Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Fools Assassin Fool's Assassin
Book 1 of Fitz and the Fool
by Robin Hobb

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Anonymous
Jacqui Smith

For those of us who have read and enjoyed the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies there was always one question left hanging – whatever happened to the Fool? Fitz and the Fool promises to answer that question, although in typical Hobb style this first volume spends much of its time setting up the story and characters for subsequent volumes. The Fool only enters towards the end, and seems to have been as ill-used as Fitz ever was.

Fool’s Assassin takes up the story of Fitzchivalry Farseer (or rather Tom Badgerlock) after his ‘retirement’ to Withywoods with the love of his life – Molly. Fitz is as loyal, well-meaning, and as hopeless as ever, and it is great to settle in to a good read about a part of his life which is happy – he has earned it. The birth of Bee Badgerlock adds a new dimension to their lives and you slowly realise that Bee is far more than she seems – though of course Tom has no clue. The reader, however, has no doubt – mainly because the structure of the story shifts from Tom’s musings to include a second voice – that of Bee, who quickly becomes someone you care about.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into Fitz’s world, reacquainting myself with his wolf, Chade, and all the others – I found that I had missed them. For me, Fool’s Assassin was a great entrée – I have great hopes for the main course.

- Anonymous

Okay, it is without a doubt, a fantasy brick. It’s a good 4cm thick, over six hundred pages, and the first of a new sequence in an on-going series. But it didn’t take nearly as long to read as I expected. There’s something about Robin Hobb’s prose that just draws me in and makes me want to keep reading. Her characters really come alive for me, and there aren’t so many of them that the reader becomes confused. Nor does she insist on killing them off just as soon as they get interesting! People die, certainly, but only when their part in the story is done. Her narrative is linear, it doesn’t duck and dive all over time and space, even though she chooses to use two narrators in this novel. Oh, and she does nice maps, too!

The tale returns to the Six Duchies and focuses on FitzChivalry, now well into his middle years, and known as Tom Badgerlock, lord of the country manor called Withywoods. To say who else the story belongs to would give away about a quarter of the plot, so I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say that the title does finally make sense around about p560 – which is not coincidentally about where the excrement hits the air conditioning… the pace picks up rapidly and things head towards a shocking climax, and ends on something of a cliff-hanger. Suffice it to say that I really am going to have to find the next part when it comes out, because I do need to find out what happens next. If there is any criticism one could back it is simply that it does take perhaps a few too many pages to get there, although I would be hard-pushed to suggest what might have been edited out. All in all, a great read, and I doubt seriously that fans of the Fitz will be disappointed.

- Jacqui Smith

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