Should you look at the sidebar on the left there you'll note that I don't have a 'fantasy' category in the archive, and that's because I happen to read so little of it - other books put themselves in my orbit more, but now this one has appeared, it "transcends the genre," apparently, and it sounds so good I want to know more.
The new book is the first volume of a trilogy which features characters from the author's previous series: "Fitz ... is preparing to celebrate Winterfest with his wife, Molly, when a messenger arrives at their rural retreat of Withywoods. In Fitz's old occupation, the arrival of a messenger was invariably the preamble to a testing adventure. But either he has lost his edge, or he prefers not to recall the past, for he ignores his visitor, who vanishes, leaving nothing but a sense of disquiet. The vanished messenger had something of momentous importance to impart, but it takes Fitz almost the entire book to realise it. In the headlong final pages, when the slowness of the opening chapters comes together, the reader realises with a mixture of exhilaration and dread that the adventure is just beginning."
"Hobb is always readable," Jane Shilling sums up, "but the elegant translucence of her prose is deceptive. What interests her is not fine writing per se, but writing that offers the least resistance between reader and story. Groping for comparisons, you find yourself in the company of the great compendious literary novelists. As the best writers do, Hobb shows us ourselves in her characters. Their longings and failings are our own, and we find our view of the world indelibly changed by their experiences. That is the ambition of high art. The novelists in any genre are rare who achieve it with Hobb’s combination of accessibility and moral authority."
Have you read Robin Hobb, and what do you think of her work?