Assassin's Apprentice

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First edition US trade paperback cover of Assassin's Apprentice, art by Michael Whelan.
First edition UK hardcover (also the original UK paperback cover) of Assassin's Apprentice, art by John Howe.
Current (2014) UK paperback cover for Assassin's Apprentice, art by Jackie Morris.
Current (2014) US paperback cover for Assassin's Apprentice, art by Alejandro Colucci.

Assassin's Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer trilogy, originally published in 1995. The second and third books in the trilogy are Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest respectively. This was the author's first book published under the pseudonym Robin Hobb. The working title for the book was Chivalry's Bastard and the contract for the trilogy was signed on 13th of July in 1993. [1] Assassin's Apprentice has been translated to over 20 languages. The Farseer trilogy has also been adapted into a series of graphic novels that is available in French and Dutch.


The dedication in this book is for several of Robin's cats:

For Giles
And for Raphael and Freddy,
the Princes of Assassins.

Later (in the US at least from 1996, also in later UK edition) the dedication was changed to:

To Giles
to the memories of
Ralph the Orange
Freddie Cougar
Princes among Assassins
Felines above Reproach


A note for collectors: The first two volumes of the Farseer trilogy were originally not released in hardback in the US, and all subsequent reprints were paperbacks until a limited edition hardcover set of the whole trilogy was published in December 2016 by Subterranean Press (see below). This immediately sold out.

The UK first edition hardback was limited in numbers but is still relatively easy to obtain second-hand. There have also been two more recent special editions from Voyager in hardback (which are standalone editions) as well as a 20th-anniversary hardcover slipcase edition for the whole trilogy (more below) .

First editions

  • An American English trade paperback edition was issued in New York by Bantam Books in 1995 with ISBN 0553374451. The covers were illustrated by Michael Whelan. Original price $12.95.
    • The Advance Reading Copy states the publication date of the paperback as April 17, 1995, while publication apparently was in May 1995.
  • A British English hardcover edition was issued in London by Voyager/HarperCollins in 1995 with ISBN 0002246066, cover illustration by John Howe. The print run was about 2000 copies. The gold lettering on the cover of this edition is known to get more easily damaged than the in the rest of the series.
    • The ARC for this book has a cover illustration by John Howe but it is completely different from the finished version, instead of a Red Ship it portrays Fitz with a dog. 250 - 500 copies were printed.

Other editions

  • A US paperback edition was issued in 1996 by Bantam Spectra with ISBN 055357339X, cover art by Michael Whelan (the same cover was used in reprints all the way to 2014).
  • A UK paperback edition was issued in 1996 with ISBN 0006480098, cover art as in the hardback edition by John Howe.
  • A UK paperback edition by Harper Voyager the 3rd of September 2007 market as "New Ed" with covers by Jackie Morris. This was the first in a series of "repackaged" Robin Hobb titles in the UK that included every book in the Farseer, Liveship Traders, Tawny Man and Soldier Son trilogies. ISBN 9780006480099, but it also comes up in searches with the old ISBN-10: 0006480098 which is the 1996 UK paperback. The stock image often seen online has a golden background similar to the 15th Anniversary Edition (see below) but in reality, the cover is bluish silver.
  • A Voyager 15th Anniversary Edition in 2010 by HarperCollins/Voyager, hardcover with dust jacket and a marker ribbon and an introduction to Voyager from Publishing Director Jane Johnson. This is a standalone edition that was published alongside Raymond Feist’s Magician, Sara Douglass’ Battleaxe, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Kylie Chan’s White Tiger. [2] The cover art is the buck design by Jackie Morris used in the first UK paperback reprints, but with a golden background. ISBN?
  • A new UK clothbound hardcover with ISBN 9780007491551 in March 2013 by Harper Voyager. This is a "standalone" edition that was part of a reprinting of "Voyager Classics".[3] It was also packaged together as a set with Raymond E. Feist’s Magician with ISBN 9780007939381. The cover is the silhouette of a wolf on a lilac background.
  • A new UK paperback edition on the 27 of March 2014 with new cover art by Jackie Morris, consisting of old style lettering and sigils, with ISBN 9780007562251. This new cover is part of a redesign of all the cover art of the Realm of the Elderlings books in the UK to match the design of the first UK edition of Fool's Assassin. This later Morris paperback design is the only one where you can collect a matching set of all the RotE books.
  • A US paperback 2014/15 reprint edition with new cover art by Alejandro Colucci to match the US first edition design of Fool's Assassin. Uses the ISBN 9780553573398 which is essentially the same as in the original one.
  • A World Book Night 2015 paperback edition with the second Jackie Morris cover art embedded on a white background. ISBN possibly 9780008135409?
  • A UK slipcased hardcover edition by Harper Voyager the 22nd of October 2015 with ISBN 9780008115456, to mark the book's 20th anniversary. Includes new art by John Howe on the endpapers and an introduction from Robin Hobb and some friends. Matching volumes of the rest of the trilogy published later.
  • A US hardcover edition by Subterranean Press in December 2016, with new cover art by John Howe. This is part of a reprint of the whole first trilogy and is available in three formats:
    • Limited Edition Set of the whole trilogy, 500 signed numbered sets, bound in cloth, $180.00
    • Lettered Edition Set, 26 signed leatherbound sets, housed in a custom traycase
    • each volume of the trilogy sold individually, $60.00 each
  • An Illustrated Edition from DelRey books in the US, published on the 1st of October 2019 with ISBN 9781984817853. This is a hardcover edition featuring a new foreword from the author and 10 full-colour illustrations by Magali Villeneuve, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first publication. Also published in the UK by HarperVoyager on the 17th of October 2019 with ISBN 9780008363710. The US and UK editions feature the same artwork, but the texture of the cover is different, and whereas all the foil used in the US edition is golden, in the UK edition it is part copper, part silver. The UK edition also comes with a ribbon bookmark.[4] There was also a misprint of 20 copies of the UK edition where the copper foil got replaced with blue.
  • A 3 volume hardcover set of the Farseer trilogy by Folio Society the 3rd of September 2020. New introduction by the author, 5 full-page colour illustrations in each volume by David Palumbo and a redrawn double-page map by Neil Gower. Printed in black and red and the set comes with a slipcase. The bindings have been blocked with gold (AA), silver (RA) and pewter (AQ) foils.
    • A set of 240 copies of the trilogy were made available with a bookplate signed by the author as well as the illustrator; these sold out in a matter of hours. Signed copies (author only) have also been available through the Signed Page.
  • An ebook edition by Harper Voyager September 1st 2011, with ASIN: B005JE1K9M
  • An unabridged audiobook by Tantor the 3rd of March 2010, length 17 hrs 30 minutes, read by Paul Boehmer. ISBN 9781400164349
  • An unabridged audiobook by HarperCollins Publishers Limited the 30th of August 2012, length and narrator as above, with ASIN B00943C7KA.


For the covers of these translations, see Assassin's Apprentice cover gallery.

  • A Bulgarian translation Тайните на занаята from Bard Publishing House in 2001 with ISBN 9789545852312. Translated by Юлиян Стойнов, cover art by Michael Whelan.
  • A Chinese translation 刺客學徒 was first published in November 2002 by 奇幻基地 with ISBN 9572813633, translator 嚴韻. Reprinted by 汕头大学出版社 in July 2005 with ISBN 9787810365680. Cover art same as above, but the text is aligned differently. For the following volumes in this edition, the cover art was changed. Another Chinese edition was published the 1st of June 2016 by 上海社会科学院出版社 with ISBN 9787552010480 and new cover art.
  • A Danish translation Snigmorderens lærling in February 2017 by Cicero in hardcover with ISBN 9788763848367. Translated by Marianne Linneberg Rasmussen, cover art by Jackie Morris.
  • A Danish audiobook edition of the above published at the same time with ISBN 9788763850797, read by Lars Thiesgaard.
  • An abbreviated Dutch translation Moordenaarsleerling was published by Unieboek (Van Holkema & Warendorf) in October 21st 1996, ISBN 9026973764 (paperback). Translator Erica Feberwee, cover by Tejo Hendriks.
  • A complete Dutch translation Leerling en meester was published by Meulenhoff in April 1998, ISBN 9029057009 (hardcover) and again in April 30th 1999, ISBN 9029059664 (paperback). Translators Erica Feberwee and Peter Cuijpers. An "Mpact-edition" (sort of like trade paperback?) was published by Meulenhoff in October 24th 2000, ISBN 9029068329. A new edition with new cover art was published in 2010 with ISBN 9789022553398.
  • A Dutch boxset paperback edition of the Farseer trilogy, De Boeken van de Zieners - deel 1, 2 en 3, from Luitingh-Sijthoff in November 2017 with the Alejandro Colucci cover art and ISBN 9789024579693.
  • A Finnish translation Salamurhaajan oppipoika was published by Otava in 1997, ISBN 9511144480 (hardcover) and again in 2000 ISBN 951116662X (paperback - "Seven-pokkarit"). Translator Sauli Santikko, cover art by Michael Whelan. Paperback reprint in 2018 with ISBN 9789511328216 and with Jackie Morris cover art.
  • An unabridged French audiobook, the 14th of October 2016 from Audible Studios, length 17 hours and 47 minutes, narrated by Sylvain Agaësse. Cover art by Vincent Madras. ASIN: B01M8HY927
  • A French omnibus edition of Assassin's Apprentice and Royal Assassin, La Citadelle des ombre's 1: L'Apprenti assassin, L'Assassin du roi, La Nef du crépuscule in March 2000 from Pygmalion with ISBN 2857046278. Cover art by Michael Whelan. Reprinted again in 2012 with ISBN 9782756407685 and cover art by Stéphane Desbenoit.
  • A German translation Der Adept des Assassinen was published by Bastei Lübbe in January 1999 with ISBN 3404282310 and reprinted in January 2002 with ISBN 340420350X, both are paperbacks with the Whelan cover. Reprinted in 2004 by Weltbild Verlag in hardcover with ISBN 3828975836 and different cover art.
  • A second German translation Der Weitseher from Heyne in 2009 with ISBN 9783453524811 (also available for Kindle). Also released as an audiobook the 1 of February 2016 by Ronin - Hörverlag with ASIN B01ATNGPVK. Narrated by Matthias Lühn, length 18 hours and 45 minutes. Cover art for all three by Paolo Barbieri.
  • A third German translation Die Gabe der Könige from Penhaligon Verlag the 28th of August 2017 (paperback & ebook) with ISBN 9783764531836. Translated by Eva Bauche-Eppers, cover art and design by Isabelle Hirtz.
  • A Greek translation Μαθητευόμενος εκτελεστής in 2002 by Anubis with ISBN 9603063541. Translator Ειρήνη Παϊδούση, cover art by Michael Whelan.
  • A Hebrew translation שוליית הרוצח from Astrolog in 1998, trade paperback with ISBN 9654940132.
  • An Indonesian translation Assassin's Apprentice from Penerbit Matahati the 10th of June 2011 with ISBN 9786028590303, translated by Barokah Ruziati. Cover art by Niko Setiawan.
  • A Japanese translation in December 2004 by 出版社:東京創元社 in two parts. Part one, 騎士の息子〈上〉 with ISBN 9784488562014, part two 騎士の息子〈下〉 with ISBN 9784488562021. Translated by Kaji Yasuko/鍛治靖子.
  • A Polish translation Uczeñ skrytobójcy. First edition by Prószyński i S-ka on February 4th 1997, ISBN 8371800738 (paperback). Second edition by MAG on April 15th 2005, ISBN 8389004976 (paperback). Translator Agnieszka Cieplowska (the second edition with the name changed to Agnieszka Kwiatkowska). Cover art by Piotr Lukaszewski. Reprint in 2014? with cover art by Dagmara Matuszak.
  • A Portuguese translation Aprendiz de Assassino from Saída de Emergência in March 2009 with ISBN 9789896371142, cover art by John Howe.
  • A Portuguese translation O Aprendiz de Assassino from LeYa Brasil in July 2013 with ISBN 9788580448160, translated by Orlando Moreira. This edition seems to exist with two different covers. One is the Jackie Morris cover from the UK 2007 edition and the other a new cover by Marc Simonetti also used in some Spanish editions. The Simonetti cover has ISBN 9788580449983 but these two come up in searches mixed together.
  • A Romanian translation Ucenicul asasinului by Nemira in 2009, translated by Antuza Genescu with ISBN 9786068073774. Michael Whelan cover art. Republished the 19th of December 2016 with ISBN 9786067586909 and new cover art.
  • A Russian omnibus of the whole Farseer trilogy titled Трилогия о королевском убийце in hardcover with ISBN 9785699405671, 1296 pages, published in 2010, featuring the original Royal Assassin cover art by Michael Whelan.
  • A Russian omnibus edition Королевский убийца containing Assassin's Apprentice and Royal Assassin from Азбука in 2017. Hardcover, ISBN 9785389113947 with the new Jackie Morris cover art. There is a matching edition of Assassin's Quest.
  • A Russian audiobook by Eksmo-Sidikom in 2008, narrated by Кирилл Петров, length 19 hours 47 minutes.
  • A Serbian translation Krv Kraljeva was published by Laguna in 2006, ISBN 8674365892. Translator Tatjana Bižić. Cover art by John Howe.
  • A Slovenian translation Morilčev vajenec from Gnostica in paperback in 2009 with ISBN 9789612291037.
  • A Spanish translation published in two parts by La Factoria de Ideas, translated by Manuel de los Reyes:
  • A Swedish translation Mördarens Lärling was published by Natur och Kultur in 1996, ISBN 9127057372 (hardcover) and in 1997 ISBN 9127069095 (trade paperback?) and also in 1998, ISBN 9127071197 (paperback). Translator Ylva Spångberg. There is also an anthology Fantasy published by Natur och Kultur in April 2000 with a chapter from Assassin's Apprentice. The book is meant for schools, so there is the actual anthology (ISBN 9127571130) and a guide for teachers (ISBN 9127571149).
  • A Turkish translation Suikastçının Çırağı from İthaki Yayınları in 2005, paperback, with ISBN 9789752730120, cover art by Michael Whelan.
  • A Ukrainian translation Учень убивці from Книжковий Клуб «Клуб Сімейного Дозвілля» the 30th of August 2018 in hardcover with ISBN 9786171254107.


  1. 25 Years of Spectra: ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE (1995) by Robin Hobb
  2.–-hardbacks-for-voyager’s-birthday/ Hip hip hooray: hardbacks for Voyager’s birthday!
  3. HarperVoyager: The special editions are coming
Realmof stone.jpg

The Realm of the Elderlings

The Farseer trilogy : Assassin's Apprentice | Royal Assassin | Assassin's Quest

The Liveship Traders: Ship of Magic | The Mad Ship | Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man: Fool's Errand | The Golden Fool | Fool's Fate

Rain Wild Chronicles: Dragon Keeper | Dragon Haven | City of Dragons | Blood of Dragons

Fitz and the Fool: Fool's AssassinFool's QuestAssassin's Fate

Novels: The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince

Short stories: Homecoming | The Inheritance | Cat's Meat | Words Like Coins | Blue Boots | Her Father's Sword