Fitz and the Fool #1. Author: Robin Hobb.
Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.
But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…
On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.
Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?
Suddenly Fitz’s violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe. (Published summary.)
Unfortunately, my experience of this book was severely impacted by a misunderstanding + lack. I thought this was an independent series; however, the entire series is in sequel to a series Hobb previously wrote, and this turned out to be important. Also, my library didn’t have the previous series. So there was a lot of fascinating world-building hinted at, and there were very three-dimensional characters, and Hobb’s characteristic different points of view. Everything was great. But I could tell I was reading a sequel, and it really threw the book off. So many incidents referenced, but not explained; so many references to previous friendships and relationships that would explain everything. So really, my reading experience was my own fault, and it was still a very good read.
Sexual content: Man and wife returning to bedroom because the woman feels sick, she says to her husband that she “planned on seducing you” but tonight will “do no more in the bed than sleep beside you”. “At least two of the housemaids were willing for luck, fancy, or perhaps some coin to sleep in beds not their own.” Man wonders if an oddly forward girl in a tavern is a whore. Man and wife make love together, with the description fairly glossed over. This happens twice.
Language: 29 derogatory terms, 4 d***
Violence: Characters find blood on the floor. Man feels the pain of a girl being murdered, although he does not witness it. Boy slaps a girl hard, and she bites her tongue. Young children chase another child, throwing stones. Character finds a wounded girl near death. The girl is quite certainly doomed, and he mercy-kills her by strangling. Second hand report of a boy being ambushed and badly beaten. One man is killing an old dog bit by bit for show: another steps in, breaks the first man’s nose with a punch, and cuts the dog’s throat to mercifully finish it. Character stabs a man.