The Soldier Son Trilogy, a fantasy series by Robin Hobb

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The Soldier Trilogy is a fantasy series written by American author Robin Hobb and published by Voyager Books between 2005 and 2007.

Soldier Son Trilogy Reading Guide

The Soldier Son trilogy consists of the three following books:

Shaman’s Crossing (2005)
Forest Mage (2006)
Renegade’s Magic (2007)

More about the Soldier Son Trilogy

The story of Shaman Crossing

The Soldier Son trilogy retraces the life of Nevare Burvelle, the second son of a second son, destined from birth to carry a sword.

As the synopsis for the first book puts it: “Nevare Burvelle will follow his father—newly made a lord by the King of Gernia—into the cavalry, training in the military arts at the elite King’s Cavella Academy in the capital city of Old Thares. Bright and well-educated, an excellent horseman with an advantageous engagement, Nevare’s future appears golden.

But as his Academy instruction progresses, Nevare begins to realize that the road before him is far from straight. The old aristocracy looks down on him as the son of a “new noble” and, unprepared for the political and social maneuvering of the deeply competitive school and city, the young man finds himself entangled in a web of injustice, discrimination, and foul play. In addition, he is disquieted by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny—who challenges his heretofore unwavering world view—and by the bizarre dreams that haunt his nights.

For twenty years the King’s cavalry has pushed across the grasslands, subduing and settling its nomads and claiming the territory in Gernia’s name. Now they have driven as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the Speck people, a quiet, forest-dwelling folk who retain the last vestiges of magic in a world that is rapidly becoming modernized. From childhood Nevare has been taught that the Specks are a primitive people to be pitied for their backward ways—and feared for their indigenous diseases, including the deadly Speck plague, which has ravaged the frontier towns and military outposts.

The Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares, and with it an unknown magic, and the first Specks Nevare has ever seen . . .”

A Post-Colonial Fantasy World

At its core, the Soldier Son Trilogy examines colonialism and the racism that goes with it. It delves into the complicated connections that occur between settlers and indigenous communities.

The books also look at the pursuit of expansionism and resource exploitation. The series depicts the ecological implications of unrestrained ambition, similar to the historical exploitation of land and resources during westward expansion in the United States, as well as the ecological impact of deforestation and the deterioration of natural ecosystems.

In addition to broader societal issues, the series addresses the theme of fat prejudice. It explores the challenges faced by characters dealing with body image and societal biases related to weight. This aspect of the narrative contributes to a broader discussion of prejudice and discrimination.

About Robin Hobb

Born in California on March 5, 1952, Robin Hobb grew up in Alaska and the Northwestern United States. She started her writing journey by creating short stories for children using the pen name Megan Lindholm. During the 1970s, she ventured into fantasy and occasionally explored science fiction. As Megan Lindholm, she penned various works, including The Ki and Vandien Quartet, Tillu and Kerlew novels, Wizard of the Pigeons, and contributed to the Liavek World.

Recognizing a shift in her writing style when she crafted Assassin’s Apprentice, the first book in the Farseer trilogy, she adopted the pseudonym Robin Hobb. This marked the beginning of her most renowned work: The Realm of the Elderlings series. Notably, the Soldier Son trilogy is the only series written under the name Robin Hobb that is set outside the Elderlings world.