Assassin's Apprentice

Last updated
Assassin's Apprentice
Robin Hobb - Assassin's Apprentice Cover.jpg
First edition (US)
Author Robin Hobb
Cover artist Michael Whelan
CountryUnited States
Series The Farseer Trilogy
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Spectra (US)
Voyager Books (UK)
Publication date
1 April 1995 (US)
Media typePrint (Paperback & Hardback in the UK, Paperback in the US)
Pages400 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN 0-00-224606-6 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 60223865
Followed by Royal Assassin  

Assassin's Apprentice is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the first book in The Farseer Trilogy. It was Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden's first book under this pseudonym, and was published in 1995. The book was written under the working title Chivalry’s Bastard. [1] The stories of characters found in the Farseer Trilogy continue in the Tawny Man Trilogy and the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy. Other series, The Liveship Traders and The Rain Wild Chronicles, are set in the same world and in the same timeframe, with some crossover.


Plot summary

The novel covers the early life of Fitz Chivalry, a royal bastard living in Buckkeep Castle as he begins his training as an assassin and successfully safeguards the throne from his over-ambitious uncle Regal, almost at the cost of his life.

The story opens with six year old Fitz being marched by his maternal grandfather to the Farseer's army base in Moonseye, the Six Duchies' outpost on the borders of the Mountain kingdom, currently under the command of Prince Verity, the second Son of King Shrewd. At the door, he is given to a soldier, who is told that he is King-in-Waiting Chivalry's bastard son. The soldier brings him to Prince Verity who orders that he be given into the care of Burrich, Chivalry's own stableman and man at arms. With Burrich, Fitz travels to Buckkeep, the seat of the Farseers. In order to protect Fitz by not allowing them to be associated through contact as well as through blood, his father Chivalry abdicates from the post of King-in-Waiting and with his wife the Lady Patience retires to the royal holdings of Withywoods before Fitz arrives. Fitz never recalls that he met Chivalry but develops a bond with his father's brother, Verity. Chivalry's and Verity's younger half-brother, Regal, despises Fitz and treats him badly when he arrives.

Burrich, his father's right-hand man is left with the care and raising of the newly named FitzChivalry, which he does as well as he is able, taking Fitz on as a stable boy. Fitz quickly learns his duties and for a year or so lives with Burrich caring for the animals in the stables. Fitz, however, is lonely, and becomes a close friend of a young dog named Nosy. Fitz possesses what is known as "The Wit," an ancient and distrusted magic which allows him to bond telepathically with animals. He 'bonds' with Nosy and the two become fast friends. Burrich, however, discovers Fitz's bond and with apparent disgust takes Nosy away, thus breaking the bond. Fitz believes him to have killed the dog, and afterwards is much more fearful of Burrich, believing his life just as easy for Burrich to take. The only other companionship Fitz finds is with children living in Buckkeep town — in particular, a girl called Molly who is two years his senior.

Eventually Fitz agrees to become a "King's Man" to King Shrewd and is bound by oath to serve the king. He is taken into King Shrewd's service and moves into the castle proper. Here he is schooled and is taught basic combat skills by Hod, the keep weaponmaster. One night he is also introduced to a recluse named Chade, who is a skilled assassin. Fitz agrees to learn Chade's skills as he is desperately lonely and seemingly has no other prospects. So during his childhood he is taught the ways of an assassin. He shows great talent in his duties and is able to complete the minor tasks given to him by the king. Meanwhile, news comes from Withywoods of Chivalry's death - it is said that he was thrown from a horse, but it is strongly suspected that Queen Desire, King Shrewd's second wife and Regal's mother, has had him assassinated.

As Fitz is growing up at Buckkeep, the coastal regions of the Six Duchies are being attacked by Outislanders known as the Red-Ship Raiders. The Raiders rampage through villages and towns, killing and taking hostages while stealing little, making their attacks seem to lack a motive. The hostages are returned, reduced to an animal like state with little memory of their former lives. Fitz, when he encounters these returned hostages, finds he cannot sense them with his Wit at all. This stripping away of people's humanity is named after Forge, the first village to be raided in such a way. Later on these Forged Ones become robbers and thieves that start to plunder the countryside, putting another burden on the Six Duchies.

Fitz is eventually made part of a class of students to be taught the Skill, a magic which allows its users to share thoughts and strength. The teacher, Galen, despises Fitz while curiously revering his father (it is revealed later in the book that Chivalry imprinted a false loyalty on him, using the Skill, in a fit of rage). During the classes, Galen treats Fitz without respect, referring to him as "Bastard." Eventually he tries to kill Fitz, then, with more success, tries to sabotage his Skill training. During the last test of Galen's Skill classes, Galen sends Fitz to Forge, ostensibly to see if he can use the Skill to get back. The area is infested with Forged Ones, and Fitz is attacked, although he manages to return safely. While he is away, a stable hand in league with Galen attempts to assassinate Burrich. During this event, Smithy, the dog Lady Patience gave Fitz, and with whom Fitz is Wit-bonded, is killed.

Towards the end of the book Fitz is asked to go to the neighboring Mountain Kingdom with the objective of assassinating its prince, Rurisk. However, this is compromised when Regal reveals Fitz's secret mission to Rurisk's sister, Kettricken while drunk, rendering Fitz useless. Fitz finds himself in the middle of a plan to steal the throne for Prince Regal with the help of Galen, who tries to assassinate Verity, using the Skill. Prince Rurisk is poisoned and killed, leaving Kettricken, who is betrothed to Verity, the sole heir of the Mountain Kingdom. Fitz is poisoned and later submerged under water in a deep pool, a lazy attempt by Regal to finish Fitz off. When Fitz feels he only has moments to live, he manages to contact Verity using the Skill to help him destroy Galen. He is rescued by his dog Nosy, who was not killed by Burrich, but sent to the Mountain Kingdom as a gift to Prince Rurisk. The rescue from the pool by Nosy left deep teeth marks in his hand that he comes to cherish as a sign of Nosy's love and loyalty. Nosy dies, being an old dog at this point — his true master, Rurisk is dead, and in the words of Fitz, Nosy "gave his life freely, remembering that we were good to one another when we were puppies." Fitz is healed by Jonqui, King Eyod's sister, afterward, and the last pages of the book tell how much Fitz laments the death of Nosy during that event and the pain of an older narrator at writing this.


Assassin’s Apprentice earned generally positive reviews. Publishers Weekly stated the book was "a gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies and Arthurian romances." [2] Kirkus Reviews found the story to be "satisfyingly self-contained yet leaving plenty of scope for future extensions and embellishments." [3] Reviewer Adam Miller praised the novel's characters for being "deep and complex." [4]


The Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation used this book as inspiration for their song "Hand of Sorrow" from their album The Heart of Everything . [5] British girl group Kitchen Party cited the novel as an inspiration for their 2013 single "Fitz's Poem". [6] The popular YouTube star Fitz references the Farseer Trilogy as inspiration for his stage name as well.


Related Research Articles

Fritz originated as a German nickname for Friedrich, or Frederick As well as for similar names including Fridolin and, less commonly, Francis. Fritz (Fryc) was also a name given to German troops by the Entente powers equivalent to the derogative Tommy. Other common bases for which the name Fritz was used include the surnames Fritsche, Fritzsche, Fritsch, Frisch(e) and Frycz.

Robin Hobb American fiction writer (pseudonym)

Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden, better known by her pen names Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm, is an American writer. She is best known for her fantasy novels set in the Realm of the Elderlings, with the Farseer trilogy, Liveship Traders trilogy and Tawny Man trilogy having sold more than a million copies. In 2021, she won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, presented for outstanding service to the fantasy field.

<i>Royal Assassin</i>

Royal Assassin is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the second book in The Farseer Trilogy. It was published in 1996.

<i>Assassins Quest</i>

Assassin's Quest is a 1997 fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the third and final book in The Farseer Trilogy. It follows the exploits of FitzChivalry Farseer, whose narrative continues in Fool's Errand.

<i>Fools Errand</i> (novel)

Fool's Errand is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the first in her Tawny Man Trilogy. It commences 15 years after the events in Assassin's Quest, a period covered by The Liveship Traders Trilogy ; it resumes the story of FitzChivalry Farseer after he has wandered the world and finally settled to a quiet, cottage-dwelling life with his adopted son Hap.

<i>The Golden Fool</i>

The Golden Fool is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the second in her Tawny Man Trilogy. It was published in 2002.

<i>Fools Fate</i>

Fool's Fate is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the third in her Tawny Man Trilogy. It was published in 2003.

Places in the Realm of the Elderlings

This article details the locations featured in Robin Hobb's fictional world, The Realm of the Elderlings, featured in her books The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, The Rain Wild Chronicles, and The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy.

This article discusses the characters in The Realm of the Elderlings, a fictional world created by Robin Hobb for her book series The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, The Rain Wild Chronicles, and the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy. This page does not attempt to be a comprehensive listing of all the characters and their histories, but a general overview of the most important ones.

<i>The Farseer Trilogy</i> Trilogy of fantasy novels by Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy is a series of fantasy novels by American author Robin Hobb. Often described as character-driven and introspective, and also as epic fantasy, the trilogy follows the early life of FitzChivalry Farseer, illegitimate son of a prince and melancholy hero. In a shift from the author's earlier work as Megan Lindholm, the Farseer novels were penned under an androgynous byline, Robin Hobb, and met with critical and commercial success.

<i>The Tawny Man Trilogy</i> Trilogy of fantasy novels by Robin Hobb

The Tawny Man Trilogy is a series of novels by American author Robin Hobb, and the third trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings sequence. Narrated in first person by FitzChivalry Farseer, it follows his life in his mid-thirties, and is set after the events of the Farseer Trilogy and the Liveship Traders.

<i>Soldier Son Trilogy</i>

The Soldier Son Trilogy is a fantasy novel series by Robin Hobb. Set in a new world unrelated to her previous trilogies, the Soldier Son trilogy follows the life of Nevare Burvelle, the second son of a newly elevated Lord of the Kingdom of Gernia.

<i>The Bastard Prince</i>

The Bastard Prince is a fantasy novel by American-born author Katherine Kurtz. It was first published by Del Rey Books in 1994. It was the twelfth of Kurtz' Deryni novels to be published, and the third book in her fourth Deryni trilogy, The Heirs of Saint Camber. Although the Heirs trilogy was the fourth Deryni series to be published, it is a direct sequel to the second trilogy, The Legends of Camber of Culdi. The next Deryni novel to be published, King Kelson's Bride, was a direct sequel to the Histories of King Kelson trilogy, but the internal literary chronology of the series was later continued in In the King's Service, the first book of the Childe Morgan trilogy.

Chade Fallstar is a fictional character in The Realm of the Elderlings, a series of nine novels written by Robin Hobb.

<i>Liveship Traders Trilogy</i> Trilogy of fantasy novels by Robin Hobb

The Liveship Traders Trilogy is a series of fantasy novels by American author Robin Hobb. A nautical fantasy series, the Liveship Traders is the second trilogy set in The Realm of the Elderlings and features pirates, sea serpents, a family of traders and their living ships.

<i>Fools Assassin</i> 2014 book by Robin Hobb

Fool's Assassin is the first book in the epic fantasy trilogy Fitz and the Fool, written by American author Robin Hobb. Ten years after the events of Fool's Fate, it resumes the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, a former assassin, as a middle-aged husband and father whose quiet life is disrupted by a new crisis.

<i>Fools Quest</i>

Fool's Quest is the second book in the epic fantasy trilogy Fitz and the Fool, written by American author Robin Hobb. It was published by HarperCollins and released in August, 2015 and continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer and his daughter Bee after the events of Fool's Assassin, published in 2014.

Robin Hobb bibliography Wikipedia bibliography

This is a complete list of works by American fantasy author Robin Hobb, the pen name of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden.

<i>Assassins Fate</i>

Assassin's Fate is the third book in the epic fantasy trilogy Fitz and the Fool, written by American author Robin Hobb. It continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer and his daughter Bee after the events of Fool's Quest, published in 2015.


  1. "25 Years of Spectra: Assassin's Apprentice (1995) Robin Hobb". Suvudu . Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. "Assassin's Apprentice". Publishers Weekly . April 3, 1995. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  3. "Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb". Kirkus Reviews. March 1, 1995. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  4. Miller, Adam. "Review:Assassin's Apprentice". Fantasy Matters, University of Minnesota. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. "An interview with Within Temptation". Heavy Music. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-09. Retrieved 2014-11-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-09-03.External link in |title= (help)
  8. "The Farseer Trilogy". The Folio Society. Retrieved 2020-09-03.