The second installment of The Farseer Trilogy sees Fitz truly become a Royal Assassin as the Six Duchies is torn apart from by both external and internal forces. The majority of the book centers on Fitz’s home, Buckkeep, as he assists his uncle Verity both physically and magically to help protect the common people. However their efforts are hampered by Fitz’s other uncle Regal who uses the Skill-trained nobles trained by his own half-brother to disrupt communications and slowly kill his father, King Shrewd. To add to these complications, Fitz must first deal with his health, his love for Molly, and his Wit-bonded wolf Nighteyes.
The various intrigues and duties Fitz must keep juggling is a realistic struggle that is the book’s strongest part, however as the book continues it also burdens the narrative the closer to the end than helps. Given the style of the book, as an autobiography by an aged Fitz, the reader always has in the back of their mind that any dangerous situation that Fitz is in that he’ll survive because if he dies he couldn’t write the story. However Hobb uses this knowledge to have a nice twist at the end of the book help Fitz escape his predicament right after the death of his grandfather, Shrewd.
Royal Assassin is a wonderful continuation of Assassin’s Apprentice as Fitz grows not only as a character through struggles both personal and “professional.” At the end of the book, the reader yearns to know what happens next to Fitz and all the characters Hobb peopled the fortress of Buckkeep with as the Raiders continue their campaign while the government heads inland.