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Fool's Errand
Robin Hobb
In Fool's Errand, first of the "Tawny Man" trilogy, Robin Hobb brings back Fitz, hero of her emotionally powerful and intrigue-filled Assassin trilogy, from 15 years of self-imposed exile from his royal relations and from the world of power. Hobb is particularly good at the passage of time and the things it does not change; Fitz plausibly thinks of himself as older and more settled than he actually is. She is also good on the actual changes--Fitz's mentor Chade is teetering on the brink of old age and his androgynous ally the Fool has returned to court as the fop Lord Golden; these are characters we cared about before and she makes it matter that they have aged or altered. Fitz is bonded by Wit to a wolf; the heir, Prince Dutiful, the son he never saw, is adrift with his own Wit in a world where people get lynched for it. Hobb's leisurely story-telling never lacks urgency and menace; this is a humane book which includes nightmarish touches along the way. Her sense of the world of magic and the world of political power is acute--she makes us see more than her flawed hero, even though we share his eyes.--Roz Kaveney
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