Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb is a US fantasy writer, best known for her trilogies set in The Realm of the Elderlings. Readers were first introduced to that world with the publication of Assassin’s Apprentice, the first volume of The Farseer Trilogy, in 1995. The story is told in the first person from the point of view of FitzChivalry Farseer, an illegitimate scion of the royal family, during a time when the Six Duchies are being attacked by warships from the OutIslands. The boy grows up being trained as an assassin, but soon claims a place as a warrior as well. The influence of an enigmatic prophet, the Fool, forces young Fitz into a role that will influence the destiny of the entire Six Duchies. The trilogy was completed with Royal Assassin in 1996 and Assassin’s Quest in 1997. All three were nominated for the British Fantasy Society’s 'best fantasy' award. First published in the US, the books quickly appeared in the UK and Australia as well, and are now widely translated throughout the world, including France, Spain, Israel, China, Russia, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Japan.

The Farseer Trilogy was followed by The Liveship Traders trilogy, a tale set in the same world, but in Bingtown, a trading city far to the south. Chronologically, these stories occur after the events of The Farseer Trilogy and are influenced by the events Fitz has set in motion. Ship of Magic (1998), Mad Ship (1999) and Ship of Destiny (2000) comprise that trilogy. This multi-character tale follows the adventures of the Liveship Vivacia as the magical ship comes to consciousness, and is taken over first as a slave ship and then as a pirate vessel. The emergence of sentient sea serpents that have a connection to the living ships alters the course of Bingtown’s war with Chalced and their subservience to Jamaillia. But it will exact a price as well. Ship of Magic and Mad Ship were both nominees for the Endeavor Award, presented to novels based on the Pacific North West or written by authors who live in that region.

After the Liveship Traders trilogy, Hobb returned to the tale of Fitz and the Fool with a new set of books entitled The Tawny Man trilogy. Fitz, left in peace and solitude at the end of The Farseer trilogy, is forced to return to serve his family once more as the Fool returns from his adventures in Bingtown to enlist his aid in once more changing the world. The two characters are reunited in Fool’s Errand (2001) followed by Golden Fool (2003) and Fools Fate (2004).  In 2003, Robin Hobb was honoured with the Elf Fantasy Award, a statuette created by Wendy Pini, at Elf Fantasy Fair. Other awards for Robin Hobb’s work include Imaginales Best Short Story award in 2006 for her tale The Inheritance.

Departing from The Realm of the Elderlings, Hobb moved on to a ‘gunpowder fantasy’ entitled The Soldier Son Trilogy. Set in a world politically divided between old and new nobility, where a man’s life is determined by his birth order, Nevare knows from childhood that he is destined to be a soldier and a cavalry officer. He is born into a time of expansion and new technology, from gas lights to more sophisticated firearms. But when his father entrusts him to the honor of an old enemy for training, Nevare is infected with a magic indigenous to the lands and the conquered people. He  soon finds his well mapped future derailed as the magic changes him both physically and mentally, ultimately forcing him to  lead a double life. Shaman’s Crossing (2005), Forest Mage (2006) and Renegade’s Magic (2007) make up the Soldier Son Trilogy. Shaman’s Crossing was honoured in 2007 in the Best Foreign Novel category at Imaginales in Epinal, France. Renegade’s Magic won the Endeavor Award for 2007.

Robin Hobb’s most recent work is a four part tale, the Rain Wild Chronicles. Dragon Keeper, published in 2009, returns to the Rain Wilds, one of the settings from The Liveship Traders trilogy, to pick up the tale of the denizens of that toxic and wild region, and the fate of the dragons who hatched there. Told from multiple points of view, the story moves between the tale of Alise, a genteel Bingtown woman and dragon scholar who is determined to visit the Rain Wilds and see dragons for herself, and Thymara, a girl of the Rain Wilds, born so changed by her exposure to the environment there that she is deemed too deformed to be allowed to marry or reproduce. Recruited instead as a dragon keeper, she joins a company of other similarly changed youngsters to accompany a motley horde of dragons up the Rain Wild River in hopes of finding a better place for the dragons in that unexplored territory.  Keepers and dragons are both changed by that adventure and by their association with one another. The four volumes of the Rain Wild Chronicles are Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven (2010), City of Dragons (forthcoming in 2012) and Dragon’s Blood, expected in 2013.  Some characters from The Liveship Trader Trilogy reappear in the Rain Wild Chronicles.

Robin Hobb currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, dividing her time between a house in the city of Tacoma and a small ‘pocket farm’ in the tiny town of Roy where she is venturing into organic farming on a very small scale.

Robin Hobb was born in Oakland, California and spent the first decade of her life in sunny California. In the early sixties, she and her family left the suburbs of San Rafael and moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they renovated a run-down log house. The change in lifestyle was sudden and dramatic. They went from grocery stores and sidewalks to a gravel road and meat on the hoof. There she learned to hunt and fish and to value the companionship of her wolf-dog hybrid, in addition to learning the skills needed for self-sufficient house maintenance such as plumbing, wiring, and insulation. The family created a large garden and erected a meat cache in the front yard.  In the summers when the cache was not in use for storing frozen moose meat, it became her first private place to work on writing.

She graduated from high school at 17 in 1969.  After a brief stint at Denver University, she married Fred Ogden and followed her husband to his hometown of Kodiak, Alaska. There they lived at Chiniak village near a satellite tracking facility on Kodiak Island, before moving on to Pocatello Idaho to complete their educations. They have lived in various locations in the Pacific Northwest since then, finally settling in Tacoma, Washington. She and her husband Fred have four grown offspring and three grandchildren. Their current interests include time on the water in their small vessel Charmante, organic gardening on their pocket farm, and operating a small judo dojo in Roy, Washington.

Robin Hobb began her writing career as Megan Lindholm. A prolific scribbler in her high school years, she first began submitting fiction and poetry to magazines in the 1970’s.  In the 70’s and 80’s she wrote for local newspapers (The Kodiak Times and the Kodiak Fish Wrapper and Litter Box Liner) and for various children’s magazines such as Humpty Dumpty and Highlights for Children. Her short story, “The Poaching,” was awarded a grant by the Alaska Council for the Arts and was republished in an anthology, Finding our Boundaries, in 1979. In the late seventies, she moved from writing children’s stories into the realm of fantasy and SF. She published short works in several ‘fanzines’ of the day, notably Space and Time edited by Gordon Linzner. In 1982, she sold her first novel, Harpy’s Flight.  It featured characters who had first appeared in a short story, “Bones for Dulath” in an anthology entitled AMAZONS! edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson. AMAZONS! won the 1980 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology and helped her work to reach a wider readership. As Megan Lindholm, she went on to publish ten novels, including The Gypsy, a collaboration with Steven Brust and numerous short stories.  She was a participant in the shared world of Liavek throughout the mid-eighties, collaborating with Brust on several short stories. Her best known work as Megan Lindholm is Wizard of the Pigeons, an urban fantasy set in Seattle. She wrote numerous short stories as well that have been featured in magazines and anthologies. Her works have been finalists for the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Theodore Sturgeon award. In 1990, A Touch of Lavender won the Asimov’s Reader Award as well as being a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula. Her works as Megan Lindholm have been widely translated and have been very popular in The Netherlands and France. In 2004, the translation of Wizard of the Pigeons won the Best Novel Award at Imaginales in Epinal, France.

In 1995, she launched a parallel career under the pseudonym Robin Hobb, to publish epic fantasy written in a style that is very different from her style as Megan Lindholm. As Megan Lindholm, she continues to write and publish short stories. The collection The Inheritance  (2011) features shorter works by both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm. Forthcoming stories by Megan Lindholm include “Neighbors” for the anthology Dangerous Women  (2012) and “Old Paint” to be published in a future issue of Asimov’s.

More information about Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb can be found at the following sites:

Both Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb are active on Facebook and LiveJournal. The Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm Yuku site is http://robinhobbmeganlindholm.yuku.com/. For Italian readers:  http://www.bloodmemories.it/.

She can be easily reached by email at robinhobb@robinhobb.com.

"Robin Hobb writes achingly well" SFX

"Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers ... what makes her novels as addctive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics" The Times

"Hobb is superb, spinning wonderful characters and plots from pure imagination" Conn Iggulden

March 4th 2012 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 behind the stories.City of Dragons is the third in your Ra [...]

Read interview

Robin Hobb reviews

Fool's Assassin

Fitz and the Fool #1 written 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 [...]

Published: 2014

Our rating: 9.9 | 2 positive reader reviews

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Fool's Quest

Fitz and the Fool #2 written 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 [...]

Published: 2015

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Fate

Fitz and the Fool #3 written 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 [...]

Published: 2017

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince

NA written 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 [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Apprentice

The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1 written 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, [...]

Published: 1995

Our rating: 9.2 | 25 positive reader reviews

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Royal Assassin

The Farseer Trilogy: Book 2 written 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 [...]

Published: 1996

Our rating: 9.2 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Quest

The Farseer Trilogy: Book 3 written 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 [...]

Published: 1997

Our rating: 9.8 | 8 positive reader reviews

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Ship of Magic

The Liveship Traders: Book 1 written 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 [...]

Published: 1998

Our rating: 9.7 | 4 positive reader reviews

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The Mad Ship

The Liveship Traders: Book 2 written 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 [...]

Published: 1998

Our rating: 9.9 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Ship of Destiny

The Liveship Traders: Book 3 written 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 [...]

Published: 2000

Our rating: 9.5 | 2 positive reader reviews

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Dragon Keeper

The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 1 written 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 [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 8.5 | 6 positive reader reviews

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Dragon Haven

The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 2 written 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 [...]

Published: 2010

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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City of Dragons

The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 3 written 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 [...]

Published: 2011

Our rating: 9.7 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Blood of Dragons

The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 4 written 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 [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Shaman's Crossing

The Soldier Son Trilogy: Book 1 written 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 [...]

Published: 2005

Our rating: 9.0 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Forest Mage

The Soldier Son Trilogy: Book 2 written by Robin Hobb

The King's Cavalla Academy has been ravaged by the Speck plague. The disease has decimated the ranks of both cadets and instructors, and even the survivors remain sickl [...]

Published: 2006

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Renegade's Magic

The Soldier Son Trilogy: Book 3 written by Robin Hobb

The people of Getty's town remember the death of their cemetery soldier vividly. They remember believing him guilty of unspeakable crimes, condemning him, and then watc [...]

Published: 2008

Our rating: 7.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Fool's Errand

The Tawny Man: Book 1 written by Robin Hobb

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the Red Ship War with the terrifying Outislanders. Since then, Fitz has wandered the world accompanied only by his wolf and Wit-p [...]

Published: 2001

Our rating: 9.0 | 2 positive reader reviews

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The Golden Fool

The Tawny Man: Book 2 written by Robin Hobb

Fitz has succeeded in rescuing Prince Dutiful from the clutches of the Piebald rebels, and has returned with him to Buckkeep castle. With Dutiful safe again, Queen Kettrick [...]

Published: 2002

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Fool's Fate

The Tawny Man: Book 3 written by Robin Hobb

The triumphant conclusion to the tale of the Farseers, in which kingdoms must stand or fall on the beat of a dragon’s wings, or a Fool’s heart. A small and sadl [...]

Published: 2003

Our rating: 9.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

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