Ship Of Magic: The Liveship Traders by Robin HobbShip Of Magic: The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

Ship Of Magic: The Liveship Traders

byRobin Hobb

Mass Market Paperback | March 26, 1999

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Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships—rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. Now the fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.
For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy. For Althea’s young nephew, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard the ship, the Vivacia is a life sentence. But the fate of the ship—and the Vestrits—may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider: the ruthless buccaneer captain Kennit, who plans to seize power over the Pirate Isles by capturing a liveship and bending it to his will.
Praise for Robin Hobb and the Liveship Traders Trilogy
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin
“A truly extraordinary saga . . . The characterizations are consistently superb, and [Hobb] animates everything with love for and knowledge of the sea.”Booklist
“A major work of high fantasy, reading like a cross between Tolkien and Patrick O’Brian . . . one of the finest fantasy sagas to bridge the millennium.”Publishers Weekly
“Rich, complex . . . [Hobb’s] plotting is complex but tightly controlled, and her descriptive powers match her excellent visual imagination. But her chief virtue is that she delineates character extremely well.”Interzone
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:Ship Of Magic: The Liveship TradersFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:832 pages, 6.88 × 4.18 × 1.36 inPublished:March 26, 1999Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553575635

ISBN - 13:9780553575637

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great start for a series Very promising start to this second trilogy in the Realms of the Elderlings series. Some characters (*cough* Malta *cough*) got on my nerves, but I'm intrigued to continue on.
Date published: 2018-06-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wretched Apparently I am the only person who despised this novel. I LOVE Robin Hobb and almost everything she writes. But the characters in this novel are simply irredeemably, hopelessly wretched. There is nothing pure and beautiful in this novel. Everyone and everything is corrupt and depraved. After becoming used to the single perspective of her Fitz novels, I found shifting from one wretched character to another was hard on the morale of this reader. Still, after so many glowing reviews, I think it is at least worth it to see if you can stomach the characters.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read it It took me three attempts to get into this book. After reading Assassins apprentice a friend recommended this trilogy but I had a hard time getting into it. It was about half way through when I started taking an interest in the story and characters and it ended strong. Looking forward to reading the remaining books
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Set my brain on fire! My favourite Robin Hobb trilogy this book set my brain and imagination on fire the first time I read it. Their are many books about dragons and their relationships with humans, but Hobb's execution is unique and captivating.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This imaginative fantasy series has a number of rich characters whose fate, while intertwined, make for fascinating stories in their own right. The fantasy elements in the story are subtle, taking second stage to the strength of the character-driven dramas. This is a wonderful series and a great find for fantasy lovers.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Give it a chance I found it a little slow to start but once it climaxed, watch out! You'd better have Mad Ship in your possession before you finish this one!
Date published: 2009-09-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice new concept I am on book two now and I totally enjoyed the first one. It is a nice easy read with a very unique idea.
Date published: 2009-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing!!! Ship of Magic is an amazing book, filled with new and unique ideas and a wonderful story. I could not put the book down. Robin Hobb did an incredible job writing this novel, and I strongly recommend the book! Ship of Magic is a must read!
Date published: 2006-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Forget Fitz... Well at least for a little while. I read this book after reading the Farseer Trilogy and I have to say that Robin Hobb handled a third person ensemble of characters just as well as she handled our dear FitzChivalry. I found every single character very well fleshed out; I could see them shaping around the events and circumstances as much as the events and circumstances were shaping around them. The story is gripping with enough action to keep anyone turning the page and enough suspense and mystery that you'll want the next book waiting for you when you're done this one. Fantastic!
Date published: 2006-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book!!!! This is a truly fabulous read!! The characters and plot are amazing and intricate, exciting, and exotic. The book if full of intricate treads woven with magnificent skill!! I'm looking forward to the next two books!
Date published: 2005-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The BEST BOOK EVER This series is fabulously done. Robin Hobb is a fantastic writer and I really like her work!! She brings all her characters in together and has them all fit into a wonderful world with liveships. This book keeps you on your toes at all times. If you have never cried from a good book before read this and it will have you crying and laughing and hoping and wondering what will happen next. Warning if you do not have a lot of time to read then I warn you not to start it unless you have a lot of control because you won’t be able to put it down!!
Date published: 2002-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome This book and the one after was a wonderful read. I can't wait until the bookstore orders the third one :) The characters and their developement through the first and second books is amazing and makes them seem so real. I almost don't want to read the last book so the story will never have to end :)
Date published: 2002-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ship of Magic Excellent book. Couldn't put it down. It is my first time reading this author and I immediately purchased the second book and at the time was anxiously waiting the publishment of the third.
Date published: 2001-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure Magic! I was swept up into the lives of the characters. Many times I found myself whooping and guffawing, only to have to see if anyone around me noticed. It is too rare an experience that a book captures the imagination so completely.
Date published: 2000-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever The Liveship Traders series is so wonderful. All the characters seem so real, even the ship, the Vivacia. I can't wait to read the next two, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny.
Date published: 2000-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Once again a masterpiece She's done it again! IT took me 1 night to read this wonderful book and then sent me hunting for the second. I can't wait to read the third. Robin Hobb has done it again and this book is my absolute favorite book in the world!!!
Date published: 2000-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ship of magic i read both books from the liveship series in the space of a can i make robin hobb write the next in the series any faster? absolutley wonderful!
Date published: 1999-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! Robin Hobb has done it again. Her Farseer triology was a work of art in that it brought all of my emotions to the forefront, but "Ship of Magic" brings together emotion, depth of charater and story telling that is unsurpassed. The "Vivacia" is made so vividly real that you feel that you could reach out and touch her emotions. I recommend this book to any avid Fantasy Fan and impatiently wait for the pubilcation of "Mad Ship".
Date published: 1999-04-05

Read from the Book

Althea longed for a fresh-water bath.  As she toiled up the companionway to the deck, every muscle in her body ached, and her head pounded from the thick air of the aft hold.  At least her task was done.  She'd go to her stateroom, wash with a wet towel, change her clothes and perhaps even nap for a bit.  And then she'd go to confront Kyle.  She'd put it off long enough, and the longer she waited, the more uncomfortable she became.  She'd get it over with and then damn well live with whatever it brought down on her. "Mistress Althea."  She had no more than gained the deck before Mild confronted her.  "Cap'n requires you."  The ship's boy grinned at her, half-apologetic, half-relishing being the bearer of such tidings. "Very well, Mild," she said quietly.  Very well, her thoughts echoed to herself.  No wash, no clean clothes and no nap before the confrontation.  Very well.  She took a moment to smooth her hair back from her face and to tuck her blouse back into her trousers.  Prior to her task, they had been her cleanest work clothes.  Now the coarse cotton of the blouse stuck to her back and neck with her own sweat, while the trousers were smudged with oakum and tar from working in the close quarters of the hold.  She knew her face was dirty, too.  Well.  She hoped Kyle would enjoy his advantage.  She stooped down as if to re-fasten her shoe, but instead placed her hand flat on the wood of the deck.  For an instant she closed her eyes and let the strength of the Vivacia flow through her palm.  "Oh, ship," she whispered as softly as if she prayed.  "Help me stand up to him."  Then she stood, her resolve firm once more. As she crossed the twilit deck to the captain's quarters, not an eye would meet hers.  Every hand was suddenly very busy or simply looking off in another direction.  She refused to glance back to see if they watched after her.  Instead she kept her shoulders squared and her head up as she marched to her doom. She rapped sharply at the door of the captain's quarters and waited for his gruff reply.  When it came she entered, and then stood still, letting her eyes adjust to the yellow lantern light. In that instant, she felt a sudden wash of homesickness.  The intense longing was not for any shoreside house, but rather for this room as it once had been.  Memories dizzied her.  Her father's oilskins had hung on that hook, and the smell of his favorite rum had flavored the air.  Her own hammock he had rigged in that corner when he had first allowed her to start living aboard the Vivacia, that he might better watch over her.  She knew a moment of anger as her eyes took in Kyle's clutter overlaying the familiar hominess of these quarters.  A nail in his boot had left a pattern of scars across the polished floorboards.  Ephron Vestrit had never left charts out, and would never have tolerated the soiled shirt flung across the chair back.  He did not approve of an untidy deck anywhere on his ship, and that included his own quarters.  His son-in-law Kyle apparently did not share those values. Althea pointedly stepped over a discarded pair of trousers to stand before the captain at his table.  Kyle let her stand there for a few moments while he continued to peruse some notation on the chart.  A notation in her father's own precise hand, Althea noticed, and took strength from that even as her anger burned at the thought that he had access to the family's charts.  A Trader family's charts were among their most guarded possessions.  How else could one safeguard one's swiftest routes through the Inside Passage, and one's trading ports in lesser-known villages?  Still, her father had entrusted these charts to Kyle; it was not up to her to question his decision. Kyle continued to ignore her, but she refused to rise to his bait.  She stood silent and patient, but did not let his apparent disinterest fluster her.  After a time he lifted his eyes to regard her.  Their blueness was as unlike her father's steady black eyes as his unruly blond hair was unlike her father's smooth black queue.  Once more she wondered with distaste what had ever possessed her older sister to desire such a man.  His Chalcedean blood showed in his ways as much as in his body.  She tried to keep her disdain from showing on her face, but her control was wearing thin.  She'd been too long at sea with this man. This last voyage had been interminable.  Kyle had muddled what should have been a simple two-month turnaround trip along Chalced's coast into a five-month trading trek full of unnecessary stops and marginally profitable trade runs.  She was convinced all of it was an effort on his part to show her father what a sly trader he could be.  For herself, she had not been impressed.  At Tusk he had stopped and taken on pickled sea-duck eggs, always an uncertain cargo, and barely made dock in Brigtown in time to sell them off before they went rotten.  In Brigtown, he'd taken on bales of cotton, not just enough to fill the empty space in the holds but enough to make a partial deck load as well.  Althea had had to bite her tongue and watch her crew take their chances as they scrambled over and around the heavy bales, and then they'd had a late gale that had soaked and most likely ruined the portion of the load on deck.  She hadn't even asked him what the profit had been, if any, when he'd stopped to auction it off in Dursay. Dursay had been their last port.  The wine casks had yet again been shifted about to allow for a whim cargo.  Now, in addition to the wines and brandies that had comprised their original cargo, the hold was stuffed with crates of comfer nuts.  Kyle had held forth endlessly on the good price they'd bring, both for the fragrant oil from their kernels for soap and the lovely yellow dye that could be made from their husks.  Althea thought that if he crowed once more about the extra profit this would wring from the voyage, she'd throttle him.  But self-congratulation was not in the gaze he turned on her.  It was cold as seawater, lit with tiny glints of anger. He neither smiled nor bid her be seated.  Instead he simply demanded.  "What were you doing in the aft hold?" Someone had run to the captain and tattled.  She kept her voice steady.  "I re-stowed the cargo." "You did." It was a statement, almost an accusation.  But it was not a question, so she did not need to make any answer.  Instead, she stood very straight under that piercing gaze.  She knew he expected her to babble out explanations and excuses, as Keffria would have.  But she was not her sister, nor his wife.  He suddenly slammed his palm down on the table before him, and though the sudden impact made her flinch, she still did not speak.  She watched him waiting for her to say something, and then felt an odd sense of victory when his temper snapped. "Did you presume to tell the men to change how that cargo was stowed?" She spoke very softly, very calmly.  "No.  I did not.  I did the work myself.  My father has taught me that aboard a ship, one must see what needs doing, and do it.  That is what I have done.  I arranged the casks as father would have had them done, were he here.  Those casks are now as every shipment of wine has been stowed since I was ten years old, bung up and bilge free, fore and aft, ends wedged off in the wings.  They are secure, and if they have not already been spoiled by jostling, they will be marketable when we get to Bingtown." His cheeks grew pink.  Althea wondered how Keffria could stand a man whose cheeks turned pink when he was angry.  She braced herself.  When Kyle spoke, his voice was not raised, but the longing to shout the words was clear in his clipped accent. "Your father is not here, Althea.  That is precisely the point.  I am the master of this vessel, and I gave commands as to how I wanted that cargo stowed.  Yet again you have gone behind my back and countermanded those orders.  I can't have this interference between me and my crew.  You sow discord." She spoke quietly.  "I acted on my own, by myself.  I gave the crew no orders at all, nor did I even speak of what I intended to do.  I have done nothing to come between you and the crew."  She clamped her jaws shut before she could say more.  She would not tell him that what stood between him and his crew was his own lack of expertise.  The sailors who would have gone to their deaths willingly for her father now spoke openly in the forecastle of finding another vessel when next they shipped out.  Kyle was in danger of destroying the hand-picked crew that her father had spent the last decade assembling. Kyle looked furious that she would contradict him.  "It is enough that you went against my orders.  That is all it takes to challenge my authority.  Your bad example on this ship makes the crew restless.  Then I am forced to clamp down the discipline.  You should be ashamed for what you bring down on them.  But no.  You don't care one whit for that.  You're above the captain.  Althea Vestrit is probably above almighty Sa!  You've shown the entire crew your complete disregard for my orders.  Were you truly a sailor, I'd make an example of you, one that would prove my orders are the only orders on this ship.  But you're nothing but a spoiled merchant's brat.  I'll treat you as such, and spare the flesh of your back.  But only until you cross me again.  Take this warning to heart, girl.  I am captain of this vessel, and my word on this ship is law." Althea did not speak, but neither did she look aside.  She met his gaze levelly and kept as much expression off her face as she could.  The pink spread to Kyle's forehead.  He took a breath and reached for control.  He speared her with his eyes.  "And what are you, Althea?" She had not expected such a question.  Accusations and rebukes she could deal with silently.  But in asking her a question, he demanded an answer, and she knew it would be construed as open defiance.  So be it.  "I am the owner of this vessel," she said with as much dignity as she could muster. "Wrong!" This time he did shout.  But in an instant he had mastered himself.  He leaned forward on the table and near spat the words at her.  "You are the daughter of the owner.  And even were you the owner, it wouldn't make a whit of difference.  It's not the owner who commands the ship, it's the captain.  You're not the captain, you're not the mate.  You aren't even a proper sailor. All you do is take a stateroom to yourself that should be the second mate's, and do only the chores it suits you to do.  The owner of this vessel is Ephron Vestrit, your father.  He is the one who gave the Vivacia over to my command.  If you cannot respect me for who I am, then respect your father's choice to captain his ship." "But for my age, he would have made me captain.  I know the Vivacia. I should be her captain." As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Althea regretted them.  It was all the opening he had needed, this voicing of what they both knew was true. "Wrong again.  You should be at home, married off to some fancy boy as spoiled as yourself.  You haven't the faintest idea of how to captain a vessel.  You believe that because your father has allowed you to play at sailoring you know how to command a vessel.  You've come to believe you're destined to captain your father's ship.  You're wrong.  Your father only brought you aboard because he had no sons of his own.  He as much as told me so, when Wintrow was born.  Were not the Vivacia a liveship, requiring a family member aboard, I'd never have tolerated your pretenses for a moment.  But bear this in mind.  A member of the Vestrit family is all this ship requires; it needn't be you.  If this ship demands a Vestrit aboard her, then she can bear one that has Haven for a surname.  My sons share as much of your sister's blood as mine, they're as much Vestrit as Haven.  And the next time this ship leaves Bingtown, one of my boys will take your place on her. You'll be left ashore." Althea could feel she had gone white.  The man had no idea what he was saying to her, had no idea of the depth of his threat.  It only proved he had no true concept of what a liveship was.  He should have never been allowed authority over the Vivacia.  If only her father had been well, he would have seen that. Something of both her despair and defiance must have shown in her face, for Kyle Haven's mouth grew tauter.  She wondered if he fought down a smile as he added, "You are confined to your quarters for the remainder of this voyage.  And now you are dismissed." She stood her ground.  As well have it out then, now that the lines were drawn.  "You have declared that I am not even a sailor aboard this vessel.  Very well, then.  If that is so, then I am not yours to command.  And I have no idea why you fancy that you will command the Vivacia on her next voyage.  When we return to Bingtown, I have every expectation that my father will have recovered his health and will resume his command.  And hold it, until such time as ship and command are both mine." He fixed her with a flat stare.  "Do you really think so, Althea?" She puffed up with hatred, believing for an instant that he mocked her faith that her father would recover. But he went on, "Your father's a good captain. And when he hears what you've been up to, countermanding my orders, sowing discord among the men, making mock of me behind my back--""Making mock of you?" Althea demanded.Kyle gave a snort of disdain. "Do you think you can get drunk and witless and throw wild words about Dursay town and not have them come back to me? It only shows what a fool you are."Althea raced frantically through her scrabbled memories of Dursay. She had got drunk, yes, but only once, and she remembered vaguely that she'd bemoaned her situation to some shipmates. Who? The faces blurred in her memory, but she knew it had been Brashen who'd rebuked her, daring to tell her to shut her hatch and keep private problems private. She did not recall just what she'd said, but now she had a fair idea of who had tattled.

From Our Editors

The tough daughter of a seafaring family, Althea must battle her conniving brother-in-law and a cruel pirate for control of her family’s ship. The villains provide exciting action as they plot against her in this sweeping fantasy with an engaging female character at its centre. Ship of Magic is Robin Hobb’s first book after her successful Farseer trilogy.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Robin Hobb and the Liveship Traders Trilogy   “Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin   “A truly extraordinary saga . . . The characterizations are consistently superb, and [Hobb] animates everything with love for and knowledge of the sea.”—Booklist   “A major work of high fantasy, reading like a cross between Tolkien and Patrick O’Brian . . . one of the finest fantasy sagas to bridge the millennium.”—Publishers Weekly   “Rich, complex . . . [Hobb’s] plotting is complex but tightly controlled, and her descriptive powers match her excellent visual imagination. But her chief virtue is that she delineates character extremely well.”—Interzone