Possibly the most absorbing in the series yet... this is definitely a miss-your-subway-stop, sneak-it-at-your-desk-at-work, stay-up-way-too-late kinda book!
It's been 15 years... FitzChivalry has taken on the identity of Tom Badgerlock, and has been finally living the simple life he always wanted, a near hermit in a rural cottage, alone except for his adopted son Hap, and occasional visits from the minstrel Starling. But events seem to conspire to end this quiet time... Fitz says no to Chade's request to return to Buckkeep to tutor his genetic son, Prince Dutiful, in the ways of the magic that he is born to. But when the Fool, now in the guise of the wealthy and alluring Lord Golden, reveals that Dutiful has gone missing, there seems no option but to accede to Queen Kettricken's wish that they go on a mission to find him before the Prince's impending bethrothal to an OutIsland princess... But are they merely seeking a rebellious runaway, or is a more sinister plot behind the Prince's absence? Sentiment against the Witted (those who have the ability to communicate with an animal partner) is on the rise, and many innocents have been brutally lynched. The secret political group calling themselves the Piebalds, who claim to be working for the rights of those who have the Wit, are not helping with their antics. Fitz' bond with his wolf partner, Nighteyes, is more of a liability than ever, now...
A fantastic start to another Fitz trilogy. Even after 15 years of near solitude, he gets drawn back into the ways of old. Old characters and new converge, with joys and tragedies, to make for a remarkable tale. I couldn't put it down, and cannot wait to read the next installment.
This is a review for the entire Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, Fool's Fate) because I find it almost impossible to rate them as individual books.
This series takes place 15 years after The Farseer Trilogy ends. Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders Trilogy occrs in the time between the two series. It is not necessary to read the Liveship Trilogy first (I would know because I skipped it, then came back to it after finishing Fool's Fate). However, reading 'Liveship' first would make the reading experience of 'Tawny Man' that much richer.
I cannot remember the last time I was so emotionally invested in a series, when a group of characters affected me as deeply as these. Fitz might be the narrator and hero of the story, but somehow The Fool manages to be the star. Watching them go through this series together was an amazing experience. I cannot think of another pair of characters I have enjoyed reading about more. The character of The Fool himself ranks as one of my all-time favorites from any genre.
If you cared about these characters at all in The Farseer Trilogy, you will consider them part of your family by the end of The Tawny Man Trilogy. Watching Fitz and The Fool go through this series togeher was both heart warming and heart breaking. The final chapters of the book haunt me still, and I'm not entirely sure if that is because of hope or disappointment.
The series itself ends just as Hobb has always ended her books... with a painfully real-life conclusion that is fitting as well as bittersweet. This series stayed with me for days after I finished it. I was truly sad to see it end. I was exhausted emotionally (Fitz never really does get a break) and exhausted physically (who needs sleep when you have another chapter to read?) but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
Treasure these books as you read them. Mourn the end. Then read them again.
Robin Hobb continues with her "Farseer" characters and they are just as wonderful, exciting, loveable and colorful as in her first trilogy. A must read for Robin Hobb fans.
If you liked "Assassins Apprentice" you will love the continuing adventures......