I have linked the previous series below, and I think they are a prerequisite before entering this installment just to ensure you have the right amount of impact.
I should have known better before I started this book earlier today, I had other pressing plans: namely setting the house to rights, some ironing I have left too late and a lot more posts since I have been reading a lot this week as well as some other writing that I should really try to do right. All those plans went out the window as I drowned in this book and all the emotions it threw at me. There was nothing here that I objected to or which threw me off the emotional pace I was keeping. I assumed I was a veteran in reading this author and I had control over how I read the book but I assure you that was a supreme misjudgment. I might continue to blame my friends who had been reading and relishing Robin Hobb while not even being considerate enough to tell me then (You know who you are!), they rectified that error by starting me down the path a couple of years ago so maybe I should let them off the hook(I end up mentioning this almost every time I review a Robin Hobb, but I cannot help myself. It is as much a part of the review as anything else). It is hard to do that when the writing is this good and all-consuming and I was(until quite recently) completely unaware of its existence. If someone is new to fantasy, I would recommend starting with these books just to check if you have the taste for it in them.
In the Tawny Man series, we are visiting old friends after the diversion through Bingtown. I liked the fact that I now had a working knowledge of what happened in Bingtown and therefore could secretly smile with hidden answers when people in the tale wondered aloud about the rumours they heard from there. It has been almost fifteen years when we last left the former assassin after he had poured his heart and soul into his role. He seemed at relative peace when we saw him in the epilogue and at the start of narrating his own tale but this begins with a foreboding that change is on its way. Change trickles into his life until it becomes a flood. He has to face all the consequences of the events that happened all those years ago and the choices he made for the good of everyone. There are heart-wrenching moments for all concerned. If I tried to explain the tale to you, it could be equated to Fitz/ Tom trying to explain either the ‘Skill’ or the ‘Wit’ (both forms of potent magic that form the crux of the story itself) to someone who had no aptitude for either, since only to live it would be to understand it. I may seem a lot more verbose in singing these praises than I normally do, but I spent all day devouring the book and doing little else. I tried to stop at at least three significant spots but to no avail.
I highly recommend this story, with just few players who have predominant roles it creates a very vivid picture!