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Fool's Errand
Cover of Fool's Errand
Fool's Errand
The Realm of the Elderlings: The Tawny Man Trilogy, Book 1

For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him. But now, into his isolated life, visitors begin to arrive: Fitz's mentor from his assassin days; a hedge-witch who foresees the return of a long-lost love; and the Fool, the former White Prophet, who beckons Fitz to fulfill his destiny.

Then comes the summons he cannot ignore. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished. Fitz, possessed of magical skills both royal and profane, is the only one who can retrieve him in time for 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--or how his loyalties will be tested to the breaking point.

Praise for Robin Hobb and Fool's Errand

"Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb's books are diamonds in a sea of zircons."--George R. R. Martin

"[Robin] Hobb has created a world brimming with detail and complexity [and] once again proves herself a full master of the epic fantasy."--Tulsa World

"Splendid . . . Despite some truly wrenching twists, there is a welcome sense of new beginnings."--Locus

From the Paperback edition.

For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him. But now, into his isolated life, visitors begin to arrive: Fitz's mentor from his assassin days; a hedge-witch who foresees the return of a long-lost love; and the Fool, the former White Prophet, who beckons Fitz to fulfill his destiny.

Then comes the summons he cannot ignore. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished. Fitz, possessed of magical skills both royal and profane, is the only one who can retrieve him in time for 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--or how his loyalties will be tested to the breaking point.

Praise for Robin Hobb and Fool's Errand

"Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb's books are diamonds in a sea of zircons."--George R. R. Martin

"[Robin] Hobb has created a world brimming with detail and complexity [and] once again proves herself a full master of the epic fantasy."--Tulsa World

"Splendid . . . Despite some truly wrenching twists, there is a welcome sense of new beginnings."--Locus

From the Paperback edition.

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Excerpts-
  • 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 Wit magic, and gently brushed his sleeping thoughts. He dreamed of running over snow-smooth rolling hills with a pack. For Nighteyes, it was a dream of silence, cold, and swiftness. Softly I withdrew my touch and left him to his private peace.

    Outside my small window, the returning birds sang their challenges to one another. There was a light wind, and whenever it stirred the trees, they released a fresh shower of last night's rain to patter on the wet sward. The trees were silver birches, four of them. They had been little more than sticks when I had planted them. Now their airy foliage cast a pleasant light shade outside my bedroom window. I closed my eyes and could almost feel the flicker of the light on my eyelids. I would not get up, not just yet.

    I had had a bad evening the night before, and had had to face it alone. My boy, Hap, had gone off gallivanting with Starling almost three weeks ago, and still had not returned. I could not blame him. My quiet reclusive life was beginning to chafe his young shoulders. Starling's stories of life at Buckkeep, painted with all the skill of her minstrel ways, created pictures too vivid for him to ignore. So I had reluctantly let her take him to Buckkeep for a holiday, that he might see for himself a Springfest there, eat a carris-seed-topped cake, watch a puppet show, mayhap kiss a girl.

    Hap had grown past the point where regular meals and a warm bed were enough to content him. I had told myself it was time I thought of letting him go, of finding him an apprenticeship with a good carpenter or joiner. He showed a knack for such things, and the sooner a lad took to a trade, the better he learned it. But I was not ready to let him go just yet. For now I would enjoy a month of peace and solitude, and recall how to do things for myself. Nighteyes and I had each other for company. What more could we need?

    Yet no sooner were they gone than the little house seemed too quiet. The boy's excitement at leaving had been too reminiscent of how I myself had once felt about Springfests and the like. Puppet shows and carris-seed cakes and girls to kiss all brought back vivid memories I thought I had long ago drowned.

    Perhaps it was those memories that birthed dreams too vivid to ignore. Twice I had awakened sweating and shaking with my muscles clenched. I had enjoyed years of respite from such unquiet, but in the past four years, my old fixation had returned. Of late, it came and went, with no pattern I could discern. It was almost as if the old Skill magic had suddenly recalled me and was reaching to drag me out of my peace and solitude. Days that had been as smooth and alike as beads on a string were now disrupted by its call....

About the Author-
  • Robin Hobb is the author of the Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy, the Tawny Man Trilogy, the Soldier Son Trilogy, and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. She has also written as Megan Lindholm. She is a native of Washington State.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 10, 2001
    In this hard-to-put-down follow-up to the Farseer Trilogy, Hobb maintains the high standards of her earlier fantasy series. The Fool and FitzChivalry Farseer band together once more to ride against the foes of the Farseer royal family in the kingdom of the Six Duchies. Last seen in Assassin's Quest, FitzChivalry (aka Tom Badgerlock due to the shock of white in his dark hair) has matured beyond the youth blindly following orders. For the past 15 years, Fitz has quietly led the life of a semi-recluse, trying his hardest to disappear. Believing that his glory days are over, he's surprised when fate (in the form of the Fool) pulls him back into the political intrigues that plague the Six Duchies. Endowed with both royal Skill magic and beast magic, Fitz assumes the task of returning the wayward heir to the throne, Prince Dutiful, to his home before his betrothal ceremony—something that should be an easy task. In the event, the easy task proves extremely difficult, both physically and mentally for Fitz. The first half of the novel mostly focuses on Fitz's angst-ridden past. The heart-thumping, sword-clashing action that Hobb is known for emerges only during the second half, bringing Fitz fully to life. This is not to say that the first half is by any means dull. It's not. But the full range of Fitz's capabilities doesn't come to the forefront until later. When the action sequences finally kick in, they're non-stop. What starts as a very good read shifts into a stay-up-until-2:00 a.m.-to-finish type of book. (Jan. 9)Forecast:Stephen Youll's quiet jacket art gives no hint of the novel's intensity, but Hobb fans will know better and not be deterred.

  • Tulsa World

    Praise for Robin Hobb and Fool's Errand "Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb's books are diamonds in a sea of zircons."--George R. R. Martin "[Robin] Hobb has created a world brimming with detail and complexity [and] once again proves herself a full master of the epic fantasy."

  • Locus "Splendid . . . Despite some truly wrenching twists, there is a welcome sense of new beginnings."
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Fool's Errand
Fool's Errand
The Realm of the Elderlings: The Tawny Man Trilogy, Book 1
Robin Hobb
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