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Liveship Trilogy Books In Order

Publication Order of The Liveship Trilogy Books

Ship of Magic (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mad Ship (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ship of Destiny (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Liveship Trilogy series is a wonderful series of fantasy novels written by a renowned American writer named Robin Hobb. It is comprised of a total 3 books, which were released between the years 1998 and 2000. Author Hobb has described the series as revolving around the lives of the Trader families in the fictional town of Bingtown. The plots of all the books generally take place in Bingtown, Pirate Isles, and Jamaillia, located near the southern coast of the Six Duchies. It is shown that trade is the lifeblood of the people of Bingtown, but it gets interrupted because of the ongoing war in Northern region. The war causes the Liveship Traders to fall on difficult times despite having magic-sentient ships. A Liveship is mainly constructed from a special type of magical wood and its possession guarantees prosperity to a Trader’s family at one time. None of the ships other than a Liveship is capable of crossing the dangerous route of the Rain Wild River, and trading with the legendary traders of the Rain Wild.

The mysterious and magical goods of Rain-Wild Traders that are believed to be plundered from the ruins of enigmatic Elderling is what makes the traders from far away places come to them for trade. An important character of the series is introduced in the form of Althea Vestrit. She expects that her family will follow the tradition of passing a Liveship from generation to generation. So, when her father dies, Althea hopes that she will get the possession of her family Liveship named Vivacia. However, the family hands over the Liveship to her younger sister named Keffria, who uses it along with her husband named Kyle for scheming for their own benefit. Vivacia goes on to become a transport ship for a profitable and despised business of slave trade. Althea Vestrit decides to cast herself out and go on to live all by herself. She hopes to deal with the dangerous world on her own and keeps trying to regain the control of Vivacia.

Brashen Trell is shown as Althea’s old shipmate. The allies that Althea has by her side include Brashen Trell, an enigmatic woodcarver named Amber, and a mad Liveship called Paragon. There are some obstacles that Althea Vestrit faces during her determined mission, including pirates, sea serpents, a deadly dragon, and a rebellion of slaves. As the series nears its end, Althea Vestrit discovers that a Liveship is not actually what it seems to be, and it may have some dreams of its own that it chooses to follow. And this turns out to be true for all the other Liveships. The series on the whole has received mixed reactions from the reviewers. The viewpoints and character development have been praised by many critics. Several reviewers have liked the rewarding ending of the series. However, the series did receive a criticism for having a large number of characters, most of which look rather unconnected. The readers seemed to lose track of some of the secondary characters. Other than this, the series appears to be an exciting and entertaining one to read. All the three books are filled with interesting characters, locations, storylines, etc., that the readers interested in fantasy stories are able to read and enjoy.

The debut book of the Liveship Traders Trilogy series written by author Robin Hobb is entitled ‘Ship of Magic’. It was released by the Voyager publication in the year 1998. The book features the chief characters in the roles of Althea Vestrit, Keffira Vestrit, Kennit, Ephron Vestrit, Vivacia, Kyle Haven, Ronica Vestrit, Amber, Paragon, Wintrow Vestrit, Brashen Trell, Malta Vestrit, etc. At the start of the book’s story, it is shown that Wizardwood is a precious sentient wood. It is a rare commodity and is found only in Rain-River Wilds. If one has to trade Wizardhood, he needs to come to Rain Wilders and negotiate. But, the perilous Rain-River waters can be crossed only by a liveship made from wizardwood. Also, a valuable and rare liveship is capable on traveling quickly in these waters only if 3 members of successive family generations have lost their lives on board.

One such liveship, Vivacia, is expected to face quickening very soon as the father of Althea Vestrit has very less time left before his death. So, he is carried on board Vivacia to breath his last and make Althea eligible to command Vivacia after its quickening. Althea Vestrit loves Vivacia very much and desperately waits for it to awaken. However, all her dreams get shattered when she learns that her cruel brother-in-law Kyle Haven has been given Vivacia’s possession in the will of her late father. Many others try to steal or win other liveships. One mad liveship known by the name of Paragon goes mad and drowns all its crew. When Althea comes to know about this liveship, she decides to get control of it and go on to achieve whatever is rightfully hers and was deprived of because of schemes and evil intentions. Althea seems determined to teach Kyle Haven and Keffria Vestrit a lesson for life and get back the possession of Vivacia.

Another very exciting book of this series is called ‘The Mad Ship’. It was also published by the voyager publication in 1999. Once again, Hobb has set the story in Bingtown and has mentioned the primary characters as Kennit, Brashen Trell, Wintrow Vestrit, Althea, Malta Vestrit, etc. At the beginning of the story of the book, it is depicted that Kennit takes control of Vivacia, the liveship of Vestrit family. Kennit is known to be a deadly pirate king, who is filled with cruel intentions all the time. Wintrow Vestrit is held hostage on board Vivacia. He competes with Kennit for the love of Vivacia as it begins to acquire the bloodlust of her own.

Far away from all this, Althea finds her new home on board the liveship called Ophelia. She still thinks of reclaiming Vivacia, and subsequently hatches a plan along with her close friend Brashen for the liveship’s dangerous rescue. Back in Bingtown, Malta Vestrit is lead deeper into Rain-Wild Traders’ magical secrets with the diminishing fortunes of the members of Vestrit family. On the other hand, Amber thinks of relaunching the mad ship Paragon, which is anchored outside Bingtown. This book was equally appreciated as the series’ first installment. The readers liked its content, characters, plot, and storyline. They appreciated the efforts of Robin Hobb in coming up with this unique story. Such appreciations and praises led to the book’s wide scale success.

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