GOLDEN FOOL, the second book of Robin Hobb's Tawny Man trilogy, is set in the Six Duchies. FitzChivalry Farseer hides from prophecy as Lord Golden's servant, yet continues to be the queen's hidden advisor and friend. Wielding both Skill magic and the despised Wit or beast magic, Fitz is the only person that can teach the queen's son how to use his own two magics safely. But he's a reluctant teacher, barely keeping ahead of Prince Dutiful and his Skilled coterie-in-training.
To defuse the more violent gangs of Witted, the queen is now offering sanctuary and reimbursement for peaceful interaction. Of course, protecting Prince Dutiful's secret has nothing to do with it.
Ms. Hobb's convoluted characters, with their flawed, believable actions, are memorable people to visit. Two magic disciplines, courtly intrigue, a reluctant hero and hidden secrets still waiting to be unveiled make this a page-turning treat. (Jan., 528 pp., $24.95)