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Golden Fool (The Tawny Man, Book 2) Hardcover – January 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blindness comes in many forms. For angst-ridden FitzChivalry Farseer, the blindness isn't physical but rather an inability to gauge character. Fitz, the hero of this second volume in the trilogy that began with Fool's Errand (2002), reluctantly returns, disguised as a servant, to Buckkeep town in the Six Duchies to be skill-master to Prince Dutiful, the king-in-waiting. Fitz is mourning the loss of his wolf bondmate Nighteyes, hating his disguise, worrying about his foster son's behavior in Buckkeep and frantically trying to learn enough about the Skill to stay ahead of the prince during their training sessions. Fitz jumps from crisis to crisis like a bowling ball tossed onto a trampoline-his failure to look deeply at others' motivations plunges him into a morass of poorly thought-out actions and badly managed confrontations. The harder Fitz tries, the worse his situation gets. The author juggles all the balls with aplomb, besides providing spot-on characterizations. The intrigue and double-dealing of the Farseer royal court are spider webs of interconnections, while the plot itself keeps the reader bouncing from one theory to another, right up to the somewhat abrupt ending. The writing may not be quite as fine as that in Hobb's Assassins series (Assassin's Apprentice, etc.), but this latest nonetheless shows why she ranks near the top of the high fantasy field.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A stout and good if not independently readable continuation of Hobb's Tawny Man trilogy, Golden Fool follows Fool's Errand [BKL D 15 01] closely in the real world as well as its predecessor's fictional realm. FitzChivalry Farseer is back at work as apprentice to master assassin Chade, but the master is nearing the end of his life. Nor is that the young assassin's only problem. The rescued Prince Dutiful isn't living up to his name and in his dereliction threatens to disclose his secret and scandalous possession of beast magic. Moreover, Farseer's wolf bondmate, Nighteyes, is dead, and the valuable companionship of the Fool (formerly known as the Tawny Man) is threatened not only by the Fool's own quirks of character but also by a number of deadly secrets he holds. Altogether, there is enough intrigue of both the martial and magical variety to keep the characters up to their tailbones in alligators and readers turning pages--effects Hobb has yet to fail at producing. Fantasy readers know this, and librarians should react accordingly. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Hobb, Robin (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; First Edition edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801514
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (481 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Mennonite Medievalist on February 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I find I shouldn't leave the Fitz books without saying goodbye in a review. The series as a whole is perhaps my favorite story to come out in the last decade. Fitz is a splendid protagonist, the Fool perhaps the greatest fantasy character of all time. The Assassin trilogy in particular renewed my faith in the emotional power of story, after I thought I'd been pretty well jaded by adulthood. I could hardly put those down; I could hardly put Fool's Fate down, but read most of it off in one compulsive and completely irresponsible afternoon.
Hobb makes you read. I think it's because she drives the story with major secrets, but keeps feeding you partial resolutions throughout, so that you can hope the end of the next chapter is a good stopping place (you tell yourself you hope this, but of course, you don't), yet when you reach that resolution, another tension has begun. She interlocks her plot-tensions brilliantly--a wonderful writer.
Fool's Fate reads less like a novel than like an autobiography. Fitz, Dutiful, Chade travel oversea to slay the dragon Icefyre (or to prevent the slaying, as the case may be) and win for Dutiful the lovely, cool, and politically-advantageous hand of Narcheska Elliania. The dragon element of the plot--indeed, the novel's ostensible driving force--is resolved with 200 pages to go, however (as opposed to Assassin's Quest, the final book of that trilogy, when Verity flies off with 20 pages to go); the remainder of the book finds Hobb clipping off, one by one, all the taut ropes of Fitz's life, so that we see Fitz, at the end, slack and content in a situation of his own deep liking.
When I was reading the book, I liked this, because I've been with Fitz from the beginning, and am frankly more interested in him than I am in the quest for the dragon.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By S. Atkinson on March 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Every now and again you encounter a character so profoundly moving and real that you have a hard time believing he's fictional; one who shakes you up and alters your world to the point where it makes you feel silly for getting so involved in a book, and then you reread your favorite scenes and it happens all over again, and eventually you have to stop feeling silly in order to just focus on feeling.
This book gutted me. The Fool is incomparable.
But don't just pick up Fool's Fate without having read the rest of the series. Start with the Assassin books, skip the Liveship Traders if you're in a hurry (I was), then read the Tawny Man series in order. If you read Fool's Fate on its own, you may still be struck with Hobb's fabulous storytelling and the intricate nature of her world. But you'll miss the opportunity to slowly fall in love with her characters as they grow and develop. Do not deprive yourself of getting to know the Fool through Fitz's eyes.
I think I'm in the minority; I hope that Hobb will never write another book in this series. Fool's Fate left me with such a bittersweet sense of completion that I don't see how a new tale could compare. I love the Fool, and I miss him, but I won't let my "reader's greed" for a sequel interfere with the Fool's powerful final sacrifices, and the beauty of untouched, lingering possibility.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Richard Raley on January 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What to say of FitzChivalry Farseer? An epic character, who's, thanks to Robin Hobb, life unfolds before us. So many different things happen within "Golden Fool" that it feels like real life. You know you had something for dinner a couple nights before but you just can't remember what.
This is fantasy at its best. It doesn't get bogged down with side plots but revels in them, the characters don't develop but live as we do, and most of all you really care what happens to any single person, whether it be Queen or cook. One of the most amazing parts is Hobb's ability to make you recall a character, even if they seem so small in the plot you still know them as a close cousin. They may pop up for but a page but you remember and enjoy every part of their character and the life they share with our hero.
You live the life of FitzChivalry as you read the Tawny Man Trilogy. You don't see the history of the Six Duchies, but embrace it through his eyes. In the first novel, "Fool's Errand" you felt just like Fitz. Reading the first half you felt like you were always catching up, as if time was flying by, trying to remember everything of old. You always were playing catch up through out the whole novel. But "Golden Fool" is different. In this novel you feel the weight of duty, each day in Fitz's life seems like a month as he dives back into the court of Buckkeep. And just so every page seems like a chapter to you, the book expands beyond its page numbers. You will sit down for hours unmoving only to stop and realize you've only read through a chapter or two in awe. You'll wonder if you will ever get through this novel just as Fitz wonders if he will ever go back to his quiet life in the country.
It is amazing work, beyond words, though I have tried.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on August 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've discovered something about Robin Hobb, something that has recoloured my view of Golden Fool. Hobb writes slow-paced character studies that emphasize that character over the action. She writes about relationships, and she writes them very effectively. I still found Golden Fool to be too slow with the character interaction not as interesting as she has shown she is capable of. However, I now have a bit more of an understanding of it. That is because I read the third book in the series, Fool's Fate. This book is more of the same, but I found it much more interesting. Fitzchivalry Farseer is still going through rough times, but it seems to have more of a point to it than it did in the second book.

Fool's Fate seems very unusual in that the "climax" of the book takes place almost two-thirds of the way through the book, with the rest of it dealing with all the scattered pieces of Fitz's life that Hobb has left and how Fitz attempts to put them back together. This is where I realized what the point of this series was. It wasn't just the story of a dragon-quest and a political alliance. It was the story of how far Fitz has come since the events in the first Assassin series, a story of relationships. The dragon is important, but only in relation to Fitz and Dutiful and the past that Fitz has to face. The pace of the book is extremely slow, but Hobb's strong writing makes it interesting (unlike the second book, which I think just came across as too depressing to be interesting). The text is dense and you won't plow through it in a day or two. That could be a fault if you don't like that sort of thing. I do, when it's done well, so I loved it.

Another strength that Fool's Fate had that Golden Fool didn't have was that it didn't seem as contrived.
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