Assassin's Apprentice

by Robin Hobb
Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer #1) - Robin Hobb 8.78   604

British Fantasy Award nominee 1996.

A new legend begins...

In a faraway land in which members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young man will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – that old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is taken from his warm stable and finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a new life: weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

Meanwhile, the land is beset by a terrible hazard: the Red Ship Raiders who descend from silent ships at dead of night and steal hapless victims from their beds, only to make strange demands of the village elders: pay us the ransom, and we wil kill our hostages. One village leader laughed and refused, therefore, to pay: but the consequences were dire.

It seems the only way to combat the marauders is to use the Skill – the ancient discipline of mind-sharing and thought-suggestion. Fitz is apprenticed to Galen the Skillmaster, a cold, mean-spirited man with a loathing for those who have the Wit. Fitz finds that he has many secrets that must be hidden during Skilling: the Wit, his apprenticeship as assassin, his very soul.

Being a royal bastard is dangerous enough in a court full of intrigue, ambition and treachery; but having both the Wit and the Skill will render him a threat to some and a valuable tool to others, and he must learn to see clearly those who are his friends, and those with malice in their hearts.

Hobb covers portrayed here are from UK editions, by John Howe.

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Release date May 1995
Details updated August 23, 2022

The Farseer :: Series

Series contains 3 primary works and has 3 total works.

The Farseer Trilogy follows the life of FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard and trained assassin, in a kingdom of The Six Duchies while his uncle, Prince Verity, attempts to wage war on the Red-Ship Raiders from The OutIslands who are attacking the shores of the kingdom.

Main series The Realm of the Elderlings

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer #1) 8.78   604
Royal Assassin (The Farseer #2) 8.84   511
Assassin's Quest (The Farseer #3) 8.86   485

Community Reviews & Rates

78 ratings
13 reviews
4 posts
May 19, 2012
8 / 10

Robin Hobb had been highly recommended to me and this book did not disappoint. I am endlessly skeptical of books written in the first person, but Hobb managed to make a very interesting book in spite of the limitations provided. She keeps all of the characters interesting and the story in itself was utterly fantastic, completely engrossing, and I look forward to the next book. Particularly, books that stretch over a long timespan can often be uninteresting, but everything seems to somehow be relevant and fun to read. My criticisms are few, yet I did find it was far too easy to predict who would be a bad guy, who would betray someone, and when something sinister happened, I felt as though there weren't that many surprises. This did not, however, make the story any less interesting. I was never able to predict what would happen, only who would turn out to be a "badguy" in the end. There was very little in the way of character "mystique". All-in-all though, it was one of the best books that I read last summer and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Seregil of Rhiminee
3701 ratings
260 reviews
3594 posts
October 2, 2007
10 / 10

Assassin's Apprentice is the first book of The Farseer Trilogy, which is one of the best fantasy series ever written. Assassin's Apprentice is a touching, sinister and entertaining story about a young royal bastard who is trained to be an assassin. The story is unique and the characters are memorable. I must say that I love this book (and the other books in this series) very much.

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