Fool’s Errand is the first book in the Tawny Man trilogy—the third out of five subseries within Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings gigantic series—and it is my favorite installment within the RotE so far. This is seriously a lovely, memorable, and poignant return to the world of Fitz, Nighteyes, and the Fool’s journey. Honestly, after the disappointment I had with the last installment of the Farseer trilogy, and after the greatness of the Liveship Traders trilogy, I didn’t expect to find how much I’ve missed seeing Fitz, the Fool, and Nigtheyes together until the moment I flipped the pages of this book.
Fool’s Errand takes the readers back to Fitz’s journey and I must say I’m absolutely delighted by how captivating this book was got me. Fifteen years have passed since the end of Assassin’s Quest, FitzChivalry Farseer, now called Tom Badgerlock, is now living in a self-imposed exile with Nighteyes and Hap. Badgerlock, a persona/identity he created in order to forget his past and began anew. The exile, of course, started to change when familiar faces from Fitz’s past came knocking on his door.
“Stop longing.You poison today’s ease, reaching always for tomorrow.”
Slow paced and slow build as per all Hobb's books, almost the entire first half was spent on Fitz recounting the things he did during the fifteen years’ time gap. The second half then focused on the search for Prince Dutiful. Don’t worry, this is completely the opposite of the tedious search for Verity in Assassin’s Quest. In the midst of the search for Dutiful, there was a myriad of characters development and well polished world-building elements to be found. Some readers will probably find this book boring to read, but it certainly wasn’t the case for me. I honestly found this book to be an extremely well-written meticulous and beautiful story. The difficulty of coping with the passage of time, the racial prejudice against the Witted, loneliness, and most of all, animal companionship, are all the main themes of this book. It was utterly a memorable experience due to the characters. The most crucial reason for why I enjoyed reading this one so much was because of the fact that I’ve seen and known these characters during their younger days. This knowledge made the characters even more real than it already seemed to be; even reading their daily lives has become something of a homecoming and reunion with my real friends.
I don't even know where to begin explaining how outstanding was the character’s study for Fitz in this book but let me try to do it briefly. I’m always amazed by how well written Fitz was in Farseer trilogy and Hobb really step up her game with this installment. He’s simply a complex and realistic character. Some will hate/love him for it but for me, I found all Fitz’s take on loneliness and emptiness something I can relate to perfectly. This will make me sound like a broken record but I honestly don’t care, this book has amazing character developments and studies and I’ll keep on repeating this in all Hobb’s books until there isn’t any of them anymore, which I envisioned will be as likely as waiting for snow to fall in my country. Fitz, Nighteyes, and the Fool’s friendship have become a treasure I will always remember.
Unlike Liveship Traders, Farseer trilogy has even fewer actions and that’s still true here, the actions here consisted more or less of two or three skirmishes and that’s completely okay. Hobb’s strengths are her memorable and well-written characters which keep on getting better and better with each installment because of the subsequent information the readers have collected with each book. This, in my opinion, made up for the lack of action scenes. Plus, as crazy as this will sound, her lovely prose actually keeps on getting better.
The world-building information that has been gathered from the past six books and novella wasn’t wasted as there’s always something new to find in its lore and magic systems. Know this, you’re in for the long game here. In this installment, we get to see more and more intricate explanation on the Wit magic system, the Old Blood, and a few revelations on the purpose of the Fool, specifically the White Prophet and the Catalyst. For your information, I’ve read the novella The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince before reading this book and it enhanced my experience of this book. Although the novella’s publication year was the year 2013 and this book was first released on the year 2001, it doesn’t really matter which one you read first but my recommendation is to read the novella first because the novella actually explained the history of the Piebald Prince and why the Witted became hated in the first place intricately.
“The past is no further away than the last breath you took.”
Fool’s Errand is the first full 5 stars rating I gave to Robin Hobb’s books and hopefully the first of many. This is truly an amazing start to the highly acclaimed Tawny Man trilogy; it’s my favorite installment of the entire Realm of the Elderlings series so far. I’m looking forward to engraving the next two books into my past, hopefully as fond and memorable as how this book has become to me.
Picture: Fool’s Errand by Koji Suzuki