Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
(Liveship Traders 1)

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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. Now 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. For Althea’s young nephew, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard the ship, the Vivacia is a life sentence. But the fate of the ship—and the Vestrits—may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider: the ruthless buccaneer captain Kennit, who plans to seize power over the Pirate Isles by capturing a liveship and bending it to his will.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robin Hobb's Mad Ship.
Praise for Robin Hobb and the Liveship Traders Trilogy
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin
“A truly extraordinary saga . . . The characterizations are consistently superb, and [Hobb] animates everything with love for and knowledge of the sea.”—Booklist
“A major work of high fantasy, reading like a cross between Tolkien and Patrick O’Brian . . . one of the finest fantasy sagas to bridge the millennium.”—Publishers Weekly
“Rich, complex . . . [Hobb’s] plotting is complex but tightly controlled, and her descriptive powers match her excellent visual imagination. But her chief virtue is that she delineates character extremely well.”—Interzone

About Robin Hobb

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Robin Hobb was born in California but grew up in Alaska. It was there that she learned to love the forest and the wilderness. She has lived most of her life in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, and The Tawny Man Trilogy. Her books under the pseudonym Megan Lindholm include The Wizard of the Pigeons, Windsingers, and Cloven Hooves. Her short fiction has won the Asimov's Readers' Award and been finalists for both the Nebula and Hugo awards. She is also the author of The Inheritance, a collection of stories written under both names. For more information about Robin Hobb, please visit
Published December 30, 2003 by Spectra. 832 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ship of Magic

Kirkus Reviews

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The trading ship Vivacia, owned and captained by Ephron Vestrit out of Bingtown, is constructed of wizardwood: Once three generations of Vestrits have died aboard, the wizardwood will ``quicken,'' become sentient and self-aware, embodied in its moving, talking figurehead.

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Suite 101

Often confused with fantasy literature, magical realism has its own defining characteristics that sets it apart as a separate and popular genre.

May 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Ship of Magic (Liveship Trade...

SF Site

The Vestrit family is the focus of most of the novel, but since it is the Liveship Traders series, that isn't surprising.

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Fantasy Faction

Seriously, the characters are really something to look out for, and I don’t think it’s farfetched to say that Captain Kennit is one of the best written characters in modern, and not so modern, fantasy.

Dec 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Ship of Magic (Liveship Trade...


The first volume in the Liveship Traders trilogy.

Oct 06 2007 | Read Full Review of Ship of Magic (Liveship Trade...

SF Reader

SFReader is THE place for both fans and authors of the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror genres to come together and share!

May 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Ship of Magic (Liveship Trade...

Seized by the Tale

Like many other Old Trader families, the Vestrits have indebted their family to the Rain Wild Traders for generations to pay for a liveship, a ship made of magical wood that will quicken into life after three generations of Vestrits have died on its decks.

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