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Fool's Errand (Tawny Man #1) Mass Market Paperback – November 26, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,500 ratings
Book 1 of 3: The Tawny Man Trilogy

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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 Back Cover

Robin Hobb has emerged as one of today's foremost fantasy authors. Now she continues the adventures of one of her most popular heroes in the first book of what promises to be her most spectacular trilogy yet.
Fool's Errand
For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him. But that is about to change when destiny seeks him once again. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished and FitzChivalry, 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 to his Queen, his partner, and those who share his magic will be tested to the breaking point.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Spectra; Reissue edition (November 26, 2002)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 672 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0553582445
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0553582444
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.17 x 1.08 x 6.84 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,500 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,500 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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A. Whitehead
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixture of fantasy adventure and melancholic introspection
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2018
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mixture of fantasy adventure and melancholic introspection
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2018
Fifteen years have passed since the end of the Red Ship War. FitzChivalry Farseer is believed dead, with only a few knowing the truth that he survived and helped end the war and the threat of the cruel King Regal. Living a comfortable life as a smallholder with his wolf Nighteyes and an adopted son, Hap, Fitz occasionally has strange dreams. He dismisses these, until his old friend the Fool visits with news: Prince Dutiful, the son of Queen Kettricken and the late King Verity, has vanished in a very strange manner. Reluctantly, Fitz returns to Buckkeep and a life he thought he'd left behind.

Fool's Errand is the fourth novel featuring the adventures of FitzChivalry Farseer, picking up after the events of the original Farseer Trilogy. It's also the seventh novel overall in the Realm of the Elderlings setting, which now extends across sixteen books. It's a bit of a fresh start in the series, as although it follows up on events in the Farseer books (and a brief mention is made of the Liveship Traders trilogy), it also introduces new characters and new storylines.

Fool's Errand is a slow book, at least to start with. The first 200 pages - more than a third of the novel - are taken up by Fitz's home life and routine, with lengthy ruminations on chicken-farming. Fitz's main concern isn't war, death or assassinations, but instead raising enough coin to find his adopted son a good apprenticeship. Some may find this sequence interminable, but Hobb uses this sequence to establish Fitz's good, comfortable and quiet life away from the mayhem of the court, and what it means when it is taken away when a new crisis erupts.

The rest of the novel is more familiar: a prince has gone missing, the Witted people of the Six Duchies are rebelling against the persecution and murder of their kind by forming an armed resistance and a new peace treaty between the Duchies and the Outislands is in jeopardy. Keen for people to not realise he's survived, Fitz adopts a new identity (the uncouth Tom Badgerlock) and undertakes clandestine mission for the crown. This results in some splendid, classic epic fantasy elements such as an awkward cliffside sword fight against superior enemy numbers, the experimental use of magic and the gradual teasing and unravelling of a labyrinthine conspiracy.

This doesn't mean that Hobb's straying too far from her established tropes. When in doubt about what to do next, she just makes Fitz's life more miserable and horrible than ever before, killing off loved ones and finding ways to put him in as awkward and painful a situation as possible. It's all vaguely depressing, which is an odd juxtaposition given that the second half of the novel is as lively and swashbuckling as Hobb has ever gotten.

Still, if you're in the mood for a beautifully-written, somewhat melancholy fantasy where the focus is firmly on the characters rather than magic or battles, Fool's Errand (****) is a very fine novel. It's also surprisingly stand-alone: you'd definitely miss a fair amount if you hadn't read the Farseer trilogy, but the plot is focused on a new story and situation. Also, whilst the story clearly is set to continue after the final page, there's no major cliffhanger ending. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
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Swords and Spectres
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of a great trilogy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2014
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jennyg
5.0 out of 5 stars skill -tug
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 5, 2016
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Beckistan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to be back
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 19, 2013
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