Books by Robin Hobb

Released: Aug. 12, 2014

After a decade, Hobb (Fool's Fate, 2004, etc.) again takes up the characters from the Farseer series.Read full book review >
Released: April 9, 2013

"A satisfying conclusion to a superb fantasy tale."
Hobb (City of Dragons, 2012, etc.) returns to the Elderling city of Kelsingra for the fourth and final installment of the Rain Wilds Chronicles. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 7, 2012

"By the end, little has changed and few answers have been found, but the time spent with the characters never seems like a waste. Bring on the next installment."
The third book in the Rain Wilds Chronicles is a leisurely journey to nowhere, but its well-drawn characters and intriguing setting make it worth the trip. Read full book review >
Released: April 13, 2011

"You don't have to be a fan of either of the author's identities to enjoy this collection—but you may become one."
Author Margaret Lindholm Ogden, better known as Megan Lindholm and as Robin Hobb, contributes new and old work from both her pen names to a single anthology. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

"A nicely imagined fantasy setting that will engage readers and raise anticipation for the second installment."
Hobb (Renegade's Magic, 2008, etc.) delivers the first of two dragon-filled fantasies, set in the same world as her popular Liveship Traders trilogy. Read full book review >
FOOL’S FATE by Robin Hobb
Released: Feb. 10, 2004

"A winning combination of strong characters and colorful societies."
A satisfying end to the author's Tawny Man trilogy. Read full book review >
GOLDEN FOOL by Robin Hobb
Released: Jan. 7, 2003

"The narrative can bog down in the mundane at times, but, still, Hobbs generates a number of surprises and a cliff-hanging close: another solid fantasy with strong characters."
The second part of Hobb's new trilogy (Fool's Errand, 2001) continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, royal bastard and trained killer, as Hobb maneuvers her characters through a complex maze of intrigue and shaky relationships. Returning to Buckkeep Castle, where he spent his youth, Fitz now poses as bodyguard to the extravagant Lord Golden, formerly the King's Fool. At the same time, he gathers intelligence for Chade, the royal assassin. Fitz faces the continued threat of the Piebalds, a rebel group who commune with animals. Plus, Prince Dutiful, heir to the throne, needs training in the Skill, the magical discipline by which the kings of the Farseer line protected their kingdom. The prince is supposed to marry a young princess from the Outislands, but both royals appear reluctant, and Fitz's own son Hap, apprenticed to a local tradesman, is staying out late at night with a girl whose parents disapprove. Finally, Fitz's relationship with the Golden/Fool is shaken by the revelation of his friend's activities while he was traveling in a foreign country. Read full book review >
FOOL’S ERRAND by Robin Hobb
Released: Jan. 9, 2002

"Once again, smoothly done with rounded characters in words as plain as bread."
Hobb hit bulls'-eyes with the Farseer Assassins trilogy, which ended with the enthralling Assassin's Quest (1997). Now she launches that series' hero, FitzChivalry Farseer, into a new trilogy. At 35, bearded, retired for 15 years, and living under an assumed name in the country, Fitz remains bothered by his Skill, mental powers that allow telepathy and coercion, and his Wit, a "dirty magic" that allows mental ties with beasts, including his wolf companion Nighteyes. Chade Fallstar, the top assassin who taught Fitz his poisons and killing craft, seeks him out and says that the young Prince Dutiful, Fitz's unacknowledged child by blood, needs his training in magic. But Fitz holds back, lusting to return to the Mountains and the godlike race of Elderlings. Still on hand: minstrel Starling Birdsong, who cares for Hap, Fitz's roaming boy. Then Prince Dutiful vanishes, and Fitz's new quest begins. And though he will find the Prince, uncertainty still rules their destinies. As the Fool warns, all life is a battle against Farseer Fate. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 8, 2000

Wrapping up the trilogy (The Mad Ship, 1999, etc.) about the mariners of Bingtown, who sail the world's oceans in their sentient liveships built of wizardwood. Though the focus remains on the storm-tossed Vestrit family, other ingredients abound: war with neighboring Chalced results in the burning of Bingtown; Althea Vestrit and her captain, Brashen Trell, sail aboard the mad, blinded liveship Paragon, in pursuit of another liveship, Vivacia, rightfully Althea's but now commanded by the vicious pirate Kennet and threatened by an amoral, independent entity called Bolt; the tormented boy-priest Wintrow Vestrit seeks his destiny; and sea serpents and dragons advance their own agenda. Hobb is abundantly talented, but she's afflicted by Doorstopper Syndrome: your move. Read full book review >
THE MAD SHIP by Robin Hobb
Released: April 13, 1999

This second (Ship of Magic, 1998) in Hobb's doorstopper trilogy about the Liveship Traders charts the briny adventures of Bingtown's Vestrit family. Now, old Ephron Vestrit's sentient liveship, Vivacia (built of magic wizardwood, she can talk and manipulate objects via her animated figurehead), has been captured by the ruthless pirate Kennit, while her captain, Kyle Haven, along with Kyle's talented, tormented son, Wintrow, are below-decks prisoners. Althea Vestrit, meanwhile, has teamed up with an old shipmate, captain Brashen Trell, to sail another liveship, Paragon, that may have killed previous crews and is reckoned mad. And Althea's headstrong sister, Malta, must travel into the magic-filled Rain Wild lands in payment of the debt by which the Vestrits obtained Vivacia. A community of intelligent sea serpents has its own agenda, and there are numerous other complications. Hobb displays a wonderful imagination but has cast aside any remaining inclination toward control. Still, this should delight fans of the first installment. Read full book review >
SHIP OF MAGIC by Robin Hobb
Released: March 9, 1998

First of a new fantasy series entitled The Liveship Traders, set on the same world as Hobb's stunning trilogy (concluded with Assassin's Quest, 1997) but otherwise unconnected. The trading ship Vivacia, owned and captained by Ephron Vestrit out of Bingtown, is constructed of wizardwood: Once three generations of Vestrits have died aboard, the wizardwood will ``quicken,'' become sentient and self-aware, embodied in its moving, talking figurehead. Two previous Vestrits have passed on; now Ephron lies dying, having turned over the captaincy to his arrogant and inexperience son-in-law Kyle Haven and not to his natural successor, sea-wise daughter Althea. Kyle in turn sends for his son Wintrow, whom he gave to be a priest of Sa and who wants only to remain at his monastery. Ephron dies, Vivacia quickens, and she befriends Wintrow. Kyle banishes Althea, sets about brutally training the reluctant Wintrow, and arranges to carry slaves. Meanwhile, the pirate captain Kennit nurses ambitions of capturing a liveship; some intelligent sea serpents have their own agenda; Ephron's widow Ronica must repay a crippling debt to the Rain Wild magicians, endangering her other daughter, the headstrong Malta; and Althea schemes to recover her ship. Plenty of promising ideas and material, but heavily padded and with utterly inconclusive plotlines: Hobb has succumbed to Doorstopper Syndrome, an apparently incurable malady characterized by bloat, irresolution, logorrhea, and brake failure. Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1997

Final installment—each entry independently intelligible—of Hobb's stunning fantasy trilogy (Royal Assassin, 1996; Assassin's Apprentice, 1995) about the beleaguered Six Duchies and their Farseer kings. Months ago, King Verity vanished into the far mountains in search of the semi-mythical Elderlings, whose help he must have in order to defeat the rampaging Red Ship Raiders, leaving his murderous, venal, and insanely ambitious brother, Prince Regal, to dispose of Verity's last few loyalists at his leisure—including narrator, spy, and assassin FitzChivalry. Poor Fitz, unable to contact his beloved Molly (she thinks he's dead) and daughter (by Molly) for fear of exposing them to Regal's attentions, uses his magic Skill to locate Verity and receives an imperious summons: ``COME TO ME!'' So, abandoning his plan to assassinate Regal, Fitz enters the mountains with a small band of helpers. Eventually, having evaded Regal's minions, Fitz comes upon Verity Skill-carving a huge dragon out of black rock; nearby stand other lifelike dragon-sculptures that, to Fitz's animal-magic Wit, seem somehow alive. Are these eerie sculptures what remain of the Elderlings? Yet, for all his Skill, Verity cannot bring the dragons to life; and soon Regal will arrive with his armies and his Skilled coterie. An enthralling conclusion to this superb trilogy, displaying an exceptional combination of originality, magic, adventure, character, and drama. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1996

Second entry in Hobb's fantasy series about the Six Duchies and their Farseer kings (Assassin's Apprentice, 1995). At Buckkeep, King Shrewd lies dying, attended only the by the faithful, enigmatic Fool; King in Waiting Verity spends all his time Skilling to befuddle and bemuse the dreaded Red Ship Raiders, while his beautiful, neglected wife, Kettricken, wanders disconsolately. Young FitzChivalry, still ailing after his previous mission, tries to serve both Shrewd and Verity while seeking ways to frustrate the vaulting ambitions of Shrewd's youngest son, the viperous Prince Regal. Shrewd, meantime, has forbidden poor Fitz to marry his beloved Molly, a commoner. Fitz also possesses the Wit, an ability to talk to and empathize with animals, and he bonds with a young wolf he rescues from cruel captivity. Verity builds his own warships, but still can't defeat the Raiders—and the weaker Verity grows, the more the people listen to Regal's treacherous murmurings. Finally, Verity goes into the mountains seeking the Elderlings, a godlike race that helped a previous Farseer king to defeat the Raiders, leaving Fitz to protect Kettricken and Shrewd. Another spellbinding installment, built of patient detail, believable characters, and mature plotting—though, at an unwarranted 608 pages, there are ominous signs that Hobb's beginning to lose control of her narrative. Read full book review >
Released: April 17, 1995

At Buckkeep in the Six Duchies, young Fitz, the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, is raised as a stablehand by old warrior Burrich. But when Chivalry dies without legitimate issue—murdered, it's rumored—Fitz, at the orders of King Shrewd, is brought into the palace and trained in the knightly and courtly arts. Meanwhile, secretly at night, he receives instruction from another bastard, Chade, in the assassin's craft. Now, King Shrewd's subjects are imperiled by the visits of the Red-Ship Raiders—formidable warriors who pillage the seacoasts and turn their human victims into vicious, destructive zombies. Since rehabilitating the zombies proves impossible, it's Fitz's task to go abroad covertly and kill them as quickly and humanely as possible. Shrewd orders that Fitz be taught the Skill—mental powers of telepathy and coercion possessed by all those of the royal line; his teacher is Galen, a sadistic ally of the popinjay Prince Regal, who hates Fitz all the more for his loyalty to Shrewd's other son, the stalwart soldier Verity. Galen brutalizes Fitz and, unknown to anyone, implants a mental block that prevents Fitz from using the Skill. Later, Shrewd decrees that, to cement an alliance, Verity shall wed the Princess Kettricken, heir to a remote yet rich mountain kingdom. Verity, occupied with Skillfully keeping the Red-Ship Raiders at bay, can't go to collect his bride, so Regal and Fitz are sent. Finally, Fitz must discover the depths of Regal's perfidy, recapture his true Skill, win Kettricken's heart for Verity, and help Verity defeat the Raiders. An intriguing, controlled, and remarkably assured debut, at once satisfyingly self-contained yet leaving plenty of scope for future extensions and embellishments. Read full book review >