The Wilful Princess & The Piebald Prince. Book Review


HarperVoyager, h/b,160pp, £14.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Felicity tells this tale, she who was bosom companion to Princess Caution before her naïve actions, and those of the wilful Queen-in-Waiting, combined to bring to life the legend of The Piebald Prince and forever taint the Farseer line. In her own words, and coupled with those of her son, Redbird, the truthsinging minstrel, she tells the story of The Wilful Princess & The Piebald Prince.

So begins the cautionary tale of the princess’s journey from spoilt, indulged child, to disinterested and proud Queen-in-Waiting, to young lover, to happiness, and to tragedy. Stubborn and resolute, turning from Felicity’s stoic advice as she grew older, the Queen-in-Waiting was not ready for the burdens her elevated status brought her. Now was the time to enjoy all life had to offer, regardless of the consequences.

This story takes us back to the wonderful times of Buckkeep Castle, to the rich time of minstrels, of the stables that play such a significant role in the Farseer stories, and of the Farseers themselves, back to the reign of King Virile and Queen Capable, and back to a time when being Witted was not openly despised, nor so tragic and tainted as it was to become.

Those who have read Hobb’s earlier works will be familiar with the story of The Piebald Prince and the magic of the Witted. This tale captures the heart of the story we already know and fills in the background that we did not know, detailing as fully and truthfully as possible those events that created the legend and forever affected the reign of the Farseers. The story is told with Hobb’s usual skill and it will delight fans to have another part of the Farseer’s history told.

This book is rich with illustrations by Jackie Morris, an artist who will also be no stranger to fans of Hobb’s work. With intricate footplates, beautiful full-page pieces and striking images that accompany the story throughout, this is a volume to be treasured. In soft monochrome she perfectly captures the essence of the tale and the significance of the piebald horse. A legend come to life.