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Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – February 3, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Continuing in the tradition of her first book (Assassin's Apprentice) Hobb propels the Farseer saga into its second installment with irresistible plotting and memorable characters. Fitz is a trained assassin in the service of King Shrewd and also the king's illegitimate grandson. He is sworn to protect heir to the throne Prince Verity and Verity's new bride, but his task is complicated by an invasion of vicious barbarians who turn helpless captives into zombie-like Forged Ones. The home front is no safer, with an ailing King and usurpers to the throne waiting in the wings. Romance, sibling rivalry, battlefield exploits, betrayal, political intrigue and telepathic magic insure that there's never a dull moment in the Kingdom of the Six Duchies. Through deft description and characterizations, Hobb manages to create a kingdom that looks like a fairy tale but feels like the real world?which makes it almost impossible not to become immersed in Hobb's fantasy epic. The ending clamors for a sequel-and hopefully sooner, than later.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Second entry in Hobb's fantasy series about the Six Duchies and their Farseer kings (Assassin's Apprentice, 1995). At Buckkeep, King Shrewd lies dying, attended only the by the faithful, enigmatic Fool; King in Waiting Verity spends all his time Skilling to befuddle and bemuse the dreaded Red Ship Raiders, while his beautiful, neglected wife, Kettricken, wanders disconsolately. Young FitzChivalry, still ailing after his previous mission, tries to serve both Shrewd and Verity while seeking ways to frustrate the vaulting ambitions of Shrewd's youngest son, the viperous Prince Regal. Shrewd, meantime, has forbidden poor Fitz to marry his beloved Molly, a commoner. Fitz also possesses the Wit, an ability to talk to and empathize with animals, and he bonds with a young wolf he rescues from cruel captivity. Verity builds his own warships, but still can't defeat the Raiders--and the weaker Verity grows, the more the people listen to Regal's treacherous murmurings. Finally, Verity goes into the mountains seeking the Elderlings, a godlike race that helped a previous Farseer king to defeat the Raiders, leaving Fitz to protect Kettricken and Shrewd. Another spellbinding installment, built of patient detail, believable characters, and mature plotting--though, at an unwarranted 608 pages, there are ominous signs that Hobb's beginning to lose control of her narrative. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Farseer Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (February 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553573411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553573411
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (489 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,744 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 69 people found the following review helpful By An adult reader on May 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book first, then read Assassin's Apprentice to see where it started, then finally Assassins Quest with bated breath. Glad I picked it up.
"Royal Assassin" is a lovely play on words, best understood once the story is over, as is the premise that "Chivalry ain't dead" which, while never uttered, provides the foundation for the protagonist's existence. That sense of irony is ever present throughout the series, and is beautifully complemented by Hobbs' use of adjective given names: Shrewd, Desire, Verity, Constance, Regal, etc. The measured development and revelation of each character's flaws and motivations is a beautiful example of how to write a book that startles you with plot twists, all of which ultimately make sense. The hardest character to reach is Regal, which is a shame, since he is a believable self-justified villain.
Hobb's system of magic is easy to grasp, and does not require too great a suspension of disbelief to incorporate, since so few people in the book actually practice the Skill or the Wit. Her ability to demonstrate the suspicions and superstitions of commoners is admirable. Most compelling, however, is her ability to get inside the "coming of age" problem with a stark realism that most cannot achieve. Hobb is also able to address intimate relationships, love, and marriage from a very human, and often humorous perspective, a skill that is rarely displayed in the fantasy genre. The setting is rich with vivid depictions of life in a medeival castle. You can smell the stew cooking in the kitchen, and taste the warm bread that Fitz wheedles from Cook when it is fresh out of the oven. You also appreciate the plain difficulty of getting things done, even for one endowed with the Skill.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By ONENEO VINE VOICE on October 10, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Truly after having become instantly enamored with Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin had me hooked before I even finished the first page. I will begin this review with my sincere puzzlement in the fact that there is so much overhyped fantasy in the world by highly decorated (see award winning) authors that it amazes me to no end how the Farseer trilogy tends to slip through the proverbial cracks. This series is easily on par with the efforts of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and perhaps some of the finer moments of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.

That said, this tale picks up literally where the first book ends (with no recapping) and continues in the first person narrative of Fitz Chivalry as he recounts his life in effort to document the history of the Six Dutchies.

Like before, the imagery is just stunning and Hobb once again demonstrates that her greatest strength as an author is through development of incredibly rich characters that the reader can't help but feel like they know personally.

Perhaps therein lies the greatest source of frustration mingled within the beauty of this series: Robin Hobb isn't afraid to let the bottom drop out and does so very frequently. They say that hopelessness is a powerful literary tool (and certainly a motivator to turn the pages in effort to find resolve). The trouble some have with Hobb is that resolve is painfully slow to come (and often times doesn't come at all). Readers were treated to a taste of this in the first book but it pales in comparison to the mental and physical torture they will endure through Fitz's eyes in this one!
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Chad on November 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Come hear a tale of characters with marvelous abilities; characters with powers of stealth and strength, the ability to kill and read minds. The powers of suggestion are available to the characters; truly this is a wonderful bunch of heroes. But they are all wimps.

This book consists of nothing but one chapter after another of attempts on the lives of the various protagonists. An attempt is made on the life of every good character in the book and all they can do is wring their hands and complain that they cannot take action against the perpetrator. It is infuriating to read.

The characters possess wonderful skills that they will not use. And why won't they use them? Who knows? The time is not right, the king didn't command it. The excuses given defy belief.

Instead, one is asked to believe that every character in the book will accept these bumbling attempts on the lives of everyone they love, including themselves, without ever taking action. Indeed, the only action that the heroes in the book ever take is after detrimental results have already been suffered.

But don't worry, they will whine and complain about what is done to them and those they serve. If fact, the bulk of the book consists of nothing more than an attempt on every good natured character in the book followed by restraint and complaint. This makes for a painfully irritating read. This irritation is only aggravated by how long the book drags on. I don't mind long books, if they are taking me somewhere. Here, the author beats the drum for hundreds of pages without advancing the story anymore that to communicate that the players are exasperated with their circumstances. Of course they are! Their circumstances completely control them.

Also, the book's title is terrible.
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Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 2)
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