Volume I of The Farseer Trilogy. Fitz, a royal bastard,is cast out into the world with only his magical link with animals for solace and companionship.  But when Fitz is adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manner and how to secretly kill a man.  Meanwhile, raiders ravage the coasts, leaving the people Forged and soulless.  Fitz has to face his first terrifying mission, not only a risk to his target, but also to himself.  For Fitz is a threat to the throne, but he may also be the key to the future of the kingdom.