FOOL'S FATE: Book III of the Tawny Man
In Hobb's riveting conclusion to the Tawny Man series in the Farseer world (after Fool's Errand and Golden Fool ), FitzChivalry Farseer and the man known as the Fool follow the dizzying, complex and treacherous steps that destiny has arranged for them—even though they both know that the end of the dance leads to agonizing decisions and, ultimately, death. Thrown in with Fitz and the Fool are a band of travelers who are on a quest to seek the head of the dragon Icefyre so that Prince Dutiful Farseer may marry the Narcheska Elliania. Most of the group find the time-consuming undertaking difficult and repugnant, for none of them truly wants to kill the ice-bound dragon, not even the Narcheska, it seems. All, however, are duty-bound to honor their word. Since the Fool has foreseen that all the possible consequences of killing the dragon spell his doom, his is the lone voice of dissent. With its carefully modulated tension, wonderful final revelation and strong characters who remain true to themselves throughout, this series may well become a classic in the fantasy field. (Feb. 10)
Forecast: This completes the nine-volume Farseer series ( Assassin's Apprentice, etc.), but a tiny hole leaves room for more books. The pseudonymous Hobb, whose real name is Megan Lindholm, may find it had to resist popular demand.