This is a book by Robin Hobb that came out in 1995. It is part of a series of books names the ‘Farseer Trilogy’, named after the surname of the main character.
This story is set in a fantasy land named ‘The Six Duchies’, and tells the life story of a young man named Fitz who happens to be the bastard son of a prince. The story is told in narrative style by an old man who seems to be Fitz in his final years, and thus benefits from hindsight as well as help highlight important plot points we might otherwise miss. The story follows him from the time he is six years old and continues until he is almost a grown man. We see his life change due to circumstances that are beyond his control, we see him struggle to find a place in a land where he is shunned for his bastard birth, and we see him develop as a character bit by bit and get invested in him emotionally. By the of the story Fitz is a complex young man we can sympathize with despite his career choice. Hobb did a great job with this character.
He also did a great job in presenting the story from the point of view of the people of the world. The focus of the story isn’t in the crisis the kingdom goes through, it’s how the characters deal with the crisis. It lacks the epic sweep of the usual fantasy series, but is no less interesting.
Like in any fantasy world, magic plays a role in this one, but the presence of magic in the setting is subtle and devious, the majority of the populace doesn’t even know it exists, and it’s not easy to spot it’s influence in the world. But when it does get used, the consequences are far reaching.
I give this book two thumbs up and recommend it to any reader of fantasy looking for a new book to read.