Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son Series #3)

Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son Series #3)

by Robin Hobb

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The stirring conclusion to The Soldier Son Trilogy—the acclaimed epic tale of duty, destiny, and magic by New York Times bestselling master fantasist Robin Hobb

Loyal, privileged, and brave, Nevare Burvelle proudly embraced his preordained role as soldier in the service of the King of Gernia—unaware of the strange turns his life would ultimately take. Exposed to a plague of enemy sorcery that felled many of his compatriots, he prevailed, but at a terrible cost to his soul, body, and heart. Now he stands wrongly accused of unspeakable crimes—including murder, the most heinous of them all.

Condemned by his brother soldiers and sentenced to death, Nevare has no option but to escape. Suddenly he is an outcast and a fugitive—a hostage to the Speck magic that shackles him to a savage alter ego who would destroy everything Nevare holds dear. With nowhere to turn—except, perhaps, to the Speck woman Lisana, the enemy whom he loves—he is mired in soul-rending despair. But from out of the darkness comes a bright spark of hope.

Perhaps, somehow, the hated magic that has long abused Nevare can be used by him instead. Could he not learn to wield this mighty weapon for his own purposes rather than be enslaved by it? But down what perilous road will this desperate new quest lead him? And what will be the outcome and the ultimate new incarnation of Nevare Burvelle?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060758301
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/31/2009
Series: Soldier Son Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 704
Sales rank: 131,705
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Robin Hobb was born in California but grew up in Alaska. It was there that she learned to love the forest and the wilderness. She has lived most of her life in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of five critically acclaimed fantasy series: The Rain Wilds Chronicles (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons, Blood of Dragons), The Soldier Son Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, and The Farseer Trilogy. Under the name Megan Lindholm she is the author of The Wizard of the Pigeons, Windsingers, and Cloven Hooves. The Inheritance, a collection of stories, was published under both names. Her short fiction has won the Asimov's Readers' Award and she has been a finalist for both the Nebula and Hugo awards.

Read an Excerpt

Renegade's Magic
Book Three of The Soldier Son Trilogy

Chapter One

Soldier's End

Inever spoke up for myself at my court-martial.

I stood in the box where they put me, and tried not to think of the agonizing bite of the leg irons around my calves. They were too small for a man of my flesh, and the cold iron bit deep into the meat of my legs, burning and numbing at the same time. At the moment, the pain mattered to me more than the outcome of the hearing. I already knew how it would end.

That pain is chiefly what I remember of my trial. It hazes my memories in red. A number of witnesses spoke against me. I recall their righteous voices as they detailed my crimes to the assembled judges. Rape. Murder. Necrophilia. Desecration of a graveyard. My outrage and horror at being accused of such things had been eroded by the utter hopelessness of my situation. Witness after witness spoke against me. Threads of rumor, hearsay from a dead man's lips, suspicions and circumstantial evidence were twisted together into a rope of evidence, stout enough to hang me.

I think I know why Spink never addressed any questions directly to me. Lieutenant Spinrek, my friend since our Cavalla Academy days, was supposed to be defending me. I'd told him that I simply wanted to plead guilty and get it over with. That had angered him. Perhaps that was why he didn't ask me to testify on my own behalf. He didn't trust me to tell the truth and deny all the charges. He feared I'd take the easy way out.

I would have.

I didn't fear the hangman's gibbet. It would be a quick end to a life corrupted by a foreign magic. Walk up the steps,put my head into the noose, and step off into darkness. The weight of my falling body would probably have jerked my head right off. No dangle and strangle for me. Just a quick exit from an existence that was too tangled and spoiled to repair.

Whatever I might have said in my own defense would have made no difference. Wrongs had been done, ugly, evil things, and the citizens of Gettys were determined that someone had to pay for them. Gettys was a rough place to live, a settlement half military outpost and half penal colony on the easternmost boundary of the Kingdom of Gernia. Its citizens were no strangers to rape and murder. But the crimes I was accused of went beyond the spectrum of passion and violence into something darker, too dark even for Gettys to tolerate. Someone had to wear the villain's black cape and pay the toll for such transgressions, and who better than the solitary fat man who lived in the graveyard and was rumored to have doings with the Specks?

So I was convicted. The cavalla officers who sat in judgment on me sentenced me to hang, and I accepted that. I had shamed my regiment. At that moment, my execution seemed the simplest escape from a life that had become the antithesis of every dream I'd ever had. I'd die and be done with disappointment and failure. Hearing my sentence was almost a relief.

But the magic that had poisoned my life was not about to let me go so easily.

Killing me was not enough for my accusers. Evil would be punished with as cruel and vicious a vengeance as they could imagine. Darkness would be balanced with darkness. When the second half of my sentence was pronounced, horror froze me. Before I ascended the gallows to make that final drop, I'd receive one thousand lashes.

I will always recall that stunned moment. The sentence went beyond execution, beyond punishment, to total destruction. As it stripped the flesh from my bones, it would strip away all dignity as well. No man, no matter what his courage, could grit his teeth and keep silent through a thousand lashes. They would mock and jeer me as I shrieked and begged. I would go to my death hating them and myself.

I'd been born to be a soldier. As the second son of a nobleman, I had been decreed by the good god to be a soldier. Despite all that had befallen me, despite the foreign magic that had infected and poisoned me, despite my ejection from the King's Cavalla Academy, despite my father's disowning of me and the scorn of my fellows, I had done my best to serve my king as a soldier. This was what it had earned me. I would scream and weep and plead for mercy before folk who saw me only as a monster. The lash would strip my body naked of both clothing and flesh, exposing the sagging layers of fat that had been their first excuse to hate me. I would faint and be revived with a dash of vinegar on my back. I'd piss myself and dangle helplessly from my manacled wrists. I'd be a corpse long before they hanged my remains. They knew it and so did I.

Even my corrupted and maimed life seemed a better choice than that death. The magic had sought to take me from my own people and use me as a tool against them. I'd fought it. But that final night in my cell, I knew the magic of the Speck folk offered me my only opportunity to save myself. When the magic tore down the walls of my prison, I took the opportunity. I escaped.

But neither the magic nor the good folk of Gettys were done with me. I think the magic knew that I'd given only lip service to my surrender to it. But it demanded all of me, my entire life, with no ties left to bind me to this place and this people, and what I had never given willingly, it now took from me.

Renegade's Magic
Book Three of The Soldier Son Trilogy
. Copyright © by Robin Hobb. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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“Robin Hobb is one of our very best fantasy writers. Her novels are always fresh, entertaining, and completely engrossing.”

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Renegade's Magic 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Barry_Kottler More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the other 2 books in the series. And although I was never fully engaged in the Forest Mage series, I was interested in seeing it through to the end. This book however, fell short for me. I lost interest about 1/3 of the way into the book and had to force myself to make it through the middle third. Although Ms Hobb ties everything together nicely in the end, the journey was not as enjoyable as i had hoped.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Renegade¿s Magic Robin Hobb Eos, Feb 2008, $25.95 ISBN 9780060757649 His lover, Lisana enabled Gernian soldier Nevare Burvelle to escape incarceration when she split his soul enabling him to become a Speck mage Soldier¿s Boy. However as a nasty by-product, two personalities conflict over who controls the host body. His Soldier¿s Boy¿s mage skills lead Nevare to try to destroy the Gernian road that has begun to devastate the Specks¿ woodlands. His failed efforts leave him near death, but Speck female Olikea uses her healing skills to save his life as is her duty. As he recovers he finds his two sides in conflict as each has a demand. Nevare knows that he must prevent the Gernia from demolishing the Specks¿ forest while at the same time he also must stop the Specks from distributing their deadly plague that has slaughtered the Gernians. He begins to believe that to succeed he must unite his warring split personalities. --- The final Soldier Son tale (see FOREST MAGE and SHAMAN¿S CROSSING) is an entertaining fantasy that looks deep at the issue of development vs. environment. The story line is fun to follow although the pace at times is turtle like especially when the complicated Hobbs magical structure is logically but boringly elucidated (only a fool would read this entry before the previous two books). Still this is a fine trilogy that showcases the importance of finding win-win solutions to complex social issues as the two sides seem to only employ lose-lose methods. --- Harriet Klausner
clstaff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I heard from a fellow Hobb fan recently that the soldier's son trilogy was their least favourite from hobb. I don't necessarily agree with this, however I do agree that it wasn¿t one of the most action packed. If you are not a fan of fantasy, then this may not be the book/trilogy for you.
Stewartry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
** spoiler alert ** I love Robin Hobb. I really do. I've reread the Farseer trilogy a couple of times over the years. I loved Tawny Man. (Not so much the Madship series, but there you are.) But this Soldier Son trilogy... It's unique; there's a lot in it that I've never seen before. The character of Nevare is also unique: starting out as a fairly typical soldier's son, he leads us through the training (that I enjoyed), then through being taken over by the magic... Neither of these is a unique plot point, but the way they are handled is. What I haven't enjoyed is Nevare's utter wishy-washiness. I understand the reasoning behind it... he was split and all. But the understanding came quite a while into the trilogy, and by then it was rather too late. "I'm going to be a true soldier's son, the best." "Well, no, I'm going to do what the magic prompts me to, because those I love could be hurt." "No! I will follow my dream and go be an officer." "The dreams are telling me to do what the magic tells me to, and I'd better. And I'm too fat." "I'll lose weight!" "No, I won't..." And so on. I wanted to knock his heads together.Reason number two that I doubt I'll read this trilogy again is that it's very nearly humorless. I'm not much for the guffaw-a-minute spoof books, but halfway through the first book of this one I realized that the outlook was very straight-faced, almost throughout. So, in fact, is Nevare. I mean, of course his life is tough, but if I've learned anything in the past couple of years, even in the midst of chaos there is the occasional laugh.Reason number three is almost cosmetic, I suppose, but it's still strong: the jacket art for Renegade's Magic. Don't get me wrong - it's beautiful. But it is one of the most spoilerific jackets I've ever seen. Only a couple of chapters in, Nevare has a realization of what could end the whole war between the Gernians and the Specks, and immediately stifles the thought for fear Soldier's Boy will "hear" it... and suddenly it's very very clear where the climax will go. Without that really very nice painting, there would at least be some doubt. There isn't. Oh well.It's quality writing, as always from Robin Hobb, consistent and solid (though the grammar goes surprisingly wonky at times). I'm just not enjoying it as much as some of her other work. I won't trade it in - but I doubt I'll read it again.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this trilogy really picked up with the last book, however the last hundred or so pages seemed a bit unnecessary. Still I remain satisfied overall, and in spite of the author's desire to fix absolutely *everything* before letting the book end, I found the conclusion much more satisfying than that of her previous trilogy. Except for the tiny little detail that I'm not sure whether or not we are supposed to know what happens to the main character right after the last page!
CKmtl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A satisfying conclusion to the Soldier Son trilogy.Renegade's Magic brings Speck society to the fore and makes the reader identify with their goals and struggles, which, considering the trilogy as a whole, provides a balance to the Gernian-focused opening installment. It really reinforced Nevare's split nature for me.The last third of the book was particularly engrossing, as the narrative took an unexpected and bittersweet turn.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The dual nature of the protagonist stopped me from identifying with any of the characters, I though they were all irritating. Except the poor child who was tortured by dance, I felt sorry for him. But that was it.
biblioconnisseur on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book like the others in the trilogy spent a bit too long on food. I realize it was part of the story but I feel it was just too much. Overall I am fairly pleased. The end was very good. I enjoy the tale as I look back, so long as I do not ponder all the food consumed for magic.The characters were well fleshed (no pun) and will stay with me. Hobb has talent. I hope her next books are as gripping as the first 9.
lewispike on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an odd book to review. On a tactical scale - words, sentences, paragraphs I found that it was quite engaging. When I was reading it, I liked reading it. However when I wasn't reading it found it quite an effort to go back to.The story of Nevarre continues, this time with him living wholly among the Speck. There is a LOT of writing about food and eating: I'd suggest avoiding this book if you're on a diet. Nevarre-the-Speck tries to rescue them from the intruders from Gettys with very mixed success. Finally they realise they must marry his two halves for the magic to work properly. They sort of manage this, everything sorts itself out and the Great Man he has become dies.The pesky God of Balances comes along and parts of Nevarre go on, find Amzil, marry her and you get the impression lives happily ever after.I've tried to work out why I don't like this in the overall sense. There are a few reasons.First I get the impression it's a story that ought to have been told in a single book, it could have been great told small and tight, but it was padded into the inevitable fantasy trilogy at someone's behest. This leaves it slow and meandering.Second, there are some messages about culture clashes in there. That's fine, good even. Most of them are, rather disappointingly, completely laid out in front of you at various points, explicitly. The problem is that it feels as if there's a mish-mash of cultures to have the clashes between. Each of the cultures has identifiable bits of several real cultures mixed into it, and this makes them feel spongy and not quite comfortable in themselves which also makes their inability to deal with each other feel off.Third I don't like the hero. I don't respect him. Ms. Hobb has tried to lay out how his past has affected him and made him into these characters that I don't like and whilst I buy the explanation it doesn't really help. If you're going to read 2,000 pages about someone liking them or at least being interested in them helps I find. If you've managed to get through the first two books, this is better than Forest Mage, and it completes the story, but I wouldn't suggest starting the series. In fact you could probably pick this book up and get most of the back story and have a much more satisfying experience.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel I must preface this with a disclaimer. This has not been one of my favourite of her series. As a story it probably scored 3/5 but for the way it dragged me in and wouldn't let me go it scores the 4/5The last part of this story saw Nevare fail to fit in with the Gernian world. Now this sees his Speck self take over and try to stop the expansion of Gernia in to their world. But his methods are bringing the world of the Specks into a spiral of change that may not be the best thing for the people.It's a story that didn't quite sit right with me. It was interesting but I never really empathised or felt for many of the characters, several of them passed by me in a blur. It was an enjoyable read, but not a keeper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story but slow reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I despised the Specks and didn't care for Hobbs partisanship.
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kiltpin1 More than 1 year ago
I have become a hardcore Robin Hobb fan. She writes like Van Gogh paints or Emeril Lagasse cooks. You will be sure to experience all of the subtle nuances and rich vivid details as she weaves her stories. I love reading fantasy and I thought that I had read the best, but where as Gabaldon and Paolini are exceptional, Robin Hobb is 'the master'. You will not be disappointed with this or any of her other books. The ultimate experience of course will be to be sure to read any of her trilogy or series books in the proper order as they just continue to build in detail and intensity as they go. Check it out, you won't be sorry.
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Ryan Strubell More than 1 year ago
If you need a book to read to kill time then this one is ok. If you are looking for a good story that will keep your attention then this is not it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago