It is important to note that I did not read the trilogy that leads up to this book. I therefore cannot comment as to how it ties into that series, however I can give a perspective that fans of the series cannot. This review is based on an advanced copy I received in exchange for an honest review. While this review does not contain any major spoilers, it will briefly brush up against some plot points.
After years of adventure and service to King and country as an assassin, is finally settling in to enjoy his retirement years in comfort and simplicity with his aging wife. Holidays and seasons come and go at Withywoods, friends and strangers pass, and life goes on. How rare is it that the hero gets to have his happily ever after? Despite some awkwardness and minor tensions, life is good and the future is predictable for the man now known as Holder Tom Badgerlock.
Life is never so predictable as we’d like it to be. When life takes an unexpected turn, the merry couple is at first unsettled, but peace and routine once again embrace them. All the while, however, echoes of FitzChivalry whisper on the wind. Old friends and allies, beloved friends and family tug on his loyalties. Perhaps life could never truly be so simple, especially for a bastard Farseer.
At first I had some difficulty following the story. The early pages of the book do their best to bring the reader up to speed on the complexities of FitzChivalry’s early life and the matters of court. As my entry point into the series I found many of the names distracting, plain English words such as Chivalry, Dutiful, Patience, etc. I probably spent too much time trying to sort out their significance, or if there was any. It was a lot to absorb and process in a few pages. For all of that, it was for the best that we were not made to dwell there, in queue, waiting for the story to begin.
Once I got to the now of the story, things became far more enjoyable. Soon enough I was swept off to Withywoods. Some authors I praise as poetic, for some it’s an accusation. The Fool’s Assassin is so subtle in its poetry, the book must be completed and reflected upon before you realize it was there. There are not many wasted words or pages of florid exposition, but Hobb has managed to paint a very clear image in my mind. I could very nearly walk down a lane and find myself at Withywoods and great its inhabitants.
My only real complaint is that I have run out of pages to turn.
You can pick up the book and find more information here.