4 out of 5
Despite not reading any of Robin Hobb’s Farseer novels, I was able to enjoy this short novel set in the Six Duchies. The premiss of the story is that the history passed down about the events that take place in the book has been changed to look favorably upon the victor’s. The narrator, a servant heavily involved in the plot, has been charged with writing down what really happened and hiding it in a place where it will be found someday thereby insuring that the true story reaches future generations. This is a simple tale of indiscretion and lies and their effect on three generations of royalty. A tragedy from beginning to end, no one comes out a winner. Unfortunately it is difficult to develop any type of connection with the characters outside of the narrator as the story is told in the first person. None of the main characters comes across as very likeable making it difficult to care about what happens to them. There is no dialogue to help the reader connect. On the positive side it is an interesting look at the halls of power and how history is written to benefit those in power. The narrator’s experiences with her mother show a different side to service, of the desperation of holding on to one’s position and always planning for the next position. It is enjoyable to watch the narrator grow out from under her mother’s wing and develop into a better person.