Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Series #1)

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Series #1)

by Robin Hobb

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553897487
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/05/2002
Series: Farseer Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 8,495
File size: 3 MB

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.

From the Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

The Earliest History
A History of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers. A complete telling would reach back beyond the founding of the First Duchy and, if such names were remembered, would tell us of Outislanders raiding from the sea, visiting as pirates a shore more temperate and gentler than the icy beaches of the Out Islands. But we do not know the names of these earliest forebears.
“And of the first real King, little more than his name and some extravagant legends remain. Taker his name was, quite simply, and perhaps with that naming began the tradition that daughters and sons of his lineage would be given names that would shape their lives and beings. Folk beliefs claim that such names were sealed to the newborn babes by magic, and that these royal offspring were incapable of betraying the virtues whose names they bore. Passed through fire and plunged through salt water and offered to the winds of the air; thus were names sealed to these chosen children. So we are told. A pretty fancy, and perhaps once there was such a ritual, but history shows us this was not always sufficient to bind a child to the virtue that named it.…
My pen falters, then falls from my knuckly grip, leaving a worm’s trail of ink across Fedwren’s paper. I have spoiled another leaf of the fine stuff, in what I suspect is a futile endeavor. I wonder if I can write this history, or if on every page there will be some sneaking show of a bitterness I thought long dead. I think myself cured of all spite, but when I touch pen to paper, the hurt of a boy bleeds out with the sea-spawned ink, until I suspect each carefully formed black letter scabs over some ancient scarlet wound.
Both Fedwren and Patience were so filled with enthusiasm whenever a written account of the history of the Six Duchies was discussed that I persuaded myself the writing of it was a worthwhile effort. I convinced myself that the exercise would turn my thoughts aside from my pain and help the time to pass. But each historical event I consider only awakens my own personal shades of loneliness and loss. I fear I will have to set this work aside entirely, or else give in to reconsidering all that has shaped what I have become. And so I begin again, and again, but always find that I am writing of my own beginnings rather than the beginnings of this land. I do not even know to whom I try to explain myself. My life has been a web of secrets, secrets that even now are unsafe to share. Shall I set them all down on fine paper, only to create from them flame and ash? Perhaps.
My memories reach back to when I was six years old. Before that, there is nothing, only a blank gulf no exercise of my mind has ever been able to pierce. Prior to that day at Moonseye, there is nothing. But on that day they suddenly begin, with a brightness and detail that overwhelms me. Sometimes it seems too complete, and I wonder if it is truly mine. Am I recalling it from my own mind, or from dozens of retellings by legions of kitchen maids and ranks of scullions and herds of stable boys as they explained my presence to each other? Perhaps I have heard the story so many times, from so many sources, that I now recall it as an actual memory of my own. Is the detail the result of a six-year-old’s open absorption of all that goes on around him? Or could the completeness of the memory be the bright overlay of the Skill, and the later drugs a man takes to control his addiction to it, the drugs that bring on pains and cravings of their own? The last is most possible. Perhaps it is even probable. One hopes it is not the case.
The remembrance is almost physical: the chill grayness of the fading day, the remorseless rain that soaked me, the icy cobbles of the strange town’s streets, even the callused roughness of the huge hand that gripped my small one. Sometimes I wonder about that grip. The hand was hard and rough, trapping mine within it. And yet it was warm, and not unkind as it held mine. Only firm. It did not let me slip on the icy streets, but it did not let me escape my fate, either. It was as implacable as the icy gray rain that glazed the trampled snow and ice of the graveled pathway outside the huge wooden doors of the fortified building that stood like a fortress within the town itself.
The doors were tall, not just to a six-year-old boy, but tall enough to admit giants, to dwarf even the rangy old man who towered over me. And they looked strange to me, although I cannot summon up what type of door or dwelling would have looked familiar. Only that these, carved and bound with black iron hinges, decorated with a buck’s head and knocker of gleaming brass, were outside of my experience. I recall that slush had soaked through my clothes, so my feet and legs were wet and cold. And yet, again, I cannot recall that I had walked far through winter’s last curses, nor that I had been carried. No, it all starts there, right outside the doors of the stronghouse, with my small hand trapped inside the tall man’s.
Almost, it is like a puppet show beginning. Yes, I can see it thus. The curtains parted, and there we stood before that great door. The old man lifted the brass knocker and banged it down, once, twice, thrice on the plate that resounded to his pounding. And then, from offstage, a voice sounded. Not from within the doors, but from behind us, back the way we had come. “Father, please,” the woman’s voice begged. I turned to look at her, but it had begun to snow again, a lacy veil that clung to eyelashes and coat sleeves. I can’t recall that I saw anyone. Certainly, I did not struggle to break free of the old man’s grip on my hand, nor did I call out, “Mother, Mother.” Instead I stood, a spectator, and heard the sound of boots within the keep, and the unfastening of the door hasp within.
One last time she called. I can still hear the words perfectly, the desperation in a voice that now would sound young to my ears. “Father, please, I beg you!” A tremor shook the hand that gripped mine, but whether of anger or some other emotion, I shall never know. As swift as a black crow seizes a bit of dropped bread, the old man stooped and snatched up a frozen chunk of dirty ice. Wordlessly he flung it, with great force and fury, and I cowered where I stood. I do not recall a cry, nor the sound of struck flesh. What I do remember is how the doors swung outward, so that the old man had to step hastily back, dragging me with him.
And there is this. The man who opened the door was no house servant, as I might imagine if I had only heard this story. No, memory shows me a man-at-arms, a warrior, gone a bit to gray and with a belly more of hard suet than muscle, but not some mannered house servant. He looked both the old man and me up and down with a soldier’s practiced suspicion, and then stood there silently, waiting for us to state our business.
I think it rattled the old man a bit, and stimulated him, not to fear, but to anger. For he suddenly dropped my hand and instead gripped me by the back of my coat and swung me forward, like a whelp offered to a prospective new owner. “I’ve brought the boy to you,” he said in a rusty voice.
And when the house guard continued to stare at him, without judgment or even curiosity, he elaborated. “I’ve fed him at my table for six years, and never a word from his father, never a coin, never a visit, though my daughter gives me to understand he knows he fathered a bastard on her. I’ll not feed him any longer, nor break my back at a plow to keep clothes on his back. Let him be fed by him what got him. I’ve enough to tend to of my own, what with my woman getting on in years, and this one’s mother to keep and feed. For not a man will have her now, not a man, not with this pup running at her heels. So you take him, and give him to his father.” And he let go of me so suddenly that I sprawled to the stone doorstep at the guard’s feet. I scrabbled to a sitting position, not much hurt that I recall, and looked up to see what would happen next between the two men.
“The guard looked down at me, lips pursed slightly, not in judgment but merely considering how to classify me. “Whose get?” he asked, and his tone was not one of curiosity, but only that of a man who asks for more specific information on a situation, in order to report well to a superior.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

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"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. 438 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.