Liveship Traders Trilogy

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Liveship Traders Trilogy
Liveship Traders.jpg
UK edition


Author Robin Hobb
Cover artist Jackie Morris
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Voyager (UK), Spectra (US)
Published1998–2000
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Preceded by The Farseer Trilogy
Followed by The Tawny Man Trilogy

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.

Contents

Plot overview

The Liveship Trader's Trilogy takes place in Jamaillia, Bingtown and the Pirate Isles, on the coast far to the south of the Six Duchies. The war in the north has interrupted the trade that is the lifeblood of Bingtown, and the Liveship Traders have fallen on hard times despite their magic sentient ships. At one time, possession of a Liveship, constructed of magical wizard wood, guaranteed a Trader's family prosperity. Only a Liveship can brave the dangers of the Rain Wild River and trade with the legendary Rain Wild Traders and their mysterious magical goods, plundered from the enigmatic Elderling ruins. Althea Vestrit expects her families to adhere to tradition, and pass the family Liveship on to her when it quickens at the death of her father. Instead, the Vivacia goes to her sister Keffria and her scheming Chalcedean husband Kyle. The proud Liveship becomes a transport vessel for the despised but highly profitable slave trade.

Althea, cast out on her own, resolves to make her own way in the world and somehow regain control of her family's living ship. Her old shipmate Brashen Trell, the enigmatic woodcarver Amber and the Paragon, the notorious mad Liveship are the only allies she can rally to her cause. Pirates, a slave rebellion, migrating sea serpents and a newly hatched dragon are but a few of the obstacles she must face on her way to discovering that Liveships are not, perhaps, what they seem to be, and may have dreams of their own to follow.

Style

Literary allusions to the works of Robert Louis Stevenson and R. M. Ballantyne have been identified in the Liveship Traders series. Academics Ralph Crane and Lisa Fletcher describe the trilogy as an immersive portrayal of a world that is water-centric, aided by unique perspectives such as a serpent's-eye view of the ocean: for instance, the serpents view the sea as "the Plenty", while the air above is termed "the Lack". [1] Hobb's writing in the Liveship Traders novels has sometimes been compared to fellow author George R. R. Martin's works, with both their best-known works published during the late 1990s. [2] While their series are considered more realistic than most epic fantasy, they differ in how they depict said realism. [3] According to scholar Sylvia Borowska-Szerszun, Martin's work focuses on the brutality and violence of its realism, while Hobb's narrative focuses more on the psychological aspects of trauma, including that arising from violence and rape. [4]

Themes

Hobb's depiction of gender in the Liveship Traders has been a subject of scholarly study. The series features three generations of women in a patriarchal society, and portrays their lives in the midst of a socio-political upheaval in said society. [5] The women of the series often defy stereotypical expectations of their femininity: the rebellious sailor Althea Vestrit, who dresses as a man to work on a ship, re-kindles her sensitive side; the submissive housewife Keffria discovers her independence; and the conservative, traditional matriarch Ronica adapts to social change. [6] [7]

The character known as Amber is revealed through her actions in Ship of Destiny, when she carves a liveship's figurehead in the likeness of FitzChivalry Farseer, as the Fool from the Farseer trilogy. [8] [9] An enigmatic character whose gender identity shifts through the Elderlings series, Amber presents herself as a woman in some books and as a man in others. Scholars have described this portrayal of gender as subversive, and as challenging notions of rigid boundaries between genders. [6] [9]

Reception

Remarking on the "striking portraits of three generations of women" in the Liveship Traders, the New Statesman wrote that Hobb's novels did not ignore womens' stories. It praised the series for exploration of complex themes including slavery, political upheaval and gender equality, and stated that though Hobb's works had a medieval setting, her themes resonated in the modern world. [2] The magazine Strange Horizons also praised Hobb's construction and development of female characters, and described the series as "revolutionary nautical fantasy". [7]

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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>Assassins Apprentice</i>

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. 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.

<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>Ship of Magic</i>

Ship of Magic is a 1998 fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the first in her Liveship Traders Trilogy.

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>Dragon Keeper</i>

Dragon Keeper is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the first in The Rain Wilds Chronicles. It is written in a third-person narrative from the viewpoint of several of the key characters. The narrative follows a party of malformed newly hatched dragons, their spurned and mistrusted human keepers and other supporters who set out on a quest to find safety in the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra.

<i>Ship of Destiny</i>

Ship of Destiny is a book by American writer Robin Hobb, the third and last in her Liveship Traders Trilogy.

<i>Dragon Haven</i>

Dragon Haven is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the second novel in The Rain Wilds Chronicles. In a blog post Robin Hobb wrote: "The untitled book I am working on now picks up the tale of the Tarman expedition in search of Kelsingra. It’s my work in progress and threatens to be a long book!". Dragon Haven is written in third-person narrative from the viewpoint of several key characters. The narrative joins these separate threads together as a party of malformed dragons, their human keepers and other supporters are on a quest for the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra.

<i>The Mad Ship</i>

The Mad Ship is a book by American writer Robin Hobb, the second in her Liveship Traders Trilogy. It appeared in the USA as simply Mad Ship.

<i>City of Dragons</i>

City of Dragons is a fantasy novel by American writer Robin Hobb, the third book in The Rain Wilds Chronicles. It was released in September 2011 and is a direct continuation of the previous novel: Dragon Haven.

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.

References

  1. Crane & Fletcher (2017), p. 168-169.
  2. 1 2 Bock, Pauline (July 27, 2018). "Robin Hobb on changing cultures, writing about violence, and the anonymity of living on a farm". New Statesman .
  3. Borowska-Szerszun (2019), p. 1.
  4. Borowska-Szerszun (2019), p. 17.
  5. Borowska-Szerszun (2019), p. 11.
  6. 1 2 Borowska-Szerszun (2019), p. 12.
  7. 1 2 Dray, Stephanie (November 5, 2001). "Revolutionary Nautical Fantasy: Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders Series". Strange Horizons .
  8. Melville (2018), p. 292.
  9. 1 2 Prater (2016), p. 29.

Sources