Royal Assassin

Robin Hobb

Bantam Books. $13.95
(paper $6.50)

Young Fitz, illegitimate son of a royal family, is the king's personal assassin. Now the king lies dying and a jealous prince schemes to abandon the coast and seize the rich inlands for himself. Fitz's loyalties are split as he is caught in a deadly tangle of intrigue which he can survive only by dying.

Royal Assassin and its predecessor Assassin's Apprentice are evocative enough as titles, but the series' name, "The Farseer," is sadly lame. This curious mix of strength and weakness is evident throughout the books. Royal Assassin begins slowly but picks up after one or two chapters to careen along to a riotous finish; the author did worse with Apprentice dragging for much longer.

A blurb on the cover fulsomely predicts that this trilogy will "become one of the most beloved fantasies ever written." So far, the Assassin books are decent fantasy, enjoyable but nothing exceptional. For first novels they show promise, and down the road Hobb may indeed write some fantasy destined for greatness; but not yet.


The Farseer:

Assassin's Apprentice. Bantam Books, 1995
Royal Assassin. Bantam Books, 1996
Assassin's Quest. Bantam Books, 1997

And set in the same world:

Ship of Magic. Bantam Books, 1998


This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998

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