This first book of a trilogy will hook you in and make you read. With a very different type of protagonist, I was intrigued. When I first read this book I had not come across an assassin character that had been portrayed as likeable and relatible. Fitz is the illegitimate son of the King in Waiting Chivalry. He is dropped off at the age of six by someone we assume is his mother's father at the guard post where his father is.
From that point we are taken on a twisting tale of magic, intrigue and self discovery. Fitz is a much deeper character than you would expect. Being the son of the heir to the throne, who abdicates once he finds out he has a son is bad enough but then his father retires to his personal estate, leaving Fitz in the hands of someone else.
In this first book we get the tale of Fitz growing into his role as royal assassin. He is expected to stay behind the scenes, do things that the King needs done quietly. He grows up for the first few years in the stables, learning life as a common man and loving animals.
As the story evolves we find out that he has the Wit, the ability to bond with an animal and see through their eyes. It is a forbidden gift and he could be killed outright for having it but the bonds he develops with various creatures show a depth to his character.
We have all the usual coming of age tropes in this wonderful book. Finding and losing friends, first love and of course honor. Along with and wrapped around this coming of age story is the magic and horror of the Forged ones. People who look like normal people but have had all that makes us human and humane removed from them.
And that is the heart of the first three books by Robin Hobb. A tale about battles of magic and invasions that will have you reaching for the next and the next book.