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Golden Fool: Book 2 of The Tawny Man
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Product Description

The acclaimed Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies established Robin Hobb as one of the most splendidly imaginative practitioners of world-class fantasy.

Now, in Book 2 of her most stunning trilogy yet, Hobb continues the soul-shattering tale of FitzChivalry Farseer. With rich characters, breathtaking magic, and sweeping action, Golden Fool brings the reluctant adventurer further into the fray in an epic of sacrifice, salvation, and untold treachery.

Golden Fool

Prince Dutiful has been rescued from his Piebald kidnappers and the court has resumed its normal rhythms. But for FitzChivalry Farseer, a return to isolation is impossible. Though gutted by the loss of his wolf bondmate, Nighteyes, Fitz must take up residence at Buckkeep and resume his tasks as Chade’s apprentice assassin. Posing as Tom Badgerlock, bodyguard to Lord Golden, FitzChivalry becomes the eyes and ears behind the walls. And with his old mentor failing visibly, Fitz is forced to take on more burdens as he attempts to guide a kingdom straying closer to civil strife each day.

The problems are legion. Prince Dutiful’s betrothal to the Narcheska Elliania of the Out Islands is fraught with tension, and the Narcheska herself appears to be hiding an array of secrets. Then, amid Piebald threats and the increasing persecution of the Witted, FitzChivalry must ensure that no one betrays the Prince’s secret—a secret that could topple the Farseer throne: that he, like Fitz, possesses the dread “beast magic.”

Meanwhile, FitzChivalry must impart to the Prince his limited knowledge of the Skill: the hereditary and addictive magic of the Farseers. In the process, they discover within Buckkeep one who has a wild and powerful talent for it, and whose enmity for Fitz may have disastrous consequences for all.

Only Fitz’s enduring friendship with the Fool brings him any solace. But even that is shattered when unexpected visitors from Bingtown reveal devastating secrets from the Fool’s past. Now, bereft of support and adrift in intrigue, Fitz’s biggest challenge may be simply to survive the inescapable and violent path that fate has laid out for him.


From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Superb characterisation
    This book is excellent, a worthy successor to the Liveship and Assassin series. It is reminiscent of Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books with a protagonist who has very human failings and has to live with the consequences of the decisions he has made in the past.

    The other characters in the book are similarly complex, and it's the interaction between the various characters, and the dialogue that keep you turning the pages, rather than the somewhat low-key plot. I also enjoyed seeing some of the characters from the Liveship books, and the hints about what is happening in Bingtown.

    The other thing I like about the series is that I am confident that Hobb will tie finish the series up in the third book, rather than subjecting to us to a long, drawn-out sequence of novels of ever-decreasing quality, a la Robert Jordan or David Farland.

    Can't wait for book three!...more info

  • brilliant, esp. for a middle of a trilogy book
    There two things that are just horribly wrong with this book.
    1) It's way too short.
    2) It makes me that much more impatient for the book that follows it! (It's really going to seem like forever till then, now....)

    So, to say it better: I want more, I want more... Definitely!...more info

  • Good!
    Robin Hobb is an enormous fan of Robert Stanek's books, both authors live in Washington state, so I decided to see if Hobb's books were as good as Stanek's. I started with The Liveship Traders and now I'm almost done with The Tawny Man. I enjoyed Fool's Errand and Golden Fool in every way! The characters are interesting and continue to develop. The plot moves along well. The setting is good. Recommended!...more info
  • How much can one man take?
    What to say of FitzChivalry Farseer? An epic character, who's, thanks to Robin Hobb, life unfolds before us. So many different things happen within "Golden Fool" that it feels like real life. You know you had something for dinner a couple nights before but you just can't remember what.

    This is fantasy at its best. It doesn't get bogged down with side plots but revels in them, the characters don't develop but live as we do, and most of all you really care what happens to any single person, whether it be Queen or cook. One of the most amazing parts is Hobb's ability to make you recall a character, even if they seem so small in the plot you still know them as a close cousin. They may pop up for but a page but you remember and enjoy every part of their character and the life they share with our hero.

    You live the life of FitzChivalry as you read the Tawny Man Trilogy. You don't see the history of the Six Duchies, but embrace it through his eyes. In the first novel, "Fool's Errand" you felt just like Fitz. Reading the first half you felt like you were always catching up, as if time was flying by, trying to remember everything of old. You always were playing catch up through out the whole novel. But "Golden Fool" is different. In this novel you feel the weight of duty, each day in Fitz's life seems like a month as he dives back into the court of Buckkeep. And just so every page seems like a chapter to you, the book expands beyond its page numbers. You will sit down for hours unmoving only to stop and realize you've only read through a chapter or two in awe. You'll wonder if you will ever get through this novel just as Fitz wonders if he will ever go back to his quiet life in the country.

    It is amazing work, beyond words, though I have tried. The only problem is that you must wait another year for the last piece of the trilogy. That you begin this story in the middle and you end it there too. Until a novel is written in which Fitz's soul crosses over to join those that have left before him it will never end for you, you'll always want more of him, and perhaps even after that you will cry for more of the Farseers from this extraordinary author.

    Final Thought: Robin Hobb's Farseer novels are not read, they are experienced....more info

  • Excellent continuation of one of the Best Long Sets
    Is this the fifth book of six, or the eighth of nine? Hard to say, but not since Cheryh's Chanur series has there been anything this good. The world is rich, consistent, and deeply imagined. The characters, too, are very well drawn, convincing and satisfying. Believable people reponding in believable ways to difficult situations. No paragons of genius and virtue in set-piece dramas here.

    If you this is the first of Hobb's you have looked at, I urge you read the Farseer Trilogy first. All her eight set on this world are first-rate and are best taken in order....more info

  • I scarecly have words
    I got this book at 6:00 pm when I walked in the door to see my roomate had been home to recieve the mail and left the package from Amazon out that had this book in it. I'd just finished a grueling 10 hour day at the back of a even more gruelying 16 hour day with only three hours of sleep in between. I was elated to recieve the books because Robin Hobb has pretty much made my top five authors list, and I was looking forward to this book. That said, I was so exahusted that after feeding myself my only serious plan was to go to bed. I laid down, and then after a few seconds I promised myself that I'd read the first chapter before I passed out. It's three thirty now the next day. I havn't been to sleep yet. I literally couldn't put the book down, except to call in sick to work today. I don't have the words for what I've just read, but I can say this; if you get a chance pick this book up. Then again since this is the fifth book in this particular series, and the eighth book about this world, you already know that. Don't you?...more info
  • Loved it!
    Not quite as good as the first one of this series, there was almost too much history and not enough substance, but it is still an excellent, absorbing read. I kept trying to put it down to do something else and couldn't because I kept wanting to read....more info
  • strong fantasy
    It has been many years since FitzChivalry Farseer has been in Buckkeep or had anything to do with his legitimate relatives but when the Piebalds kidnap Prince Dutiful, Fitz mounts a successful rescue operation. Now he is permanently ensconced in the keep, posing as a bodyguard to a man with more personas then fingers, acting as a spy to his former mentor, Chade the Assassin. Fitz uses the alias Tom Badgerlock because if his real name and identity became known, many people will want him executed for crimes and actions he never committed.

    Tom has many difficult tasks to perform including teaching the Prince how to use Wit and Skill (forms of magic) when he is only learning how to use it himself. He must also keep himself and his Prince safe from the Piebalds, open practitioners of magic who think they should be the ones residing in the seats of power. The prince and Fitz must also be prepared for a quest that might cost them their lives if they complete it.

    The hero of GOLDEN FOOL is one of the most likable protagonists to grace a fantasy novel. Unlike most heroes, Fitz isn't very heroic but that doesn't stop him from trying to do the right thing even if he occasionally makes errors. His concern for the well being of his Farseer relatives is another reason that readers will gather him into their hearts. The next installment in this exciting trilogy will take place on the island where the Prince must undertake a quest if he is to stay engaged to the girl who he hopes win one day be his wife so stay tuned to this series.

    Harriet Klausner...more info

  • Good Writing but Still a Middle Book
    This second book, like so many others, suffers from the Middle Book Syndrome. The main (only?) focus of this book is character developement. There is hardly any action, and it was a little hard for me at first to be able to put my finger on a climax. In fact, I think there is less action in this book than any of her other books so far.

    Why, then, could I not put it down?

    Well, in a manner of speaking, I think that Robin Hobb can write the most interesting boring story of any of the authors out there. While there wasn't much action, there were plenty of plot developements to keep me interested. Lots of things going on at the court and in Fitz's life, and it was hard to keep up with all them. Something important did happen in almost every chapter, so the novel did seem fast-paced. In fact, I don't think I've ever been so entranced in a novel that had apparently no action. The characterization no doubt played a part there as well, and this time it's not so limited to Fitz. And, Mrs. Hobb also brought unfinished plot threads from her Liveship series into this book. I'm starting to see the picture: the Tawny Man is going to be a conclusion to both her previous series. So, this novel was, all in all, a gripping read.

    However, I still couldn't give more than four stars. The best books are the ones that combine fast-paced action with complex plots and great characterizations. (Assassin's Quest was one of those.) Those books are rare, and that's five stars in my book. I think many reviewers don't realize what five stars means. Anyway, Golden Fool could've been better if there was action. It's a middle book. While it was entertaining of its own accord, it still served mainly as an introduction to the last volume. Mrs. Hobb has certainly introduced a lot; it makes me wonder if she will wrap it all up. But then, I felt the same way while reading Assassin's Quest, and I was pleasantly surprised when she did it , without rushing. I get the feeling that Fool's Fate is going to be one hell of a book. Now I just have to wait for it to come out in paperback....more info

  • Finally Someone Gets a Middle Book Right
    I just finished reading Robin Hobb's Second installment and I actually breathed a sigh of relief. Finally a middle book worth my time.
    I must disagree with those reviewers who said there isn't much in the way of plot development in this installment. This entirely not true. True, Fitz is not off racing into the mountains, but the large amount of information revealed in this book is daunting (I had to go back and look at one of the characters in the Liveship Triology)
    The relationships from both The Assasin's Triology and Liveship Triology are brought back in this book and given astonshing twists. And we FINALLy get to Fitz interact with All of his children which is great. The pace of the book is a little slower than the first book, but it was worth it. The only question we are left hanging onto is "will there be another bond-mate".
    If this is your first Robin Hobb's triology, you are really doing yourself a disservice if you do not go and read the two preceding trilogies. I refuse to ruin the book for you, but I can't imagine how you can figure anything out without that background. Overall, during this month of duds this is welcome treat....more info
  • I can't wait for the next one.
    I read the Farseer trilogy, which is a must in my opinion to truly understand the characters in this book first. I then read the Liveship Traders trilogy. Both those series makes this a wonderful read. This is a perfect piece of fantasy reading. Hobb develops the characters keeping them dynamic.

    It's worth every penny I spent on it....more info

  • An amazingly intricate series
    The main reason I love this series is because of it's complicated political plot. It really makes you think about what's going on. I like the way the characters are all flawed; none of them is perfect,not even close. The biggest problem with this book and the first one is that a lot of text is used to describe not much happening, but you only notice that at the end. And when you get down to it, who cares? It's really gripping and if nothing much happens, so what? the third book certainly makes up for it with twice as much happening as in the first 2 books combined. The good thing is, it doesn't even seem rushed.

    This book opens some intriguing questions, mainly about Elliania and Peottre. What is that tattoo, for example? Where is Elliania's mother? Who are the rain wild traders and this dragon which seems to be popping up everywhere? (If you want to know more about Tintaglia and the rain wilders, read the liveship traders series. I wouldn't reccomend it as much - it's a bit slow to start).

    The Outislanders and their customs is a refreshing break from the Six Duchies culture, which I find is a typical fantasy setting somewhat resembling the middle ages. I like the way the women are in charge, but it still has the traditional, and irritating, belief that women should stay home to look after the home.

    Not for the first time, we are shown Fitz's relationship problems in very close detail. I understand his trouble with his bastard daughter, Nettle (who doesn't know she is his daughter) but I wish he would do something about it. Also, he never even seems to attempt to copy Nettle's dream making talent, simply submitting to his terrifying and traumatic nightmares without putting up a fight.
    I feel for him with his troubles with Hap. Isn't that every father's worry? And didn't he do the same when he was young? But the episode with Jinna is frankly embarrassing. (get a life, Fitz!)
    I hated it when Fitz and the Fool had that fight. Hobb is really good at helping you see from Fitz's point of view; it's like you're right inside his head. But when the Fool explains his reasoning, I felt that that was perfectly reasonable too. Alas, Fitz, you do have a problem with your relationships, don't you?
    And last, but not least, why didn't Fitz go and see Burrich? It's the one of two things in the entire series that I just think 'No, that's not what he would have done'.

    It's a great book. Everyone, read it. It's definitely worth it and doesn't succumb to any of the usual problems with Fantasy....more info

  • 4 1/2! Another great story and an interesting link to the "Liveship" trilogy!
    "Golden Fool" book 2 of "The Tawny Man" series by Robin Hobb.

    FitzChivalry recently and reluctantly returned to Buckkeep after rescuing Prince Dutiful from the Piebalds. As he always feared his duty to the Farseer crown is never done as he is asked to take up the position of Dutiful's Skillmaster all the while playing the role of servant and helping man to his friend The Fool who continues his masquerade as the noble Lord Golden. Fitz must also assist Chade as the eyes and ears of Buckkeep as Prince Dutiful's betrothed arrives for their betrothal ceremony which complicates all aspects of Fitz's life. Fitz attempts to juggle all of his Buckkeep duties while at the same time trying to keep his adopted son Hap reigned in as he struggles to adjust to town life and with his new duties as an apprentice. As if this wasn't enough for Fitz, the Piebalds are lurking in the background seeking revenge...

    This was another great effort by Hobb. I am constantly amazed at her ability to take typically banal situations and write them in an interesting manner. Golden Fool chronicles roughly the year that follows the events taking place in "Fool's Errand (Tawny Man, Book 1)". The usual Hobb plot twist and turns are ever present as is her spectacular writing and characters. Also of note is that a connection is made in "Golden Fool" between the stories of the Farseers, The Fool and the events that take place in "Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders Trilogy (3 Mass Market Paper Backs Ship of Magic, Mad Ship & Ship of Destiny)". This was a great meshing of sagas and if you haven't read "Liveship" it might not be a bad idea to read that sage in between reading "The Farseer" trilogy and the "Tawny Man" Trilogy. If you don't, you will miss something special in this book.

    The Good: It is always hard to expand on what makes a Robin Hobb book good. The stories are not overly complex and for their length their isn't a substantial amount that takes place. What continues to bring me back to her stories is her writing ability and the characters that she writes with such great depth. She manages to make even the tritest situations interesting as she displays them through her main character's eyes.

    The Bad: Nothing memorable.

    Overall: If you have enjoyed Hobb's other works pick this up and give it a try!
    ...more info
  • Sombody wake me up!
    As in many trilogies, book two is just filler between the beginning and the end. So is the case here. I was hoping to at least resolve the issue as to wheather the Fool is a woman, (dissapointing), or a man. As much as I like Robin Hobb's work, I found myself saying, "just what the heck was that chapter about?". The character plots meander all over the place, the story line seems to bog down with too many loose ends, awaiting book three. I managed to finish it, because of my devotion to Hobb, and anticipate satisfying endings to all the issues in book three. Having said that, If you like Hobb, you will find enough to make this a satisfying, if skimpy meal.

    ...more info
  • Great -- but definitely a trilogy's middle volume
    Robin Hobb's characterization and writing are excellent as usual in this second volume of the Tawny Man trilogy. However, the plot did not advance much. Not all series have to be in trilogy form! I had two specific quibbles, which I will describe, but try not to give away anything that would spoil people's enjoyment.
    First, I found it hard to believe that with all the spying and observation that goes on in this series, there was a failure of intelligence to locate a large one armed man and a war horse in a small town.
    Second, there was an instance in which Fitz went running to give away a secret told him by a friend. I found this to be very much out of character for him....more info
  • great novel
    excellent one the best books yet. i absolutely cannot wait until book three comes out! if it's only half as good as this one, it will be worth buying and reading!...more info
  • Getting better
    I am happy to report that this book is far more interesting than book 1 of the Tawny Man series. The next book is fantastic. So, get through this and enjoy the final conclusive book....more info
  • Eh...
    I dunno about this third trilogy of this bunch. No offense to Lindholm/Hobb, but it really is not doing much for me. Indeed, I liked this more than I did "Fool's Errand" (mostly because I tend to love the slow-paced observation books for their character insight). Which "Golden Fool" certainly does have. The truth is that Hobb is a master writer and her prose and descriptions are beautiful and tasteful. But I just can't get into the over-arching plot of this story. Frankly, while I adore Fitz, the highlight of this book was the cameo mentions of the Bingtown bunch. It's not to say that this isn't a respectable fantasy--it's worth reading if for no other reason than these characters and Hobb's writing. But for me it is simply not living up to the prior two trilogies. Hopefully "Fool's Fate" will bring the punch I'm hoping for. ...more info
  • Great character development
    I enjoyed this book more than its predecessor, and if truth be told, better than the Farseer series. It's true that this volume consists mostly of character development, with little action (except for an incident involving Fitz). I found the description of the aftermath of that incident, that is Chade's, the Queen's, and Dutiful's individual reactions to it, to be very moving. And some family secrets are gradually coming out, too.

    I can't agree with an earlier review that compared this to Robert Jordan's latest book. Jordan's is the 10th volume in a series in which lately everything happens at a glacial pace. Hobb's book is the second volume of a trilogy, and if it isn't full of action, it certainly sets the stage for the next book. If Hobb were Jordan, this book would be followed by another character development book...and another...and so on. This book does introduce several new characters, but they are vital to the plot, not tangential (like Jordan's)....more info

  • Addictive and masterful
    I have almost come to the conclusion that Robin Hobb cannot write a book I don't like. This second volume in this series brings back much of the emotional content of the Assassin trilogy, along with superb character development for all the players, especially Chade and the Fool.

    Not much action in this book as usual, but I found it tremendously addictive.

    Fitz is older and wiser. I miss Nighteyes. A lot. Prince Dutiful is not a wuss any more. The new characters introduced in this volume are all great. The book builds and builds... I can tell that the final volume will be a blast....more info

  • Great but slower than you'd expect
    I've been disappointed with a lot of eagerly awaited novels lately, authors and series I've always enjoyed suddenly have seemed padded and slow ( Jordan, Cherryh, etc)
    I'm not disappointed here but maybe slightly wistful for the furious and frantic pace of her earlier books. Ms. Hobb normally builds up a trilogy of seemingly intactable and heartrending problems that are only resolved in the last third of the last part of a trilogy, normally in a fairly bittersweet fashion.
    This isn't the case here, for instance a plotline is wether Fitz's adopted son will lose his apprenticeship. Beautifully written and observed but not saving the world stuff.
    I wonder if this will conclude in three novels. For Ms Hobb to conclude this in a single book she will have to seriously accelerate the pace.
    As usual the writing is of the finest quality, though as others have said start with the Assasin books and Liveships before you read this.
    If you are a Hobb fan you should love this but I wonder if I'm alone in feeling that this was a trifle slow....more info
  • Another winning read from Robin Hobb
    Robin Hobb is the best writer, nobody makes you fall for the characters like her. I love a alot of authors but she is my all time favorite! I almost understand why the women from the movie "Misery" kidnapped the author. Just kidding, but I do wish I could read each chapter as it is created! Robin I can't wait for the next book, please hurry!! A year feels like an eternity....more info