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The Mad Ship (The Liveship Traders, Book 2): 2/3 Paperback – 23 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (23 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007459734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007459735
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin Hobb is a New York Times best-selling fantasy author. She is published in English in the US, UK and Australia, and her works have been widely translated. Her short stories have been finalists for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, as well as winning the Asimov's Readers Award. Her best known series is The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin's Quest.)

Robin Hobb was born in Oakland California, but grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has spent her life mostly in the Pacific Nortwest region of the US, and currently resides in Tacoma, Washington State, with her husband Fred. They have four grown offspring, and six grandchildren.

Robin Hobb is a pen name for Margaret Ogden. She has also written under the name Megan Lindholm.

She published her first short story for children when she was 18,and for some years wrote as a journalist and children's writer. Her stories for children were published in magazines such as Humpty Dumpty's Magazine for Little Children, Jack & Jill and Highlights for Children. She also created educational reading material for children for a programmed reading series by SRA (Science Research Associates.) She received a grant award from the Alaska State Council on the arts for her short story "The Poaching", published in Finding Our Boundaries in 1980.

Fantasy and Science Fiction had always been her two favorite genres, and in the late 70's she began to write in them. Her initial works were published in small press 'fanzines' such as Space and Time (editor Gordon Linzner). Her first professionally published story was "Bones for Dulath" that appeared in the Ace anthology AMAZONS!, edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson in 1979. A short time later, a second Ki and Vandien story entitled The Small One was published in FANTASTIC in 1980.

During that time period, she and her family had moved from Alaska to Hawaii, and subsequently to Washington State, where they settled. She had various money making occupations (waitress, salesperson, etc.) while striving with her writing. Her husband Fred continued to fish Alaskan waters and was home only about 3 months out of every year. The family lived on a small farm in rural Roy where they raised lots of vegetables, chickens, ducks, geese and other small livestock.

In 1983, her first novel, Harpy's Flight, was published by Ace under the pen name Megan Lindholm. Her later titles under that name included Wizard of the Pigeons, Alien Earth, Luck of the Wheels, and Cloven Hooves.

In 1995, she launched her best selling series of books set in the Realm of the Elderlings. At that time, she began writing as Robin Hobb. Her first trilogy of books were about her popular characters, FitzChivalry Farseer and the Fool. The Farseer Trilogy is comprised of Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest. These books were followed by The Liveship Traders trilogy, set in the same world. The Tawny Man trilogy returned to the tale of Fitz and the Fool. Most recently, the four volumes of the Rain Wilds Chronicles were published: Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons.

In 2013, it was announced that she would return to her best-loved characters with a new trilogy, The Fitz and the Fool trilogy. The first volume, Fool's Assassin, will be published in August of 2014.

Other works as Robin Hobb include The Soldier Son trilogy and short stories published in various anthologies. A collection of her shorter works as both Lindholm and Hobb is available in The Inheritance.

She continues to reside in Tacoma, Washington, with frequent visits to the pocket farm in Roy.

Product Description

Amazon Review

High heroic fantasy has rarely paid enough attention to ships and sailors, the lifeblood, after all, of trade and survival in a non-technological world. In her Liveship Traders series, Robin Hobb more than makes up for this with a sequence in which economic survival is the principal objective of the merchant family, the Vestrits, who provide most of her viewpoint characters. The Mad Ship takes up their adventures where Ship of Magic left off, with young would-be priest Wintrow the captive of the pirate Kennit and bonded to the living figurehead of the family ship Vivacia; and his sister Malta caught up in the affairs of the changeling traders of the Rain Wild. Their aunt Althea, who feels she should have had command of Vivacia, is off having adventures as a sailor, and the mysterious Amber is trying to heal and repair the shattered mad hulk Paragon, who killed his crew and lies abandoned in the sand dunes. All this and war and conspiracy too--Hobb gives us a rich portrait of a world and a family in turmoil and raises some interesting questions about what it is to be used and make use of. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers… what makes her novels as addictive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics'
The Times

'Even better than the Assassin books. I didn't think that was possible'
George R R Martin

'Hobb is a remarkable storyteller'

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 May 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book, which is the second instalment of Robin Hobb's fabulous trilogy, 'The Liveship Traders' sees several major developments in both character and story. This instalment is definitely darker than the first and those of you familiar with Hobb's Farseer Trilogy will begin to recognise her ability to make it seem as if all of her characters actions and fortunes are decided by fate, and that they all have a destiny to fulfil.
As this novel progresses it all begins to look distinctively bleak for the Vestrit trader family. In the first book, "Ship of Magic", their liveship Vivacia was captured by the pirate king Kennit. As their family fortunes are tied up in this ship it is imperative that they retrieve her. But does she want to be reclaimed or is the pirate life all that she ever dreamed of?
Meanwhile, the Vestrits themselves are struggling not to be drawn ever deeper into poverty. As their funds begin to dwindle and all that can be sold is, they begin to consider the ultimate form of payment for their ship, the hand of their youngest family member Malta in marriage to the son of the trader family to whom they must continue to pay for Vivacia.
While all of this is going on in the foreground of the novel, in the background the reclusive Amber is living in the captain's cabin of the beached liveship Paragon. While all others in Bingtown fear the mad ship that 'turtled', killing his entire crew, Amber looks forward to the day when she will make him sail once again.
Amongst all of this, the tale of the serpents that seemed totally separate from the events in the last novel slowly becomes clear, and their importance and relationship to everyone and everything else in the novel is established.
All in all, this is an astounding book. Robin Hobb writes so astonishingly well that you cannot help but be transfixed by every written word in this novel.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fantasy Lore on 28 Mar. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The transition from 'Ship of Magic' to 'The Mad Ship' is as smooth as silk, even the exposition for readers who've been away from the trilogy for a while (are there such people?!) is interlaced with the new material, so that you barely notice the subtle recounting of all that came before. The consistancy of this author is almost obsessional, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Once again the various character stories are woven seamlessly and somtimes in a way that leaves a massive number of pages between a cliffhanger-character moment and finding out just what happens next- the anticipation-reading is off the scale!!
Contrary to the title though, this is not Paragon's story- the myriad sets of characters once again vie for the reader's attention and never does one group hog the limelight- always it is an ensemble piece, which I've discovered is just as attention-grabbing as stories that opt for a main character alone. Despite these continued unique perspectives though, I was slightly dissappointed Paragon was not given more in this book. I personally find the character fascinating and felt somewhat cheated that many of the aspects of this character, demons that so obviously bubble just under the surface, were not hinted at more. But doubtless I will get to know everything and more in the final installment of the trilgy- 'Ship of Destiny', which I'm now itching to read after just finishing this tremendous tale!
If you havn't already, I hope this review immediately stirs in you the need to pick up 'The Mad Ship' without delay, because book 2 in the liveship saga does not disappoint. The best compliment I can give this book is that it's an effortlessly enjoyable read, while at the same time not ashamed to tackle bigger philosohpical, religious and moral issues. Simply superb.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 May 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read the Farseer Trilogy and Ship of Magic, I was looking forward to this book but never had gotten around to picking it up until I borrowed it off a friend last week. He told me that he hadn't like it, and had only gotten halfway through.
I'm going to have to ask him how this is possible. I was engrossed by the characters and the plot and it's been a long time since I read a book as entertaining as this one. The revelations on Liveships, sea-serpents, dragons and the Others were astounding, so I will reveal no more than that the "dragons" in the Farseer Trilogy were not dragons at all. They are mentioned briefly towards the end, more to explain how they fit in with the true dragons, but the book concerns itself more with philosophical questions about whether the means can justify the ends and the nature of slavery, even when it's only memories that are held slave.
The Rain Wilds Traders and the Jamailan Satrapy are dealt with in greater detail than previously, and the interactions between the Old and New Traders are a wonderful study, but the interacions between serpents, dragons, Liveships, Bingtown Traders and Rain Wilds Traders are the focus of the book.
If you're a fan of high fantasy, read this and you won't be disappointed. I have to get the next one now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hippo on 31 Oct. 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If, like myself you enjoyed the first book you won't be dissappointed with this installment. The books are so consistant that you'll forget that they are two separate books. Again the story is split into individual pieces for each character, told from their point of view and again some interact. The only problem with having so many main characters is that if you have a favourite then reading large sections of the book without them being mentioned is frustrating. I refer to (in my view) the brilliant 'King Kennit' but the same applies for all the characters.
The book spilits into three threads: Kennit, Wintrow, Etta and Vivacia: Malta and Reyn: and Brashen, Althea and Amber with the serpents and a modicum of other chracters making up the rest.
Some parts of the book are not great and i feel go on a little, usually (but not always!) concerning Ronica and Keriffia and the complecated politics which is a neccessary evil for the book to have structure. But these pieces are few and far between and the majority of the book is dedicated to an exiting or gripping event or excellent dialouge.
The new things to this segment apart from the story becoming broader yet more clearer as we begin to see what precise roles each person has, are the new characters: The Satrap and his companions. Other people suchh as Reyn are given more time in the book and with this come Malta, his family ,the rain wild area and a good suprise!.
Apart from the view minor problems, this book is an excellent and clever read with great twists and i truely reccomend it!
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