Book 1 of the Farseer Trilogy

Assassin s Apprentice is the story of Fitz, the illegitimate son of Prince Chivalry. At age six, he is put into the care of the Prince s man, Burrich. Fitz does not speak much and he has no memory of his mother or father. It is because Fitz was born that Chivalry left court and abdicated all of his rights to the throne. This has caused some resentment (and potential problems) towards Fitz, but he doesn t know anything about that. As Fitz grows older, he is noticed by King Shrewd. Shrewd decides that Fitz should be educated, and he is put under the tutelage of various teachers in the castle. He is also put in the care of Chade, a man who is to teach Fitz how to be an assassin for King Shrewd.

This is really just the beginning for Fitz. We see as he grows and learns more about himself and about what his role may be for King Shrewd. Unlike many other fantasy novels, it is a little difficult to tell exactly where Robin Hobb is going with this story. For one thing, there isn t really a quest that Fitz must go on and perhaps save the world. Fitz is training to be an assassin, a rather different skill for the hero of a fantasy novel. Another thing that is different about this book is that it is told in the first person. We know only what Fitz knows and we do not get to see action that Fitz does not have first hand knowledge of. I was a little skeptical of this at first, but it works exceptionally well in this book. The book is told as a kind of journal that Fitz is writing years later, telling the story of his youth.

This is a dark novel, and with the exception of perhaps a scene or two, it stays that way. There are no rousing heroic victories and there is little fast-paced, light-hearted witty banter. What we have is a very well told story, one that took perhaps a chapter or two for me to get into, but one that ultimately hooked me and has me looking for more. This is a fantastic beginning to the Farseer Trilogy, and should be a must-read for fans of fantasy.