This review has been approved by Pug.

Book 2 of the Farseer Trilogy

This second entry in Robin Hobb s Farseer trilogy picks up where the first book let off. FitzChivalry was poisoned by Prince Regal when he was in the Mountain Kingdom to bring home Princess Kettricken. Kettricken is to wed Fitz s master, King-in-Waiting Verity. Fitz is battered, both emotionally and physically and it is a long time before he is able to return to Buckkeep and rejoin the royal court. When Fitz returns to Buckkeep he steps back into his old role as King Shrewd s Assassin, as well as into a new role as Verity s helper in fighting the Forged Ones. The Forged Ones are citizens of the Kingdom of the Six Duchies who have been captured by the Red Ship Raiders (who have been terrorizing the coast) and turned loose as near zombies who can t think or feel but know only to attack and feed like ghouls.

The King is sick. He is losing strength and Verity s younger brother is plotting both against the King as well as against Verity. Fitz is doing what he can to protect Verity, but there isn t much that he can do since Regal is a legitimate son and Fitz is only the illegitimate child of a dead Farseer. Any action Fitz may take can be construed as treason, and he must be careful as Regal already hates him. In the midst of the plotting and intrigue there is some romance. Fitz is still in love with a street girl he knew years earlier named Molly. Molly is now working at the castle as a maid for Princess Patience, and though Fitz knows that this relationship can be used against him by his enemies, he cannot stay away from Molly (once known as Molly Nosebleed).

This is a fairly long and deep fantasy novel, but the world that Robin Hobb has created feels real. Hobb s world is brutal and our favorite characters are spared no pain. Reading this, I never really knew which characters would live and which would die, even Fitz (you really don t believe he ll die, but Hobb did such a good job with this world that I felt the threat was real). There is not a lot of action, but when it happens it explodes with huge implications. In my view, this is some good fantasy. I m already looking forward to book 3 Assassin s Quest .