Robin Hobb is one of the pen names of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Odgen. She grew up in Alaska, a setting that has impacted her work. She had her first stories published when she was thirty, under her other pen name, Megan Lindholm.
A professional writer for almost 40 years, Robin Hobb has been writing epic traditional fantasy since 1995 with the publication of her book, Assassin’s Apprentice, the first one taking place in the Realm of Elderlings. It is in this universe that most of Hobb’s books take place and she is known for her focus on the characters’ internal conflicts over the external. She has been nominated for and won multiple awards, and was given in 2021 the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.
How to read Robin Hobb’s Series in Order?
Most of Robin Hobb’s books take place in The Realm of the Elderlings, also known as the World of Eda and El (with the exception of Soldier Son and some short stories). For more information (especially to know more about the short stories), check out our Realm of the Elderlings reading order.
Reading The Farseer Trilogy in Order
- Assassin’s Apprentice (1995) – Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
- Royal Assassin (1996) – Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.
- Assassin’s Quest (1997) – King Shrewd is dead. As is Fitz-or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest. Only Verity’s return-or the heir his princess carries-can save the Six Duchies. But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal.
Reading the Liveship Traders Trilogy in Order
- Ship of Magic (1998) – 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, 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.
- The Mad Ship (1999) – The Vestrit family’s liveship, Vivacia, has been taken by the pirate king, Kennit. Held captive on board, Wintrow Vestrit finds himself competing with Kennit for Vivacia’s love. Leagues away, Althea Vestrit lives only to reclaim the Vivacia and with her friend, Brashen, she plans a dangerous rescue. Meanwhile in Bingtown, the fading fortunes of the Vestrit family lead Malta deeper into the magical secrets of the Rain Wild Traders. And just outside Bingtown, Amber dreams of relaunching Paragon, the mad liveship…
- Ship of Destiny (2000) – As Bingtown slides toward disaster, clan matriarch Ronica Vestrit searches for a way to bring the city’s inhabitants together against a momentous threat. Meanwhile, Althea Vestrit continues her perilous quest to track down and recover her liveship. Bold though it is, Althea’s scheme may be in vain. For her beloved “Vivacia “will face the most terrible confrontation of all as the secret of the liveships is revealed.
Reading the Tawny Man Trilogy in Order
- Fool’s Errand (2001) – Fifteen years have passed since the end of the Red Ship War. Since then, Fitz has wandered the world accompanied by his wolf, Nighteyes, finally settling in a remote tiny cottage. But lately the world has come crashing in again. The Witted are being persecuted because of their magical bonds with animals; and young Prince Dutiful has gone missing just before his crucial diplomatic wedding to an Outislander princess. Fitz’s assignment to fetch Dutiful back in time for the ceremony seems very much like a fool’s errand, but the dangers ahead could signal the end of the Farseer reign.
- Golden Fool (2002) – Prince Dutiful has been rescued and the court has resumed its normal rhythms. There FitzChivalry Farseer, gutted by the loss of his wolf, must take up residence at Buckkeep as a journeyman assassin. Posing as a bodyguard, Fitz becomes the eyes and ears behind the walls, guiding a kingdom straying closer to civil strife each day. Bereft of support and adrift in intrigue, Fitz finds that his biggest challenge may be simply to survive.
- Fool’s Fate (2003) – A small and sadly untried coterie – the old assassin Chade, the serving-boy Thick, Prince Dutiful, and his reluctant Skillmaster, Fitz – sail towards the distant island of Aslevjal. There they must fulfil the Narcheska’s challenge to her betrothed: to lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends tell is buried there deep beneath the ice, upon her hearth. Only with the completion of this quest can the marriage proceed, and the resulting alliance signal an end to war between the two kingdoms…
Reading the Soldier Son Books in Order
- Shaman’s Crossing (2005) – Nevare Burvelle was destined from birth to be a soldier. The second son of a newly anointed nobleman, he must endure the rigors of military training at the elite King’s Cavella Academy-and survive the hatred, cruelty, and derision of his aristocratic classmates-before joining the King of Gernia’s brutal campaign of territorial expansion. The life chosen for him will be fraught with hardship, for he must ultimately face a forest-dwelling folk who will not submit easily to a king’s tyranny. And they possess an ancient magic their would-be conquerors have long discounted-a powerful sorcery that threatens to claim Nevare Burvelle’s soul and devastate his world once the Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares.
- Forest Mage (2006) – Plague has ravaged the prestigious King’s Cavalla of Gernia, decimating the ranks of both cadets and instructors. Yet Nevare Burvelle has made an astonishingly robust recovery, defeating his sworn nemesis while in the throes of the disease and freeing himself-he believes-from the Speck magic that infected him. And now he is journeying home to Widevale, anticipating a tender reunion with his beautiful fiancée, Carsina, and a bright future as a commissioned officer. But there is no haven in the bosom of his kinfolk, for his nights are haunted by grim visions of treachery-and his days are tormented by a strange side-effect of the plague that shames his family and repulses the lady of his heart. And as the still-potent magic in his blood roars to life, Nevare realizes a terrible truth: that the enemy who seeks to destroy everything he loves dwells perhaps not without but within him.
- Renegade’s Magic (2007) – Loyal, privileged, and brave-a soldier in the service of the King of Gernia-Nevare Burvelle survived a devastating plague of enemy sorcery, but at a terrible cost to his soul, body, and heart. Now he stands wrongly accused of unspeakable crimes, including murder, the most heinous of them all. Suddenly an outcast and a fugitive, he remains a hostage to the Speck magic that shackles him to a savage alter ego who would destroy everything Nevare holds dear. Perhaps, however, this curse that has long abused him can be used by him instead-a mighty weapon he can learn to wield for his own purposes. But down what perilous road will this desperate new quest lead him? And what will be the ultimate incarnation of Nevare Burvelle?
Reading the Rain Wild Chronicles in Order
- The Dragon Keeper (2009) – Here be dragons-but debilitated, deformed, damaged dragons, hatched too soon, sick and starving, into a world that has mostly forgotten them. Eventually driven out by the Traders Council, the hatchlings decide to seek Kelsingra, their ancient home. Caught up by the dragons’ plight and longing to escape unhappy families and the stifling Rain Wild culture, self-taught dragon scholar Alise Kincannon and teenage tree-dwelling mutant Thymara volunteer to accompany them on the quest, with the help of magnetic liveship captain Leftrin and a host of colorful characters.
- Dragon Haven (2010) – As the fledgling dragons and their keepers forge a passage through the uncharted waters of the Rain Wild River, they are supported by the liveship Tarman, its captain, Leftrin, and Alise Finbok. A vial of dragon blood can earn a man enough gold to last a lifetime: there may be some in the party who see the dragons as more valuable as body parts than whole and alive. But it is the Rain Wilds themselves that may provide the deadliest danger as they make their way towards the mythical haven of Kelsingra.
- City of Dragons (2012) – As the misfit band approaches its final destination, dragons and keepers alike face a challenge so insurmountable that it threatens to render their long, difficult odyssey utterly meaningless.
- Blood of Dragons (2013) – The legendary blue dragon Tintaglia. is dying of wounds inflicted by hunters sent by the Duke of Chalced. If Tintaglia perishes. her ancestral memories will die with her and the dragons in the city of Kelsingra will lose the secret knowledge they need to survive. Their keepers are in a quest of recovering the Elderling magic that once allowed humans and dragons to co-exist. In doing so they risk losing their own identities, even their lives…
Reading the Realm of the Elderlings prequel
- The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince (2013) – Long before the time of Chivalry Farseer, there was Princess Caution Farseer, destined to fall dangerously in love where she ought not. The child she bore, a Witted boy known as the Piebald Prince, rose to favor despite his questionable bloodlines. But the dukes of the Six Duchies backed Canny Farseer for the throne. And so both young men competed for power and for the love of the same lady.
Reading the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy in Order
- Fool’s Assassin (2014) – Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably with his beloved wife Molly these many years. But behind the facade of respectable middle age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line and assassin. Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger? Suddenly Fitz’s violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.
- Fool’s Quest (2015) – Long ago, Fitz and the Fool changed the world. Now the Fool is near death, maimed by mysterious pale-skinned figures whose plans for world domination hinge upon the powers the Fool may share with Fitz’s own daughter. Distracted, Fitz lets down his guard and his beloved daughter stolen away by those who would use her as they had once sought to use the Fool-as a weapon. Now enemies and friends alike are about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a man who has nothing left to lose.
- Assassin’s Fate (2017) – Fitz’s young daughter, Bee, has been kidnapped by the Servants, a secret society whose members not only dream of possible futures but use their prophecies to add to their wealth and influence. As Bee is dragged by her sadistic captors across half the world, Fitz and the Fool, believing her dead, embark on a mission of revenge that will take them to the distant island where the Servants reside. And their goal is simple: to make sure not a single Servant survives their scourge.
Reading the Short stories by Robin Hobb in Order of Publication
- The Inheritance & Other Stories (2005) – A collection of novellas and stories that includes:
- The Inheritance (2000)
- Homecoming (2004)
- Cat’s meat (2011)
- Words Like Coins (2009) – Published in A Fantasy Medley.
- Euthanasia (2010) – Published in 110/110
- The Triumph (2010) – Available in Warriors.
- Blue Boots (2010) – Available in Songs of Love and Death.
- Her Father’s Sword (2017) – Available in The Book of Swords.
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