Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Assassin's Apprentice

by Robin Hobb


The life of a royal bastard is a hard one. At an early age Fitz, the illegitimate son of the heir to the throne, was given up by his mother and sent to be raised within the royal household at Buckkeep.

His position is lonely and precarious. Not only does he have no father or mother around to look out for him, he is shunned socially due to his birth. As if that wasn't enough, he also has a magical link with animals, known as the Wit, which is very much taboo. Not only is the magic dangerous in itself, it is also dangerous to let anyone know that he has this power.

Fitz's birth and discovery are enough to make political waves. He is very lonely in a court where he doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. In the town he befriends some of the beggar children, but he isn't one of them. And at the keep there are those who consider him to be a threat and an obstacle to their ambitions.

Fortunately for Fitz, King Shrewd has a role for him, and he sees to the young man's education. Fitz is to become a royal assassin, under the tutelage of the mysterious old Chade. There's plenty for him to do in a court that's ripe with intrigue, and Fitz has little choice but to do it. Because if he is found to be useless, or a threat to those in power, his own life will be forfeit.

As all this takes place, the kingdom of the Six Duchies comes under attack by the Red Ship Raiders. They have been raiding coastal villages, taking hostages and making strange demands. They want a ransom to kill the hostages. Those who refuse to pay face subjecting their loved ones to a fate worse than death. A climate of fear takes over the country, as these events lead to political unrest and divisions between the coastal regions that are under attack, and the safer inland areas.

Assassin's Apprentice is an intricate story which follows Fitz's formative years. Although it starts without much urgency it gradually builds suspense and pace to the point where it's easy to become totally absorbed in Fitz's shady world. This is a straightforward medieval-style fantasy which focuses on strong characters and good storytelling. The result is a dose of pure reading pleasure.

Book Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Books

    Male Protagonist  

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Robin Hobb


Lakiaya young     9th March, 2009 02:42am

Assassin's apprentice is one of the best books i have read. It is thrilling and has plently of adventure. I'm glad i read it. :)

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