This book was one thousand pages long and Kvothe, the main character, had a lot of adventures.
The story is being told by an older Kvothe to a story writer called Chronicler and to Bast, Kvothe’s apprentice. Kvothe owns an inn in a small town and he goes by Kote. I’m assuming he is in hiding or just wants to live a simple life now. His older self seems to be at odds with his younger self who worked hard at building up a reputation for himself of being someone who accomplished great feats similar to the storybook legend of Taborlin the Great, a magician who could break out of doorless and windowless prisons because he knew the names of everything like wind and stone and could command them to do his bidding. The mature Kvothe seems to be subdued and may even regret some of his past.
This book starts out with Kvothe at the University, learning magic or what they call sympathy. He struggles to find money to pay his tuition each term which has been made harder by a fellow student named Ambrose, a rich noble who hates Kvothe.
Kvothe is an amazing musician who plays the lute but he can’t find a patron because Ambrose has threatened or bribed everyone within a hundred miles not to take him on as a client. Ambrose is always causing trouble for Kvothe but Kvothe gives as good as he gets. Rvery term, each student has to go in front of the Masters who ask a few questions and set tuition based on those answers. The day of Kvothe’s interview, a woman came to the inn where Kvothe was staying. She asked if he knew Ambrose, brought him a drink and sat down with him. “To Ambrose Jakis,” she said with sudden fierceness. “May he fall into a well and die.” He smelled nutmeg and plum and then she started sobbing and left the inn.
She had drugged Kvothe but he didn’t realize it until a few people told him he was acting strange and being rude. The drug brings out the worst in people or takes away their inhibitions. It takes days to leave the system so the person can act fairly normal but could take weeks or even months to wear off. Luckily, Fela switched admission days with him so he didn’t totally ruin his chances at the University.
Ambrose also had him charged with malfeasance which brought heat on the University which made the Masters nervous which would have made his tuition for the next term too high to afford. Again, luck intervened. A noble found a possible patron for Kvothe in another country. His friend said Alveron Maer was just as important and almost as powerful as the king and he had written to him and told him he was in need of an educated person who was good with words and who could travel as soon as possible. Kvothe boarded a ship to Vintas.
From there, Kvothe goes on one long adventure.
I know there is one more book coming out but it has been six years since this one was published so who knows how long it will be until the next book is published.