Summary and book reviews of Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb

Fool's Errand

The Tawny Man, Book 1

By Robin Hobb

Fool's Errand
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2002,
    496 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2002,
    672 pages.

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Book Summary

With the creation of the magnificent Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies, Robin Hobb has emerged as one of the foremost fantasy authors of our time. Now she continues the tale of FitzChivalry Farseer in the first book of what promises to be her most spectacular trilogy yet.

A work of dazzling scope, brilliance, and sheer imaginative artistry, Fool's Errand is the captivating story of a man finally confronting the two magics that divide not only himself but his land......

For fifteen years, since the events that shattered his old life, FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in a self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him.

A bastard with royal Farseer blood, he has retreated to an isolated cottage far from the intrigues and dangers of the capital. Now he believes himself content to exist in obscurity, raising his adopted son, Hap, and sharing his solitude with his faithful wolf bondmate, Nighteyes.

Despite the rumors he hears of savage reprisals against those possessing the Wit magic, he is determined to remain aloof from the conflict. After all he has served his kingdom, sacrificed what was dearest to him, and he deserves his peace.

But all that is about to change when destiny comes seeking him once again. High summer brings visitors to his door, and with them his past. Jinna, a hedge-witch, foresees that a long-lost love will return to him. Chade --- court assassin and Fitz's mentor from his own assassin days, now growing infirm --- has reasons of his own for desiring Fitz to return to Buckkeep Castle.

And when the Fool, the former White Prophet, reappears as the wealthy and charming Lord Golden, he beckons Fitz to take up his duties as Catalyst, the one who enables others to be heroes and change forever the path of time.

To all of them Fitz says no. He has done his duty --- more than one man should be expected to do. But then comes the summons he cannot ignore.

Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished from Buckkeep Castle without a trace. Whether Dutiful has been kidnapped or has fled his impending arranged betrothal is unclear. What is clear is that the Prince is rumored to be Witted at a time when public superstition is running high against those possessing that "beast magic."

Endowed with both the royal Skill magic and the despised Wit, FitzChivalry may be the only one who can retrieve the Prince before his betrothal ceremony --- thus sparing the Six Duchies profound political embarrassment ... or worse.

But even Fitz does not suspect the web of treachery that awaits him. Everyone seems to have an agenda for the young Prince, and soon FitzChivalry is plunged into a situation where his loyalties to his Queen, his Wit partner Nighteyes, and those who share his magic will be tested to the breaking point.

Chapter I
Chade Fallstar

Is time the wheel that turns, or the track it leaves behind?
--- Kelstar's Riddle

He came one late, wet spring, and brought the wide world back to my doorstep. I was thirty-five that year. When I was twenty, I would have considered a man of my current age to be teetering on the verge of dotage. These days, it seemed neither young nor old to me, but a suspension between the two. I no longer had the excuse of callow youth, and I could not yet claim the eccentricities of age. In many ways, I was no longer sure what I thought of myself. Sometimes it seemed that my life was slowly disappearing behind me, fading like footprints in the rain, until perhaps I had always been the quiet man living an unremarkable life in a cottage between the forest and the sea.

I lay abed that morning, listening to the small sounds that sometimes brought me peace. The wolf breathed steadily before the softly crackling hearth fire. I quested toward him with our shared...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Booklist - Roland Green

[FitzChivalry] encounters a dazzling array of characters, many of them human, and all of them drawn in exquisite detail, particularly the women. Is Hobb fashioning as world-class a fantasy saga as The Liveship Traders? Seems so.

Publisher's Weekly

In this hard-to-put-down follow-up to the Farseer Trilogy, Hobb maintains the high standards of her earlier fantasy series......What starts as a very good read shifts into a stay-up-until-200 a.m.-to-finish type of book.

Kirkus Reviews

Once again, smoothly done with rounded characters in words as plain as bread.

Reader Reviews
Derkindestod/Monoceros

Fools Fate is an absolutely fantastic ending for the whole Fitz series... and I believe I just stated the biggest understatement ever! There are no words to describe how wonderful her characters are, the Fool being the most amazing character ever ...   Read More

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