I was something of a fool for starting to read this book in the evening. In fact, very much a fool. Despite the fact that I've read it once before, I was still compelled to read it all the way through in one go. Which with a book that comes in at 660 pages is quite a lot of book to read all in one go. Worth being knackered in the morning though.
Fitz, now calling himself Tom Badgerlock, reckons he's earned his retirement, even if he does miss some of those at the court. But he's got Nighteyes, his faithful wolf and Wit partner, he's got Hap, an orphan who he took on, and he's got Starling when she flits into his life to share his bed. Until Chade comes to visit, his old mentor, the man who does the quiet work for the throne. And then, shortly after Chade, the Fool. Times are changing, the Fool needs his Catalyst back. The prince has gone missing.
Which means that Fitz is launched once again into adventure and intrigue, with a gripping plot, fascinating characters, and a briliantly imagined and evoked world. I'm not entirely sure how best to describe this book, other than to say that by my reckoning Robin Hobb is the best fantasy author I've ever read.
Read it. Just don't start reading it in the evening or when you haven't much time. It's one of those books you can't put down no matter how smart it would be and how much you're yawning at half two in the morning...