June falls asleep upon her bier of flowers;
In vain are dewdrops sprinkled o’er her,
In vain would fond winds fan her back to life,
Her hours are numbered on the floral dial.
– Lucy Larcom, Death of June
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Summary: In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.
Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.
So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.
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