Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Tawny Man #1

Fool's Errand

Rate this book
alternate cover for ISBN 9780006486015

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the Red Ship War with the terrifying Outislanders. Since then, Fitz has wandered the world accompanied only by his wolf and Wit-partner, Nighteyes, finally settling in a tiny cottage as remote from Buckkeep and the Farseers as possible.

But lately the world has come crashing in again. The Witted are being persecuted because of their magical bonds with animals; and young Prince Dutiful has gone missing just before his crucial diplomatic wedding to an Outislander princess. Fitz’s assignment to fetch Dutiful back in time for the ceremony seems very much like a fool’s errand, but the dangers ahead could signal the end of the Farseer reign.

Cover illustration by John Howe

661 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 15, 2001

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Robin Hobb

340 books97.5k followers
** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I'd loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I've ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I'm probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I want you to know . . . I don't finish books I don't like. There's too many good ones out there waiting to be found.

Robin Hobb is the author of three well-received fantasy trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest), The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny) and the Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate) Her current work in progress is entitled Shaman’s Crossing. Robin Hobb lives and works in Tacoma, Washington, and has been a professional writer for over 30 years.

In addition to writing, her interests include gardening, mushrooming, and beachcombing. She and her husband Fred have three grown children and one teenager, and three grand-children.

She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has twice won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
44,686 (51%)
4 stars
31,063 (35%)
3 stars
9,486 (10%)
2 stars
1,510 (1%)
1 star
707 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,878 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
February 23, 2018
A tale of a bond between humans and animals at its finest level.

Fool’s Errand is the first book in the Tawny Man trilogy—the third out of five subseries within Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings gigantic series—and it is my favorite installment within the entire RotE so far. This is seriously a lovely, memorable, and poignant return to the world of Fitz, Nighteyes, and the Fool’s journey. Honestly, after the disappointment I had with the last installment of the Farseer trilogy, and after the greatness of the Liveship Traders trilogy, I didn’t expect to find how much I’ve missed seeing Fitz, the Fool, and Nigtheyes together until the moment I flipped the pages of this book.

Fool’s Errand takes the readers back to Fitz’s journey and I must say I’m absolutely delighted by how captivating this book was got me. Fifteen years have passed since the end of Assassin’s Quest, FitzChivalry Farseer, now called Tom Badgerlock (a persona/identity he created in order to forget his past and began anew) is living in a self-imposed exile with Nighteyes and Hap. The exile, of course, started to change when familiar faces from Fitz’s past came knocking on his door.

“Stop longing.You poison today’s ease, reaching always for tomorrow.”

Slow paced and slow build as per all Hobb's books, almost the entire first half was spent on Fitz recounting the things he did during the fifteen years’ time gap. The second half then focused on the search for Prince Dutiful. Don’t worry, this is completely the opposite of the tedious search for Verity in Assassin’s Quest. In the midst of the search for Dutiful, there was a myriad of characters development and well polished world-building elements to be found. Some readers will probably find this book boring to read, but it certainly wasn’t the case for me. I honestly found this book to be an extremely well-written and poignantly beautiful story. The difficulty of coping with the passage of time, the racial prejudice against the Witted, loneliness, and most of all, animal companionship, are all the main themes of this book. It was utterly a memorable experience due to the characters. The most crucial reason for why I enjoyed reading this one so much was because of the fact that I’ve seen and known these characters during their younger days. This knowledge made the characters even more real than it already seemed to be; even reading their daily lives has become something of a homecoming and reunion with my real friends.

I don't even know where to begin explaining how outstanding was the character’s study for Fitz in this book but let me try to do it briefly. I’m always amazed by how well written Fitz was in Farseer trilogy and Hobb really step up her game with this installment. He’s simply a complex and realistic character. Some will hate/love him for it but for me, I found all Fitz’s take on loneliness and emptiness something I can relate to perfectly. This will make me sound like a broken record but I honestly don’t care, this book has amazing character developments and studies and I’ll keep on repeating this in all Hobb’s books until there isn’t any of them anymore, which I envisioned will be as likely as waiting for snow to fall in my country. Fitz, Nighteyes, and the Fool’s friendship have become a treasure I will always remember.

Unlike Liveship Traders, Farseer trilogy has even fewer actions and that’s still true here, the actions here consisted more or less of two or three skirmishes but that’s completely okay. Hobb’s strengths are her memorable and well-written characters which keep on getting better and better with each installment because of the subsequent information the readers have collected with each book. This, in my opinion, made up for the lack of action scenes. Plus, as crazy as this will sound, her lovely prose actually keeps on getting better.

The world-building information that has been gathered from the past six books and novella wasn’t wasted as there’s always something new to find in its lore and magic systems. Know this, you’re in for the long game here. In this installment, we get to see more and more intricate explanation on the Wit magic system, the Old Blood, and a few revelations on the purpose of the Fool, specifically the White Prophet and the Catalyst. For your information, I’ve read the novella The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince before reading this book and it enhanced my experience of this book. Although the novella’s publication year was the year 2013 and this book was first released on the year 2001, it doesn’t really matter which one you read first but my recommendation is to read the novella first because the novella actually explained the history of the Piebald Prince and why the Witted became hated in the first place intricately.

“The past is no further away than the last breath you took.”

Fool’s Errand is the first full 5 stars rating I bestowed to Robin Hobb’s books and hopefully the first of many. This is truly an amazing start to the highly acclaimed Tawny Man trilogy; it’s my favorite installment within the entire Realm of the Elderlings series so far. I’m looking forward to engraving the next two books into my past, hopefully as fond and memorable as how this book has become to me.

Picture: Fool’s Errand by Koji Suzuki

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Mike's Book Reviews.
139 reviews5,684 followers
January 13, 2023
I can't believe what Hobb pulled off with this book. On one hand, she has written my favorite book in the entirety of the Realm of the Elderlings up to this point. On the other? I HATE HER SO MUCH.

What is truly whimsical about this book is that it is no secret that I wasn't a fan of the final book in the Farseer trilogy. So the way she is able to make me realize how much I missed these characters in the very first chapter is a master stroke of her character work. She pulls on the heartstrings from go with a simple conversation between Chade and Fitz and I was immediately transported back to the Duchies after a winter vacation in Bingtown.

A stand out this go around is The Fool. I felt he was one of the few bright spots for me in Assassin's Quest but his banter with "Tom" as "Lord Golden" is some of the best dialogue she's written yet. I've even been calling my kids "beloved" all week.

The first 1/3 of this book is the best non-Stephen King slice of life I think I have ever read. I always figured she'd be good at it, but I wasn't wild about what she tried in Royal Assassin. In short, this book is what I always hoped Farseer could be.

Elephant in the room; yes. The stories of Robin Hobb assassinating your feelings is true. She absolutely got me in this and even had my wife asking me if I was okay at one particular and unnamed chapter. In fact, it's still too soon and I don't want to talk about it.

Hobb also captures the nostalgia of looking back at your childhood with perfect precision. I almost felt as if I was returning to Buckkeep and seeing people I hadn't seen since I was young while reading these pages. The reality of "home" feeling so big when you're a youngster and feeling rather small when you revisit them as an adult is just something that resonates well with me. We always want to romanticize and build up those things in our mind. While they can still feel special, it isn't quite as magical as it was in your childhood memories. And that's never a bad thing.

This book was wonderful, heartwarming, beautiful, emotional, haunting, and whimsical. I absolutely loved it and it's going to be a tough act to follow going forward.
Profile Image for oyshik.
210 reviews663 followers
February 4, 2021
Fool's Errand (Realm of Elderlings #7,The Tawny Man #1)
Fool's Errand is an incredibly well-written book that demonstrates just how much of a genius Hobb is. It is a slow book, at least to start with. But I enjoyed it. The mature topic covered-death and parenting-provide a lot to think about.
Stop longing. You poison today’s ease, reaching always for tomorrow.

Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
May 8, 2016
The characterisation of Fitschivalry through the series is brilliant. The books are told from the first person entirely; thus the reader witnesses the change in his thoughts as he grows into a man. In this book, he has developed a new persona: Tom Badgerlock. This is set fifteen years after the Red Ship wars and King Verity’s reawakening of the Dragons.


Tom Badgerlock is the person Fitschivalry has evolved into: the one he always wanted to be; he is the man with a simple life, a small farm, a few friends and the close companionship of his loyal wolf. His reaction is unsurprising when his former mentor and friend comes seeking his help: reluctance. Prince Dutiful, heir to the Farseer throne, has gone missing. Nobody seems to know why. He is suspected of having the Wit and is known to have an undeveloped grasp of the Skill. Tom Badgerlock doesn't want to go back to being the tool of the Farseer throne, their Assassin. Who can blaim him? He wants to be free.

Slow, but excellent

Few authors of the fantasy genre, if any, could write a book in which the first third of it is essentially the protagonist living in a hut looking back on his youth as he weighs up the decisions of the future. In this Robin Hobb’s style is remarkable. The internal conflict of Fitz really spoke to me. Fitz has earned his rest but at the same time he is the only person who can bring stability to the realm: he must go back to Buckeep and the role of his youth.

The novel is very well paced and probably the most apprehension evoking I've read in fantasy; the author knows how to draw the plot out, revealing more information at exactly the right time. The plot could have been over and done with, in three hundred pages or so, but that would not have achieved the same effect. The emotions of Fitz, his fears and worries, all play a pivotal role in establishing the suspense of the plot and only through his vivid characterisation do we, as the reader, understand the meaning behind his decisions.

Wonderful Magic

A theme has been established through the book, through the use of animals, almost defining the author’s style. The thoughts of animals have been brought to life; their personalities exhibit their animalistic traits. For example, the cat’s snobbish nature and vainglorious attitude to itself is captured in the thoughts it sends to Tom Badgerlock. This is my favourite aspect of the series: the Wit magic. It is a wonderful idea. The relationship between Fitz and Nighteyes is very touching. Their bond, along with the Fool’s closeness to them, is very deep. They are almost one person as their wit bond has rubbed off characteristics onto each other. The Wolf thinks like a human and the Man acts like a wolf. I liked this development and how it becomes tested as Nighteyes ages quicker than Fitz.

Robin Hobb is one of my favourite fantasy novelists, third only to Tolkien and Susanna Clarke, her books define the modern fantasy genre, thus they're a must read for any fantasy enthusiast.
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
234 reviews3,009 followers
June 7, 2022
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books as soon as I finish the book.

Yet another absolutely incredible start to a new Robin Hobb series

I was a bit nervous going into this book because I thought the ending to the last "Fitz" book was the weakest book in the Realm of the Elderings that I have read up until this point. And after finishing up the Liveship Traders books, which were some of my favorite books I have ever read, I wasn't sure what to expect here.

Fortunately, Robin Hobb blew me out of the water with this new entry into this sub-series. This is a slow book, and truthfully not a ton happens here until the end, and even then it's not overtly suspenseful. But Robin Hobb is one of the few fantasy authors that can thrive under these circumstances as her character writing is the top things that makes her special.

Fitz has grown older in this book, and you really get an amazing feel for the trials that he has gone through, the personal dilemmas he continually has thrust upon him, and him trying to grow and be a good person but no really understanding how to do this. He feels more "real" than perhaps any other fantasy character. The other characters in this also feel like you can so deeply connect with them, even the ones you aren't supposed to like, and it's really a marvel in writing ability.

I love that Robin Hobb doesn't tell you how to feel in these books, she lists out scenarios that are so believable, and I'm sure if you had a book club and were discussing this book with friends nearly all of you might have a different opinion on the choices that certain characters made.

I'm not sure where this story goes from here as this one wraps up almost as a standalone, but I have full faith the Robin Hobb is leading the reader onto a wonderful journey that I can't wait to continue.
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews38.1k followers
September 1, 2022
This book made me scream, cry, and throw up, because ROBIN HOW COULD YOU??!?!! HOW DARE- IM...!!!!!!!

God it feels so good to be back here with my friends again. Even if Fitz, you sometimes get on my nerves asdfghjkl.

Literally so good, doesn't get better than this.
Also for everyone who started with this series first, what the hell are y'all doing??!!! This spoils soo much of The Liveship Traders.

Full review (non spoiler + spoilers) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_njsS...

Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
871 reviews1,759 followers
June 24, 2018
I went into this story with zero expectation. My poor heart was still very tender after the beating it got in Assassin’s Quest. But then I saw everyone reading one or the other Fitz book and going ga ga over. I kept thinking, “did we read the same Fitz stories?” to find the answer I thought why not give another chance to Fitz, perhaps he did better in this. And oh boy, this book simply blew me away. All my complaints of Fitz being whinny and doing nothing went out of the wind. Ms. Hobb what did you do to Fitz? But am glad whatever you did it worked wonders for me.

So this story picks up after the 15 years of events that took place in Assassin’s Quest. Fitz is now Tom Badgerlock and wants to do nothing with Six Duchies. But things get complicated in Six Duchies and Fitz has to return and bring back a runaway prince.

Fitz has come a long way from his days of Assassin’s Quest. He is more mature, calmer, and a thinker now. Gone are the days when he used to get angry easily and act in spur of moment. And this new Fitz won my heart even before he solved the mystery of runaway prince and saved the day.

The best aspect of this book for me was relation between Fool and Fitz; and Nighteye and Fitz. While the former was more like a new journey, had its bumps and ups and down, the latter was like a marriage where words are not required. One look at the other and you know what you want and what he wants, and the other person always comes first.

Hobb’s writing is just amazing. She keeps things simple. Her characters are not all powerful with some super awesome powers, they can’t fly, they can’t read mind, and they can’t turn others into cat or dogs. Her characters are akin to human as much as it can be possible in a fantasy world. She would make you feel sad, helpless, angry, and silly through her characters and that’s what I loved about her in this book.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,813 reviews474 followers
July 31, 2021
What an amazing journey this is turning out to be!

In order to understand how happy I am after reading Fool's Errand, you have to be a fan of Fantasy. It could be Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, or insert your favorite here. Just think more books in the world you adore are available.

I’m back with FitzChivalry Farseer and the Fool. What a team!

The last time we saw FitzChivalry Farseer, he had saved the Six Duchies yet no one knows he did (well almost no one). For the last fifteen years, Fitz has been living like a hermit with Nighteyes and Hap. Hap was brought to Fitz by Staling when he was a child. Fitz has raised him as his adopted son. Fitz is hiding his identity and going by the name of Tom Badgerlock.

Now that Hap is becoming a man. He needs money to learn a trade. Fitz fears that is time for him to let him go.

Then his past comes knocking.

First, there is Chade who wants Fitz to come back to Buckkeep to teach Prince Dutiful the Skill.

Then, The Fool returns from who knows where (haha we do know) and stays for a little while.

Then a messenger from Queen Kettricken arrives asking Tom to come back to Buckkeep, his help is needed. When he arrives, he discovers that Prince Dutiful is gone. He has been taken and just before his betrothal ceremony! Fitz must find him before it's too late. Fitz, Nighteyes, the Fool, and Huntswoman Lauren will embark on this errand.

Between the Skill and the Wit, this is another magnificent piece of fantasy that Robin Hobb gives us.

Fitz is more mature and suffers less although I do feel like he has been used and coerced more times than he should.

I won’t lie, a certain part of the book made me ugly cry. #Devastated. I will say no more.

Starting the next one now.

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews864 followers
June 12, 2019
Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Errand is an engaging and immersive read in an expansive world that Hobbs has already created. The novel is the first book in the Tawny Man Series which picks up 15 years after the Liveship Traders and Farseer Trilogy. Some readers didn’t need the background information about Fitz or the political intrigue that was woven into his story. Since this is my first book with Fitz in it (and my first Robin Hobb book), I appreciated the background. It was a slow immersion but by the time the storyline took off I felt like I really knew the Fitz of this specific time and in this context. Given my understanding of what had come before, this transition for Fitz to a solitary and reclusive life with his wolf, Night Eyes, made sense. Throughout the adventure, the emphasis was on character and that is something I enjoyed. Looking forward to continuing the adventure with Fitz!
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
June 22, 2020
Fool's Errand is the first book in The Tawny Man Trilogy. Though it's book one it's actually a spin-off of Farseer Trilogy. The Tawny Man is the third book series in The Book of the Elderlings series. So no you cannot start from here, you have to start from Farseer Trilogy.

Addictive and captivating. Grown-up Fitz is awesome. After reading the disappointment called Assassin's Quest I couldn't bring myself to continue this series, but the awesomeness of Liveship Traders changed that.

‘When you cut pieces from the truth to avoid sounding like a fool, you end up sounding like a moron instead.’

Fool's Errand happened fifteen years after Farseer Trilogy, Fitz is on a self imposed exile, almost everyone thought him dead apart from a selected few. Fitz lives on a cottage in the middle of nowhere with Hap his adopted son. Fitz is still depressed but the pity party has reduced a great deal and for that I am happy. This book just like all Hobb's book is character driven which means the book focuses more on character development than plot. So I need not say but the character development is one of the best I've ever read, the characters are all unique with different personalities.

Reading Fool's Errand was fun, though I was angry at those that always use Fitz and at him for never refusing, I don't understand his sense of duty, I know they are his family but he has given them everything but his life. So in other words Fitz is same old him with more experience.

Nighteyes ever so loyal was also here, I love that he kept Fitz company all those years, I think without him Fitz would have committed suicide. His thought are always fun to read.

‘Pain. That’s what being a Farseer means to me. Pain and being used.’

The Fool is here posing as Lord Golden, he just came back from Bingtown. He is now rich but still same old mysterious Fool. His friendship with Fitz is one of the best thing in this story, It keeps Fitz going.

‘Fitz. You know I love you, don’t you?’
I halted where I stood.
‘I’d hate to have to kill you,’ he continued. I recognized his adept imitation of my own voice and inflection. I stared at him, baffled. He sat up taller and glanced over the back of his chair at me with a pained smile. ‘Never again attempt to put my clothing away,’ he warned me. ‘Verulean silk should be draped for storage. Not wadded.’
‘I’ll try to remember that,’ I promised him humbly.

Hap is Fitz's adopted son, he just turn fifteen, he is like mini Fitz, since he grew up with Fitz he adapted lots of Fitz's behaviour even his mannerisms and honour.

Dutiful the fifteen years old Prince is the character that surprised me most in this book, at first I thought him stupid and gullible, he was just naive and inexperienced. His attitude towards Fitz is awesome, I thought he would be arrogant but he wasn't, after what Fitz did to him he was even happy he was treated as a person and not a Prince, I really empathise with him.

‘To my mother, I am a son. But I am also, always, the Prince and Sacrifice for my people. And to all others, always, I am the Prince. Always. I am no one’s brother. I am no man’s son. I am not anyone’s best friend.’ He laughed, a small strangled laugh. ‘People treat me very well as “my prince.” But there is always a wall there. No one speaks to me as, well, as me.’ He shrugged one shoulder and his mouth twisted to one side wryly. ‘No one except you has ever told me I was stupid, even when I was most definitely being stupid.’

The writing like The Farseer Trilogy is written wholly from Fitz's perspective, It was fun and enjoyable to read. It's written in perfect old English, I love that. The only thing I would change about the writing is that it was written in more than Fitz's perspective.

Prince Dutiful the heir to the Six Duchies vanished without a trace, since he lives the palace on his without guards no one suspected anything, days later his mother and Chade became worried and sent for Fitz to go look for him. There has been no ransom and his bethrothal is coming up. They don't know whether he ran away or he was kidnapped by one of the many noble factions.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,555 reviews3,753 followers
April 11, 2022
It was fascinating to see a master like Hobb move her characters through time to a new point in their lives. When we were last with Fitz, he was a deeply wounded young adult who was retreating into a life of solitude to lick his wounds and try to move forward with his beloved Nighteyes. As our story rejoins him, he is slowly getting drawn back into the the politics of the Six Duchies, and the titular Fool has a task for him. As is typical in a first book in a Hobb trilogy, there's a lot of set up for the next 2 books, but I really enjoyed that set up and easing back into this part of the RotE world. Also I wept at multiple points, because of course I did

CW: animal cruelty/death, human torture
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
310 reviews1,326 followers
September 17, 2019
"History is no more fixed and dead than the future. The past is no further away than the last breath you took." - Spoilers from the first series will follow.

Fool's Errand is set 15-years after the finale of Assassin's Quest. Once again we follow FitzChivalry Farseer - the assumed dead royal bastard. In song, he is acknowledged by many as being the Witted Bastard ghost that rose from the dead to aid his uncle Verity who was the rightful heir to the throne and he helped him raise the Elderlings and save the Six Duchees.

In the years since the Farseer trilogy, Fitz, or Tom Badgelock as he is now currently known has been living in isolation. Well, not exactly. He is accompanied by his adopted son Hap and his wolf companion, Nighteyes. They look after chickens, tend to a handful of horses, and produce herbs they can sell at the local markets.

One evening Chade, the former assassin for the King and Fitz's former mentor arrives at his abode. They discuss past times and also current dramas. Chade presents Fitz with a proposition which he politely refuses. A day or so afterwards, his other best friend, known as the Fool arrives also and after reminiscing, he refers to the dire times and grave tidings that Chade had already mentioned. The future king-in-waiting, Fitz's Skill-formed/created son who he has never known has been kidnapped. It takes a while to convince him but after consideration, Fitz decides to assist, although the consequences when he has aided the Farseer line before have not always been the most sought after. Losing your one love, torture, death, children you can never know... etc. Approximately 4-people know his true identity so he takes on the guise as acting as the manservant of the Fool's new character, Lord Golden. The Fool is a frivolous and excentric noble that all wish to impress, flirt with or have the attention of.

I am aware that this series should really be read after the Liveship Traders. I jumped straight back into the story of Fitz as I love him as a character. He's a hero, honourable, has the worst luck and does all for the monarchy and what is true even if he loses because of his choices. He is the Changer after all. In this novel, I can't say 100%, but I don't think you are missing much from not reading the other trilogy. The next book, when the entourage from Bingtown arrive and we are told about another of the Fool's characters, Amber, is when I believe prior knowledge of their related pasts would be beneficial but it isn't absolutely necessary as I loved this trilogy, but I can't deny my enjoyment may have been heightened if I had read the Liveship Traders first.

I've had no internet for 2-weeks and have read all 3 of the tales from this trilogy so unfortunately they all blur into one which isn't great for reviewing purposes. Dutiful is a great new character. As are Nettle and Thick. This is more of the same, a continuation of the same first-person vibe presented in the first trilogy and I love it for that. At this rate, the Realm of the Elderlings may become one of my top 3 ever fantasy series. Harper Voyager have been nice enough to send me the rest of the books and there is very little I'd wish to read right now that isn't Robin Hobb. She's brilliant. I adore the story, the characters, even tiny things like grammatical choices. She's an expert and I can't wait to read what comes next.
Profile Image for Kaora.
568 reviews281 followers
December 13, 2015
Do not you sense it? A crossroads, a vertex, a vortex. All paths change from here.

This book made my cry. Multiple times.

I don't often cry while reading books. I takes a lot. And I might blame it on pregnancy hormones except Hobb made me cry in her last two series Liveship Traders and Farseer Trilogy and when I read those I wasn't pregnant.

But this book again has ruined me. In a good way.

Robin Hobb is the type of author that slowly builds her story. She introduces her character and you live their daily lives and truly get to know them. Some people may find it boring. But I know it is just the beginning. You begin to develop feelings for her characters. They can be positive feelings, or the most negative feelings you have ever experienced.

The truth , I discovered, is a tree that grows as a man gains access to experience. A child sees the acorn of his daily life , but a man looks back on the oak.

She then spends the remainder of the book turning your opinions on their head as her characters change and evolve in very real ways as events unfold in this fabulous world she has created.

Some speak of the savagery of beasts. I will ever prefer that to the thoughtless contempt some men have toward animals.

It is the work of an amazing author.

She doesn't need to keep your attention with epic battle scenes, but maintains it more subtly with stunning language and unforgettable characters.
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews446 followers
August 30, 2013
Again, Robin Hobb demonstrates that you don’t need to write grimdark to generate realism, high drama, or sinister undertones. Now I love my grimdark as much as Hannibal loves liver *phphpht*, but Hobb’s realism is expressed in believable characters, complex relationships, detailed worldbuilding...wait wait wait a minute now...what about blood and guts? Yes, there will be blood too, but the joojoo is not in the gore - the joojoo is in the sustained threat of violence - the joojoo is in the way the sense of danger and foreboding creeps up on you and builds and seduces you until you can’t help but keep turning pages. You just have to know what is going to happen next. That was my experience anyway.

The story begins at a leisurely pace as we catch up to Fitz in his self-imposed exile some 15 years after the events of the Farseer Trilogy. We get a taste of what a life of peace with his wolf Nighteyes is like. I make it sound boring but it’s not. Fitz has been to some interesting places and done some interesting things in those 15 years – including a visit to Bingtown and the Rainwilds which those fans who have read The Liveship Traders series will appreciate. If you’ve skipped that Trilogy to come straight over to Tawny Man then I think you are missing out. Most people do it because they want more of the Fool – more Fool you I say – because there is more Fool in Liveships – so technically that would be more Fool to those who read Liveships first? Damn Fool bastard has me talking in circles.

But back to the Bastard – Robin Hobb(no I’m not calling her a bastard) still manages to reintroduce us to an older Fitz and catch us up in a way that is interesting despite being slow. Even when Fitz is doing nothing, I still wanted to know what he was going to do next as his old life calls out to him. And the pace and tension keep increasing from there as Chade’s old apprentice Asssassin is called on to do his duty for his Queen and the Farseer throne. And in Robin Hobb’s world, duty is spelled “P-A-I-N.” So though we know Fitz can’t die, seeing the story is told from his POV in the first person, we should know by now that he is never safe. We should know by now that there are worse things that can happen to Fitz than dying and we should know that Robin Hobb does not hold back from inflicting them on our protagonist. Did I just say Robin Hobb isn’t a bastard?

5 stars

And now a quick word from out sponsor Lord Golden

Fitz is Dutiful to Fitz’ Dutiful
...but what is Dutiful’s Duty?
Should Dutiful be Dutiful to Dutiful
...or should Dutiful be Dutiful to Duty?
What so Beautiful seduces Dutiful
...is Duty not Beautiful enough?
Will Fitz's Duty bring Beauty
...or will Fitz' duty be rough

Psst - Fool says Robin Hobb really is a bastard...bitch... sadist...get off me, I'm the White Prophet and I will be heard. Fool says you should read her next book as soon as possible.
Profile Image for Stefan.
166 reviews224 followers
May 23, 2018
„You are not Fool anymore. What do they call you these days?“
„What does who call me when?“
„I should not call you Fool anymore. What do you want me to call you?“
„Ah, what do I want you to call me now? I see. An entirely different question. And if I tell you, you would call me by that name?“
„In private only. And only if you wished me to.“
„Ah... Oh, but I would.“
„The name my mother gave me, I give now to you, to call me by in private. Beloved.“
„Fool! I’m serious!“
„And you think I’m not? Well if you cannot call me Beloved then I suppose you should continue to call me ’Fool’.
And if you still insist we must both take different names now, then I shall call you beloved.
And whenever I call you that, you may call me fool.“
Profile Image for Library of a Viking.
154 reviews2,356 followers
February 22, 2023
This was so beautiful, so sad and so heart-breaking. I am not sure if my heart will be able to bear all the pain Hobb is inflicting on my soul. Oh poor Fitz ❤️

This is one of Hobb's best work to date when it comes to character work. Consequently, the themes of identity are so beautifully analysed. However, this book is very slow (as most Hobb books are) so just be prepared for a slowburn when picking up this book.

However, there is no doubt that Hobb is one of the very best authors I have ever come across in fantasy. Truly, she is the queen of fantasy!

4.5 / 5 stars
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 4 books1,861 followers
September 23, 2022
Robin Hobb is one of a very small number of authors whose work resonates very deeply within the most raw and tender corners of my soul. Her ability to bring to vivid, believable life moments of compassion, complexity, hard-earned wisdom, grief, violence, and despair moves me to my core. And her gift at depicting the love and sorrow and pain that binds people to one another, even as it occasionally threatens to tear those binds apart, is unparalleled. Fitz and the Fool and Nighteyes and all the rest are among the most indelible characters I’ve ever had to pleasure to know through my years of reading.

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I’m an avid reader, but it is exceedingly rare that I find myself wanting to submerge myself and luxuriate in and take my time with books the way I find myself wanting to do with Robin Hobb’s work. I count myself fortunate that she is prolific, and that I have many more of her books yet to read.

Profile Image for Hanne.
222 reviews317 followers
August 29, 2013
This is more or less what I look like whenever FitzChivalry Farseer is involved:

So many books later, and I’m still feeling überprotective of Fitz. I got furious with his neighbour when he attacked Fitz in the market place, I wanted to kick Starling out of the door (and none too gently), and I was even too angry to cry when the inevitable happened .

What Robin Hobb manages to do is quite amazing in fact. She writes very factual, very matter-of-fact but it makes the reader react in a very emotional way. You get upset, you want to shout at the characters, you think they are the silliest person on earth, but the next moment you’re grinning from ear to ear and everything is all right with the world again. I love it.

Apart from the invasion of your emotional kingdom, there are two other things that make me love these books so much:
One, the characters are so real, it’s almost surreal. This includes the animals, I was so impressed with the simple things Robin Hobb does to bring the cats to life for instance. ”Pet me, you’ll feel better" That does feel so cat-like.
Two, the way she writes her stories and keeps you guessing. What happened? How did we get there? Is there still a way out of here? Who’s the girl he keeps talking about? Did Nettle tell about her dreams at the breakfast table, and if yes, what did her parents think of that? (And I can keep going like that for a few pages if need be)

Seriously, I dread the day I run out of Robin Hobb books to read.
Profile Image for Krell75.
285 reviews17 followers
March 26, 2023
"Il Risveglio dell'Assassino", per gli amici "Tequila e Bonetti", è il primo romanzo della trilogia dell'Uomo Ambrato, seconda ambientata nei Sei Ducati, ed ha come protagonista nuovamente il peggior assassino della letteratura: Fitz Chevalier.
Sebbene il titolo italiano insista erroneamente sulla parola "assassino", le vicende narrate hanno poco o nulla a che vedere con questa prestigiosa categoria di specialisti, da me parecchio apprezzata e che vanta, altrove, nomi di più alta risonanza e calibro.

"La mia spietatezza divampò.
Non riuscivo a colpire il cavaliere, ma il suo gatto che soffiava e minacciava Mianera era alla mia portata. Chinandomi gli menai un affondo."

Ci troviamo quindici anni dopo gli eventi narrati nella prima trilogia dei Lungavista e il nostro Fitz si è ritirato in una casetta isolata in campagna ad allevare i polli, attività che svolge con grande passione e diligenza e che gli dona apparentemente quella pace tanto a lungo agognata.
Le prime trecento pagine, circa metà del romanzo, trascorrono rivangando l'orto e i ricordi di una vita passata, i polli e un figlioccio con cui intavola a malapena un paio di dialoghi e di cui sappiamo appena il nome.
Poi, ecco che il passato torna a reclamare le sue straordinarie capacità investigative senza pari...
Alla sua bicocca si presentano in sequenza un paio di vecchie conoscenze che lo coinvolgono in un viaggio per risolvere un delicato caso.
Indossato di buona lena il soprabito e il cappello, a no, quello era il tenente Colombo, il nostro Fitz monta sul suo nuovo cavallo nero e inizia a macinare chilometri.

La Hobb per fortuna scrive bene e questo garantisce al romanzo la sufficienza, non scontata a causa delle innumerevoli parti soporifere.
La narrazione in prima persona, anche questa volta, come già negli ultimi due romanzi della prima trilogia, tende a dimenticare di dare risalto ai personaggi secondari che appaiono abbozzati e poco interessanti, incentrando tutto il romanzo sugli infiniti ricordi ed elucubrazioni del protagonista. Il misterioso Matto sono arrivato ad odiarlo visceralmente e di Lora la capocaccia sappiamo solo che è una tipa attraente. Altri personaggi appaiono e scompaiono, dimenticabili.
Occhi di Notte, la sua metà canide, si rivela sempre avere maggiore buon senso ed è più perspicace di lui. Sempre di alto spessore il rapporto tra loro due.

"il tuo naso non è l'unico senso che non è acuto come il mio"

La trama purtroppo non spicca mai per originalità, tende a riproporre ricordi, temi ed eventi passati e perdersi in orpelli descrittivi, procede a ritmo di lumaca stanca e si sveglia solo nel finale, ma non troppo. In fin dei conti si tratta di un investigativo con viaggio di ricerca che, sebbene visto e rivisto, potrebbe comunque essere apprezzato da molti.
L'unico vero mistero trainante presente nella trama purtroppo l'ho intuito e risolto facilmente a metà romanzo. Colpa mia.
I temi trattati sono l'accettazione del diverso, l'intolleranza e la libertà, purtroppo è presente anche la predestinazione del fato ciclico che smorza il mio entusiasmo.

Ho l'atroce sospetto, dopo aver completato anche questo romanzo, che la strepitosa trilogia dei "Mercanti di Borgomago" l'abbia scritta qualcun altro e non la Hobb. Troppo differenti.

Fitz, per ora le nostre strade si dividono qui, puoi tornare ad allevare i polli ed io tornare alla ricerca di un fantasy che mi faccia consumare le mani in applausi e balzare dalla poltrona urlando.
Profile Image for Grace Dionne.
251 reviews198 followers
November 15, 2022
I don't even know what to say, aside from the fact that I loved this book, being back in this world, and Robin Hobb keeps reaffirming her favourite author status. She's an incredible storyteller and I feel lucky that she wrote this series.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,431 reviews827 followers
December 21, 2019
Much preferred to the first Fitz trilogy but maybe because the Fitz books are so well integrated into this. It also worked really well for me because I read the first trilogy nearly 20 years ago and so I have been away from the world of Buck keep as long as Fitz himself had!
My only minor niggle is that the first third of the book was very slow and by the end of that section I was on the verge of getting restless for some action.
Loved this book :)
Profile Image for Franco  Santos.
484 reviews1,344 followers
December 5, 2015
Entre dolor, soledad y desconsuelo trato de escribir estas líneas para intentar describir lo que me dejó, o más exactamente lo que me sacó, este libro.

Death is not the opposite of life, but the opposite of choice.

Hay historias que están muy bien contadas pero son vacuas, no son capaces de llegar a los corazones de sus lectores; hay otras que transmiten la más potente vorágine pero no tienen gran calidad narrativa. Sin embargo, en las profundidades reposan joyas que cumplen con todas las características que necesita un relato para brillar. Fool's errand es una de ellas.

Silence can ask all the questions, where the tongue is prone to ask only the wrong one.

No tengo nada más que decir, el daño está fresco y ardiente, la aflicción todavía no termina, ni para los personajes ni para el lector, que inocentemente espera un poco de luz que ilumine la rota y agonizante esperanza que reside en su alma.

The past is no further away than the last breath you took.
Profile Image for Phee.
571 reviews58 followers
June 30, 2017
I am broken.
My love for Fitz and the Fool is strong as ever, but my heart is broken from the events of this book.
I didn't cry, but I screamed.
Also, Fitz and the Fool... I ship it. So damn hard!
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,936 followers
July 22, 2015
This is book #1 in the Tawny Man series, which follows on from the events of the Farseer books and the Liveship books. This series relates a lot more to the characters from the initial Farseer books such as Fitz, the Fool and various other characters, both old and new, who are local to Bukkeep. We are told that the main character (first-person again) of Fitz is now 35, so it's about 15 years after the Farsser series.

As we follow Fitz we don't actually know an awful lot about the life he's been leading for the last 15 years. We haven't seen or heard of him since the ending of Farseer, and so a large amount of the beginning sections relate Fitz's tale and what he's doing now. We see he's living with a young boy who he cares for greatly, and we learn some of the daily life chores for his new persona, Tom Badgerlock.

After the initial re-immersion period the actual story kicks in introducing us once more to characters we knew from long ago and many new characters who will also begin to play a new role in the Elderling Realm. Fitz's story starts off slow, but quickly he's drawn to change his pace and take on new challenges and meet new people. The story flies away with itself from that point on.

I was wary of returning to Fitz after severely disliking his character and the way he made so many mistakes and blunders in Assassin's Quest (Farseer #3). I found that even though I had really enjoyed Fitz's struggles and character up to that point, he bored me and annoyed me so much in Assassin's Quest I wasn't sure if he was going to be a character I would enjoy reading about anew, luckily my fears were quickly put to rest. As Fitz is so much older and wiser by this book - he has matured and had a life - he makes for a much more likeable character, less inclined to childish mistakes and folly. In the Farseer books we follow a young boy with many secrets, harsh alliances, and different strings attached to him, whilst in Tawny Man, Fitz has had time to reflect on that period of his life and decide that he knows better now.

As for the story itself I felt that this one was much better paced and far more fun than the final Farseer one. Clearly the different approach to writing which Hobb adopted for the Liveship books allowed her to hone her skill and master the pacing and structure of her Fitz storyline too. I felt compelled to read this fast, and see where it was heading. I wanted to immerse myself back into the world, and find out the consequences of the events of the Liveship books and the Farseer books.

Overall my only slight criticism of this book was that, although we learn a lot throughout this book about new and old characters and the magic of this world, I didn't feel that there was as much mystery or anticipation surrounding certain elements of the plot. In the Liveship books we can see hints and ideas which link into Farseer, and whilst that's still sewn throughout this book, I felt that this was more of a set up for the next book of the series than a fully fledged book of its own. I think that the next two books will more than likely incorporate more of the elements of mystery and wonder I am seeking, and hopefully as a whole the trilogy will make its mark next to the Liveship books.

I enjoyed reading this immensely, and I look forward to continuing and finding out more about the state of the Elderling Realm, the opinions of the public on the ending of this book, and finally the new characters who we've been introduced to more in this book. 4*s overall.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,878 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.