. The music was rising.

Revel gave a minute shake of his head. “I am very sorry, sir. But the messenger says the message is specifically for you. I have asked twice if I could be of any help, and offered to write the message for you.” He shook his head. “The messenger insists that only you can receive the words.”

I guessed the message, then. Holder Barit had been trying to wrangle me into agreeing that he could pasture some of his flock with our sheep. Our shepherd had adamantly insisted that this would be too many beasts for our winter pasturage. I intended to listen to Shepherd Lin, even if Barit was now willing to offer a decent amount of money. Winterfest eve was no time to be doing business. It would keep. “It’s fine, Revel. And don’t be too stern with our pages. You are right. We should have one or two on staff. But most of them will grow up to work in the orchards or follow their mothers’ trades. It’s rare that we need them here at Withy.” I didn’t want to be thinking about this right now. Molly was waiting! I took a breath and made my decision. “Thoughtless as it is for me to have left a messenger waiting so long, it would be ruder by far if I leave my lady unpartnered for the second dance as well as the first. Please extend my apology to the messenger for my unfortunate delay and see that he is made comfortable with food and drink. Tell him that I’ll come to the study directly after the second dance.” I had no wish to do so. The festivities beckoned tonight. A better idea came to me. “No! Invite him to join the festivities. Tell him to enjoy himself, and that we will sit down together before noon tomorrow.” I could think of nothing in my life that could possibly be so pressing as to demand my attention tonight.

“Her, sir.”

“Revel?”

“Her. The messenger is a girl, sir. Scarcely a woman, by the look of her. Of course, I have already offered her food and drink. I would not so neglect anyone who came to your door. Let alone one who seems to have come a long and weary way.”

Music was playing and Molly was waiting. Better the messenger wait than Molly. “Then offer her a room, and ask if she would like a hot bath drawn or a quiet meal alone before we meet tomorrow. Do your best to see she is comfortable, Revel, and I will give her as much of my time as she wishes tomorrow.”

“I shall, sir.”

He turned to go back to the entrance hall, and I hastened to the Great Hall of Withywoods. The two tall doors stood open, the golden oak planks gleaming in firelight and candlelight. Music and the tap and slap of dancing feet spilled into the paneled corridor, but just as I drew near the musicians played the last refrain and with a shout the first dance was over. I rolled my eyes at my ill luck.

But as I stepped into the hall, breasting the wave of applause for the minstrels, I saw that Molly’s dance partner was bowing gravely to her. My stepson had rescued his mother and taken her to the floor. Young Hearth had been growing like a weed for the past year. He was as darkly handsome as his father, Burrich, had been, but his brow and smiling mouth were Molly’s. At seventeen he could look down at the top of his mother’s head. His cheeks were flushed with the lively dance, and Molly did not appear to have missed me even a tiny bit. As she looked up and her eyes met mine across the hall, she smiled. I blessed Hearth and resolved that I would find a substantial way to convey my thanks to him. Across the room, his older brother, Just, lounged against the hearth. Nettle and Riddle stood nearby; Nettle’s cheeks were pink and I knew Just was teasing his older sister, and Riddle was in on it.

I made my way across the room to Molly, pausing often to bow and return greetings to our many guests who hailed me. Every rank and walk of life was reflected there. The gentry and minor nobility of our area were there, finely dressed in lace and linen trousers; Tinker John and the village seamstress and a local cheesemaker were there as well. Their festive garments might be a bit more dated, and some were well worn, but they had been freshly brushed for the occasion and the shining holly crowns and sprigs that many wore were newly harvested. Molly had put out her best scented candles, so the fragrances of lavender and honeysuckle filled the air even as the dancing flames painted the walls with gold and honey. Grand fires blazed in all three hearths, with spitted meats tended by red-­faced village lads employed for the occasion. Several maids were busy at the ale keg in the corner, topping mugs on the trays they would offer to the breathless dancers when the music paused.

At one end of the room, tables were laden with breads, apples, dishes of raisins and nuts, pastries and creams, platters of smoked meats and fish, and many another dish I didn’t recognize. Dripping slices of fresh-­cut meat from the roasts on the spits supplied all that any man could ask for, and added their rich fragrance to the festive air. Benches were filled with guests already enjoying food and drink, for there was also beer and wine in plenty.

At the other end of the room the first minstrels were yielding the stage to the second group. The floor had been strewn with sand for the dancers. Undoubtedly it had been swept into elegant patterns when the guests first arrived, but it now showed the busy tread of the merrymakers. I reached Molly’s side just as the musicians swept into their opening notes. This tune was as pensive as the first had been jolly, so as Molly seized my hand and led me to the dance floor, I was able to keep possession of both her hands and hear her voice through the melody. “You look very fine tonight, Holder Badgerlock.” She drew me into line with the other men.

I bowed gravely over our joined hands. “If you are pleased, then I am content,” I replied. I ignored the flapping of fabric against my calves as we turned, parted briefly, and then clasped hands again. I caught a glimpse of Riddle and Nettle. Yes, Riddle wore the same sort of flapping trousers, in blue, and he held my daughter not by her fingertips but by her hands. Nettle was smiling. When I glanced back at Molly, she was smiling, too. She had noted the direction of my glance.

“Were we ever that young?” she asked me.

I shook my head. “I think not,” I said. “Life was harsher for us when we were that age.”

I saw her cast her thoughts back through the years. “When I was Nettle’s age, I was already the mother of three children and carrying a fourth. And you were . . .” She let the thought trail away, and I did not speak. I had been living in a little cabin near Forge with my wolf. Was that the year I had taken in Hap? The orphan had been glad of a home, and Nighteyes had been glad of livelier company. I had thought myself resigned, then, to losing her to Burrich. Nineteen long years ago. I pushed the long shadow of those days aside. I stepped closer, put my hands to her waist, and lifted her as we turned. She set her hands to my shoulders, her mouth opening in surprise and delight. Around us, the other dancers gawked briefly. As I put her back on her feet, I observed, “And that is why we should be young now.”

“You, perhaps.” Her cheeks were pink and she seemed a bit breathless as we made another promenade and turned, parted then rejoined. Or almost rejoined. No, I should have turned again and then . . . I’d hopelessly muddled it, just as I’d been taking great pride that I recalled every step from the last time we had danced this. The other dancers avoided me, parting to flow past me as if I were a stubborn rock in a creek. I spun in a circle, looking for Molly, and found her standing behind me, her hands lifted in a useless attempt to contain her laughter. I reached for her, intending to insert us back into the dance, but she seized both my hands and pulled me from the floor, laughing breathlessly. I rolled my eyes and tried to apologize but, “It’s all right, dear. A bit of rest and something to drink would be welcome. Hearth wore me out earlier with his prancing. I need to sit down.” She caught her breath suddenly and swayed against me. Her brow glistened with perspiration. She set her hand to the back of her neck and rubbed it as if to relieve a cramp.

“And I the same,” I lied to her. Her face flushed, she smiled faintly at me as she pressed her hand to her breast as if to calm her fluttering heart. I smiled back at her and took her to her chair by the hearth. I had scarcely seated her before a page was at my elbow, offering to bring her wine. She nodded and sent him scampering.

“What was that, stitched all round his cap?” I asked distractedly.

“Feathers. And locks of hair from horse tails.” She was still breathless.

I looked askance at her.

“It was Patience’s fancy this year. All the boys she hired from Withy to act as pages for the holiday are dressed so. Feathers to bid all our troubles take flight, and horse tail hairs, which is what we will show to our problems as we flee them.”

“I . . . see.” My second lie of the evening.

“Well, it’s good that you do, as I certainly don’t. But every Winterfest, it’s something, isn’t it? Do you remember the year that Patience handed out greenwood staffs to every unmarried man who came to the festival? With the length based on her assessment of his masculinity?”

I bit down on the laugh that threatened to escape. “I do. Apparently she thought the young ladies needed a clear indication of which men would make the best mates.”

Molly lifted her brows. “Perhaps they did. There were six weddings at Springfest that year.”

My wife looked across the room. Patience, my stepmother, was dressed in a grand old gown of pale-­blue velvet trimmed with black lace at the cuffs and throat. Her long gray hair had been braided and pinned to her head in a coronet. She had a single sprig of holly in it, and several dozen bright-­blue feathers stuck in at all angles. A fan dangled from a bracelet at her wrist; it was blue to match her gown and feathers, and also edged with stiffened black lace. She looked both lovely and eccentric to me, as she always had. She was wagging a finger at Molly’s youngest, warning him about something. Hearth stood straight, looking solemnly down at her, but his clasped fingers fidgeted behind his back. His brother Just stood at a distance, concealing his grin and waiting for him to be released. I took pity on them both. Patience seemed to think they were still ten and twelve, despite how they towered over her. Just was barely short of his twentieth birthday, and Hearth was Molly’s youngest at seventeen. Yet he stood like a scolded boy and tolerantly accepted Patience’s rebuke.

“I want to let Lady Patience know that more of her minstrels have arrived. I hope this is the last batch of them. Any more and I suspect they’ll be coming to blows over who gets to perform and for how long.” Any minstrels invited to perform at Withywoods were assured of meals and a warm place to sleep, and a small purse for their efforts. The rest of their rewards were won from the guests, and often the musicians who performed the most reaped the greatest gain. Three sets of musicians were more than ample for a Winterfest at our holding. Four would be a challenge.

Molly nodded. She lifted her hands to her rosy cheeks. “I think I’ll just sit here a bit longer. Oh, here’s the lad with my wine!”

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Rick LobrechtTop Contributor: Star Wars
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Must read for Farseer fans
Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2017
I waited until #3 was released to buy and read the series. I''ve loved the Fitz books, and reread the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies just prior to reading this one. For those who are wondering, yes you should also read the Liveship Traders and Rainwild Chronicles, if only... See more
I waited until #3 was released to buy and read the series. I''ve loved the Fitz books, and reread the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies just prior to reading this one. For those who are wondering, yes you should also read the Liveship Traders and Rainwild Chronicles, if only for the full understanding of the main characters. I read the Kindle version of Fool''s Assassin.

FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard grandchild to King Shrewd, is dead (supposedly) and Fitz is doing a good job keeping it that way. Living now as Tom Badgerlock, wife to Molly, and step-father to his biological daughter Nettle, Tom is a country gentleman living out his days in his father''s estate, Withywoods. Years have passed since we last saw Fitz, and this book does a good job of catching us up on who he is today.

Taking place almost completely at Withywoods, it doesn''t have the adventure of most of the other books, but I still found it exciting and compelling to read. My Kindle says I read it in 9 days.

If you are a fan of the prior Farseer books, this is a must read, and I expect the next two to be the same. If you haven''t read the prior Farseer books, go back to Assassin''s Apprentice. You have 12 books to read before this one. You won''t be disappointed, this is Epic Fantasy at its finest.
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Judge Tabor
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Loved This Book!! Love FitzChivalry and Sweet Little Bee.
Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2016
A few years ago, I discovered Robin Hobb''s books and read every single book I could get my hands on. The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy were by far and away my favorite of her books. Fitz and The Fool were an amazing pair - bonded as something more than... See more
A few years ago, I discovered Robin Hobb''s books and read every single book I could get my hands on. The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy were by far and away my favorite of her books. Fitz and The Fool were an amazing pair - bonded as something more than friends, it was difficult to let them go once the last book had been written. Plus, there was always the question - was the Fool a man or a woman? Obviously, since he wasn''t exactly human, he was neither. So, the better question might be - "Was the Fool the equivalent of what is known as a human male or human woman" as it related to his own race?"

The series ended and Ms. Hobb apparently never saw fit to answer the question. Then, lo and behold, Robin Hobb surprises her fans by bringing back Fitz and the Fool in this latest series - "Fitz and the Fool Trilogy." So much time had gone by that I didn''t rush to buy the first book. I had moved on to historical romance novels and was not as interested in Fitz and the Fool as I had been at one time in my life. Then, I finally decided to buy this book and read it. Why in the world I didn''t read it when it first came out boggles my mind. I loved it. I was riveted. At the end of the day, I was glad I had waited because now I can immediately jump into Book #2 in this series. Thank you Ms. Hobb for giving your fans more of these two fabulous characters. Plus, we have a new character - a little girl named Bee.
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Nocturnal
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A simple guy with a lot of complex psychological problems
Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2020
I''ve been reading fantasy and sci-fi for 65 years now, lots of it. I love the creativity and imagination that goes into writing the genre. I read the Tawny Man series a while ago and loved it, loved the characters, loved the mystery, loved the love-hate thing that goes... See more
I''ve been reading fantasy and sci-fi for 65 years now, lots of it. I love the creativity and imagination that goes into writing the genre. I read the Tawny Man series a while ago and loved it, loved the characters, loved the mystery, loved the love-hate thing that goes on. But it took me a while to get around to reading the Assassin''s series. I am so glad I did. For me, Fitz is intriguing and almost overwhelmingly frustrating, he makes decisions out of thinking he''s doing what is best for the most but is only seen as selfishness. He does try so hard. Raised to be obedient too so he''s got that Pavlov''s dog response too often. Yet he''s a seasoned and experienced man when he grows up, which made me wonder why he doesn''t do more thinking for himself. Of course, it could just be bad luck which some people have more of than others. I read all the series and all the branches too. The books don''t rely totally on magic either, which I like. I like some magic as a spice but not as the main event. It''s now been a few years since I finished this series and it still comes back to sit in my brain, to make me think about some of the stuff Hobb put forth. I do think, as a woman, it is a particularly good portrayal of so many men--trying to do good but mucking things up by their need to protect those they care about inevitably to make the wrong decision or to stay silent when they should have said something, not finding the guts to articulately express themselves and then running away when things get too harsh at home. I loved this story, this series. Loved the characters. I wish Hobb wrote more books because I''ve read all the ones out, and I wish the stories she wrote under other names would be converted to electronic format so I could read them on my Kindle since my hands are getting arthritic so holding books has become tedious and painful. I''ve read this series 3 times already and want to read it again just to "be there" again but think I need to wait a while longer--like a good wine, sometimes you have to step back and let it breathe for a while before you take a taste.
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J. B. Pritchard
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Believable, fascinating characters and setting ...
Reviewed in the United States on October 21, 2014
Okay. The thing about this book is that all the stuff the negative reviews are saying about it is mostly true. The plot really is incredibly slow to pick up. The book really does introduce a bunch of slightly obnoxious new characters. The narrative really does focus on... See more
Okay. The thing about this book is that all the stuff the negative reviews are saying about it is mostly true. The plot really is incredibly slow to pick up. The book really does introduce a bunch of slightly obnoxious new characters. The narrative really does focus on domesticity rather than the adventures so typical to most fantasy. But none of that really bothers me that much because I am too swept up in the writing and the character development to care.

FOOL’S ASSASSIN is the latest in a long succession of books by Hobb that focus on Fitzchivalry Farseer, the illegitimate assassin son of the royal line of Farseers. The book starts from a rather difficult position because in the previous entry, Fitz seemingly got his happy ending and had settled down into middle-aged domesticity. This whole purpose of this book seems to be to give Fitz a reason to give up his happy ending and go on another adventure.

The first books of each of Hobb’s Fitz trilogies always move quite slowly in terms of plot and FOOL’S ASSASSIN is no exception. But that slow plot development serves a purpose – it gives the author the chance to develop the characters and the setting to an extent not seen in many fantasy novels. I feel that this book served that purpose very well – we got to know Fitz again as a mature man, we got to know his daughter (a great new point of view character), we got to know complex, annoying characters like Shun. Yes, the author stretches this sort of slow story development to the breaking point here (the real storyline doesn’t kick in until about 85% through the book), but I fully expect this book to be the opening chapter in an amazing trilogy.

Yeah, I was slightly annoyed that the Fool doesn’t show up until the book is almost over. Yeah, I would have liked the plot to move a bit faster. But in the end, I just don’t care that much because Hobb writes her characters with such finesse and believability, she writes about this world and setting with such detail and complexity and realism that I could sit and read this book all day. My enjoyment of the book was also boosted by an intriguing ending that looks like a great start to a new series. It’s a solid four stars.
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Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Is Fitz the protagonist or Burrich''s ghost?
Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2016
Fitz feels like an interloper. Molly''s best years are behind her, given to her true love,the father of her half dozen children, Burrich. Fitz lives in Burrich''s shadow as a father, husband, holder. Molly waits years to accept Fitz back into her life fully, after almost... See more
Fitz feels like an interloper. Molly''s best years are behind her, given to her true love,the father of her half dozen children, Burrich. Fitz lives in Burrich''s shadow as a father, husband, holder. Molly waits years to accept Fitz back into her life fully, after almost immediately welcoming Burrich and producing child after child with him. . The constantly failing, guilt ridden, Fitz, left he scraps of Burrich''s life felt icky to me.

Fitz''s angst, guilt and failure is the one constant of this series and while it was compelling at first, if felt empathy for him, it''s now become tiring.

These books feel more like a tribute to the past, and past characters than a story of the here and now. Please move on with the story!
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E.P. Clark
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fans of FitzChivalry Farseer Will Not Want to Miss this Book
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2018
If you''ve been suffering from withdrawal symptoms since the release of the last book about FitzChivalry Farseer, you may have greeted the arrival of "Fool''s Assassin" with heartfelt cries of joy. And for the most part, they''re well deserved. I''ve always found... See more
If you''ve been suffering from withdrawal symptoms since the release of the last book about FitzChivalry Farseer, you may have greeted the arrival of "Fool''s Assassin" with heartfelt cries of joy. And for the most part, they''re well deserved.

I''ve always found Fitz to be enthralling and enraging as a character in equal measure, and in "Fool''s Assassin" he is, if anything, even more so than in previous books. His willful blindness to what''s going on around him, and his refusal to heed the advice of his friends and family, is infuriating, but boy, does it carry along the plot.

Some readers might argue with that, since this is hardly what you''d call a tightly plotted book. Like the other Farseer books, especially the first in each trilogy, a good portion of the book is taken up with Fitz''s day-to-day life, while the events in the outside world slowly build up enough momentum to engulf him and sweep him away on some unwanted adventure. Readers wanting something quick and easy will want to steer clear, especially since this is not so much a book as the first installment in one enormous book that has been split into three parts.

That all being said, the trilogy is by far the best epic fantasy I''ve read all year, and probably the year before that, too. Hobb''s worldbuilding is excellent, as is her characterization, and in FitzChivalry Farseer she''s created one of the iconic characters of epic fantasy. I don''t want to say too much for fear of giving the plot away, but major changes happen in Fitz''s life, some happy, some tragic, and I for one was completely swept away by the story and the world, and couldn''t wait to read the next part of the story. Fans of epic fantasy will not want to miss this magnificent piece of, well, epic, epic storytelling.
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Dark Moon
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The good, the bad and the brilliant
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2015
Wow. An entire book as just the set up for the actual story. I wonder if that is unique in the annals of literature? Yet it is beautifully written, eerie and unique. Of course I was utterly unprepared for the story of the birth, infancy and childhood of a magical ''pixie''... See more
Wow. An entire book as just the set up for the actual story. I wonder if that is unique in the annals of literature? Yet it is beautifully written, eerie and unique. Of course I was utterly unprepared for the story of the birth, infancy and childhood of a magical ''pixie'' with prophetic dreams. Robin Hobb never ceases to amaze me. Unique may actually be an understatement for Fool''s Assassin. At times this book is so strange it is unsettling. But it pulls you in and never lets go. Putting this story down and walking away from it isn''t even an option.

Fitz, the hero of several earlier books by Robin Hobb, is now in his fifties but is in anguish because he has the health and body of a man of about thirty five, due to a Skill healing he once received which is still at work. This has to be another first. I''ve never heard of a person in fiction or the real world who would rather be old and falling apart than young and healthy. Apparently his wife Molly felt the same way. Go figure. Perhaps the author is trying to tell us that growing old and decrepit is nature''s way after all and we shouldn''t interfere in that process. If that''s the case I don''t buy it. Fritz and Molly just come off as weirdly eccentric in that regard.

Fitz has become eccentric in a number of ways at this stage of his life. As with the previous Six Duchies books, Fool''s Assassin takes place in a fantasy world which is roughly equivalent to our late medieval/early renaissance period of history. Fitz is the "Holder" for a large manor house and estate and has ample reason to believe that dangerous men may invade his domain and yet he is determined not to hire soldiers or security for the estate. Considering the world and history of the Six Duchies Fitz should have had at least twenty seasoned men at arms guarding the manor house and estate. That''s a minimum. If Withywoods Manor is ever attacked the resulting death and chaos will be largely Fitz''s fault. Exceedingly odd and irresponsible for someone who has experienced war in his own homeland! It''s strange to care so much about a character, through so many books, who can never get his act together. What''s really irritating about this is it''s all too obvious the author is "setting up" a catastrophe.

Nevertheless I''m hooked once again on a Robin Hobb story and can only continue to hope that Fitz will somehow grow up and become miraculously blessed by common sense in his older years. Perhaps he will find a new wolf Wit companion who will whisper wise advice in his ear. Bee is a fascinating, wonderful and unique character. Shun is a composite of everything that could possibly be wrong with a person. Chade is Chade and is always welcome. And then of course there is the Fool, who is another absolutely fabulous character!

The Fool''s story of "The Servants" and how they tortured him was one of the creepiest, strange and well written stories I''ve ever read. The author does not rely on the expected, classic formulas for evil people. The story the Fool tells is a totally unique and chilling. A masterful and utterly original journey into the gruesome, inhuman and macabre. It is all the more amazing coming from an author who writes so genuinely of love, beauty and tenderness. This author certainly has her moments of brilliance.

Highly recommended despite (and sometimes because of) its quirks and oddities. Minus one star for a major character (Fitz) who is obsessed with protecting his daughter Bee and yet goes out of his way to do absolutely nothing to protect her. That doesn''t ring true and in the end it was completely unnecessary to write it that way. Oh well, I''ll just use my handy dandy suspension of disbelief and move on. I''m ready for book two!
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monesqe
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Overlong, still often compelling
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2019
This has many of the old virtues, including the author''s superb writing. She crafts sentences well. It is a pleasure to find again old friends like Fitz. But somewhere the author gets lost in her own world. That this is 690 pages is absurd. So many long episodes go on with... See more
This has many of the old virtues, including the author''s superb writing. She crafts sentences well. It is a pleasure to find again old friends like Fitz. But somewhere the author gets lost in her own world. That this is 690 pages is absurd. So many long episodes go on with essentially nothing happening that it becomes tedious at times. Some of that is world-building, which is both useful and tolerable to an extent. Some of it is just the author falling in love with her own voice. If this book had a third of it cut, it would be better. This is a 690 page prelude to establish a couple of basic things, like introducing Bee and reintroducing the Fool (no spoiler--look at the trilogy title). At its conclusion, you have the feeling it''s just begun. I still liked it, and it picked up nicely as it suddenly sped to a conclusion at breakneck speed. I am looking forward to the rest.
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angus
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This isn''t storytelling
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2020
I bought the first two books in the original Farseer trilogy 5 years ago and I suppose I should have been alerted by the fact that I didn''t read the third one, but I''d forgotten I''d even read them, unfortunately. Reading as keenly as I do, I have a policy now of abandoning...See more
I bought the first two books in the original Farseer trilogy 5 years ago and I suppose I should have been alerted by the fact that I didn''t read the third one, but I''d forgotten I''d even read them, unfortunately. Reading as keenly as I do, I have a policy now of abandoning books which fail to capture my attention through action, wit, interesting and empathetic characters, engaging plot/storyline, etc, - etc in other words all the good things that keep us reading and wanting more. This particular volume holds my personal record for abandonment at 85 pages - I couldn''t face any more after that. Why ? Well, while Hobb doesn''t assume a lot knowledge on the part of the reader, what she does is make constant, tedious references to the events of earlier stories which for me soon started to have the effect of simply not shifting the story along. The story itself, by the point I gave up hadn''t really been revealed what with the references I mentioned, the pedantic and rather self-obsessed central character, described by another 1 * reviewer quite accurately as a right old woman (he''s supposed to be an assassin for pity''s sake !), the lengthy conversations about very little held by characters using the ''Skill'' and the red herrings ( or apparent ones anyway ). If she''d have simply come up with a new character life would''ve been a lot simpler for everyone instead of picking up on the rather staid and domestic existence Fitz now finds himself living in this drudgery decades after the original work. OMG - the details of the domestic arrangements would drive you to distraction having to wade through them in the vain hope of some action or plot development or unexpected event. It''s actually incredible to think that an author managed to insert such a variety of boredom into a mere eighty odd pages. Seriously folks, always read the reviews - I usually find that if 15% + are one or two stars, it''s likely a turkey - this one is !
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Barry Mulvany
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
in that the Tawny man trilogy had ended so well for Fitz and Fool that I feel this can only go somewhere bad. It''s a slow paced book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 15, 2018
I have basically grown up with Fitz. I was a teenager reading the Farseer trilogy and now in my late thirties reading this. I mention this as I identify with him quite a bit even though I have lived a vastly different life. I feel for Fitz so much, he tries but makes so...See more
I have basically grown up with Fitz. I was a teenager reading the Farseer trilogy and now in my late thirties reading this. I mention this as I identify with him quite a bit even though I have lived a vastly different life. I feel for Fitz so much, he tries but makes so many mistakes, a bit too set in his ways, too introspective. I was dreading reading this, in that the Tawny man trilogy had ended so well for Fitz and Fool that I feel this can only go somewhere bad. It''s a slow paced book, pretty much entirely set in Withywoods and the everyday life of Fitz at the estate. As so many have already said it is testament to Hobbs'' writing that she can make these mundane scenes have so much feeling and intensity, now not everybody will feel this I''m sure, but because I know the characters and world so well, I enjoyed this quieter intro immensely. We gradually learn where the story is going (of course Fitz doesn''t) and then it all bursts into action for the last 50-60 pages. It is all perfectly set up for book two and I am both looking forward to and dreading where it is going.
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Totnes Nigel
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
SO good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2016
This first book in the new series picks up on Fitz’s life many years after the events from the original series. Fitz is for now Tom Badgerlock – a Holder of the house and land rather than FitzChivalry Farseer, the illegitimate member of royalty that he actually is. He is...See more
This first book in the new series picks up on Fitz’s life many years after the events from the original series. Fitz is for now Tom Badgerlock – a Holder of the house and land rather than FitzChivalry Farseer, the illegitimate member of royalty that he actually is. He is living quietly on the estate with his wife Molly and Lady Patience the owner of the estate. So far so good and the opening of the book at Withywoods, the estate he is on, is largely calm and fairly idyllic. The characters there and around him, as well as the landscape, are well drawn out. Odd things do happen and the pace and tension gradually increase with the “odd things” becoming stranger maybe and more pressing. This is quite a slow burn story for the first half or a little more. I really do prefer not to spoil stories for those who have not read them so I will simply say that a new character, Bee, arrives on the scene. I very quickly came to love Bee as a character however her arrival in the book took me from disbelief to disbelief via incredulity. The pace of the book steadily increases and the tension mounts. You just know something is going to happen and the last 25% of the book I found almost impossible to put down. It has that characteristic of a really good book when you don’t want it to end but you can’t stop reading. For me this was an excellent follow up to the previous series which have involved Fitz Farseer. I bought book two as soon as I finished this book. I’m just not sure how long I can possibly put of reading it for. Then again book three is not out until May 2017 so maybe I should pace myself! If you like Robin Hobb’s work you really should read this. If you like high quality fantasy books and haven’t tried Hobb’s work then do try the original Farseer Trilogy.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Astoundingly good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 6, 2020
I am amazed to see a bad review on here for this, I can only assume that the person writing it was mistaken and accidentally reviewed the packaging. In this we meet Fitz again, years after his adventures. He is settled now with Molly and living at Withywoods. Patience is...See more
I am amazed to see a bad review on here for this, I can only assume that the person writing it was mistaken and accidentally reviewed the packaging. In this we meet Fitz again, years after his adventures. He is settled now with Molly and living at Withywoods. Patience is there and he''s still in touch with all in Buck. But things begin to go wrong, starting one Winterfest... Hobb introduces a brand new character to the mix, and brings some old ones back too. Although some are sadly lost to mortality as things progress. Every bit as good as the Farseer and Tawny Man trilolgies first books were, if not better. Nothing is as fantastic in all ways as a Robin Hobb novel.
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Pam.Chohole
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very enjoyable trilogy, nice to visit the Rain Wilds and The 6 duchies again
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 20, 2018
So nice to have some more from this Author and for me it was so nice, after struggling with one or two of the abysmal books from the Game ot Thrones series, to pick up a book by Robin and read her superb flowing writing style. She draws you into her world as she is writing...See more
So nice to have some more from this Author and for me it was so nice, after struggling with one or two of the abysmal books from the Game ot Thrones series, to pick up a book by Robin and read her superb flowing writing style. She draws you into her world as she is writing about it and you can get really involved with her characters as she explains them so clearly. And as always there is just that hint of a cliffhanger at the end of the third book of the trilogy, so fans can still wait to see if she will find enough for another book or 3. I was quite amused to see, at the end of one of the books, that the author George R R Martin had complemented her writing style, saying "Fantasy as it ought to be written" Maybe he can now emulate Robin''s style.
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