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Fool's Errand (Tawny Man #1) Mass Market Paperback – November 26, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 334 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Tawny Man Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This first volume of a new trilogy from one of fantasy's most popular and skilled authors will delight longtime Hobb fans as well as first-time readers of her work.

FitzChivalry, the hero of The Farseer trilogy, now lives an isolated and quiet life with his foster son Hap and his Wit partner wolf, Nighteyes, until he is sought out by his old mentor Chade and the enigmatic, charming Fool. Once again, duty calls: Fitz must find a missing prince and prevent political chaos in the Six Duchies. The mission will test his conflicting loyalty to country and family, his uneasy compromise with his own magic, and all the relationships he values most.

If you're a fantasy fan who hasn't yet explored the Farseer world, this is a fine place to start: Hobb deftly provides new readers with all the needed information. The finely detailed world building and intensive character development rarely slow down the action of the story. Fool's Errand is a complex, beautifully written and sometimes heart-rending examination of the consequences of duty and love. --Roz Genessee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this hard-to-put-down follow-up to the Farseer Trilogy, Hobb maintains the high standards of her earlier fantasy series. The Fool and FitzChivalry Farseer band together once more to ride against the foes of the Farseer royal family in the kingdom of the Six Duchies. Last seen in Assassin's Quest, FitzChivalry (aka Tom Badgerlock due to the shock of white in his dark hair) has matured beyond the youth blindly following orders. For the past 15 years, Fitz has quietly led the life of a semi-recluse, trying his hardest to disappear. Believing that his glory days are over, he's surprised when fate (in the form of the Fool) pulls him back into the political intrigues that plague the Six Duchies. Endowed with both royal Skill magic and beast magic, Fitz assumes the task of returning the wayward heir to the throne, Prince Dutiful, to his home before his betrothal ceremony something that should be an easy task. In the event, the easy task proves extremely difficult, both physically and mentally for Fitz. The first half of the novel mostly focuses on Fitz's angst-ridden past. The heart-thumping, sword-clashing action that Hobb is known for emerges only during the second half, bringing Fitz fully to life. This is not to say that the first half is by any means dull. It's not. But the full range of Fitz's capabilities doesn't come to the forefront until later. When the action sequences finally kick in, they're non-stop. What starts as a very good read shifts into a stay-up-until-2:00 a.m.-to-finish type of book. (Jan. 9)Forecast: Stephen Youll's quiet jacket art gives no hint of the novel's intensity, but Hobb fans will know better and not be deterred.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Tawny Man (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; UNABRIDGED VERSION edition (November 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553582445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553582444
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on February 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Robin Hobb (Megan Lindholm) has attracted quite a devoted audience with her last two sets of books, the Farseer 'Assassin' trilogy and the Live Ship Trader series, and with good reason, as these are fantasies of quite a different stripe from the normal and told with power, wit, and depth. While not absolutely necessary to enjoying this book, as there are enough explanatory sections here to catch the gist of the action of the prior books, I do recommend that you read the Assassin trilogy first, as it will not only provide the reader with all the past action, it will give you a fine benchmark of the how the characters were at the time of those books, allowing you to easily see the changes that time has wrought.

This book picks up 15 years after the ending of the Farseer set, with FitzChivalry Farseer and his Wit bond-mate wolf Nighteyes leading a quiet life as a farmer trying to raise his adopted son Hap, carefully avoiding any traffic with his former life of intrigue as a royal assassin. This early section of the book is remarkable for how strong the character development is, even though there is almost no action during this portion, showing a much more mature Fitz who has almost come to terms with the sacrifices he was required to make in the earlier books. Of course, this idyllic setting can't last, as first his former mentor Chade arrives for a visit to try and convince Fitz to return to service at Buckkeep Castle, followed by the very enigmatic Fool, now known as Lord Golden, and finally is convinced to return to Buckkeep by a summons from Chade to help find Prince Dutiful, Fitz's son by body, but not by himself as a person, who has either been kidnapped or run away.
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Format: Hardcover
Robin Hobb is a developing writer in the best sense of the word. In the original Farseer trilogy she gave us a story that was beautifully crafted and pushed the envelope on realism within fantasy. Liveship Traders was perhaps an experiment in the use of multiple viewpoints, with a dull and ponderous outcome to my mind. But in writing it, Hobb's skill has improved in bounds, to culminate finally in the utter perfection that is "Fool's Errand."
I say perfection even though the beginning might be slow for some readers. But once the story gets going, it takes off, plunging the reader into an ever-deepening plot and a world of characters who are among the most complex in the genre.

In particular, Fitz has only gotten better as a character ever since the original trilogy. Age has matured him and given him new dimensions; and yet at the same time, the scars from childhood still remain, surfacing in ways that are beyond his power and even beyond his awareness. It is possible to perceive how Burrich's upbringing and initial abuse have molded Fitz and how his upbringing, together with his subsequent experiences, shape his responses now. Yet through it all he is the same FitzChivalry we know, speaking with the voice of age and experience, but still familiar.
This uncanny gift for psychological depth is unparalleled in the genre, and comparatively rare outside the genre as well. Hobb's characters have a quality of mystery to them. There is more to them beyond the scope of the novel; somewhere they are having thoughts we cannot guess, saying things we shall never know about. Just as people in real life always have hidden depths that are beyond anyone's power to see, Fitz, the Fool, Chade, Nighteyes, Starling and the rest of the cast are not completely revealed to us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the description for this book before it came out, and I couldn't think of any other story involving fitz or nighteyes that could eclipse their last adventures in the Farseer trilogy.
I was wrong.
This book picks up 15 years in the future when Fitz (or Tom Badgerlock as he is called in this story) is 35 years old and feeling every year of it. The book starts with Tom complacently tending his farm/cottage in the woods far apart from human civilization and still recovering from the hardships the farseer line (chade specifically) had placed on him in the last series.
A series of visits alters Tom's simple life and he is flung back into the thick of things in a very different buckeep where he is charged in finding the missing Price Dutiful and (again) saving the world from disaster.
Sounds pretty commmon from that explanation, but this book is anything but. Even though this land was thoroughly explored in the previous two trilogies Robin Hobb has managed to add yet more depth and breadth to her land while somewhat bridging the gap between the Farseer and the Liveship traders trilogies. The fool reappears and again plays a central role, but the most amazing character aspect of this novel is fitz himself.
One of the reasons I praised Robin for her last series was the believability and real world harsh situations her characters were forced into, as well as their subsequent growth and maturing throughout the series. I was very surprised with how well Hobb managed the aging of fitz, although in my mind I will probably always think of him as the brash and unrestrained 20 year old I first came to know, Hobb has handled his transition into the middle years in incredible style.
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