Alcomancer 01 - Robin Hobb’s The Fool’s Assassin

October 31, 2016

In this episode Mark and Dan tear open old wounds and wallow piteously through the pages of Robin Hobb’s grand return to the trials and tribulations of FitzChivalry Farseer - bastard assassin come bumbling father.


The Fool’s Assassin (2014) -book one of the ‘Fitz and the Fool’ series- follows Fitz as his hard won happy ending is gradually dismantled before his very eyes. Luckily we brought a big ol’ bottle gin to the party to help things along.



In a genre known more for its blunt edge trauma than emotional subtlety the Fool’s Assassin offers a rare break from battles and babes and instead seeks to show off something of fantasies sensitive side.

Hobb does a masterful job of exploring her cast and crew as contained individual characters, but it’s the way she traces the lines between them that sets her books apart. The relationships between character in this novel are expertly drawn and a genuine pleasure to read. Even when they end in tears and tragedy.


In this episode we take this as our general theme and invite you to join us for a closer look at the nature of these relationships and the scenes and devices Hobb employs to exhibit them.


For those unfamiliar with Hobb’s work or just looking for more (the wiki link also includes some of her work under her other alias Megan Lindholm):


We struggled to talk about the book in isolation. Despite our best efforts, we found ourselves referring to the previous books with Fitz in them. Also, there are way too many people with Fitz in their name.


So, if you want to know more about the other books we talked about, start with the Farseer Trilogy. Be prepared, these books are long, and the journey fraught with emotional turmoil.


Similarly, in case other authors mentioned caught your eye, here are some equally handy links:


Ursula Le Guin -

We discussed Le Guin in comparison to Hobb, specifically the nature of loneliness and the isolation of characters in both Hobb’s work and Le Guin’s Earthsea novels.


Robert Jordan -

Jordan came up when we talked about the nature of destiny and prophecy in The Fool’s Assassin. Specifically how the characters in The Wheel of Time may bitch about being The Chosen One(s) yet they still all pile in when it comes to the crunch. A nice counterpoint to Fitz’s great reluctance to do anything.


Brandon Sanderson -

Joe Abercrombie -


There are spoilers abound in this podcast, so be warned. Another spoiler - gin was a bad idea.


Our outro song ‘Why Me?’ was sung by a Bryan Ferry impersonator.