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Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb

Fool's Fate (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Robin Hobb, Stephen Youll (Cover artist), Jamie S. Warren Youll (Cover designer)

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3,378291,610 (4.3)70
Title:Fool's Fate
Authors:Robin Hobb (Author)
Other authors:Stephen Youll (Cover artist), Jamie S. Warren Youll (Cover designer)
Info:New York : Bantam Books, 2004, c2004. 914p.
Collections:Your library, Physical books, Individual books
Tags:six duchies, 09, tawny man, fantasy, human-animal link, secret identity, dragons, sea travel, ice, psi, political, male protagonist, v.f, fiction, f:2000s, paperback, us author, more, ~mc, acquired 2011, read 2013, 13 in 13

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Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb (2003)



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English (25)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This epic fantasy trilogy is actually a continuation of The Farseer Saga trilogy. I would say it is more accurately a hexalogy (a set of six related books), except that I understand the author will be going back to the same characters in a new series next year (a development about which I am more than delighted) so the story may encompass even more than six books.

Background (Big Spoilers for the Farseer Series - Skip to Evaluation for NO Spoilers)

Fitz was born out of wedlock to Chivalry Farseer, the King-in-Waiting of the Six Duchies. At age six, Fitz was taken away from his mother by his grandfather and handed over to Verity, Chivalry’s brother, at Buckkeep Fortress.

With Fitz's existence known, Chivalry was forced as a point of honor to abdicate his right to the throne and to leave Buckkeep. Fitz’s care was given by Verity in part to Burrich, the Stablemaster of Buckkeep and Chivalry’s right-hand man. A third brother, Regal, was jealous of Chivalry and Verity, and when Fitz came, Regal began to hate Fitz the most of all of them. Regal resolved to get rid of all three of them so he could rule after the death of their father, King Shrewd.

The others ignored Regal, because the Six Duchies had bigger (or so they thought) problems. They were being besieged by pirates from the Outislands, who traveled in distinctive red ships, raiding the shores and stealing the wealth of the Six Duchies. Then the Outislanders began kidnapping villagers and by some unknown process returning them as zombie-like monsters. Because this practice began with the village of Forge, such people, no matter their origin, were ever after known as “Forged.”

People who were Forged could not even be detected by the Skill. This was magic common to those in the Farseer line enabling a person to reach out to another’s mind, no matter how distant, and know that person’s thoughts. If the other person were Skilled also, the two could even communicate through mind-speak, and if one had evil intent, he or she could control or even kill the other person via the Skill.

Some people also had a magic called the Wit. This was the ability to form a special, and mutual, bond with an animal. Fitz was witted, and had such a bond with the wolf, Nighteyes.

As The Farseer Series ends, the Outislanders have been defeated, and Chivalry, Verity, and Shrewd are gone. Verity’s Queen Kettricken now rules Buckkeep and has a son who is heir to Verity, Prince Dutiful. Chade has come out of hiding to be the Queen’s counselor. Burrich and Molly, thinking Fitz dead, have married. Fitz lives as a hermit in an isolated cottage outside Buck with his wolf Nighteyes and with the young boy Hap brought to him by the minstrel Starling. During the day, Fitz still wrestles with being drawn to the Skill, and at night, he dreams of dragons.

Specifics for Fool's Fate (Spoilers for Book One and Two or skip to Non-Spoilery Overall Evaluation)

A large party sets out to assist or at least witness the slaying of the dragon Icefyre by 15-year-old Prince Dutiful, a task he has sworn to undertake to win the hand of Elliania from the Outislands. Elaine and her uncle/guardian Peottre are in the party as well as some Outislander guards.

Fitz conspires with Chade to keep Fool from boarding the ships to the island of Aslevjal, where the dragon is supposedly entombed under the ice. Fool was convinced it was his destiny to go along and there die, and Fitz wants to avoid that outcome. But of course, the Fool manages to get there nevertheless.

Also on the journey are the Prince’s Skilled Coterie, which includes Thick, who is terrified of the sea. Fitz must spend almost all his time taking care of him. The Prince also brought along his Witted Coterie, among them being Swift, Burrich’s wayward son. Nettle communicates to Fitz that Burrich is despondent over Swift’s disappearance, and Fitz tells her to let Burrich know "the wolf" is sheltering Swift and will bring him safely home. From that message, Burrich deduces Fitz is alive, and soon Burrich is a part of their voyage as well.

Everyone comes together in an exciting, tension-filled dénouement, all the more powerful because Hobb is not an author to protect even her most beloved characters from death.

Indeed, the ending is packed with emotion, and seems as realistic as possible for a fantasy set in a world of dragons and magic. But Hobb never once puts the aspects of being human in second place to fantasy elements. Hope, despair, loss, love, and survival are always more important than “magic.”

Overall Evaluaton - No Spoilers This is a wonderful series, which really should be read as part of a six-book saga rather than a trilogy, with The Farseer Series preceding this one. (In fact, one of the mysteries of The Farseer Series - about Forging - is not uncovered until the third book of this series.) The characters are unforgettable, and their lives in this story full of fantasy are nevertheless richly exemplary of "the human condition." This is a tale made up of a lot of pages, and perhaps there is a bit of repetition. But I didn’t regret reading any of it, except for the matter of all the kleenex I went through, and for the reluctant necessity of leaving the world of the Farseers when the saga was over. ( )
  nbmars | Dec 12, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

This review refers to the whole Tawny Man Trilogy:

Robin Hobb is one of my favorite fantasy authors because her stories are unique and complex and she's a great writer. Her prose is pleasant and she is particularly good at characterization; When you get finished with her books, you feel like her characters are your friends and you hate to say goodbye! Her plots are absorbing and they move forward at a pleasant pace.

Fitz of The Farseer Saga is one of my favorite fantasy heroes. He is so well characterized — I felt a lot of empathy for his situation. I was really upset when the first trilogy ended (things weren't so great for Fitz), but then I found out that his story continues in The Tawny Man Trilogy. I think that was one of the happiest days of my life. I was filled with hope for Fitz. I immediately sent my husband to the bookstore with a picture of the book and told him not to come home without it. I was happy with the way Fitz's story ended. It wasn't one of those rush, rush, and they lived happily ever after endings. It was a bit sad; it seemed realistic. It was wonderfully done. These are books that I’ll definitely read again!

Read more Robin Hobb book reviews at Fantasy literature. ( )
1 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
The last book in the Farseer Trilogy - far too much of child marriage and teen pregnancies for my taste. Otherwise, quite alright, without being really thrilling.

3/5 ( )
  PiyushC | Jul 7, 2013 |
A lovely ending to the series -- and, after everything, a happy one. The way she ties everything in and brings the story to a close is good without being a cop-out happy ever after, and it's nice to leave Fitz in -- finally -- a good place.

Of course, to get that you have to read all the way through the book, which can be quite heartbreaking. Wonderful writing and wonderful, fully realised characters, as ever. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Hmm, what to say about this book?
On the one hand, it's great in style and plot as the previous ones are, though it was rather predictable.
On the other hand, it nearly lost a star (and most certainly lost my 'favorite' status) because I absolutely did not agree with the ending. But despite it all, I guess, it was a "good enough" ending.

I think the description I'm looking for is "slightly disappointing". ( )
  AshuritaLove | Apr 7, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jewell, LaurieDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santikko, SauliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Pi.
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The White Prophet's premise seems simple.
-- Prologue
Sometimes it seems unfair that events so old can reach forward through the years, sinking claws into one's life and twisting all that follows it.
-- Chapter One
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553582461, Mass Market Paperback)

Fool's Fate is the third book of Robin Hobb's Tawny Man trilogy, and the ninth and concluding volume of the Fitzchivalry Farseer saga, one of the best high-fantasy series of the turn of the millennium. Fitz is the bastard son of the royal family of the Six Duchies, which he serves as assassin, guardsman, and Skill-magician. Fitz also serves the White Prophet as "Catalyst," the unique person who may enable the White Prophet to change human destiny for the better. In Fool's Fate, Fitz must accompany his kinsman, Prince Dutiful Farseer, to a distant northern island, where the prince must slay the world's last male dragon to win the hand of the Out Islands princess Elliania, the woman he loves. However, not even Elliania wants the dragon dead; why, then, does she require Dutiful to kill Icefyre? Are darker forces manipulating Elliania? Even worse, if Icefyre dies, the White Prophet foresees not only his own death, but a grim future for humankind. The prophet's only hope of changing the future is his Catalyst. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

On a mission to the Outislands to destroy the dragon Icefyre, who has been frozen in a glacier for millennia, Prince Dutiful and his Skillmaster FitzChivalry match wits with the Fool, an enemy determined to free the dragon.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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