Hobb - The Tawny Man

March 27, 2005

Robin Hobb
The Tawny Man
Fool's Errand
New York: Bantam Books, 2002
Golden Fool
New York: Bantam Books, 2003
Fool's Fate
New York: Bantam Books, 2004

The Tawny Man is a trilogy of fantasy novels, the third trilogy Hobb has written in the same world, and it shares lead characters with her first trilogy (Farseer), fifth business with the second trilogy (Liveship Traders).

This sequence picks up the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard member of the ruling house, once executed for practicing illegal magic, now living in exile having completed a long and painful quest to save his kingdom after being dug up and reanimated through the use of that same magic. That sounds hokey and staged, but her first trilogy, Farseer (Assasin's Apprentice, Assasin's Quest, Royal Assasin is a work of great psychological power focusing on the nature of love and of belonging.

The Tawny Man picks up our story after Fitz has dumped all of his many pains and anguishes and memories into the body of a stone statue of a dragon. He now exists, without much will or drive, in company with his bond-animal, a wolf. The events of the plot pick him up, giving him the name Tom Badgerlock and sending him back to the Farseer castle to once again protect and serve.

The core question that Hobb tackles in her first and third trilogies is the relationship between memory, even painful memory, and self, with Fitz being less than human without his pain, unable to hurt but also unable to love, and lying to himself about his desire for either.

I don't want to go farther and spoil the events of the various plots, but it does a nice job of tying up the loose ends from the first trilogy and, I suspect, from the second trilogy as well.

I skidded out of the second trilogy: the first book opens with extended Mercedes Lackey Syndrome - a whiny adolescent trying to figure out why the world is not treating her fairly - and I just was not interested. Having read the third trilogy and encountered spoilers from the second, I now want to read the second trilogy and see the full details of those events that were summarized in the later books. J, on the other hand, read the first book of Tawny Man and then, hearing that there were spoilers up ahead, went back and started in on Lifeship Traders.

This is good capable fantasy, in a complex and well thought-out world, tackling serious human questions. It also kept me up late finishing books and chapters. Good stuff.

Posted by Red Ted at March 27, 2005 07:28 PM | TrackBack
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