Fool's Fate - the epic finale of the Tawny Man trilogy.
The Prince must slay a dragon to win the hand of the Narcheska in marriage which will bring together two kingdoms that were recently at war. That is pretty cliché for a fantasy book but Robin Hobb finds a way to rise above the ordinary and shows how it should be done. Two factions have formed as the dragon-slaying quest builds to a conclusion and many members of the expedition now openly oppose the Prince's goal to slay Icefyre. Many additional mysteries remain as well but none more important than the true motivation behind the Narcheska's original challenge to Prince Dutiful. All of this keeps the reader engaged and eagerly awaiting the outcome which surprisingly comes well before the end of the book leaving plenty of time to explore the consequences of everyone's actions.
Everything that leads up to the encounter with the dragon is done extremely well and there is enough intrigue going on that things could go either way as the tension builds. Fitz remains caught between opposing forces in Chade and the Fool and both the Wit and the Skill magics are poised to play a key role in the eventual outcome. This trilogy has really focused on character relationships and the time finally comes for everyone to pick a side and reap what they will sow with those choices. I found the build up to be both exciting and heart wrenching as Icefyre's fate was ultimately decided.
For better or worse a lot of book remained after that fate defining moment and that additional portion of the story takes on a very different tone. I am the type of person that wants an author to neatly wrap up all the dangling threads before ending a series and Robin Hobb does exactly that. Unfortunately for me one of her decisions greatly diminished the epic nature of the story that came before it but I can't go into details without spoiling anything so I will leave it at that.
Overall it is an excellent series and well worth reading, especially for anyone who enjoyed the Farseer Trilogy. For the audiobooks James Langton delivers solid performances across the whole series and definitely enhances the experience.