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Mad Ship

A book by Robin Hobb

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I can't wait for my copy of "Ship of Destiny" to arrive!

  • Mar 1, 2011
In "Mad Ship", Hobb accelerates the pace of her epic saga of the Liveship Traders and significantly expands the breadth and scope of the canvas on which she dramatically paints the lives of her colourful characters.

The ancient traditions of Bingtown's old traders are under siege and a tariff revolt pushes Bingtown close to war with the Jamaillian government and their Chalcedean mercenaries. Internal strife and bickering between the Rain Wild families and the old and new traders make reaching a common, united front in the dispute near impossible. Satrap Cosgo, the self-indulgent and immature leader of Jamaillia is being held hostage up the Rain Wild River for his own protection and for use in negotiating a settlement to the escalating battle. At the same time, with the capture of the liveship Vivacia, Captain Kennitt establishes a growing reputation as the scourge of the ocean trade routes, a freedom fighter against the evils of slavery and Jamaillia's Public Enemy #1.

It is worth re-iterating the opinion that I expressed in my review of "Ship of Magic". Hobb's mastery of multiple plot lines that weave in and out of one another with exactly the right pacing is to die for. Her characters become so real that I swear I can hear them breathing as I turn the pages as quickly as I can manage. They mature, they change, they develop, they move, they live, love and die, they struggle, they whine, they moan, they celebrate, they laugh and cry, they succeed and fail - every aspect of their lives is astonishingly realistic. Just as it would be in the real world, it is difficult to determine whether events are driving their reactions or whether their actions are causing events to evolve. Of course, we know it is both!

Even as she becomes a more skilled sailor with every passing day, Althea develops the wisdom to acknowledge her one-time lover, Brashen Trell, to be a superior leader of men and grudgingly accepts his position as the Captain of the re-fitted liveship Paragon. Malta, the immature, self-centered and materialistic brat child of the Haven family, grows into an exciting, mature strong-willed woman who cares deeply for her family and struggles with her passion for Reyn, the scion of the wealthy Rain Wilds Khuprus family. She shares his dream of releasing "She Who Remembers", the only surviving dragon from her eternal prison inside the last remaining piece of wizardwood hidden in the old Rain Wilds city. Her missing father, Kyle Haven, now languishing in a prison of Kennitt's making, seems to have descended into the depths of a drooling madness as his hatred for Wintrow knows no limits! Even as they continue to hold Captain Kennitt on a hero's pedestal, Wintrow and Etta grow in strength and wisdom and display some stumbling confusion about their developing feelings for one another. Whether Kennitt's position of esteem will hold up through the third part of the trilogy remains unresolved and, indeed, it is clear that for now he treads an exceedingly narrow path between saint and egotistical psychopath! At the end of the story, it has become obvious that there is a deep and abiding relationship between Amber, the serpents, the dragon and the liveships, but its nature has become even more elusive and mysterious!

A phenomenal five star continuation of the epic tale which began in "Ship of Magic"! Hold onto your hats - "Ship of Destiny", here I come!

Paul Weiss

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review by . December 18, 2004
This is one of those books where you just want to bang a couple of characters upside the head and shout, "Will you two just hop into the sack and get it over with!" Other than a certain frustration with the romantic pace, "Mad Ship" is hypnotic reading. Even for someone who has to wear an anti-nausea patch on her neck on a slow old tub of a ferry and who would certainly not care for weevils in her biscuits, author Robin Hobb makes me want to sing: "Whate'er the final harbor be /'T is good to sail …
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Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #7
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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Robin Hobb returns to the sea withMad Ship, the second book in a projected trilogy set in the same world as her famedFarseerseries. Many unresolved questions fromShip of Magicare answered in this tale of sea serpents and dragons; living ships made of wizardwood; the Bingtown Trader families who sail the ships; and their disfigured cousins, the Rain Wild Traders, who build them.

The Vestritt family's liveship, Vivacia, has been taken by Kennit, an ambitious pirate. Captain Haven is a prisoner; his son Wintrow, who bears the Vestritt blood, finds himself competing with Kennit for Vivacia's love as she becomes a pirate ship. Althea Vestritt, in training to become Vivacia's captain, arrives home to discover her beloved ship lost. Brashen Trell, her old friend and shipmate, proposes that they sail to Vivacia's rescue in the liveship Paragon, who has lost two previous crews and is believed mad. Malta, Althea's niece, seeks help from her suitor, the Rain Wild Trader Reyn, whose family is the Vestritt's major creditor. Meanwhile, the sea serpents who follow sailing ships struggle to remember their history and return to their place of transformation.

Each volume in this series is a major undertaking, but those who enjoy original, epic fantasy, characters who grow and change believably, and fine writing will not want to miss The Liveship Traders. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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ISBN-10: 0553575643
ISBN-13: 978-0553575644
Author: Robin Hobb
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Spectra
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