Oh dear, what to say . . I feel that I have found myself reading these wonderful books. They make me feel alive and reading them was akin to falling in love. I've never felt so affected by a book in my entire life and I've read some very soul-changing books, but not on the level that Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderling books have affected me. I only wish I had found them so much sooner! They would have been an anchor for me during a very dark time in my life, and have proved to be such during a second dark time. But I digress! I have always known since I was a child of six years old that I was a poet and a few years later I realised I wanted to be a writer. I tried and failed at writing a novel but poetry was always my first calling and so I concentrated my efforts there. After my anthology of poems was published, I felt like my well of inspiration had run dry and that my muse had deserted me. I drifted from day to day feeling less myself everyday. Until I was handed a copy of "Assassin's Apprentice" and I finally got round to reading it after my father passed away in Texas and I returned to my home in England. I fell so in love with these books and they filled a void I hadn't even known existed in my life, that it's been less than a year since I first picked up Assassin's Apprentice and I have read every book in The Realm of the Elderlings, including nearly every short story Robin Hobb has published. It was in January of this year when I began to bubble forth like a well with inspiration for my own novel. I feel like I've grown so much since last year and come into my own, as it were. I owe it all to Robin Hobb.