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Fool's Errand (2015)

Fool's Errand (2015)

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4.25 of 5 Votes: 3
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0006486010 (ISBN13: 9780006486015)

About book Fool's Errand (2015)

Updated August 2014.Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.“Alone again. It isn’t fair. Truly it isn’t. You’ve the saddest song of any man I’ve ever known.” ~Starling Birdsong, minstrel to Queen KettrickenI squealed with delight when I recently opened a box from Brilliance Audio and found a review copy of Fool’s Errand inside. This is an old favorite that, for years, I had planned to re-read. Since Hobb’s new book comes out next week, this seemed like the perfect time to get back into FitzChivalry Farseer’s world.We first met Fitz back in Assassin’s Apprentice when he was a boy. As bastard son to a Farseer prince, he was brought to court and trained as the king’s assassin. He inherited the Skill, the magic that the Farseer family uses to communicate telepathically, from his father. Unfortunately, he inherited the Wit, the maligned “beast magic,” from his mother. He has had to hide this magic, and his wit-bond with his wolf Nighteyes, from others. Folks in the Six Duchies are suspicious of Wit users and often burn them at the stake. The next two FARSEER books, Royal Assassin and Assassin’s Quest, follow Fitz as he grows up, learns to use and control his powers, falls in love, and does the ugly duties that are required of the king’s assassin. By the end, Fitz has served the Farseers well, but he’s lost just about everything in the process.I remember how devastated I was, years ago, when things didn’t turn out well for Fitz. A few days later I found out that Fitz’s story wasn’t over. As soon I realized that it continued in Fool’s Errand, the first book in the TAWNY MAN trilogy, I immediately sent my husband to Barnes & Noble. (I had the flu that day.) I don’t think I was ever so happy to get my hands on a particular book, and I felt that way again when the audio version showed up unexpectedly at my door a couple of weeks ago. Déjà vu!And so Fitz’s story continues. For the first half of Fool’s Errand, we see Fitz and Nighteyes in their little home in the wilderness. Fitz is 35 years old and he’s been away from court for fifteen years. Almost everyone, including the woman Fitz loves, thinks he’s dead. Occasionally Fitz gets a visit from someone at court who urges him to come back. He is a Farseer, after all. Finally, Fitz is convinced to return when Prince Dutiful goes missing and the Witted Piebalds are suspected of being involved. (You can read the Piebald origin story in Hobb’s recent novella, The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince.) Fitz’s partner on his quest to find Dutiful is his best friend, The Fool, who he hasn’t seen in years.The brilliance of the FARSEER stories is that Fitz feels so real and evokes such sympathy due to his circumstances that I am content just to be around him, even if he’s doing nothing more exciting than feeding the chickens or fixing the roof. I just want Fitz to be happy and content and to find a place where he belongs. I suppose I might get bored if Fitz fed chickens for 700 pages, so at just the right time Hobb takes him away from his cozy little home and he goes off to have an adventure. First we get to revisit Buckkeep, where Fitz grew up. Then he’s off to find Prince Dutiful. His quest is dangerous and he uncovers a plot that is sure to result in a major political upheaval. In the end, Fitz loses out again and it’s clear that his old comfortable life with Nighteyes is over. It’s devastating. And now we have another boy to worry about: Prince Dutiful. In many ways his situation is similar to Fitz’s.This is the series I recommend first to anyone who asks me what they should read. But if you don’t want to get involved, I won’t blame you. FitzChivalry Farseer’s life is one of the most bittersweet (emphasis on “bitter”) stories in epic fantasy. He struggles with his identity as an orphaned bastard. Now that he’s an adult, he knows the importance of having a father, yet he has sired two children who he can’t be a father to. He has been bullied from all sides and has been hated and mistrusted because of the Wit. He has been overworked nearly to death by the people who should love him most. He deals with addiction and difficult moral choices. He loses so much. In the entire world there are only a couple of people and one wolf who truly understand and love Fitz. That makes these few relationships so powerful, which is part of the beauty of his story.James Langton narrates Brilliance Audio’s version which is 25 hours long. I loved his voices for all the characters and I’m looking forward to re-reading the next book, Golden Fool, in this format. I really hope it arrives soon.

Find this and many other reviews over at Geekritique!Robin Hobb has written many books in her far-reaching Realm of the Elderlings series. Her most notable, perhaps, would be the novels chronicling the life of FitzChivalry Farseer, the bastard son of Prince Chivalry and all the trials and struggles beset him. Fitz is one of the most tormented souls in all of fantasy, giving even the Starks a run for their money. Introduced first in the Farseer trilogy, Fitz' story continues in the Tawny Man trilogy, the first book being Fool's Errand.My first thought, before even beginning the book, was 'how on earth could this poor kid's story continue? Hasn't Hobb beaten all his life's tales out of him by now, physically and mentally?' The answer to that is to buffer this trilogy by a span of some 15+ years. Fitz no longer goes by that name. Rather, he calls himself Tom Badgerlock now, for a number of reasons, but most notably because FitzChivalry Farseer is supposed to have died many years prior. That makes sense. This divorcing himself of his prior life is something heartbreaking in and of itself. Tom Badgerlock is no one, with little to his name, except for an orphaned bastard and an old wolf.We learn much of his life within the past 15 years right off the bat. He trained himself in his use of the Wit magic, which allows him to communicate ever deeper, mentally, to animals - particularly his bond animal, Nighteyes, a wolf. This proved difficult, especially because he was not raised amongst those of the Old Blood, but he manages.The first few chapters of the book do tend to drag on more than they should, but noting the length of the rest of the novel, this is understandable. What makes Hobb's storytelling so brilliant is that you don't honestly need to have read the previous trilogy of books to jump into this one. She recounts all the major portions and loves and struggles of Tom's past life as Fitz so well, there would truly be no confusion on the reader's behalf of what happened. Although this is a fresh story in a new time period, I don't know why anybody would ever wish to not read the prior installments however. Get on it!The immediate threat of Prince/King Regal at FitzChivalry's back is no longer present, and the fear of Outislander ships Forging coastal towns has been abated. A new threat is stirring in the background, something that has potentially been brewing for many, many years. The Wit is a hated magic amongst those who do not have it, and it isn't uncommon that these ones will burn Witted folk alive if they are discovered. Now it appears a militant rebellion has sprung amongst the Witted, many calling themselves Piebalds, after the dark legend of the Piebald Prince who was Witted himself.Tom is adamant about not coming out of reclusion, despite entreaties from old friends and family. It isn't until the young Prince Dutiful is seemingly stolen that Tom chooses to become a servant of the Six Duchies once again, but can he keep his secrets? Or will the world find out who he truly is?This book, like all of Hobb's storytelling, does an incredible job at making humanity appear so small amongst such a large and wonderous world. So much is to be discovered amongst these pages that doesn't directly impact this story, and you know it must deal with future installments, as she lays down seeds like no one else can. This world is so real and so vivid, it's a wonder it took me so long to get back into.I stopped reading this series just before I got married. It was so torturously good, I was actually becoming unnecessarily stressed out. Now that sufficient time has passed, I can gladly get back into this series. But don't be mistaken. This is a return to form, and you will cry before the book is through with you.Grab this in:Paperback | eBook | Audible

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Fool's Errand picks up 15 years after the events of Assassin's Quest. Fitz is living a quite life in a cottage with a boy he adopted and his loyal wolf Nighteyes. Naturally, things can't stay quiet for poor Fitzy Fitz. Adventure comes to his door in the shape of Chade, followed by the Fool.The first 5 chapters or so deal primarily with catching up with Fitz and finding out what's been going on in his life. In any other writer's hands this would be tedious but Hobb slowly reveals his past in a tantalizing way. She reveals what happened to Fitz in snippets and she always left me wanting more.I enjoyed the plot. I was invested in the goings-on at Buckkeep as soon as Fitz arrived. Hobb focuses more on the magic of the Skill and the Wit which I enjoyed. There's a few new characters that I liked, mainly Prince Dutiful. He reminds me of Fitz in many ways but more mature. Hobb's characters are so nuanced and substantial, even the antagonists. I enjoyed spending time with everyone.The real star of the book is Hobb's writing. She's descriptive, moving, and engrossing. I'm to the point that I'll read anything by Ms. Hobb. I'm glad I didn't give up on her after Assassin's Quest. Her characters have stuck with me and have becoming some of my all-time favorites.5 out of 5 stars.

Another buddy read with the fantabulous and marvelous David Green! “The truth, I discovered, is a tree that grows as a man gains access to experience. A child sees the acorn of his daily life, but a man looks back on the oak.”“Death is always less painful and easier than life! You speak true. And yet we do not, day to day, choose death. Because ultimately, death is not the opposite of life, but the opposite of choice. Death is what you get when there are no choices left to make.”Somehow I have gone through my whole adult life and never read anything by Robin Hobb. I am so glad to have rectified that however because I never knew what I was missing until delving into this treasure trove of a book! This book takes place about fifteen years after her Farseer Trilogy, but no worries if you havn't read that one before starting this. She does a fantastic job with setting up the story and the worldbuilding so that you don't feel left in the dark. And speaking of worldbuilding...Robin Hobb is an absolute pro at this. There was so much descriptive detail with everything, I couldn't help but feel as if I was experiencing everything along with the characters, which is such a fun experience when you are reading fantasy.And the characters. *sighs happily* Don't even get me started on how much I adore Fitz. His bond with Nighteyes made me tear up on a number of occasions, and you could really feel how strong their relationship was. Every moment of this book was just remarkable, and while at times it seemed that Robin Hobb could be a bit long-winded and took awhile to get to the point at times, it was all worth it in the end to just get to experience her wonderful writing style and I loved getting lost in this story!
—Branwen *Blaidd Drwg*

Again, Robin Hobb demonstrates that you don’t need to write grimdark to generate realism, high drama, or sinister undertones. Now I love my grimdark as much as Hannibal loves liver *phphpht*, but Hobb’s realism is expressed in believable characters, complex relationships, detailed worldbuilding...wait wait wait a minute now...what about blood and guts? Yes, there will be blood too, but the joojoo is not in the gore - the joojoo is in the sustained threat of violence - the joojoo is in the way the sense of danger and foreboding creeps up on you and builds and seduces you until you can’t help but keep turning pages. You just have to know what is going to happen next. That was my experience anyway.The story begins at a leisurely pace as we catch up to Fitz in his self-imposed exile some 15 years after the events of the Farseer Trilogy. We get a taste of what a life of peace with his wolf Nighteyes is like. I make it sound boring but it’s not. Fitz has been to some interesting places and done some interesting things in those 15 years – including a visit to Bingtown and the Rainwilds which those fans who have read The Liveship Traders series will appreciate. If you’ve skipped that Trilogy to come straight over to Tawny Man then I think you are missing out. Most people do it because they want more of the Fool – more Fool you I say – because there is more Fool in Liveships – so technically that would be more Fool to those who read Liveships first? Damn Fool bastard has me talking in circles.But back to the Bastard – Robin Hobb(no I’m not calling her a bastard) still manages to reintroduce us to an older Fitz and catch us up in a way that is interesting despite being slow. Even when Fitz is doing nothing, I still wanted to know what he was going to do next as his old life calls out to him. And the pace and tension keep increasing from there as Chade’s old apprentice Asssassin is called on to do his duty for his Queen and the Farseer throne. And in Robin Hobb’s world, duty is spelled “P-A-I-N.” So though we know Fitz can’t die, seeing the story is told from his POV in the first person, we should know by now that he is never safe. We should know by now that there are worse things that can happen to Fitz than dying and we should know that Robin Hobb does not hold back from inflicting them on our protagonist. Did I just say Robin Hobb isn’t a bastard?5 starsAnd now a quick word from out sponsor Lord GoldenFitz is Dutiful to Fitz’ Dutiful...but what is Dutiful’s Duty?Should Dutiful be Dutiful to Dutiful...or should Dutiful be Dutiful to Duty?What so Beautiful seduces Duty not Beautiful enough?Will Fitz's Duty bring Beauty...or will Fitz' duty be roughPsst - Fool says Robin Hobb really is a bastard...bitch... sadist...get off me, I'm the White Prophet and I will be heard. Fool says you should read her next book as soon as possible.
—David Sven

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