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Assassin's Fate: Fitz and the Fool #3    by Robin Hobb order for
Assassin's Fate
by Robin Hobb
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Along with countless other fans of Robin Hobb's interconnected, extraordinary (and prolific) fantasy series, I was very keen to read Assassin's Fate, the conclusion to her Fitz and the Fool trilogy that began with Fool's Assassin and continued in Fool's Quest. I saved it for holiday reading, which might have been a mistake as it took my attention from the celebration.

FitzChivalry Farseer is believed to have died at the hands of Prince Regal. But he was magically revived, the process slowing his aging. He retired from politics, married his beloved Molly, and became humble Holder Tom Badgerlock, caretaker of his daughter Nettle's Withywoods estate (Nettle leads King Dutiful's Skill-coterie). Past the age for it, Molly became pregnant and gave birth to an odd girl child, Bee, whom most believed simple minded, but who shared the Fool's power of true dreaming. Their quiet life erupted in violence, that brought the Fool back to Fitz, badly damaged by pale-skinned figures, intent on world domination by manipulation of visions of the future.

As Assassin's Fate opens, the Fool is blind and still recovering from years of terrible torture. Fitz believes that Bee is dead. In reality, she was kidnapped by the Fool's previous captors, and is being taken back to their fortress in Clerres. She is treated brutally, but Fitz's beloved wolf Nighteyes has deserted him to accompany his Cub. Her Wolf-Father mentors Bee and helps her to survive. A despairing Fitz has assembled a team to avenge his daughter, and they seek help from Rain Wild traders to achieve it. Dragons become involved, with their own vengeance in mind. As they sail towards Clerres on liveships Tarman and Paragon, we also see brave young Bee's attempts at escape - and vicious punishment for them. She grows and learns to use her powers.

As Fitz discovers the possibility of his daughter's survival, the Fool has dire visions of his Catalyst's possible fates, and keeps secrets. Hobb weaves all these plot strands - including characters and themes from her different series in this world - into a rich tapestry. It's not only her Assassin who finds his fate in the explosive conclusion, but also liveships, their Trader families, and dragonkind. Assassin's Fate is a rare treat for Robin Hobb fans.

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