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Fool's Fate (The Tawny Man, Book 3) by…
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Fool's Fate (The Tawny Man, Book 3) (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Robin Hobb

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3,596321,464 (4.31)79
Member:Deejaymil
Title:Fool's Fate (The Tawny Man, Book 3)
Authors:Robin Hobb
Info:Spectra (2004), Mass Market Paperback, 928 pages
Collections:Owned but unread
Rating:*****
Tags:Fantasy, Animals that talk, All of the feels

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Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb (2003)

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English (28)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  English (32)
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The Narcheska’s challenge to Prince Dutiful: Lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends say is buried deep beneath the ice of the island Aslevjal, upon her hearth. Only then can they be married and there be peace between the Six Duchies and the Outislands. An impossible task, assuming there even is a dragon somewhere in the ice. Not all the Outisland Clans agree with this effort to kill their country's mythic defender. There also appears to be something strange, a darker force, behind the Narcheska's demand. Can Fitz and his strongly-Skilled but untested coterie get to the bottom of the mystery and save the alliance? And what about the Fool, the White Prophet, who was left behind on the docks?

Fool's Fate is the final book of The Tawny Man trilogy. The story picks up right where the second book leaves off, with our band of unlikely heroes setting off on the Prince's quest. The book is aptly titled. For the first third of the book we are left to wonder about the Fool's fate, how he has been left behind. How will his vision of the future come true if he is separated from his Catalyst? Can Fitz, as the Changer, prevent a part of those visions and still save the world? Then, as the story progresses, the title takes on a whole new meaning as events unfold and still we wonder, what will be the Fool's fate?

While dragging in places, overall plot moves at a better pace. As always the story is heavily focused on the characters. This time it is the Skill coterie: Fitz, Chade, Dutiful and Thick. Prince Dutiful is growing from boy to man, from prince to king. He is in a difficult situation and makes the best of it as he can. Chade is his scheming self, highly intelligent and stubborn, with fuller understanding of the political element that is involved. It was interesting to watch his power plays and maneuvering, and even more fun when he's thwarted. Fitz is Fitz, always thinking he knows what's best for everyone else and proven wrong at inconvenient times. Thick is the true surprise of the series. It has been great to watch his character grow within the confines of his limitations. While he may be a half-wit, he ends up the strongest of the Skill users with some truly astonishing powers.

At it's heart the story centers around the Fool and Fitz's relationship. The White Prophet and his Catalyst. The Fool, who has been much in the background, is finally approaching his moment. Driven by his visions to save the future of the world, he is prepared to face his destiny even if Fitz doesn't agree. Theirs is a different kind of love story. While not the typical romantic love that most epic fantasy series have, it is a love story just as moving and heartbreaking. It is a reminder that there are many types of love and each is powerful in its own way.

It is a bittersweet ending to the series. I think both Fitz and the Fool were short changed. I don't feel nearly as happy for Fitz/Molly as I thought I would. After living a whole other life for 15 years, believing your first love dead, Molly would've moved on. She had married, had 7 children and then shortly after her husband's death she can take Fitz back? It was too easy how Fitz returned to her life and just wasn't believable for me. On the flip side, the fact that Fitz still doesn't get what it cost the Fool to give him up is absolutely in line with Fitz's character. He really is that dense. It's not that Fitz and the Fool went their separate ways. I find it believable that the Fool needs time to heal just like Fitz did at the end of Assassin's Quest. Just that Fitz/Molly feels so superficial. Things were tied up a little too neatly and felt rushed. The last couple chapters, after all the hardships the characters went through, seemed too easy, too perfect. I am glad that Hobb is writing another series as the story doesn't feel complete. ( )
  Narilka | Oct 2, 2016 |
  TheIdleWoman | Jun 18, 2016 |
Very entertaining, as I expected... Prince Dutiful has sworn to bring the head of the legendary dragon Icefyre to her mothers' hearth before he weds the Narcheska... but when he made that promise, he didn't realize that other Outislanders would object to the very idea of his slaying the dragon... It's a strange group that makes their way to the ice-covered island where the dragon is supposedly buried in a glacier - the Prince and his advisor Chade in favor of killing it... the Prince's Witted advisors against killing any animal... the Outisland lords, threatening revenge if it is killed... and FitzChivalry, not at all sure what the right path is.
To complicate things, the Fool has made his own way to the island, even though Fitz conspired to leave him behind after he confided that he knew that his destiny was to meet his death there...
And maybe the real question is, why did the Narcheska ask Dutiful to kill this dragon, anyway? ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
To win the hand of the Narcheska Elliana, Prince Dutiful must travel to the Outerislands and slay a mythical dragon. Accompanied by both a Skill and Wit Coterie, the search for the dragon becomes the least of the challenges the group encounters. FitzChilvery and the White Prophet, known as the Fool, encounter an old enemy from the Fool's past. Powerful in the Skill and determined to destroy the Fool, this White Woman becomes the greatest foe that Fitz and the Fool have ever encountered.

Fool's Fate is a satisfying ending to the Tawney Man trilogy. Loose threads from both this series and the original Farseer trilogy are wrapped up. The one complaint is that the novel does tend to drag on in several places. Still, readers should be satisfied with the fate of FitzChilvery Farseer by the end of this novel. ( )
  queencersei | Jun 17, 2015 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:38 -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)

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