Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb

(9.5/10)

Ship of Destiny is the final book of Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy trilogy The Liveship Traders. First published in Great Britain by Voyager in 2000. The story is written in third-person narrative and consists of 903 pages.

The dragon Tintaglia, released from her wizardwood coffin, flies high over the Rain Wild River. Below her, Reyn and Seldon have been left to drown; while Malta and the Satrap attempt to navigate the acid flow of the river in a decomposing boat.

Althea and Brashen are finally at sea together, sailing the liveship Paragon into pirate waters to rescue the Vestrit family Liveship, Vivacia, stolen by the pirate king, Kennit; but there is mutiny brewing in their ragtag crew; and in the mind of the mad ship itself. And all the while the waters around the Vivacia are seething with giant serpents, following the liveship as it sails to its destiny.

Robin Hobb is rightly classed as one of the finest authors the genre has ever been fortunate enough to have. The Farseer Trilogy established this status – does the Liveship Traders keep the high standard? The answer is yes, the quality of the writing is once again excellent and the characters are full and lifelike. I did enjoy the trilogy but not to the same degree as The Farseer Trilogy. There is something about the characters that stopped me from getting completely behind them. They are undoubtedly well written but also often highly annoying (this may be intended, if it was, then it was done superbly well).

The dragon’s eyes spun silver flecked with scarlet, so great was her anger. She snorted a hot blast of breath that nearly knocked him down. Then with a single forepaw she snatched him up as if he were a doll stuffed with sawdust. Her talons closed painfully around his chest. He could barely take a breath.

From: Ship of Destiny - Chapter: Tintaglia's Flight

The story was been set in Ship of Magic and The Magic Ship, what Ship of Destiny does, and does well, is bring everything to a satisfying conclusion, tidying up all lose ends and leaving the reader feeling that the time and energy spent reading the 2,500+ pages was all worthwhile. The writing and narrative are once again excellent; chapters are well structured and easy to read. There is a theme running through all three books, that of morality. This is not done with a sense of preaching but rather the effect is one that makes the reader think deeply about the issues that are raised and Hobb subtly suggests that a life spent in peace and harmony, a life spent putting other first may be the way to true happiness.

Admiration of Hobb’s work is widespread; Steven Erikson describes her as a “subtle and clever writer”. George RR Martin believes that The Liveship Traders trilogy surpasses the Farseer Trilogy. This praise is well given, Robin Hobb is indeed amongst the elite of fantasy authors, only Steven Erikson, George RR Martin and Ursula Le Guin are capable of producing books of such high quality.

Kennit cleared his throat. It was a little time before he could speak. ‘I never thought to stand here again, nor speak to you once more.’ Love was rising from the ship like a flood tide, threatening to engulf him. Kennit fought to hold himself apart from Paragon. He forced out the rebuke. ‘This is not what we planned, ship. This is not what we agreed upon at all.

From: Ship of Destiny - Chapter: Paragon of the Ludlucks

The Liveship Traders trilogy has it all – intricate plot, realistic characters, a sense of magic and mercifully free from cliché. Ship of Destiny closes the trilogy perfectly; Hobb uses her skills to the full in keeping the reader gripped from start to finish.

It’s been a long time coming, but there’s a fantasy writer in our midst who’s doing something serious with a genre that deserves a lot of the cynicism directed its way. Always fascinating, its seriousness is balanced by an epic backdrop of events SFX

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2 positive reader review(s) for Ship of Destiny

Our interview with Robin Hobb

City of Dragons, the third instalment in The Rain Wild Chronicles, will be published in the UK on the 23rd of April 2012. In advance of the book's release, Robin Hobb has kindly taken time to expound on the inspirations b [...]

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All reviews for Robin Hobb's The Liveship Traders series

Ship of Magic

by Robin Hobb

On the northernmost point of the Cursed Shores lies Bingtown, a bustling hub of exotic trade and home to a proud merchant nobility famed for its extraordinary vessels. Only [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 1
Published: 1998

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.7 | positive reader reviews

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The Mad Ship

by Robin Hobb

Althea Vestrit has found a new home aboard the liveship Ophelia, but lives only to reclaim the Vivacia as her rightful inheritance. However, Vivacia has been captured by th [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 2
Published: 1998

Score: 102

Our rating: 9.9 | positive reader reviews

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Ship of Destiny

by Robin Hobb

The dragon, Tintaglia, has been released from her wizardwood coffin, only to find that the glories of her kingdom have passed into ancient memory. Meanwhile, Malta Vestrit [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 3
Published: 2000

Score: 97

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews

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More Robin Hobb reviews

Fool's Assassin

by Robin Hobb

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service [...]

Series: Fitz and the Fool #1
Published: 2014

Score: 101

Our rating: 9.9 | 2 positive reader reviews

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Fool's Quest

by Robin Hobb

Happy endings never last... Years ago, they freed a dragon from the glaciers on Aslevjal. Then they parted ways, the Fool returning to far-off Clerres, while Fitz finally c [...]

Series: Fitz and the Fool #2
Published: 2015

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Fate

by Robin Hobb

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer's daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield grea [...]

Series: Fitz and the Fool #3
Published: 2017

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince

by Robin Hobb

One of the darkest legends in the Realm of the Elderlings recounts the tale of the so-called Piebald Prince, a Witted pretender to the throne unseated by the actions of bra [...]

Series: NA
Published: 0000

Score: 70

Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Apprentice

by Robin Hobb

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, [...]

Series: The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 1995

Score: 115

Our rating: 9.2 | 19 positive reader reviews

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Royal Assassin

by Robin Hobb

Honesty is the bedrock for any relationship. But how can Fitz – royal bastard, trainee assassin, holder of secrets crucial to the security of the kingdom – bare [...]

Series: The Farseer Trilogy: Book 2
Published: 1996

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.2 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Quest

by Robin Hobb

With the king no longer living and the heir, Verity, missing and declared dead, Prince Regal has treacherously seized the throne. Regal’s torture has left Fitz more d [...]

Series: The Farseer Trilogy: Book 3
Published: 1997

Score: 105

Our rating: 9.8 | 7 positive reader reviews

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Dragon Keeper

by Robin Hobb

Guided by the great blue dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a Tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wilds River, the first to make the perilous journey t [...]

Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 1
Published: 0000

Score: 91

Our rating: 8.5 | 6 positive reader reviews

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Dragon Haven

by Robin Hobb

The dragon keepers and the fledgling dragons are forging a passage up the treacherous Rain Wild River. They are in search of the mythical Elderling city of Kelsingra, and a [...]

Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 2
Published: 2010

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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City of Dragons

by Robin Hobb

The dragon keepers and fledgling dragons have discovered a route to the lost city of Kelsingra but there is one problem: they need to be able to fly to cross the treacherou [...]

Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 3
Published: 2011

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.7 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Blood of Dragons

by Robin Hobb

Dragon blood and scales, dragon liver and eyes and teeth. All required ingredients for medicines with near-miraculous healing powers. The legendary blue dragon Tintaglia is [...]

Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 4
Published: 0000

Score: 88

Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Shaman's Crossing

by Robin Hobb

Nevare Burvelle was destined from birth to be a soldier. The second son of a newly anointed nobleman, he must endure the rigors of military training at the elite King's [...]

Series: The Soldier Son Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 2005

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.0 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Ship of Destiny reader reviews

from WA

This book is nice, The cover art is amazing as always and the writing fresh and new, and the story amazing and absorbing, but a but dragged out. Otherwise an amazing book! Long live Robin Hobb!!!

from Redfearn

Robin Hobb is once again at the top of her game. She is the best author around in this genre at the moment, she weaves a rich tapestry of plot lines involving characters that are so real that you could almost touch them. This is as close to perfect as it is possible to get.

9.5/10 from 3 reviews

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