Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Golden Fool

by Robin Hobb


The second novel in the Tawny Man trilogy sees FitzChivalry returning to Buckkeep in a cloud of grief. It seems increasingly unlikely that he can remain at court whilst still keeping his secrets, yet lives depend on his ability to remain unnoticed. He's under threat from the Piebald faction, who have reason to want him dead and who seem to know exactly where to find him.

The Prince's betrothal is supposed to cement relations between the Farseers and the Outislanders. If only the young Prince Dutiful can keep from giving offence to their party, they might succeed. But the foreigners have secrets of their own, and it's not clear who is really pulling their strings.

The series ties in more closely with the Liveship Traders trilogy when a group of Bingtown traders arrive. Their presence has an unexpected effect on the other guests. Fitz finds it hard to take in some of the things they reveal about people and magic.

Fitz is occupied with learning from the Skill scrolls, and attempting to fill the role of Skillmaster. He has few candidates to work with, and he fears to teach some of those who are available. He's caught in a juggling act between his roles as a teacher, father, spy and friend whilst he struggles to protect the Farseers and to stay alive. The Golden Fool concentrates on these relationships and the intricate patterns of life, love and politics at Buckkeep. As a result the pace of this book is a little slower than Fool's Errand. But a relative lack of battles and chases doesn't leave this novel any less interesting. The central relationship develops in intensity, imbuing the story with a bittersweet poignancy. Fitz has a knack for upsetting the very people who are closest to him, and distancing himself from friendship and help just when he needs it most.

Suspense builds as the charade Fitz is playing out as Lord Golden's servant threatens to come undone. The Golden Fool is full of hints and portents which build up an ominous atmosphere to lead into the final book. It has a richly detailed plot that nicely parallels some of the events in the Assassin trilogy. There are so many intertwining plot elements that the book is like a fiendish puzzle. At the same time it's very moving, as Robin Hobb paints a picture of life in the Six Duchies in such brilliant intricacy that you feel you could just reach out and touch her characters.

Book Details

Year: 2002

Categories: Books

    Male Protagonist  

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Robin Hobb