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Publisher's Summary

Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships---rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown's oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia. For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her---a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim.
For Althea's young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence. But the fate of the Vestrit family---and the ship---may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles...and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will.
©1999 Robin Hobb (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

“The characterizations are consistently superb.... Kudos to the author and encore!” ( Booklist, Starred Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Stan on 10-20-12

Takes a little getting used to

The story is excellent, many unique elements that keep driving little mysteries throughout the story. Interesting characters, no all of whom are human. The narration takes some getting used to, her voice is slow and occasionally ponderous, This is the first book that I listened to at 1.5 speed, and I found it didn't lose any comprehension at the faster speed. I'm looking forward to the next two in the series.

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26 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lorena on 07-16-12

Something altogether new

I have read a lot of fantasy in my time and it is rare to come across a story that is truly original. The world Robin Hobb has created in this series is unlike any I've seen, the magic is subtle and the characters are alive. After reading the Farseer trilogy (also by Robin Hobb), I couldn't wait to get my hands on more of her books. This one was as good, if not better. The characters Robin creates are real people, they don't always behave the way you expect them to, they make mistakes and they evolve based on what has happened to them. None of the characters are completely good or completely evil, and they don't fit into classic stereotypes.
This series is actually placed in the same world as the Farseer trilogy and there are a few subtle ties to that story (which is fun if you've read it). If you find you like Robin Hobb's style, you should really consider listening to her works in order. Each trilogy stands alone, but is made better if read in the right order. Start with the Farseer trilogy, next is the Liveship Traders, then the Tawny Man, and finally the Rainwild chronicles. If on the other hand, you are only going to read one set...read this one. It is impossible to stop listening until you've reached the end.


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36 of 38 people found this review helpful

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