Nearly 20 years have passed since Robin Hobb introduced FitzChivalry Farseer to fantasy fans, and in that time the genre’s favourite bastard son has become one of its most famous characters.
The Farseer trilogy took Fitz from outcast child to hardened assassin, but as this first book in new series The Fitz And The Fool opens our hero is both older and wiser. Fitz is living a quiet life as Tom Badgerlock of Withywoods manor. But the violence of his past inevitably sends him back on the path of epic adventure.
Hobb’s brand of fantasy is notably gentle, especially compared to the fashion for high-action “grimdark” fantasies in recent years, but for much of its length Fool’s Assassin reads like a domestic drama, thanks to its focus on the daily life of Tom Badgerlock and his family. George RR Martin calls Hobb’s work “fantasy as it ought to be written”, but in truth this latest volume is markedly more sophisticated than much epic fantasy; a slow-paced character study that takes us deep into the life of its hero. When the epic story does explode into life, it is all the more shocking and unexpected for it.
Robin Hobb is without question among the two or three finest writers of fantasy working today, and in Fool’s Errand she brings a new complexity to the genre, and to the character of FitzChivalry Farseer.
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