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Assassin’s Apprentice: Beloved by fans, read this classic Sunday Times bestselling work of epic fantasy (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) by [Robin Hobb]

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Assassin’s Apprentice: Beloved by fans, read this classic Sunday Times bestselling work of epic fantasy (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 7,956 ratings

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From the Back Cover

Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father's gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him sectetly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill--and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter<br><br>1<br><br>The Earliest History<br><br>A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers. A complete telling would reach back beyond the founding of the First Duchy and, if such names were remembered, would tell us of Outislanders raiding from the sea, visiting as pirates a shore more temperate and gentler than the icy beaches of the Out Islands. But we do not know the names of these earliest forebears.<br><br>And of the first real King, little more than his name and some extravagant legends remain. Taker his name was, quite simply, and perhaps with that naming began the tradition that daughters and sons of his lineage would be given names that would shape their lives and beings. Folk beliefs claim that such names were sealed to the newborn babes by magic, and that these royal offspring were incapable of betraying the virtues whose names they bore. Passed through fire and plunged through salt water and offered to the winds of the air; thus were names sealed to these chosen children. So we are told. A pretty fancy, and perhaps once there was such a ritual, but history shows us this was not always sufficient to bind a child to the virtue that named it.&#160;.&#160;.&#160;.<br><br>4<br><br>My pen falters, then falls from my knuckly grip, leaving a worm&rsquo;s trail of ink across Fedwren&rsquo;s paper. I have spoiled another leaf of the fine stuff, in what I suspect is a futile endeavor. I wonder if I can write this history, or if on every page there will be some sneaking show of a bitterness I thought long dead. I think myself cured of all spite, but when I touch pen to paper, the hurt of a boy bleeds out with the sea-&shy;spawned ink, until I suspect each carefully formed black letter scabs over some ancient scarlet wound.<br><br>Both Fedwren and Patience were so filled with enthusiasm whenever a written account of the history of the Six Duchies was discussed that I persuaded myself the writing of it was a worthwhile effort. I convinced myself that the exercise would turn my thoughts aside from my pain and help the time to pass. But each historical event I consider only awakens my own personal shades of loneliness and loss. I fear I will have to set this work aside entirely, or else give in to reconsidering all that has shaped what I have become. And so I begin again, and again, but always find that I am writing of my own beginnings rather than the beginnings of this land. I do not even know to whom I try to explain myself. My life has been a web of secrets, secrets that even now are unsafe to share. Shall I set them all down on fine paper, only to create from them flame and ash? Perhaps.<br><br>My memories reach back to when I was six years old. Before that, there is nothing, only a blank gulf no exercise of my mind has ever been able to pierce. Prior to that day at Moonseye, there is nothing. But on that day they suddenly begin, with a brightness and detail that overwhelms me. Sometimes it seems too complete, and I wonder if it is truly mine. Am I recalling it from my own mind, or from dozens of retellings by legions of kitchen maids and ranks of scullions and herds of stable boys as they explained my presence to each other? Perhaps I have heard the story so many times, from so many sources, that I now recall it as an actual memory of my own. Is the detail the result of a six-&shy;year-&shy;old&rsquo;s open absorption of all that goes on around him? Or could the completeness of the memory be the bright overlay of the Skill, and the later drugs a man takes to control his addiction to it, the drugs that bring on pains and cravings of their own? The last is most possible. Perhaps it is even probable. One hopes it is not the case.<br><br>The remembrance is almost physical: the chill grayness of the fading day, the remorseless rain that soaked me, the icy cobbles of the strange town&rsquo;s streets, even the callused roughness of the huge hand that gripped my small one. Sometimes I wonder about that grip. The hand was hard and rough, trapping mine within it. And yet it was warm, and not unkind as it held mine. Only firm. It did not let me slip on the icy streets, but it did not let me escape my fate, either. It was as implacable as the icy gray rain that glazed the trampled snow and ice of the graveled pathway outside the huge wooden doors of the fortified building that stood like a fortress within the town itself.<br><br>The doors were tall, not just to a six-&shy;year-&shy;old boy, but tall enough to admit giants, to dwarf even the rangy old man who towered over me. And they looked strange to me, although I cannot summon up what type of door or dwelling would have looked familiar. Only that these, carved and bound with black iron hinges, decorated with a buck&rsquo;s head and knocker of gleaming brass, were outside of my experience. I recall that slush had soaked through my clothes, so my feet and legs were wet and cold. And yet, again, I cannot recall that I had walked far through winter&rsquo;s last curses, nor that I had been carried. No, it all starts there, right outside the doors of the stronghouse, with my small hand trapped inside the tall man&rsquo;s.<br><br>Almost, it is like a puppet show beginning. Yes, I can see it thus. The curtains parted, and there we stood before that great door. The old man lifted the brass knocker and banged it down, once, twice, thrice on the plate that resounded to his pounding. And then, from offstage, a voice sounded. Not from within the doors, but from behind us, back the way we had come. &ldquo;Father, please,&rdquo; the woman&rsquo;s voice begged. I turned to look at her, but it had begun to snow again, a lacy veil that clung to eyelashes and coat sleeves. I can&rsquo;t recall that I saw anyone. Certainly, I did not struggle to break free of the old man&rsquo;s grip on my hand, nor did I call out, &ldquo;Mother, Mother.&rdquo; Instead I stood, a spectator, and heard the sound of boots within the keep, and the unfastening of the door hasp within.<br><br>One last time she called. I can still hear the words perfectly, the desperation in a voice that now would sound young to my ears. &ldquo;Father, please, I beg you!&rdquo; A tremor shook the hand that gripped mine, but whether of anger or some other emotion, I shall never know. As swift as a black crow seizes a bit of dropped bread, the old man stooped and snatched up a frozen chunk of dirty ice. Wordlessly he flung it, with great force and fury, and I cowered where I stood. I do not recall a cry, nor the sound of struck flesh. What I do remember is how the doors swung outward, so that the old man had to step hastily back, dragging me with him.<br><br>And there is this. The man who opened the door was no house servant, as I might imagine if I had only heard this story. No, memory shows me a man-&shy;at-&shy;arms, a warrior, gone a bit to gray and with a belly more of hard suet than muscle, but not some mannered house servant. He looked both the old man and me up and down with a soldier&rsquo;s practiced suspicion, and then stood there silently, waiting for us to state our business.<br><br>I think it rattled the old man a bit, and stimulated him, not to fear, but to anger. For he suddenly dropped my hand and instead gripped me by the back of my coat and swung me forward, like a whelp offered to a prospective new owner. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve brought the boy to you,&rdquo; he said in a rusty voice.<br><br>And when the house guard continued to stare at him, without judgment or even curiosity, he elaborated. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve fed him at my table for six years, and never a word from his father, never a coin, never a visit, though my daughter gives me to understand he knows he fathered a bastard on her. I&rsquo;ll not feed him any longer, nor break my back at a plow to keep clothes on his back. Let him be fed by him what got him. I&rsquo;ve enough to tend to of my own, what with my woman getting on in years, and this one&rsquo;s mother to keep and feed. For not a man will have her now, not a man, not with this pup running at her heels. So you take him, and give him to his father.&rdquo; And he let go of me so suddenly that I sprawled to the stone doorstep at the guard&rsquo;s feet. I scrabbled to a sitting position, not much hurt that I recall, and looked up to see what would happen next between the two men.<br><br>The guard looked down at me, lips pursed slightly, not in judgment but merely considering how to classify me. &ldquo;Whose get?&rdquo; he asked, and his tone was not one of curiosity, but only that of a man who asks for more specific information on a situation, in order to report well to a superior.<br><br>&ldquo;Chivalry&rsquo;s,&rdquo; the old man said, and he was already turning his back on me, taking his measured steps down the graveled pathway. &ldquo;Prince Chivalry,&rdquo; he said, not turning back as he added the qualifier. &ldquo;Him what&rsquo;s King-&shy;in-&shy;Waiting. That&rsquo;s who got him. So let him do for him, and be glad he managed to father one child, somewhere.&rdquo;<br><br>For a moment the guard watched the old man walking away. Then he wordlessly stooped to seize me by the collar and drag me out of the way so he could close the door. He let go of me for the brief time it took him to secure the door. That done, he stood looking down on me. No real surprise, only a soldier&rsquo;s stoic acceptance of the odder bits of his duty. &ldquo;Up, boy, and walk,&rdquo; he said. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B005JE1K9M
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperVoyager (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 4760 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 401 pages
  • Customer reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 7,956 ratings

About the author

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Robin Hobb is a New York Times best-selling fantasy author. She is published in English in the US, UK and Australia, and her works have been widely translated. Her short stories have been finalists for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, as well as winning the Asimov's Readers Award. Her best known series is The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin's Quest.)

Robin Hobb was born in Oakland California, but grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has spent her life mostly in the Pacific Nortwest region of the US, and currently resides in Tacoma, Washington State, with her husband Fred. They have four grown offspring, and six grandchildren.

Robin Hobb is a pen name for Margaret Ogden. She has also written under the name Megan Lindholm.

She published her first short story for children when she was 18,and for some years wrote as a journalist and children's writer. Her stories for children were published in magazines such as Humpty Dumpty's Magazine for Little Children, Jack & Jill and Highlights for Children. She also created educational reading material for children for a programmed reading series by SRA (Science Research Associates.) She received a grant award from the Alaska State Council on the arts for her short story "The Poaching", published in Finding Our Boundaries in 1980.

Fantasy and Science Fiction had always been her two favorite genres, and in the late 70's she began to write in them. Her initial works were published in small press 'fanzines' such as Space and Time (editor Gordon Linzner). Her first professionally published story was "Bones for Dulath" that appeared in the Ace anthology AMAZONS!, edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson in 1979. A short time later, a second Ki and Vandien story entitled The Small One was published in FANTASTIC in 1980.

During that time period, she and her family had moved from Alaska to Hawaii, and subsequently to Washington State, where they settled. She had various money making occupations (waitress, salesperson, etc.) while striving with her writing. Her husband Fred continued to fish Alaskan waters and was home only about 3 months out of every year. The family lived on a small farm in rural Roy where they raised lots of vegetables, chickens, ducks, geese and other small livestock.

In 1983, her first novel, Harpy's Flight, was published by Ace under the pen name Megan Lindholm. Her later titles under that name included Wizard of the Pigeons, Alien Earth, Luck of the Wheels, and Cloven Hooves.

In 1995, she launched her best selling series of books set in the Realm of the Elderlings. At that time, she began writing as Robin Hobb. Her first trilogy of books were about her popular characters, FitzChivalry Farseer and the Fool. The Farseer Trilogy is comprised of Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest. These books were followed by The Liveship Traders trilogy, set in the same world. The Tawny Man trilogy returned to the tale of Fitz and the Fool. Most recently, the four volumes of the Rain Wilds Chronicles were published: Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons.

In 2013, it was announced that she would return to her best-loved characters with a new trilogy, The Fitz and the Fool trilogy. The first volume, Fool's Assassin, will be published in August of 2014.

Other works as Robin Hobb include The Soldier Son trilogy and short stories published in various anthologies. A collection of her shorter works as both Lindholm and Hobb is available in The Inheritance.

She continues to reside in Tacoma, Washington, with frequent visits to the pocket farm in Roy.

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