Robin Hobb- Assassin’s Quest: Book Three of the Farseer Trilogy

Assasin's QuestWhat it’s about:

Basically sh*t’s got real.  The end of the last book has left Fitz in many ways more dead than alive, not least because everyone (even Molly) thinks he’s dead.  As we’ve seen in the first few books Fitz has had a consistent feeling of being forced down a path that was not his choosing, and yet now that life has ceased to exist.  As events unfold, what starts as an (almost) entirely solitary mission of vengeance, instead becomes a reunification, and once more a fight for the continued survival of the Six Duchies, and indeed the world as we know it.

What I love:  

  1.  As in the last book we gained a much clearer understanding of the true depth of the Wit, ‘Assassin’s Quest’ educates us in the power and lore of the Skill.  Hobb has truly created exceptional depth in the history of this world, and the magics that govern it.
  2. The discovery of the White Prophet in the Mountain Kingdom, and the circumstances of Fitz’s rescue.  I also really like how for much of his recovery he behaves very badly- it adds to the authenticity of the story- there are numerous examples of heroics, but our noble hero intersperses these with realistic and cheering behaviour that is both childish and petulant.
  3. Difficult to say too much about this one without giving the game away, but one of my very favourite characters manages to find something of a happy ending in a way that is far from anticipated.

My Favourite Quotes:

  1.  “Black Wolf is very large.  And quick.  I am stronger than he is, I think, but he knows more tricks.  It was much like when you fought Heart of the Pack.” 
  2. “Slowly the figure drew nearer.  A great shivering of cold and pain racked me.  I could go to the wolf.  I summoned the last of my strength to defy myself.  ‘Here!’ I croaked to death. ‘Here I am.  Come and take me and let it be done at last.”
  3. “Burrich, who would have stood and spat and fought to the death, dropped his sword and pleaded for the sake of my child.”

Robin Hobb- Royal Assasin: Book Two of the Farseer Trilogy

Royal Assassin

What it’s about:

The next stage of the story of FitzChivalry Farseer starts in the Mountain Kingdom, with Fitz attempting to recover from an almost deadly attack.  Accompanied by Burrich, Fitz begins to wonder whether his fate must always be aligned with that of the Royal Bastard, or whether another course might await him.  Despite his doubts, he is drawn back into the seemingly inescapable politics of Buckeep Castle, where it seems that those who have protected him grow weaker, whilst those that threaten him and the Six Duchies amass power and strength.

What I Love:

  1.  The deeper understanding we gain of the Beast Magic, and the ways it permeates the relationships of many of the characters we meet.  Our introduction to Nighteyes, and the exposition of ‘Heart of the Pack’ confirming much we suspect of Buckeep’s Stablemaster.
  2. The emotional strength of the Lady Patience in her attempt to ally herself with the cause of Fitzachivalry Farseer, and her fearless refusal to allow anyone to prevent him receiving what she perceives to be his birthright, despite the personal cost it represents.
  3. The relationship between King in Waiting Verity and his nephew.  This is a relationship on which much of the story of Fitzchivalry Farseer hinges, but it is elegantly done.  The true meaning and depth of their feelings is clear, and it is in part this intensity that allows the development of the story to be not only believable, but inevitable.

My Favourite Quotes:

  1.  “When he had exhausted himself I leaned forward over him.  I gripped his throat to lean down and stair into his eyes.  This was a physical message he understood.  I added to it.  I am the Wolf.  You are the Cub.  You WILL obey me!”
  2. This is not hunting, this.  This is no pack’s doing.  This is man’s doing.  His presence was gone before I could rebuke him for intruding into my mind again.”
  3. “Heart of the Pack, they will hunt well for you’, Nighteyes urged him.  ‘Burrich, take command.  They will fight with heart for you. ‘ My skin prickled to hear Queen Kettricken virtually echo Nighteyes’ thought.”

Robin Hobb- Assassin’s Apprentice: Book One of the Farseer Trilogy

Assasin's Apprentice

What it’s about:

A mesmerising introduction into the magical world of the Farseers and the Six Duchies.  This story begins with our introduction to Fitzchivalry Farseer in far from auspicious circumstances.  Following his royal father’s ill-advised liaison with an unnamed woman, we witness the ceremonial dumping of Fitzchivalry on the court of King Shrewd, who decides to train him to be a tool for the crown, rather than against.  This book is the start of a magnificent journey, and one I heartily and repeatedly recommend to everyone.

What I love:

  1. Hobb creates an all consuming world overflowing with valour, corruption and magic, that leaves the reader in no doubt of its existence.
  2. Hobb manages to adhere to many of the best loved components of a fantasy novel, yet combines this with characters who are diverse, unique and capture the heart of the reader, despite their many and varied flaws.
  3. This is a political novel in which Fitz is constantly torn, not just by right and wrong, but by which identity he must assume in order to survive.

My Favourite Quotes:

  1. “I jerked awake before the moon had surrendered her reign over the sky, amazed that I had slept at all.” Fitzchivalry Farseer
  2. “Her scent rolled over me like a wave, and it too smelled of coin more than flowers.”
  3. “But in every case,” Chade told me wearily, ‘it matters not what they decide; it weakens their loyalty to the kingdom.  Whether they pay their tribute or not, the Raiders may laugh over their blood-ale at us.  For in deciding, our villagers are saying in their minds, not ‘if we are Forged’ but ‘when we are Forged’.  And thus they have already been raped in spirit if not in flesh.” Chade Fallstar