The Wise Man's Fear
|Series||The Kingkiller Chronicle|
|Publisher||DAW Books Hardcover|
|March 1, 2011|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Name of the Wind|
|Followed by||The Doors of Stone (working title)|
Protagonist Kvothe continues the narrative commenced in The Name of the Wind, wherein a younger Kvothe continues his education at the prestigious University, where he is engaged in a vicious feud with fellow student Ambrose, punctuated by petty crimes such as the theft and retrieval of love interest Denna's ring and culminating in his arrest by the Church. Despite defending himself in court, Kvothe has guaranteed himself a term tuition too high to pay, due to the negative attention he attracted to the darker aspects of the University, and his more or less destitute status.
Kvothe then travels to the city of Severen in order to aid the Maer ('Mayor') Alveron in procuring a wife, and thwarts a plot to kill the Maer. After succeeding in the Maer's courtship, he discovers Denna and, weeks later, urges her to accept the Maer as her musical patron. Parted from Denna after a fight, Kvothe hunts a group of bandits waylaying taxmen. After killing the bandits, Kvothe follows the Fae, Felurian, into her own realm, where he stays for an indeterminable time until eventually leaving, with only three days having passed in the mortal world. During the return trip to Severen, the mercenary Tempi is ordered to stand trial for teaching Kvothe the 'Ketan', a secretive form of martial arts; whereupon Kvothe accompanies Tempi to the city of Ademre, where he stays to finish his training in the Ketan and in the 'Lethani' philosophy, to justify Tempi in teaching him. Returning to Severen, Kvothe kills a troupe of bandits who have raped two girls. After bringing the girls to their home, he returns to the Maer and presents the waylaid taxes. However, it is revealed that Kvothe is an Edema Ruh and thus of low birth. This earns him condemnation from the Maer's wife, which forces the Maer to send him away despite his considerable service. He leaves with his University tuition compensated and a writ of performance from the Maer. Back home, Kvothe achieves financial stability in a deal with the University's bursar, raising his own tuition and receiving half of the money above a certain amount. He returns Denna's ring to her, and begins to hear stories of his own exploits, many distorted or fabricated as they are retold by the people.
In the frame story, Kvothe's friend and disciple Bast prompts two soldiers to rob Kvothe's inn in an attempt to revitalize Kvothe, who loses the fight; whereupon Bast subsequently kills the soldiers.
On April 28, 2010, Rothfuss confirmed the book's release date as March 1, 2011, nearly three years after its originally-anticipated 2008 release. He said that he anticipated several sets of revisions before completion in September, at which point the publication process would delay the release for several months, as is the norm in any publication but especially since The Wise Man's Fear is "2 to 3 times longer than most books."
The book was a critical and commercial success, debuting at the top of the New York Times Fantasy list. It also reached the top of the New York Times' Hardcover Fiction list approximately three weeks after its release. Author George R.R. Martin blogged that "The Wise Man's Fear was worth the wait. I gulped it down in a day, staying up almost to dawn reading, and I am already itching for the next one. He's bloody good, this Rothfuss guy." Locus stated that "The Wise Man’s Fear fairly leaps off the page, whatever the setting and circumstances." Publisher's Weekly's review was glowing, claiming that "As seamless and lyrical as a song from the lute-playing adventurer and arcanist Kvothe, this mesmerizing sequel to Rothfuss's 2007's debut, The Name of the Wind, is a towering work of fantasy."
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