If the sheer size of Fool’s Assassin, Robin Hobb’s opener to her new trilogy is not enough to scare you off, then attempting to figure out the who, when, why, what, may well do the trick.
However, if you are among the many who have become addicted to the epic fantasy fiction of this bestselling author, you will undoubtedly savour each and every one of the 630 pages of the first instalment of The Fitz And The Fool Trilogy.
Almost a decade has passed in the realm of the Six Duchies, and Fitz Chivalry Farseer, bastard son of a king-in-waiting and royal assassin, has settled into a new and quiet life with his wife Molly. No stranger to loss, Fitz has adopted a new name and identity to protect his comfortable existence.
Now known as Tom Badgerlock, he rarely needs to use his Skill for reading others or his Wit that allows him to connect with animals. Until, that is, a strange messenger arrives, only to disappear before even delivering the message, leaving only a trail of blood in her wake.
Fool’s Assassin may divide fans of the previous trilogies, and as with the Star Wars sagas, some may feel that the story has been told and should be left well enough alone. However, those that have been longing for more will not be disappointed as many old characters, and their wacky verb-like names, return, some to break your heart, others to lift it.
Told as ever through the viewpoint of Fitz/Tom, it is a little slow to get cracking and, while Hobb’s style of writing is beautifully expressive, the chapters do seem to drag on.
However, the introduction of a second voice about a third of the way through comes as a genius narrative device as well as giving poor old Fitz a bit of a break.
As with all good trilogies, don’t expect narrative closure in part one, but do anticipate its successors.