UK first edition cover (Voyager)
|Cover artist||John Howe|
|Series||The Farseer Trilogy|
|Publisher||Voyager Books (UK) & Spectra (US)|
|Publication date||3 March 1997 (UK), April 1997 (US)|
|Media type||Print (Paperback & Hardback in the UK, Paperback in the US)|
|Pages||742 pp (UK hardback ed.), 848 pp (UK paperback ed.)|
|Preceded by||Royal Assassin|
Assassin's Quest is a book by Robin Hobb, the third in her Farseer Trilogy. It was published in 1997.
FitzChivalry Farseer is raised from the dead using his despised Wit magic, but he is now more wolf than human. Only Burrich and Chade know he survived his tortures in Regal's dungeons; all others, even the Fool and the Queen, believe Fitz dead. After regaining his humanity, he departs on a personal quest to kill Regal- but not before being attacked by Forged people. One of whom, unknown to him, steals his shirt with King Shrewd's pin, a fact which Fitz only realizes after moving a long distance away. Burrich, having found the rotted remains of the Forged one who stole Fitz's shirt believes it is actually Fitz's body, and that Fitz is now really dead. He therefore determines to guard the one Fitz holds most dear, his lover and almost wife, Molly.
Fitz fails spectacularly at his assassination attempt and is almost killed. Verity aids his escape and, in the process, imprints the command "Come To Me" into Fitz's mind. Unable to disobey, Fitz immediately begins to make his way to the Mountain Kingdom, following the path Verity took on his quest. During this journey, his bond with Nighteyes, his Wit companion, continues to deepen and change as each finds themselves becoming more like one another. The wolf begins to have the ability to think abstractly and plan events while Fitz starts to gain the more noble wolf qualities of living in the present and a fierce loyalty to friends 'in his pack'.
Along the way Fitz and Nighteyes meet a minstrel named Starling. Starling recognizes Fitz and insists upon traveling with them, claiming a desire to witness and record great events. They meet an old woman named Kettle, who is travelling to the Mountain Kingdom to see the White Prophet, and Fitz is later attacked during his journey by warriors under the command of King Regal. He reaches the Mountain Kingdom barely alive, but is tended back to health by the Fool — the White Prophet whom Kettle had been seeking. The Fool rejoices that Fitz is alive beyond all hope and thinks they may yet be able to avoid the dark future he has foreseen.
Fitz, Kettricken, the Fool and Starling set off to follow Verity, followed by Kettle. On their journey they encounter a garden full of stone dragons which Fitz can sense with his Wit, leading him to believe they are alive, despite appearing to be mere statues. Eventually the truth is revealed: the dragons were carved out of black memory stone and given the memories and emotions of those who carved them. Verity has spent a long time carving his dragon, only to find that even if he gives the dragon everything he has, including the bare minimum he needs to keep his heart beating, it will not be enough to bring it to life to fight the Red Ship Raiders.
Kettle reveals that she is the last remaining member of a former royal coterie. She makes peace with her past and decides to help Verity complete his dragon. They give the dragon all their emotions and finally their lives, bringing it to life in turn. The Fool carves another dragon to life, and Fitz discovers how to wake the other sleeping dragons, which are led against the Raiders by Verity-as-Dragon. The Raiders are successfully driven away. Kettricken is left pregnant with Prince Dutiful and Fitz finally retires as royal assassin.
Through a series of Skill visions during the span of the book Fitz discovers that Burrich thinks him dead and has found Molly and is taking care of her. She is pregnant with Fitz's daughter and eventually gives birth, naming the girl Nettle. Fitz wants to go to them but is not able to overcome the Skill Command that Verity placed in his mind to come to him. Burrich and Molly get married and are happy together, so by the end of the book Fitz can not bring himself to intrude on their lives and lets them continue to believe he is dead. After the battle to save Buckkeep castle, his beloved friend the Fool - the White Prophet for that era - flies far away on the back of a stone dragon. So in the end FitzChivalry Farseer loses everyone and everything but Nighteyes, his wolf. The narrative of FitzChivalry Farseer continues in Fool's Errand (novel).
The adventures of the Fool continue, in a different guise, in Hobb's books in the Liveship Traders Trilogy. That trilogy is set in the time period between the ending of the Farseer trilogy and the beginning of the Tawny Man trilogy. (The tawny man referred to is the Fool, who comes more and more to be seen as a central figure of the entire series.)
- An American English paperback edition was issued in New York by Bantam Books in 1997 with ISBN 0-553-10640-6.
- A British English hardback edition was issued in London by Voyager/HarperCollins in 1997 with ISBN 0-00-224608-2. This edition's cover is illustrated by John Howe.