Assassin's Apprentice - a fantasy I just couldn't put down
Assassin's Apprentice #1 Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb
Award: Locus for best fantasy
Published 1995, 435 pages
An excellent fantasy, first in a trilogy, and I can't wait to read the rest! Loved the telling in first person as an old man looks back on his life and sometimes admits he doesn't remember an event clearly or he was drugged or injured so doesn't remember a situation....made it much more believable (as much as a fantasy needs to be believable).
Set in a fairly typical medieval-type world of kings and princes (good & evil), neighboring countries vying for power or help from the King, raiding from enemies, etc. Within that familiar framework exists a quiet magical ability in a few and some who are trained to use it with strength.
The narrator, Fitz, is a little boy at the beginning of the story and this first of the trilogy is his COA segment as he grows up - he's the bastard of a favorite prince which does him no favors. He endures lessons, bullying, being ignored, and all the "Cinderella" type of behavior towards him, but in spite of it all he grows to be a honorable young man under the tutelage of the stablemaster who is another great character. Fitz's affinity and connection to animals is a wonderful part of him and a soft spot in the harsher storyline.
The plotting is excellent; the story moves steadily forward with enough intrigue and action and friendships made and betrayed to keep me constantly wanting to know what happens next. I can't wait to move on to the next.....So good (and recommended by my youngest son - thanks Eric!)