The acclaimed Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies established Robin Hobb as one of the most splendidly imaginative practitioners of world-class fantasy.Now, in Book 2 of her most stunning trilogy yet, Hobb continues the soul-shattering tale of FitzChivalry Farseer. With rich characters, breathtaking magic, and sweeping action, Golden Fool brings the reluctant adventurer further into the fray in an epic of sacrifice, salvation, and untold treachery.Golden FoolPrince Dutiful has been rescued from his Piebald kidnappers and the court has resumed its normal rhythms. But for FitzChivalry Farseer, a return to isolation is impossible.
Blindness comes in many forms. For angst-ridden FitzChivalry Farseer, the blindness isn't physical but rather an inability to gauge character. Fitz, the hero of this second volume in the trilogy that began with Fool's Errand (2002), reluctantly returns, disguised as a servant, to Buckkeep town in the Six Duchies to be skill-master to Prince Dutiful, the king-in-waiting. Fitz is mourning the loss of his wolf bondmate Nighteyes, hating his disguise, worrying about his foster son's behavior in Buckkeep and frantically trying to learn enough about the Skill to stay ahead of the prince during their training sessions. Fitz jumps from crisis to crisis like a bowling ball tossed onto a trampoline-his failure to look deeply at others' motivations plunges him into a morass of poorly thought-out actions and badly managed confrontations. The harder Fitz tries, the worse his situation gets. The author juggles all the balls with aplomb, besides providing spot-on characterizations. The intrigue and double-dealing of the Farseer royal court are spider webs of interconnections, while the plot itself keeps the reader bouncing from one theory to another, right up to the somewhat abrupt ending. The writing may not be quite as fine as that in Hobb's Assassins series (Assassin's Apprentice, etc.), but this latest nonetheless shows why she ranks near the top of the high fantasy field. (Jan. 7) FYI: Robin Hobb is the pseudonym of Megan Lindholm. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
The Piebalds always claimed only to want freedom from the persecution that has been the lot of the Witted folk of the Six Duchies for generations. This claim can be dismissed as both a lie and a clever deceit. The Piebalds wanted power. Their intent was to mold all of the Witted folk of the Six Duchies into a united force that would rise up to seize control of the monarchy and put their own people into power. One facet of their ploy was to claim that all kings since the abdication of Chivalry were pretenders, that the bastardy of FitzChivalry Farseer was wrongly construed as an obstacle to his inheriting the throne. Legends of the "True-hearted Bastard" rising from the grave to serve King Verity in his quest proliferated beyond all common sense, ascribing powers to FitzChivalry that raised the Bastard to the status of a near-deity. For this reason, the Piebalds have also been known as the Cult of the Bastard.
These ridiculous claims were intended to give some sort of legitimacy to the Piebald quest to overthrow the Farseer monarchy and put one of their own on the throne. To this end, the Piebalds began a clever campaign of forcing the Witted to either unite with them or risk exposure. Perhaps this tactic was inspired by Kebal Rawbread, leader of the Outislanders during the Red Ship War, for it is said that he drew men to follow him, not by his charisma, but by fear of what he would do to their homes and families if they refused to fall in with his plans.
The Piebalds' technique was a simple one. Either families tainted with the Wit magic joined their alliance or they were exposed by public accusations that led to their execution. It is said that the Piebalds often began an insidious attack on the fringes of a powerful family, exposing first a servant or a less affluent cousin, all the while making it clear that if the head of the stalwart house did not comply with their wishes, he too would eventually meet such an end.
This is not the action of folk who wish to bring an end to persecution of their kin. This is the act of a ruthless faction determined to gain power for themselves, first by subjugating their own kind.
--rowell's "the piebald conspiracy"