“A truly extraordinary saga . . . The characterizations are consistently superb, and [Hobb] animates everything with love for and knowledge of the sea.”—Booklist
Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships—rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. Now the fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.
For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy. For Althea’s young nephew, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard the ship, the Vivacia is a life sentence. But the fate of the ship—and the Vestrits—may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider: the ruthless buccaneer captain Kennit, who plans to seize power over the Pirate Isles by capturing a liveship and bending it to his will.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robin Hobb's Mad Ship.
Praise for Robin Hobb and the Liveship Traders Trilogy
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin
“A major work of high fantasy, reading like a cross between Tolkien and Patrick O’Brian . . . one of the finest fantasy sagas to bridge the millennium.”—Publishers Weekly
“Rich, complex . . . [Hobb’s] plotting is complex but tightly controlled, and her descriptive powers match her excellent visual imagination. But her chief virtue is that she delineates character extremely well.”—Interzone
Customer ReviewsSee All
Having grown up on Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert, I find myself at a loss looking for a good, well crafted, entertaining story that teaches a lesson and makes me think without giving me nightmares.
Hobbs is an amazing writer. The character development, depth of visual detail, and intricate multiple story lines show the mark of a master. The problem I have with this book is one I've run across in several recently purchased titles. The introductory chapters are beguiling and engrossing with just enough bittersweet anxiety to pique my interest in developing a bond with the characters. Then, gradually, the scenes become more and more vicious and cruel with graphic images of torture, severed limbs, and callous mass murder.
I realize that these are the things that many people find fascinating but it's one of the reasons I don't go to the movies much anymore.
I appreciate a good bloody duel between good and evil but cold blooded violence really turns me off. I love a good adventure, but am not a fan of horror. I wish I could find an author as good as this one who shares my sensibilities. I see that there are quite a few titles by this author but I'm not going to take a chance on another one right away.
Like most readers, I purchased this book after the great ‘Assassins Apprentice” trilogy because I wanted to continue the story. Unfortunately, this particular book doesn’t take us there. Yes it takes place in the same world, in which past event might be talked about vaguely but that’s about it. Also, the book itself doesn’t stand alone very well. At the end of the book the story definitely advanced, but not to a point where it felt satisfying.
Now for the good things about the book: it was very well written. The characters are mostly likable (when they are supposed to be). The story itself is good, although not great, and it will definitely get you to continue it as you look forward to a connection to our friends over in the Six Duchies, which I’m sure will inevitably happen.
I’m sure that reading all three books (which I intend to) will show this to be a great story, but before starting, make sure you are committed to the trilogy, or else you’ll be left with half the story.
Part one, not Book one
This is a difficult book for me to rate.
As a novel, with all of the elements and characters and plots, it is a five star written novel; However ...
The one star part of this review is that this novel is NOT book one of a trilogy, but PART one of a three part story. There is absolutely zero resolution at the end of this novel. Every character and every plot (9 by my count) has just made the move from Beginning to end of act one, ready to move into the 'action' phase of doing things. Understand that what I am saying is that this is an 809 page Act one to a long epic tale.
But, what makes me read this is the rip-roaring maritime adventures of these characters in different parts of the world and on different ships. The action is lively, the stories are intriguing, and everything is continually flowing. Were there some sort of feeling that this was a stand alone book, it would retain the 5 star rating. However, this is no more a trilogy than the repackaged Lord of the Rings. LotR is very much one long tale, and has never tried to be anything but. This is the Liveship Trilogy, yet, it is not. It should be renamed The Liveship Epic, and each novel be titles Book One, Book Two, and Book Three.
I cannot in good conscience give this a 5 star rating because this is NOT a novel that is able to be read and enjoyed without having to complete the series.