Ship of Destiny


Product Description

In the powerful conclusion to the Liveship Traders trilogy, Robin Hobb weaves the spellbinding story of a once-thriving city on the brink of ruin, a glorious and mythic species on the edge of extinction, and the Vestrit clan, whose destiny is intertwined with both. Review
Robin Hobb concludes her nautical fantasy epic with Ship of Destiny, set in the world of her Farseer series. It lives up to its predecessors, Ship of Magic and Mad Ship in every way: the characters continue to develop, the plot moves swiftly, and the setting is vividly realized.

Again, three generations of Vestrit women are at the heart of the story. Ronica, the matriarch, stands alone against accusations that her family is responsible for the chaos that has overtaken Bingtown. She fights to uncover treachery and maintain the Trader’s Council. Her daughter, Althea, sails on the disturbed liveship Paragon, hunting for Vivacia, the Vestrit’s liveship, now the flagship of a pirate fleet under Kennit, who is both ruthless and compassionate. Her granddaughter, Malta, has disappeared following an earthquake in the ancient treasure city by the Rain Wild River. Her fiancĂ©, Reyn, and her brother, Selden, are trapped while seeking her. They are rescued by the dragon Tintaglia, whom they helped liberate. Reyn asks Tintaglia’s aid in finding Malta, but Tintaglia has her own urgent mission to accomplish, one which will change everything. Hobb weaves these plot threads into an exciting and satisfying conclusion. This is an original trilogy well worth reading! –Nona Vero

Recent Comments
  1. Anonymous @ 1:04 am

    I’ve been somewhat depressed since finishing this last book in the Liveship series. It was a wonderful story and even though the author will return with more on Fitzchivalry, it’s very hard for me to say good-bye to the characters in this novel! I’ve often thought that a third trilogy in this world that finally takes us into the Chalced States could fully explain it’s evil history and bring about some force for revolution. Let’s hope that Fitz will be joined there with Amber, Althea, Brashen, Clef, Ronica, Reyn and the ships!!

    I’m also dissatisfied with the ending. Many details seem to have been rushed by in an effort to tie things up quickly. I can’t believe that the reunion in Bingtown was not described. Neither was the reaction of the Bingtown folks to the news from Jamailla. Huge construction projects were undertaken in the Rain Wilds and only hinted at. A final conversation between Althea and Wintrow must have happened off the page and we can only guess at its contents. In fact, we don’t hear Althea’s voice much at all in the second half of the book. What happened to her passion? It would be different if she had had an opportunity for vengeance and chose forgiveness instead. I feel that she was robbed. Especially Kennit’s lies wounded her and there is no final accounting or reparations. Why didn’t she stand up and denounce him? Why didn’t Brashen tell everyone what happened during the “truce”. Why was Wintrow and everyone except the wizardwood charm/conscience taken in by Kennit’s manipulations? Kennit may have begun to face the pain of his past, but he never acknowledges his current misdeeds and especially his lies. And it is just painful to read as one person after the next falls for his machinations. He never truly becomes whole without facing himself.

    Still, this is one of the best trilogies I have read and my main complaint is that it’s over! Please have some of these characters sail on!

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  2. B. Capossere @ 3:16 am

    With so much being churned out in the way of epic fantasy, it’s always a pleasure to come across something original and unique. I felt that way about Hobb’s Assassin books and wondered if she’d be able to maintain such high standards in this latest trilogy. While I don’t believe she quite got there (it is after all a pretty high bar she set herself), this series certainly stands on its own as quality fantasy, and its final book is a fitting conclusion (though one wonders if that word has been banned from the genre). The basic storyline is both original and interesting, and she manages to avoid the typical banalities of genre fiction. Hobb creates characters far more often than character types and then flings them out into her world on their own or in various twos and threes. Best of all, her characters are often conflicted over their motives and actions, allowing for a depth of introspection seldom seen in the genre. And nowhere is this better done than in her main character Kennit, who alternately has the reader pulling for his success and hoping for his well-deserved comeuppance. It is a tightrope act she attempts with this character and I at least would have to say she pulled it off. It is tough enough to evoke an emotional response in a genre where characters all too often barely squeak into two dimensions, let alone three, but here Hobb swings for the fence in an attempt to elicity a multiplicity of responses. And she connects fully. Not only with Kennit, but with others as well. It takes a brave soul to attempt a character made out of wood; it takes an excellent writer to make me care about that character. Is the final book as strong as the first? I personally don’t think so but it doesn’t tail off much. Does the book seem rushed toward the end as several readers have commented? Without a doubt. Some plotlines are all too neatly resolved (one of her characters tries to make a distinction between “coincidence” and “destiny”, but I wasn’t buying it myself) and some characters’ roles/personalities change a bit too abruptly, but in a work that spans three good-sized novels and a dozen major characters, these turn out to be minor complaints, far outshadowed by the quality of the story and especially the characters. She’s two for two in series and I look forward to her next work–I wouldn’t even mind if it’s another multi-book “epic”.

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  3. Elyon @ 6:01 am

    After the strengths of the first two books, as well as the opening two thirds of this volume, I would have been willing to assert that this trilogy was one of the best works ever written in fantasy. In almost all respects, I continue to believe this. However, Hobb has somewhat sadly stumbled in the concluding hundred pages, appearing to rush to resolution, as if having once predetermined that this work would be a trilogy, she could not decide to extend it into a fourth book. This is truly unfortunate, has her conclusion appears rushed and, compared to the pages preceding, loosely wrapped up, with a resolution that is only barely satisfying.

    After all the character and plot development that led up to this work, the final hundred pages seem precipitate. The main characters come together abruptly and in a way that is largely contrived, several are disposed of summarily, and everyone else lives happily ever after. While this type of fairy tale ending may satisfy some, I found the conclusion to Hobb’s earlier Farseer Trilogy far more credible. Further, the disposal of the Chalcedians, the plot against Bingtown and the Satrapy of Jamaillia, the restitution of the Vestritts, and the rescue of the fortunes of the Wild River Traders, as well as Reyn and Malta’s new identities, never reach full fruition, rather arbitrarily and hastily wrapped up as are so many other plot threads earlier so well developed and measuredly evolved, and Wintrow’s fate in particular seems atrophied. Finally, the mystery of Maulkin’s Tangle gets settled simply with a quick trip up the river.

    While I continue to believe overall that this is one of the best works of fantasy that I have read, I nonetheless remain mildly disappointed in the ending. After the investment of time and energy, both by the author and myself, in setting up and developing a wonderful story, I can only wish that she had been willing to committ an equal amount of time and development to her ending, which would have provided the substantial balance needed to conclude this story fully. As is, the ending seems somewhat stillborn, with so much more that it could have offered. I can only say that I’m sorry.

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  4. Anonymous @ 8:18 am

    I sat down and read this book in one day. It’s a great book. I agree with many other reviewers when they say the ending is rushed. It in no way detracts from the overall story, I just wish certain parts had been a bit more fleshed out. Certain characters meet for the first time and we don’t get to see it through their point of view: it is described for us through human eyes. I was mostly interested in the serpents/dragons/liveships storyline: their lost destiny, their struggle, their fight between memories of a past snatched from them or to just follow their current fate.

    To me, a high fantasy novel lets us expand our minds and imagine what it would be like to be Vivacia, Maulkin, Tintaglia… or even Althea, Wintrow, Malta or Kennit. I don’t mind if the storyline shifts between human or magical creatures. As for the humans, I liked how Malta turned out to be someone I could admire. She was such a disagreeable brat in the first book! I have mixed feelings about how Wintrow turned out, but am pleased with Etta’s evolution. I’m upset about how Althea was treated towards the end of the book but she still remains one of my favorite characters (along with Brashen). I loved Seldon’s character but could not completely sympathsize with Kennit and definitely not with Kyle. I hope Robin Hobb writes about the Elderlings, or what happens with Reyn, Malta and Seldon after this trilogy… as well as telling us more about the mysterious Amber.

    All in all, a great book, that left me heartbroken for the characters who had no hand in their fate, for those who perished along their journey— but I am elated that the overall ending of this imaginative trilogy was wonderful.

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  5. the_smoking_quill @ 10:06 am

    This is a fine conclusion to an extremely well-detailed and imaginative series. It departs from the genre in that its characters are not exceptionally gifted or powerful adventurers or warriors. Instead, they’re traders and sailors and matriarchs in more of a sixteenth to seventeenth century atmosphere. The discussions amongst the Vestrit women in Bingtown and the political machinations do tend to drag in places, and some of the plot lines are tied either too neatly or too loosely at the end. (Who/what is Amber? Did I miss a revelation?) Nevertheless, as with the Farseer Trilogy, this trilogy is a breath of fresh air–with some fine writing, too.

    I would now like to criticize and rebut the extreme and unjust comments in the 10/28/00 review by Survivor 33, who stated that Ms. Hobb believes it is acceptable to rape characters. This is simply wrong. Yes, there are rapes in the trilogy; and yes, one’s heart can go out to those who have themselves been scarred by the evil of others in real life. However, shall authors then refrain from holding a mirror up to such evil, where it can be seen and considered and condemned? The following quote from p. 437 of the hardcover edition should sufficiently rebut Survivor 33’s insulting claim: “‘It is the greatest wrong that can be done to a female, human or dragon. It affronts and disgusts me on all levels. If you have done this . . . it is irreparable. Not even your death could atone for it.’” Enough said.

    In sum, this book and trilogy are imperfect, but they are engaging. The first, Ship of Magic, is particularly strong.

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