When I picked up Robin Hobb's first book, Assassin's Apprentice, on a suggestion, I was impressed. When I read this one I was astounded.
After foiling Prince Regal's plot to claim the throne, Fitz returns to Buckkeep, where he has to face his enemy on a daily basis. While he fights his own battles, the six duchies are still threatened by raiders, leaving Verity defending the kingdom, King Shrewd ill, and Regal free to plot.
Fitz meets Regal's treachery at every turn, but his ultimate treachery could be the downfall of the six duchies.
Royal Assassin does exactly what the second book of a series should, but unfortunately a lot don't. It builds on the story and the tension, making the reader want more.
The real strength of Hobb's writing is her characters, and she is in fine form in this segment of the trilogy. All of her characters are well-rounded and three-dimensional, and they pull you deeper into the story. They make you feel like you know and care about them.
This book has vaulted the third book in the trilogy, Assassin's Quest, to the top of my reading list.