Monday, 27 November 2017
Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
review by Maryom
My epic reading of Robin Hobb's fantasy continues, back to the world of Fitz and the Fool with Fool's Errand, the first of the Tawny Man trilogy.
15 years have passed since the ending of the Farseer trilogy, during which Fitz has grown from youth to adult, but his wolf, Nighteyes, is now approaching old age - wit-bonding with Fitz has given him a longer life than that of a 'normal' wolf, but his years are definitely catching up with him. When the story opens, they're living a quiet existence in a cottage by the sea, content growing vegetables, keeping hens, and catching rabbits, letting events in the wider world pass them by. Things are about to change though, as the Farseer dynasty has problems - the heir to the throne, Prince Dutiful,has disappeared just before he was due to be betrothed in a union of political necessity - and Fitz with his unique abilities is the only man to solve them.
I'm not going to say I didn't love the Liveship Trilogy but I DO love the Fitz and The Fool stories more; maybe because Fitz has grown from boy to man in the series; maybe because of his 'witted' bond with animals, particularly Nighteyes (I think most dog owners would love to have this bond and truly share the lives of their 'pets'); because of the odd and changing relationship he has with The Fool, particularly as Fitz seems to be not noticing something which is evident to the reader. Certainly, I didn't care about any individual from the Liveships stories as much as for Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool.
I'm glad I took time out to read the Liveships stories though, for they add in extra background to the dragons, the wider world outside the Six Duchies, and (treading carefully here for fear of spoilers) some of the characters who appear in both series.
Again, although ostensibly a fantasy adventure story, Hobb touches on wider matters - the superiority that the 'unwitted' feel they have, and the hatred and fear with which they regard the 'witted', echo the divisions of race and religion you can sadly find almost anywhere in our 'real' world. I think this is what lifts her stories beyond the mass of fantasy novels. "Fantasy as it ought to be written" says the cover quote from George R R Martin, and you can't really argue with him!
Previously reviewed - Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, Book1)
The Liveships Trilogy
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Harper Collins (Harper Voyager)
Genre - Adult fantasy