Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Series #1)

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Series #1)

4.4 407
by Robin Hobb

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Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child…  See more details below


Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.
As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
Praise for Robin Hobb and Assassin’s Apprentice
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin
“A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies . . . a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne.”Publishers Weekly
“This is the kind of book you fall into, and start reading slower as you get to the end, because you don’t want it to be over.”—Steven Brust

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Editorial Reviews

Pixel Planet
This really is a good book. It’s filled with interesting and vivid characters, a realistic setting, and plenty of intrigue to keep you interested. If you’ve tired of the cliched elf-filled fantasy that clogs your bookstore shelves, give Assassin Apprentice a try. You will be entertained.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The bastard sons of kings play a noble role in fantasy: not only were King Arthur and Modred by-blows, but it is often suggested that Merlin himself came to power from the ``wrong side of the bed.'' While Hobb's offering has a few too many illegitimate heirs backstabbing around, this is still a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne. Fitz, who is often called the ``Boy'' or the ``Bastard,'' was begotten by good Prince Chivalry upon some ``peasant'' woman. At age six, he is given over to the safekeeping of the prince's man, Burrich. Fitz's impolitic existence causes the prince to abdicate his claim to the throne, and he and his wife leave the court, and the boy, behind. Fitz has inherited the ``Skill,'' a mind-bending talent, and also has the ability to meld his thoughts with those of nonhuman creatures and to mentally ``repel'' physical advances. When Fitz finally comes to King Shrewd's attention, he is given over to the Royal Assassin's tutelage and trained to carry out the king's devious plans. The novel's conceit-that it offers Fitz's memoirs from childhood through adolescence-allows for several sequels. A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies and Arthurian romances. (Apr.)
Library Journal
As a royal bastard in the household of King Shrewd, a boy called "Fitz" spends his early years in the king's stables. When the magic in his blood marks him for destiny, he begins receiving secret instruction, by order of the king, in the art of assassination, a calling that places him in the midst of a nest of intrigue and arcane maneuverings. Firmly grounded in the trappings of high fantasy, Hobb's first novel features a protagonist whose coming of age revolves around the discovery of the meaning of loyalty and trust. This gracefully written fantasy belongs in most libraries.
Roland Green
This well-executed though somewhat conventional fantasy novel reads like both a first effort and the first book in a multivolume work. Neither probability should make the prospective reader wince. The conventional plot concerns a royal bastard of the house of the Farseers, who is raised secretly to serve the house as an assassin. When a succession crisis looms, young Fitz is almost literally flung into a series of complex and deadly intrigues, some magical, some mundane, all unscrupulous. The action moves along briskly, which, in conjunction with Hobb's good world building and fairly original characterization, will keep readers turning pages. This may not be the indispensable fantasy debut of the year, but it will find readers if offered to them.
From the Publisher
"Gracefully written" —Library Journal

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Farseer Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Gracefully written" —-Library Journal
Melanie Rawn
A richly detailed debut...highly recommended!

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Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 407 reviews.
Zeuxidamas More than 1 year ago
This is likely one of the best books in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre I have read since Ender's Game. I honestly had problems putting this book down and going to bed at night. Maybe it was something as simple as the writing style of using no page breaks until the end of the chapter. Maybe it is because most sci-fi books bounce between three groups of characters and their individual plots. This title stays rigidly focused on the one protagonist, and so maybe I felt like I got to know Fitz better as a character, and was not so distracted trying to keep multiple plot-lines straight. Whatever the cause, I grew totally immersed in Fitz' story, and joined in the constant hope that there would be something better for him just down the road. Cannot wait to read the second one in the series. Bravo. - Vr/Zeux..>>
Hiredoutlaw More than 1 year ago
I went with this book on a whim; good reviews shot me a hope in the fact that this trilogy will be something of epic proportions and keep me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, this book is possibly "epic" to some, but to me? I was severely disappointed.

I started the book one night. I had to read slow, because this is one of those novels that if you happen to read fast or skim, you'll miss a detail and screw up your mental image of the situation or description at hand. So, I read slowly. It was trudging along for the first chapter. I gave it a chance.

Fitz is a bastard child of Prince Chivalry, whom is now abdicated from his throne. Fitz is seen as a mistake to everyone except Burrich, the stable master whom cares for him; Verity, Chivalry's brother, now Prince; and King Shrewd, his grandfather. Fitz carries along in lessons of assassination with his instructor Chade. And that's where I stopped.

Page 150 and my doubts were clear. This book was not for me. I'm all for action, fast-paced adventure, murder and just exciting stuff. This is a book that is character-driven and really, a fictional biography of Fitz. It is told from his old self, recalling on the past. Told in first-person as well.

Sure, I'm fine with description and slow pace for 100 pages. Maybe even 120. But after that, I'm not going to waste my time to read a book that I'm not merely excited by. Granted, this book is interesting! This story is interesting, but it doesn't possess that sort of ... jolt. I'm sorry, I don't get excited by Fitz FINALLY speaking his mind, I don't get excited by his young romance changing her ways to be more girly, I don't get excited when Fitz crawls into bed for three days, full of depression because he feels a ton has been placed upon his shoulders. I'm not a character kind of guy.

I guess that's why you may say I don't particularly enjoy this book or this kind of book for that matter. I stopped reading it early and granted, I may be wrong. It may pick up later on, but judging from other people's opinions or views who have read the doesn't seem that way. I may pick up the book again, may even like it if my need for characterization increases in the future, but right now, I want action. Pick up the book if you want detail upon detail, slow-paced storytelling and characterization. Ignore it if you're like me; you want action and fast-paced events that throw you to the wall in shock and excitement.

Before I finish up here, I'd like to give kudos to Robin Hobb. She has done a tremendous job here and there is nothing wrong with her style. I just happen to dislike the slow-paced trudging through the story.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
I have been eye-balling this book for years, and I can honestly say I wish I had picked it up earlier! It contains excellent characters and an interesting writing style...I've never read anything quite like it, and I think fantasy readers will love it! Some comparable (and excellent) books are "Thief's Gamble" by McKenna and "Shadow in Summer" by Abraham...
Grandpa More than 1 year ago
Fitz,a five year old and the "bastid" son of Prince Chivalry is brought back to the castle and dropped off by a farmer who had been raising the boy. He is affirmed to be the Prince's child and is put in the care of King Shrew's stable master Burrich, who is both foster father and drill sargent. Fitz has a secret talent of being able to communicate, of sorts, with animals, "The Wit". Burrich is adamant against this, causing confict between them. The Royal family blood line has another "Skill", being able to communicate with each other mentally over long distances, and more. King Shrewd decides to let his "Skill Master", Chade, who is secretly the Queens "Bastid" child as well, teach Fitz this art. He immediately hates Fitz and does his best to destroy him while teaching him to use the "Skill". Enter "Galen" the King's Asassan, who takes Fitz under his wing to tutor him in the Assassan's arts as well. He is told the King wants him to learn and be of help to the King this way. Many sub-plots intertwine. The only dissapointing part of book one is that the Skill and the Wit are discussed at length, but very little is actually done or explained about them, leaving the Magic element of the story a bit weak so far. Secondly the reader finds themselves saying why the heck did Fitz stay until his teens where EVERYBODY hates him. Finaly at the end "FitzChivalry" discovers how to release his "Skill" the hard way setting up for book two. Robn Hobb has done a great job starting out, and I look forward to The Farseer #2. Get this, I think you will like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely enthralling! It is one of those rare books that is like a magnet for the mind. If you don't have this book finished within a day or two there is something wrong. Any fan of fantasy will love this book gauranteed. Robin Hobb's description is legendary and her stories are top notch! A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was refreshing to finally find a book that was concerned with developing a single character in a way that made you want to keep reading. Unlike many other popular fantasy series where the number of characters you are reading about can range well over a dozen, Hobb keeps her story told almost exclusively through the eyes of Fitz, the main character. Fitz is not perfect, and neither is his life, far from it actually. These flaws are what made me really feel compassion for Fitz. If you are looking for a great story Robin Hobb will not let you down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this trilogy and the one that follows called The Tawny Man trilogy. I couldn't put them down! The characters are believable, and the plot really pulls you in. I found myself laughing out loud one minute, and on the edge of my seat the next. If you like fantasy books, this is a great series to pick up!
Reader42AS More than 1 year ago
I have read this series and all of Hobb's following series. They are without doubt among the best in the Fantasy genre I have ever read. I have returned to them time and again. I wish she would go back to Fritz's world and write another series about him. Highly recommend this and all her work. If you find it a little slow going at the beginning, be patient. She is setting the stage for a great series that is well worth the effort. Trust me you will not regret sticking with it.
GLTurner1 More than 1 year ago
At this time, I have only read the first three books in this series (The Farseer Trilogy)and am just beginning the Liveship Traders Trilogy, but I have to say, I have never read anything that so completely captured my imagination, but also touched my heart so deeply. The characters came to life like no others have, they tug and wrench at the heart, and the very, very much unexpected love story that emerged....well I won't spoil it for others, but all I can say is a resounding WOW!!! I actually care about the characters in the story; I feel their love, their joy, their incredible fear and pain, the tension, the vulnerability, the tenderness. This is a story unlike ANYTHING I've ever read before, and will live in my heart long after I've put the books down. I would rate these books with even more stars if I could...yes, they are THAT GOOD. This is what the joy of reading is all about!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
be ready to buy them all. She is a wonderfully vivid writer who grasps your interest early and never lets go. I absolutely love all of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first in one of my abolute favorite series. It is character driven, so not for someone who merely wants a melodramatic, action intensive fantasy adventure. Be prepared to fall in love with the characters, shed many a tear, and dive into a tale that will live with you for years after the last page turns.
Scott Spencer More than 1 year ago
Strongly identified with the main character, got more caught up in this book than I had with the previous several fantasy books I had read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robin Hobb is one of the best fantasy fiction writers on the market today! Those who enjoy George R.R. Martin, Mercedes Lackey, R.A. Salvatore, Raymond Feist, etc. are going to fall in love with this amazing writer. Assassins Apprentice is her first novel in the Farseer Trilogy and it is magnificantly crafted. Those who are looking for a new country to explore, new hero to journey with need look no farther. Unlike many romantic fantasy writers, Robin Hobb NEVER pulls her punches, and you may find that you are laughing at one moment only to turn the page and cry the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of mystery and suspense at very turn awsome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Books 2&3 are a little out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was brilliant. The memory perspective used is excellently executed and the character decelopement is amazing. I genuinly feel for the main character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book starts slow and has a unique pace to it. The story isn't about a grand adventure, but really it's about the life of a boy and he deals with living in the world. The three stars were really only because it took awhile for the story to get somewhere but I will pick up the others in the series since I would like to know more about this universe and the problems that are faced in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The coming of age story of a boy in a light fantasy world. The story is told mostly from in first person, starting with his introduction to the royal family at the age of six, mixed with a few paragraphs at the start of each chapter used to do some world building. The main story focuses on the boy's life under various different guardians, teachers, and patrons in the royal court. It's a slow build. You see elements of things that are going to be important later (in this book and probably other books later in the series) as the story moves along. You have to get past the half way point before there's any combat, or deep exploration of magic, or political intrigue. What's here is good, and I think a nice ground work has been done for the future, but pay offs in this book are few and late in the reading. What's here is good. I wouldn't be opposed to reading the next part of this series. But, like the author, I'll take my time in getting there. Also, you should probably like dogs if you're going to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classic. I loved every bit of it. The book starts a bit slow, but dont worry, pays off with a character development that most books lack and it picks up around the fifth or sixth chapter Highly reccomended, and a personal favorite. > Jon the flamboyant >
Word5mith More than 1 year ago
Not bad. Kind of slow at times. Nice genuine characters.
JOLOVE More than 1 year ago
This series is one of my most cherished favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good series, Robin Hobb weaves a good if simple story
ATOBlue More than 1 year ago
I love reading Robin Hobb's works because nothing ever goes like I would expect it to. Through the book, the Duchies are presented with one threat they never move any closer to resolving, and the events that lead up to the climax don't appear until the last hundred pages or so, making the entire book look like a set-up for the next. But in those last pages my frustration melted away with the heated pace of the climax as Fitz faces off against a threat that blindsides and isolates him. Hobb always manages to build up my expectations one way, absolutely shatter them, and then rocket down another way which is even more incredible but still totally believable from all that comes before.
epow50 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I'm happy I wasn't put off by a couple of bad reviews. I'm also happy to see that this is a trilogy unlike some other series that put me in doubt of living long enough to see the story wrapped up. I have purchased the other 2 books and very much look forward to continuing the journey.
Kinkeadus_Khan More than 1 year ago
I have never become so emotionally entangled in a story as I have when I read this book.