2004-10-10 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 271 words

You are arrogant, Cub. And ignorant.

So teach me. He turned his head sideways to let his back teeth scissor meat and tendon from the bone he was working on. .It is your pack duty.

We are not pack. I have no pack. My allegiance is to my king.

If he is your leader, then he is mine also. We are pack. As his belly filled, he was becoming more and more complacent about it.

I changed tactics. Coldly I told him, I am of a pack that you cannot be part of. In my pack, all are humans. You are not a human. You are a wolf. We are not pack.

A stillness welled in him. He did not try to reply. But he felt, and what he felt chilled me. Isolation, and betrayal. Loneliness.

The second book in Robin Hobb's "The Farseer" series. Having returned from his dubiously-successful mission in the Mountain Kingdom, royal bastard (and trained assassin) FitzChivalry finds himself the centre of the political machinations at Buckkeep as he recovers from his injuries.

The formula of the first book -- most of the plot set inside Buckkeep with occasional excursions outside -- is followed, but the mood gets darker and darker as the story progresses. There's some extremely strong writing here, elegant and "fantastic" without being pretentious; it's especially clear by now that Robin Hobb's good at writing powerful endings, but it's hard to find flaws with any of this.

I would strongly recommend reading this (once you've read "Assassin's Apprentice"), and I can't imagine finishing it and not wanting to go on to the third volume.