After a decade, Hobb (Fool’s Fate, 2004, etc.) again takes up the characters from the Farseer series.
In this world of magic, the high
born despise the Wit, an ability to connect to the minds of animals, yet prize
the Skill, a powerful magic possessed by most of the Farseer kings and their
kin. FitzChivalry Farseer, royal bastard and former king’s assassin, has
abandoned intrigue and, posing as Tom Badgerlock, holder of the Withywoods
estate, lives the life bucolic. He’s married to his childhood sweetheart,
Molly, upon whom he dotes. Indeed, at the time of the midwinter festivals, he
ignores a possibly important messenger in favor of pleasing her, and when he
finally remembers, the messenger has vanished—possibly abducted by a group of
pale strangers. Tom, though, makes no serious effort to discover anything about
these mysterious events, being wholly occupied by family matters. Hundreds of
pages, literally and figuratively, dawdle by. In his more contemplative moments,
Tom wonders why he’s received no messages from the Fool, his companion and ally
through the first six books. Then 50-something Molly insists she’s pregnant.
More than a year passes. Molly’s belly swells, slowly. Still nobody believes
her, least of all Tom, though even the servants are careful to humor her.
Finally, to general astonishment, she gives birth to a strange, tiny, pale girl
she and Tom name Bee. The girl seems to be simple-minded and, although she
feeds eagerly, grows as slowly as her gestation. Years pass. Tenacious readers
eventually will be rewarded. With a cliffhanger.
Hobb is hardly the first to stumble in reviving a long-dormant series, nor will she be the last.