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Summary

The second volume in this superb trilogy from the author of The Farseer trilogy continues the dramatic tale of piracy, serpents, love, and magic.

Althea Vestrit has found a new home aboard the liveship Ophelia, but lives only to reclaim the Vivacia as her rightful inheritance. However, Vivacia has been captured by the pirate ‘King’ Kennit and is acquiring a keen bloodlust. Bingtown becomes embroiled in a violent political upheaval against the corrupt Jamaillian leader, while the fading fortunes of the Vestrit family lead Malta deeper into the magical secrets of the mysterious Rain Wilds Traders.

Beyond Bingtown, enigmatic wood-carver Amber dreams of re-launching the Paragon, The Mad Ship, despite the history of death and despair that surrounds him. Secrets will be revealed - secrets forgotten by sea serpents, hidden by the disfigured Wild Rain Traders, buried deep in wizardwood coffins - secrets with startling, dramatic consequences.

©2012 Robin Hobb (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

“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)
“Assassin's Apprentice:A gleaming debut” ( Publishers Weekly)
“Assassin's Quest: 'Assassin's Quest achieves a bittersweet, powerful complexity rare in fantasy” ( Locus)
“Robin Hobb writes achingly well” ( SFX)
“Praise for The Liveship Traders series: 'Even better than the Assassin books. I didn't think that was possible” (George R R Martin)
“Hobb is a remarkable storyteller.” ( Guardian)

What listeners say about The Mad Ship

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Love the story, not sure about the narration

I knew I would enjoy the context of the story from looking at the description, reading other reviews and talking to a friend. What I found particularly enjoyable was the complexity of the characters in this fantasy novel, the way that all characters have depth and mixtures of pleasant/interesting/unpleasant characteristics. I found the narration difficult. When I first started listening it sounded like 'text to speech' with perfect diction and monotony. I still enjoyed listening but I would have greatly preferred a more natural speech rhythm with more lively inflection.

8 people found this helpful

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great stuff!

really great story, couldn't put it down! the chapters flowed really well and the narration was excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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Another great story butchered by bad narration

The story is yet again really good and captivating, but the narration done by Anne Flosnik makes me want to puke.

1 person found this helpful

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Awful narrator

Anne Flosnik’s voice is one of the most annoying noises. Slightly better than nails across a blackboard.

1 person found this helpful

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it just gets better

the first book was a little hard work after changing the narrator but I have to say Anne has done a really good job with this series 👏

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Fantastic story with depth

Immensely entertaining yet thought provoking and well balanced. Highly recommend
Shame about the performance. Had to get over the voice first in order to enjoy the brilliant story. Wished they’d re-record.

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Exceeded expectations

The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb
4☆

Published in 1998 and part of The Liveship Traders trilogy, this is a sequel to Ship of Magic.

Where I found Ship of Magic to be a little sluggish in places, The Mad Ship steps things up a notch.

Picking up where we left off, the questionable Captain Kennit is bleeding out on board the Liveship Vivacia. Wintrow, still rather green and disillusioned with his lot has to step up and save his life in order to secure that of his stubborn father who is now Kennits captive.

This pace keeps up almost the entire way through. There is no shortage of character development for Althea and her spoilt niece Malta and also for Etta who is determined to secure her place in Kennits life.

For me, this was 673 pages of joy. I enjoyed it far more than Ship of Magic, which is likely because there was so much progression of the many intertwined threads, but also because Robin Hobb just sucks you in to this sprawling landscape that she has created over an incredible career.

There is so much I could say about this book. I really liked learning more about the tangle and how they are connected to the Rain Wilds and the Liveships that sail above them between the lack and the plenty (when you know you know).

Getting straight into the Ship of Destiny while everything is fresh in my mind.

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Story makes up for the poor narrator

I gave up on Ship of Magic having given the narrator no stars. Her diction, particularly the way she slurred the ending of words, were too big a hurdle for me. Having moved to The Tawny Man series and enjoyed it so thoroughly I went back to it and, reluctantly, purchased the next two in the trilogy. Whether I've got used to the narrator or she's got better I didn't, quite, have the same issue albeit wishing for a narrator to do justice to the story

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Outstanding

This was great, constantly raising questions and hinting at answers but with a great conclusion setting you up for the next book!
Character development was great, initially hating characters from the previous book to see them grow and develop in a believable way.
I didn't enjoy the narrator in the first book but I feel like they were much better this time around and my original complaints were no longer valid.

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Second book is excellent.

I really enjoyed the first book and as soon as it was finished I listened to this. It was even better. In the first book Robin sets out the board and the pieces. In this book she starts to play with them and they draw closer together as storyline begin to overlap. I found the pace increasing. I thought Robin did an excellent job of creating such a band of diverse characters. Each with their own wants and desires, strengths and weaknesses. Each player gets plenty of story time to grow and this makes the story even better.
Excellent second book. Straight to the third and conclusion.

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  • marilyn
  • 02-03-13

Just love Robin Hobbs work but not this narrator

This narrator seems to hang onto words particularly at the end of sentences. I will certainly
listen to series 2 but could wish for a different narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dragonfly
  • 22-02-17

Brilliant story horrendous narrator

I am amazed that Robin Hobb would agree to Anne Flosnik being the narrator again after the disastrous narration of the first book! Beyond the narration this is a 5 star book! Robin Hobb has weaved a magnificent world that it is a privilege to get lost in. She is one of the best writers of our time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Raul
  • 25-11-19

Fascinating to listen

Follow along this thrilling adventure and enjoy the realm Robin Hobb has created. It's thoroughly enjoyable!

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  • Sharon
  • 16-09-18

Audio version is dreadful

This narrator is appalling! I mean seriously appalling. She reads as with no intonation other than elongating the last word of every sentence to extraordinary length. Then the voices she makes for the characters is just awful, I mean really awful.
Just read the book if you are able, the audio version is unlistenable

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jim Sheils
  • 19-07-14

The Epic Continues

What did you love best about The Mad Ship?

The Restoration of the Paragon.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No it is too big

Any additional comments?

Just as good as Ship of magic

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  • Justin
  • 27-08-17

Great book, great narration

Thank you both Robin and Anne. A great story with excellent narration. I can't imagine anyone else narrating this story in such a wonderfully compelling way.