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Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden writes fantasy fiction under the pen name Robin Hobb. She also writes contemporary fiction as Megan Lindholm. Hobb is most famous for her novels set in The Realm of the Elderlings, including The Farseer TrilogyThe Liveship Traders TrilogyThe Tawny Man Trilogy, and, most recently, The Rain Wilds ChroniclesRoyal Assassin is the second book in The Farseer Trilogy.

    We are here, Fitz, you and I, to change the future and the world …

    Fitz dreams of Red Ship Raiders sacking a coastal village leaving not a single man, woman or child alive. Tortured by this terrible vision he returns to the Six Duchies court where all is far from well.

    King Shrewd has been struck down by a mysterious illness and King-in-Waiting Verity spends all his time attempting to conjure storms to confuse and destroy the Red Ship Raiders. And when he leaves on an insane mission to seek out the mystical Elderlings, Fitz is left alone and friendless but for the wolf Nighteyes and the King’s Fool with his cryptic prophesies. 

The story-telling in this series keeps getting better. I was sucked into this book from the first chapter, and found myself reading it hungrily in large chunks. While the action moved slowly, it was driven by character development. Prince Regal’s scheming allowed the climax to build steadily, with the author dropping hints and foreshadowing events before adding a twist that changes everything. 

Fitz grew amazingly throughout the book, and made some very difficult decisions. His age and position as the King’s assassin led the relationships he has to change. Suddenly people are looking up to him, asking his advice and he is expected to play a vital role in Shrewd’s court. One of the most enjoyable consequences of this is Fitz’s growing friendship with the King’s Fool. I find the Fool to be a most interesting character, and liked finding out more about him. 

I enjoyed reading Royal Assassin, and recommend it to all who love fantasy. I think those who read YA will also be pleasantly surprised with this book. I can’t wait to read the final book in the trilogy, Assassin’s Quest

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