Assassin's Apprentice: The Farseer Trilogy Book 1 by Robin HobbAssassin's Apprentice: The Farseer Trilogy Book 1 by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice: The Farseer Trilogy Book 1

byRobin Hobb

Mass Market Paperback | March 1, 1996

Pricing and Purchase Info

$9.14 online 
$9.99 list price save 8%
Earn 46 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin 
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 as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly 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.
Praise for Robin Hobb and Assassin’s Apprentice
“A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies . . . a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne.”Publishers Weekly
“This is the kind of book you fall into, and start reading slower as you get to the end, because you don’t want it to be over.”—Steven Brust
Robin Hobb is the author of the Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy, the Tawny Man Trilogy, the Soldier Son Trilogy, and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. She has also written as Megan Lindholm. She is a native of Washington State.
Title:Assassin's Apprentice: The Farseer Trilogy Book 1Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 6.86 × 4.2 × 0.94 inPublished:March 1, 1996Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:055357339X

ISBN - 13:9780553573398

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I read the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy first and reading this trilogy just gives Fitz a new depth you wouldn't expect.
Date published: 2018-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprised I didn't pick this up sooner I enjoyed the writing style and found myself slowing down to enjoy the book more, time to jump into the next part
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't wait to continue on! I read this book last month and loved it! I'm really excited to continue on with the series (1 book down, 15 to go!)
Date published: 2017-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing entry to the world of Robin Hobb I read this book on the recommendation of a friend and was delighted to find such a well written, creative universe with well-developed, yet pleasantly flawed, characters. This is an easy story to get lost in.
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great story - unique world This book was a fantastic and unexpected read. Not your standard fantasy plot.
Date published: 2017-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favorite fantasy series. Really enjoyed this book/series, the easiest of Hobb's work to get into in my opinion.
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Average The writing is good but the plot is very slow and the main protagonist, Fitz, isn't the smartest guy around. Writing style and pace is similar throughout the book so if you enjoy the start you will probably enjoy it to the end.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rich and Superb If you are a fan of the Patrick Rothfuss Kvothe series and are impatiently awaiting the last in his trilogy, perhaps you should consider reading this book instead of ranting on Goodreads about "how long he is taking to finish his series, for crying out loud!" This is a delightful and incredibly rich story, packed full of detail, with a slow rhythmic narrative. This is the beginning of FitzChivalry's life. It is detailed and written in such a way that it feels like eating a rich piece of dark chocolate and savoring every moment.
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great intorduction to the realm of the elderlings I found the book started off a little slow, but I was immersed the whole way. Although there isn't much happening right at the beginning you connect to the main character straight away. I thought all of the characters in this book were interesting and develop well. There's a good plot/character development balance, though I would say the character is the strongest focus in this book. This is my favourite series, it sucks you right in.
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good But Slightly Dry It was a well written novel, which had quite a bit of character development but it was quite dry in the middle of the series but it begins to pick up near the end.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fantasy This was good. But I wasn't blown away as most are with Hobb
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I just love those books Robin Hobb is just an amazing writer, her book are so compelling and the story of this world she created is so intense.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful writing! You can't help but love, and hate, the characters...
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT I absolutely loved it, the main character is so anti-hero, I felt so much for him. He keeps trying and never gives up. Even if the outcome isn't what he was expecting.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Masterful Storycraft This book was recommended to me by someone who loves this writer and I can see where that attraction comes from. I was told that the world building and descriptions were top tier and I believe it! The way Hobb works with words is amazing. Even though the story rather slowly follows the life of Fitz after he officially joins the world as the bastard son of a prince, I never found myself bored with the story. Burrich was my favourite character and having him act as the mentor really helped with my immersion in the world. And what a world it was! It was rich with description and I was never left bored with her long paragraphs of block text. My favourite thing she described was the Mountain Kingdom. Even though I spent such a small amount of time in it the author was able to communicate its beauty and splendor perfectly even though it was seen through Fitz's eyes. I'm glad that this author was recommended to me because the plot was really enjoyable. All the characters were strong, the world was complete, the magic made sense, and it all just fit together so well. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The first book in a classic series This is one of the best series of books that I have every read. You won't be disappointed. If you enjoy Game of Thrones, you will love this author.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing start to an amazing trilogy I was going to write a long review, but decided it wasn't needed. This book is one of my favourite books and the Trilogy is easily my favourite next to The Tawnyman Trilogy. It starts off slow, but it it worth the wait. If you're looking for a long series to get into, this is definitely one to get into. The Farseer Trilogy is first, The Liveship Trilogy is second, Tawnyman is third, The Rainwilds Chronicles is fourth and the Fitz and the Fool trilogy is last. You definitely want to read them in order.
Date published: 2016-03-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from No intrigue I read a lot of good reviews about Robin Hobb before picking this book up, so perhaps I had high expectations. To be fair, she is a good writer and the words read smoothly, but I found the storytelling pretty bland. This book is a first person narrative written in the past tense and mostly feels like a chronology of events. Things just happened and you don't experience them in time with the main character so there is no sense of excitement, or urgency in any of the training or post-training events. Further, because it is first-person narrative, you get no real insight into the other characters either, so in the end, I found that I didn't really care about any of them.
Date published: 2015-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No intrigue Assassin’s Apprentice is an epic fantasy novel. It’s set in a world of kings, princes, allies and assassins. It’s an epic tale – rich on historical world-building. This book absorbed from start to finish. It wasn’t a quick read. It was a slow burner that had me wanting to read into the wee hours because I was just so engrossed. I liked that it was sumptuous in the detail. This book felt like a fantasy rite of passage. Robin Hobb is obviously a huge name in my favourite genre and yet I had never read anything by her. I’m so glad I came across this book in the public library. Fitz is the illegitimate son of Prince Chivalry Farseer. His earliest memory is of being dumped by his maternal grandfather at the feet of Burrich - his father’s loyal servant. Fitz grows up in the stables where Burrich tends to the horses, dogs and hawks. He grows up an outsider – always being viewed as “the bastard” child. He feels acute loneliness and yet great loyalty to the King and his uncle Prince Verity. There comes a time when he charged to learn magic known as the Skill. It is a dangerous pursuit under the instruction of a vile and cruel teacher. It tests him to the limit and it could break him. But without the Skill, the kingdom of the Six Duchies may fall to the evil Red Raiders and their mysterious soul-stealing. The novel is told from Fitz’s point of view. At the beginning of each chapter there is an excerpt from the history of the Farseer and their kingdom of the Six Duchies. It’s the story of Fitz’s many roles in Buckkeep. He assists Burrich with the animals. He spends time training with weapons. He, as the title suggests, becomes the assassin’s apprentice. Not something a person might want to be but is driven to out of loyalty. It is a book about fate – sometimes our name dictates our nature, sometimes our circumstances. Sometimes it is merely that we are a pawn in other peoples’ games. The characterisation is excellent. You feel every single breath Fitz takes but you also come to love Burrick, admire Verity and fear Galen. It is quite something the way this book is written. It really haunted me when I wasn’t reading it. I kept wondering about what would happen next. I loved that the author didn’t take the easy route. Characters are maimed, killed and utterly tormented. It made reading this book surprising, full of anticipation and an absolute nail-biting pleasure. If you haven’t read anything by robin Hobb, then begin with the Assassin’s Apprentice. You will not be disappointed. It was incredible!
Date published: 2014-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A light past time Certainly not an epic read, but a thoroughly good past time read to immerse yourself in a new land and escape reality for a bit
Date published: 2014-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I love this series and the way it portrays dogs :)
Date published: 2013-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Good book. Starting the next
Date published: 2013-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A rare gem I have read many reviews of the first book that say its too boring, drags too much especially early and that most of the book seems rather childish....I'm not sure its possible for me to disagree more...true, the story is not non-stop battles or an epic adventure from page 1, rather the author uses her skill to invest the reader fully in who her characters are....she does it very no point did I feel it boring or slow....and I can't stand ridiculous stand-still 'fantasy' soap operas such as anything Arthurian or rubbish like Game of Thrones....this is good writing and not merely for the author to prattle on...there are few wasted words here.....and the characters the book in a couple of 2 continues with the same endearing writing style (first person is highly under-used and under-appreciated) and the same pace...again I read the book in a couple of nights...the 3rd book is significantly below the first 2 in quality....pacing slows, she begins to add pages of writing that go nowhere and add nothing to either the story or character development. It is possible Hobb is setting up future works, but it still serves the reader not at all. Overall, the series was for me a long-ignored surprise treasure. In my opinion the single most important distinction between an average writer and those that have true skill is the ability to forego contrived writing...average writers put their characters in no-win scenarios and then contrive to get them out with contrived serrendipity...they all of a sudden gain a new skill, a new magic, a new character suddenly gets added if only for the one scene. A skilled writer either does not pretend to put the character into no-win scenarios or they allow their character to accept the consequences. Hobb's characters are human, not all characters know everything as in most average fantasy where each bit player is a wise as Moses; her writing is sophisticated, real and touching. Great series.
Date published: 2013-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved to read I loved to read this book. It was entertaining, moving and thrilling. I loved the style and themes.
Date published: 2013-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read read more then five times. still love this book and series
Date published: 2011-03-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from slow at times I sometimes find myself losing interest and not really understanding the direction the author is taking, but he manages to pull me and stop me from putting it down. I'm a fan of more action and mature themes and its sort of lacks this element. I'm about half way through so i'm hoping the pace picks up
Date published: 2010-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Totally awesome Loved this book - took a few pages to get used to the first person writing style but fell in love with it. Gripping and exciting!
Date published: 2009-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! This book started a 3 trilogy journey for me! (The Farseer; The Live Ship Traders; The Tawny Man) I know I’ll be reading this series again & again – the characters are *still* popping into my head to say ‘hi’ from time to time! A must for anyone who loves fantasy.
Date published: 2009-03-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great start to the trilogy First time I read this book, I was hooked. The story is intriguing, and the characters are rather well developed. I picked up this book after reading the second in the set (Assassin's Quest) and still found it fit in well. I had no problems following it, and in fact was quite surprised by some events even though I had read the second volume first. Although this book, until the following volumes (Assassin's quest and Royal Assassin) can be read as stand alone, I strongly recommend reading it first. It helps build a lot on the main character which wil be important in the next two books.
Date published: 2008-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best I have read this first book in French and the rest of the series in English and in both language it's a book you cannot put down. In all the books by Robin Hobb, the characters become real and the world they live in is yours while you read. If you love Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind , you will also enjoy this one.
Date published: 2008-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A work of genius I read a great deal of fantasy and sci-fi and of all the books and writers Robin Hobb's are the best. I recommend this series to everyone browsing the sci-fi section. I didn't realize until I was done reading the series that this writer was in fact a woman and not a man as I had thought during the reading of her books. She writes superbly, not too fast not too slow and is excellent at developing her story line. Once you start I guarantee you won't be able to stop. I recommend this book for those who have read and liked anything by the following authors: Mercedes Lackey Andre Norton Terry Goodkind J.R.R Tolkien J.K. Rowling Terry Brooks
Date published: 2004-11-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from development The story may have developed slowly, but maintains its integrity throughout. The characters are extremely well written and emotions well projected. The foundations are established for a good story to be continued in the other books of the trilogy.
Date published: 2002-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Assasins Apprentice Robin Hobb has come amazing steps closer to the true beauty that makes up fantasy. The depth of the characters and the emotion that the reader feels throughout the novel is quite remarkable. Without giving away any of this masterpiece I am still amazed by the way Robin Hobb lets the reader experience another reality, as an example throught the mind of a wolf. Where only the things that would be important to a wolf are even considered. Or the way the Fitz has challenge after challenge, almost a never ending battle of his disturbed soul. Each time making your mind wonder what could possibly happen next, and when it seems safe another twist, yet so realistic as well. Brilliant and original...I look forward to the future of her writing, and this trilogy is a must.
Date published: 2001-02-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from it gets better ... This book, rather shorter then the sequels is pretty descriptive, but in my opinion, i like the sequels better then this one. :D still, it's pretty good tho at filling in the details because i had read the sequels first. :D good read.
Date published: 2000-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW!!! This is one helluva piece of Fantasy. The characters, and the depth of the plot are astounding. I read this book like an addiction. I STRONGLY suggest reading it.
Date published: 1999-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Assassin's Apprentice When I picked up this book I was skeptical about reading about a child, but was surprised at the depth and substance of this fantasy series. I have recommend this book to fans of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind. The child in question is illegitimate and therefore non-existent. Treated as an outcast until King Shrewd who has plans for him as his private assassin and then Fitz discovers the true nature of a secret magic and it turns out it is a skilled despised by all. One of only few new fantasy writers that I have enjoyed.
Date published: 1999-02-09

Read from the Book

1   The Earliest History   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.   “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.…   My pen falters, then falls from my knuckly grip, leaving a worm’s trail of ink across Fedwren’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-spawned ink, until I suspect each carefully formed black letter scabs over some ancient scarlet wound.   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.   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-year-old’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.   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’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.   The doors were tall, not just to a six-year-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’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’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’s.   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. “Father, please,” the woman’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’t recall that I saw anyone. Certainly, I did not struggle to break free of the old man’s grip on my hand, nor did I call out, “Mother, Mother.” Instead I stood, a spectator, and heard the sound of boots within the keep, and the unfastening of the door hasp within.   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. “Father, please, I beg you!” 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.   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-at-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’s practiced suspicion, and then stood there silently, waiting for us to state our business.   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. “I’ve brought the boy to you,” he said in a rusty voice.   And when the house guard continued to stare at him, without judgment or even curiosity, he elaborated. “I’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’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’ve enough to tend to of my own, what with my woman getting on in years, and this one’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.” And he let go of me so suddenly that I sprawled to the stone doorstep at the guard’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.   “The guard looked down at me, lips pursed slightly, not in judgment but merely considering how to classify me. “Whose get?” 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.  

From Our Editors

Filled with adventure and bloodshed, pageantry and piracy, mystery and menace, Assassin's Apprentice begins the story of a bastard of the royal house, a young man who is trained in the mystic arts of the assassin and who may become the savior of his kingdom

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Robin Hobb and Assassin’s Apprentice   “Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin   “A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies . . . a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne.”—Publishers Weekly   “This is the kind of book you fall into, and start reading slower as you get to the end, because you don’t want it to be over.”—Steven Brust