With Prince Dutiful returned safely to the Farseer fold, FitzChivalry returns to spying and magic. In this land of secrets, intrigue abounds; but success draws Fitz only deeper into danger and isolation. Even his friendship with the Fool is severed. This continuation of Hobb's Tawny Man series maintains the standards of her Farseer trilogy.
Blindness comes in many forms. For angst-ridden FitzChivalry Farseer, the blindness isn't physical but rather an inability to gauge character. Fitz, the hero of this second volume in the trilogy that began with Fool's Errand (2002), reluctantly returns, disguised as a servant, to Buckkeep town in the Six Duchies to be skill-master to Prince Dutiful, the king-in-waiting. Fitz is mourning the loss of his wolf bondmate Nighteyes, hating his disguise, worrying about his foster son's behavior in Buckkeep and frantically trying to learn enough about the Skill to stay ahead of the prince during their training sessions. Fitz jumps from crisis to crisis like a bowling ball tossed onto a trampoline-his failure to look deeply at others' motivations plunges him into a morass of poorly thought-out actions and badly managed confrontations. The harder Fitz tries, the worse his situation gets. The author juggles all the balls with aplomb, besides providing spot-on characterizations. The intrigue and double-dealing of the Farseer royal court are spider webs of interconnections, while the plot itself keeps the reader bouncing from one theory to another, right up to the somewhat abrupt ending. The writing may not be quite as fine as that in Hobb's Assassins series (Assassin's Apprentice, etc.), but this latest nonetheless shows why she ranks near the top of the high fantasy field. (Jan. 7) FYI: Robin Hobb is the pseudonym of Megan Lindholm. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Book two in The Tawny Man series, this novel continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, illegitimate cousin in the ruling Farseer dynasty. Possessed of the rare combination of Wit, or animal magic, and the more orthodox Skill magic, FitzChivalry is the trusted spy-confidant of Queen Kettricken, her son Prince Dutiful, and their councilor, Chade. Under the alias Tom Badgerlock, FitzChivalry must navigate numerous court intrigues. The prince's betrothal to a haughty foreigner, delegations from a dragon, and Witted assassins in the palace are but a few of the forces Tom must balance as he endeavors to serve the queen and his own interests. Tom's fight with assassins and his preparations to join Prince Dutiful on a quest for a frozen dragon bring the book to a satisfactory close with the promise of further adventures. Hobb's second installment is a great improvement over the first book in the series, Fool's Errand (Bantam, 2002/VOYA February 2002). He maintains excellent control over a complex plot, while managing to create memorable characters with believable emotions and motivation. Readers will not forget the servant Thick, with his constant refrain of "Dogstink!" or the aged Chade's delusions of grandeur. FitzChivalry comes into his own in this book, successfully balancing his doubts and recriminations with the immediacy of his present agenda. Although lengthy, the book delivers a satisfying fantasy with greater dramatic tension and emotion than the first book. For libraries with older fantasy fans, both books are solid choices with teen appeal. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to12; Adult and Young Adult). 2003, Bantam Spectra, 528p,
After the death of his wolf bondmate, FitzChivalry Farseer seeks to hide himself from the world and mourn his loss. His responsibilities as Prince Dutiful's skill master (assassin), however, require him to remain at Buckkeep Castle to keep an eye out for trouble brewing in the kingdom. The sequel to Fool's Errand continues the tale of an unlikely hero trying to serve his kingdom in a land wracked by internal and external strife. The author of the "Farseer" and "Liveship Traders" series once again demonstrates her storytelling expertise as well as her knack for creating genuinely believable characters. A good choice for most fantasy collections. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
The second part of Hobb's new trilogy (Fool's Errand, 2001) continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, royal bastard and trained killer, as Hobb maneuvers her characters through a complex maze of intrigue and shaky relationships. Returning to Buckkeep Castle, where he spent his youth, Fitz now poses as bodyguard to the extravagant Lord Golden, formerly the King's Fool. At the same time, he gathers intelligence for Chade, the royal assassin. Fitz faces the continued threat of the Piebalds, a rebel group who commune with animals. Plus, Prince Dutiful, heir to the throne, needs training in the Skill, the magical discipline by which the kings of the Farseer line protected their kingdom. The prince is supposed to marry a young princess from the Outislands, but both royals appear reluctant, and Fitz's own son Hap, apprenticed to a local tradesman, is staying out late at night with a girl whose parents disapprove. Finally, Fitz's relationship with the Golden/Fool is shaken by the revelation of his friend's activities while he was traveling in a foreign country. The narrative can bog down in the mundane at times, but, still, Hobbs generates a number of surprises and a cliff-hanging close: another solid fantasy with strong characters.
Praise for Robin Hobb and Golden Fool
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin
“[Robin Hobb] ranks near the top of the high fantasy field. . . . [She] juggles all the balls with aplomb, besides providing spot-on characterizations.”—Publishers Weekly
“Solid storytelling with warmth and heart.”—The Kansas City Star