Lately, I've been trying to collect a list of new authors that I might like to read. Based on other writers I enjoy, one name that kept popping up was Robin Hobb. Deciding to give her a chance, I picked up Hobb's first novel, Assassin's Apprentice. I wasn't disappointed.
Fitz, the bastard son of a prince, is given into the care of the royal house by his grandfather, which sets into a motion a chain of events that makes for a good read. Prince Chivalry relinquishes his claim to the throne in disgrace, and is later assassinated by the ambitious Prince Regal, who, although third in line for the throne, plots to take it for himself. Meanwhile, the kingdom faces a threat from outside its borders as well, as raiders attack relentlessly.
Fitz, meanwhile is given odd jobs around the palace, and is generally reviled by those in the palace. But King Shrewd sees a good use for him, as the king's assassin. His first mission is to elminate the feeble brother of the heir's bride-to-be. But when Fitz arrives, he finds the brother anything, but feeble, and uncovers a plot to overthrow the crown.
This is a promising first book with good characterization and a lot of action. The naming system, whereby royalty is named for a quality they will hopefully have, can get a little tiresome, but that's my only complaint. Overall a very good book. The second book in the series, Royal Assassin, is high in my to-be-read stack.