This is the first book in the Farseer trilogy (followed by Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest).
Fitz is the hidden bastard son of Prince Chivalry, the king's heir. As his mother's family can no longer feed him, at the age of six he's taken in by Burrich, the king's stablemaster, with whom he'll learn to tend to the royal horses and hounds. In his free time, Fitz likes to go to the docks of Buckkeep with his pup, Nosy, to play with the harbour children or to listen to sailormen's stories. What he doesn't realise yet though, is that unlike the others, he has a strange ability to link mentally with animals called the Wit. But as soon as Burrich, who fears this ancient magic, discovers Fitz's bond with Nosy, he'll arrange to take the dog forever out of Fitz's life.
Due to Fitz's striking resemblence to his father, soon the rumours spread out too, and Chivalry has to abdicate and leave the keep in order to protect his barren wife's sanity. Later, Fitz meets King Shrewd, his grandfather, who'll ask him to come and live in the castle. This is going to be the beginning of a new life for Fitz, as not only is he going to be trained in weapon tactics and scribing techniques, but he will also secretly become the king's assassin.
Set in a land devastated by the tyrannical Red Ship Raiders, the story goes on to describe Fitz's growing up to manhood at the keep, attending to his chores during the day, and learning how to dispose discretely of a man at nights, until he has to face his first mission.
Written from the hero's point of view, Assassin's Apprentice is a very complex and elaborate novel, with a passionating plot and most interesting characters, which got me hooked right from the start. Furthermore, unlike most books in a series, it has a real ending and could even be read as a single novel... but I can tell you I won't!
This report prepared by crooty