It’s truly great to be back in the world of Fitz and The Fool. Over the last six novels, these are characters I have come to love, inhabiting a world that seems so real and vivid and thought out. I am unapologetically a fan and will probably always read these books, even if there’s eventually three dozen of them. So, I love being back here and this is a book that sets things up beautifully for the next entry (the ending is, without a doubt, superb), I just wish that for most of this long novel, more was happening.

Fitz has now retired top Withywood with Molly and is largely out of state affairs. Although Chade does continue to bother him and ask for favours. One day Molly announces she’s pregnant. Given her age, Fitz (and their daughter, Nettle) think that her mind is wandering. That senility has struck. But they get into the habit of humouring her beliefs, of going along with her even as the pregnancy seems to stretch two years. But then, one day – astoundingly – a baby arrives.

There’s a lot to admire here and there’s a lot to frustrate as well. Fitz continues to be a great central character and the world around him is getting deeper and richer. Hobb as always realty knows how to tug at the heartstrings and delivers a couple of crushing moments. But in what narrative there is, this reader joined the dots much quicker than Fitz, and waiting pretty much half a book for the lead character to catch up with you isn’t all that brilliant an experience. Particularly as there is nothing else to distract the reader. This is a book which desperately needs a subplot, something to engross and distract away from the main action – as there simply isn’t enough main action to go around.

Absolutely I will be back for the next installment, as the way it’s set up, I’d imagine it to be brilliant. I just wish there was more to this installment.

My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!

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