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Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy) Paperback – March 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Series: The Farseer Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006480098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006480099
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (890 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The bastard sons of kings play a noble role in fantasy: not only were King Arthur and Modred by-blows, but it is often suggested that Merlin himself came to power from the "wrong side of the bed." While Hobb's offering has a few too many illegitimate heirs backstabbing around, this is still a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne. Fitz, who is often called the "Boy" or the "Bastard," was begotten by good Prince Chivalry upon some "peasant" woman. At age six, he is given over to the safekeeping of the prince's man, Burrich. Fitz's impolitic existence causes the prince to abdicate his claim to the throne, and he and his wife leave the court, and the boy, behind. Fitz has inherited the "Skill," a mind-bending talent, and also has the ability to meld his thoughts with those of nonhuman creatures and to mentally "repel" physical advances. When Fitz finally comes to King Shrewd's attention, he is given over to the Royal Assassin's tutelage and trained to carry out the king's devious plans. The novel's conceit-that it offers Fitz's memoirs from childhood through adolescence-allows for several sequels. A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies and Arthurian romances.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

As a royal bastard in the household of King Shrewd, a boy called "Fitz" spends his early years in the king's stables. When the magic in his blood marks him for destiny, he begins receiving secret instruction, by order of the king, in the art of assassination, a calling that places him in the midst of a nest of intrigue and arcane maneuverings. Firmly grounded in the trappings of high fantasy, Hobb's first novel features a protagonist whose coming of age revolves around the discovery of the meaning of loyalty and trust. This gracefully written fantasy belongs in most libraries.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Robin Hobb currently lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington, but that has not always been the case!
Born in Oakland, California, she sampled life in Berkeley and then in suburban San Rafael before her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the '60's. She graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1969, and went on to attend College at the University of Denver in Denver Colorado. In 1970, she married Fred Ogden and moved with him to his home town of Kodiak Alaska. After a brief stint in Hawaii, they moved to Washington State. They live in Tacoma, with brief stints down to a pocket farm in Roy, Washington, where they raise chickens, ducks, geese, vegetables and random children.

Robin began her writing career as Megan Lindholm. Her stories under that name were finalists for both the Nebula and Hugo awards. Both "Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man" and "A Touch of Lavender" were Asimov's Reader Award winners. Perhaps her best known novel as Megan Lindholm is Wizard of the Pigeons, an urban fantasy set in Seattle Washington.

When she began writing in a different slice of the fantasy genre, she adopted the pen name of Robin Hobb. Robin is best known as the author of the Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest.) Other works include The Liveship Traders Trilogy, the Tawny Man Trilogy, and the Soldier Son trilogy. The Rain Wilds Chronicles is a four part tale consisting of Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons. A story collection, The Inheritance, showcases her work as both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm.

A short story, Words Like Coin, is available as an illustrated e-book from Subterranean Books. A Six Duchies novella, The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince, was also published by Subterranean Press.

In 2013, she announced that she would be returning to Buckkeep, and two of her favorite characters, Fitz and the Fool. The first volume of the new trilogy, The Fool's Assassin, is scheduled to be published in August 2014.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the story and the characters were well developed.
A fun story - you will want to read the next book (and the one after that, too!).
Dane J. Cherry
The story is well paced and I found there were very few slow moments.
M. Rivera

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

422 of 432 people found the following review helpful By A. McPhate on October 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am writing this review because I found this trilogy impossible to put down but emotionally draining. This was the kind of story that grabs your guts as well as your mind. If you have read Haldeman's "All My Sins Remembered", you know what I mean. After I finished the last Assassin book I spent hours trying to sort out my feelings. It hit me that hard.
After I read the first book I told my wife she might like to read it. Now, I don't think so. This story isn't light entertainment, its something you experience. If you want a black and white hero story, go elsewhere. If you want a story that can pull you in, wring you out, and leave you feeling like you have really been through something, then read this. This is good, strong stuff. If it makes you a little sick, don't say I didn't warn you.
I will mention that the book, being a narrative from the point of view of main character, flows much better than the typical multi-party fantasy novel that has to hop from person to person to keep things synchronized. The flow is so strong I literally had difficulty putting the books down, stealing any spare minute I could to read just one more page. Thank goodness it was only a trilogy - I wasn't getting near enough sleep.
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121 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Piotr Wilkin on March 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ever since I read George Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series (at least, what was available at the time), I was looking for some kind of "middle ground" between fun and enjoyable, light fantasy the likes of Salvatore or early Goodkind and the heavy, ambitious, but nevertheless sometimes overwhelming saga created by Martin. In Hobb's literature, I believe I've found that middle ground.

First of all, a warning. This isn't a book that starts very fast-paced. At the start, it looks like it will develop along the ever-popular "young hero grows up, received training, becomes the most powerful wizard/fighter/whatever in the world", but this is certainly not it. Hobb does break a lot of genre cliches in her writing - this is one of the things that really makes her works valuable.

What Hobb has, which is also the domain of Martin's writing and is missing from a majority of fantasy books, is an uncanny ability to create characters with a convincing psychological profile. Her characters actually feel real and unique at the same time, the title character is not the "typical fantasy assassin", but that doesn't make him less "flesh and blood". On the contrary - I'd say that out of all fantasy novels I've read, Hoob's characters are the most "flesh and blood" to me, surpassing even Martin.

Then again, I promised middle ground. Hobb excels where Martin stays a bit behind - at constructing action and propelling the events ahead. Reading the book, I actually felt that there was something happening all the time, that all the events were somehow linked and actually had importance. If you manage to engage yourself in the novels, I guarantee you that you will spend many long evenings following the adventures of Fitz and company.
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143 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Yosef Abta on December 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This review refers to the whole series: Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy is very different from any other fantasy book you've ever read. The main difference is that it's not action-packed or even action-based. Oh, there's a lot of royal-court plotting and murder, there are battles and journies to distant lands, there is magic and magical creatures and all the other stuff you've learned to expect in a fantasy work - but somehow it's not the main thing, as is evident from the relatively slow-pacing of the plot. So if you're looking for a Robert Jordan kind of action-thriller - you better move on. But if you're an adult (emotionally, that is) and looking for something more substantial and profound - you've found the right book. The Farseer trilogy, as I have already said, is not action-based. Instead, it is charcter-based and relationship-based. it is concerned with the process of a young boy's maturing and becoming a man and an adult (in an environment which is mostly hostile) more than it is concerned with the machinations of a royal court, or the hero's training as a royal assasin. It depicts in great accuracy and detail the relationships between the hero and those around him - various father-figures, the women in his life, his enemies, and the animals he becomes magically attached to. In a sense, it is the most "realistic" fantasy novel i've ever read - not because the world described in the books is realistic, but because the relationships described seem "real": Hobb employs real feelings and gives them psychological depth, her heroes experience real love and real hate, which are often hard' complicated, ambiguous, and have moral aspects that make them even harder. Not the adolescent clear-cut love/hate we've learned to expect from fantasy heroes.Read more ›
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144 of 167 people found the following review helpful By EMAN NEP on December 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Robin Hobb is a "she" not a "he". Just wanted to clarify that right away, since I saw quite a few reviewers thinking she is male. To be honest, I made the same mistake too when I saw this book.

Before I wrote this review I looked at other people's reviews and I have to say that I agree with the 5 star people on some topics and I sympathize with the 1 star people on others.

The way I see it, this book has two major strong points and one major weak point.

WEAK POINT#1: This book is not very exciting. Honestly. Take a good, hard look at the cover art of this book. What do you see? A keep/castle, an old man, a young boy, and a dog. Exactly. If you decide to read this book I am warning you now that this is the bulk of what you will be reading about for the next 300 pages. There is one little adventure for about a chapter around page 140, but that's all. The rest of those 300 pages is character development and training (learn how to be an assassin, learn how to use the Skill, learn how to have table-manners, learn how to tend to dogs and horses). If you're looking for huge battle scenes or massive amounts of magic power being thrown around, look elsewhere.

STRONG POINT#1: The character development is really good. I already told you that the story is not exciting. So why, I ask myself, were the pages flying so fast?! The characters in this book are--for the most part--believable, but most of all, likable. When I finished reading the book I really wanted to know more about certain characters (in my case, the Fitz-Molly storyline was rather interesting to me).

STRONG POINT#2: This story, for the most part, is original and different. Really.

In this book, you get not one, but two mentor-figures and two magical forces.
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