House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen Series #4)

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Overview

In Northern Genabackis, just before the events recounted in Gardens of the Moon, a tribal raiding party descends into the southern flat lands intent on wreaking havoc. But for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove an extraordinary destiny.

Some years later, Tavore, recently appointed Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last Malazan stronghold on Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand ...
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House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen Series #4)

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Overview

In Northern Genabackis, just before the events recounted in Gardens of the Moon, a tribal raiding party descends into the southern flat lands intent on wreaking havoc. But for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove an extraordinary destiny.

Some years later, Tavore, recently appointed Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last Malazan stronghold on Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand soldiers, into a force capable of confronting the massed hordes of the seer Sha'ik's Whirlwind who lie in the heart of the Holy Desert.

But waiting is never easy. The tribal chiefs are locked in a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself is haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis, Tavore, her own sister…

So begins this awesome epic novel of war, intrigue, magic and betrayal from a writer regarded as one of the most original and exciting storytellers in fantasy today.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Steven Erikson's Malazan epic proceeds in high style, introducing new characters and deepening the mythic struggle between Shai'ik and her nemesis sister Tavore. A panoramic epic.
Publishers Weekly
Longtime fans may be surprised by the fourth book in Erikson's masterful fantasy epic that began with Gardens of the Moon (2004), because the long opening section follows a single character, the Teblor warrior Karsa Orlong, and his companions on a gory raid through enemy territory and into the human lowlands of Northern Genabackis. The time-hopping, perspective-shifting, looping story lines typical of this Canadian author return later, as Erikson ties Karsa's actions to the ultimate showdown between the forces of the Malazan Empire and Sha'ik's Army of the Apocalypse. Against a backdrop of brutal power struggles, the stubbornly determined Karsa is able to accomplish more than even he could have imagined. Unusual among fantasy writers, Erikson succeeds in making readers empathize equally with all sides involved in his world's vast, century-spanning conflict. Newcomers will eagerly seek out previous books in the series. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A young barbarian warrior of the Uryd tribe of the Teblor people accompanies his comrades on a raid into the lowlands and begins an unexpected journey that takes him to strange lands and an even stranger destiny. As the armies of the Shai'k gather in the Holy Desert for their war of conquest against the city of Aren, the last stronghold of the Malazan Empire, a newly arrived adjunct to the empress attempts to train a fighting force able to withstand the coming invasion. In the latest addition to his Malazan series (Gardens of the Moon; Deadhouse Gates), Erikson crafts a multilayered tale of magic and war, loyalty and betrayal. Complexly drawn characters occupy a richly detailed world in this panoramic saga, which should appeal to fans of epic and military fantasy as well as series followers. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Interzone
True myth in the making…histories and legends as rich as any found within our culture.
SF Site
Erikson . . . joins the ranks of Tolkien and Donaldson in his mythic vision and perhaps then goes one better.
From the Publisher
"Truly epic in scope., Erikson has no peer when it comes to action and imagination, and joins the ranks of Tolkien and Donaldson in his mythic vision and perhaps then goes one better."—SF Site on House of Chains

"A multilayered tale of magic and war, loyalty and betrayal. Complexly drawn characters occupy a richly detailed world in this panoramic saga.."—Library Journal on House of Chains

"This is true myth in the making, a drawing upon fantasy to recreate histories and legends as rich as any found within our culture."—Interzone on House of Chains

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Archaeologist and anthropologist Steven Erikson’s debut fantasy novel, Gardens of the Moon, was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award and introduced readers to what would become an international bestselling sequence, the ten-book ‘The Malazan Book of the Fallen’ and which has been hailed as one of the finest works of fantasy of our time. His latest novel, Forge of Darkness, marks the beginning of an epic new series: ‘The Kharkanas Trilogy’. Steve lived in the UK for a number of years – most recently in Cornwall – before returning to Canada in 2012. He now lives in Victoria, BC. To find out more, visitwww.malazanempire.com and www.stevenerikson.com
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Children from a dark house choose shadowed paths.
—Nathii Folk Saying

The dog had savaged a woman, an old man and a child before the warriors drove it into an abandoned kiln at the edge of the village. The beast had never before displayed an uncertain loyalty. It had guarded the Uryd lands with fierce zeal, one with its kin in its harsh, but just, duties. There were no wounds on its body that might have festered and so allowed the spirit of madness into its veins. Nor was the dog possessed by the foaming sickness. Its position in the village pack had not been challenged. Indeed, there was nothing, nothing at all, to give cause to the sudden turn.

The warriors pinned the animal to the rounded back wall of the clay kiln with spears, stabbing at the snapping, shrieking beast until it was dead. When they withdrew their spears they saw the shafts chewed and slick with spit and blood; they saw iron dented and scored.

Madness, they knew, could remain hidden, buried far beneath the surface, a subtle flavour turning blood into something bitter. The shamans examined the three victims; two had already died of their wounds, but the child still clung to life.

In solemn procession he was carried by his father to the Faces in the Rock, laid down in the glade before the Seven Gods of the Teblor, and left there.

He died a short while later. Alone in his pain before the hard visages carved into the cliff-face.

This was not an unexpected fate. The child, after all, had been too young to pray.

All of this, of course, happened centuries past.

Long before the Seven Gods opened their eyes.

Urugal the Woven's Yea

1139 Burn's Sleep

They were glorious tales. Farms in flames, children dragged behind horses for leagues. The trophies of that day, so long ago, cluttered the low walls of his grandfather's longhouse. Scarred skull-pates, frail-looking mandibles. Odd fragments of clothing made of some unknown material, now smoke-blackened and tattered. Small ears nailed to every wooden post that reached up to the thatched roof.

Evidence that Silver Lake was real, that it existed in truth, beyond the forest-clad mountains, down through hidden passes, a week - perhaps two - distant from the lands of the Uryd clan. The way itself was fraught, passing through territories held by the Sunyd and Rathyd clans, a journey that was itself a tale of legendary proportions. Moving silent and unseen through enemy camps, shifting the hearthstones to deliver deepest insult, eluding the hunters and trackers day and night until the borderlands were reached, then crossed - the vista ahead unknown, its riches not even yet dreamed of.

Karsa Orlong lived and breathed his grandfather's tales. They stood like a legion, defiant and fierce, before the pallid, empty legacy of Synyg - Pahlk's son and Karsa's father. Synyg, who had done nothing in his life, who tended his horses in his valley and had not once ventured into hostile lands. Synyg, who was both his father's and his son's greatest shame.

True, Synyg had more than once defended his herd of horses from raiders from other clans, and defended well, with honourable ferocity and admirable skill. But this was only to be expected from those of Uryd blood. Urugal the Woven was the clan's Face in the Rock, and Urugal was counted among the fiercest of the seven gods. The other clans had reason to fear the Uryd.

Nor had Synyg not proved masterful in training his only son in the Fighting Dances. Karsa's skill with the bloodwood blade far surpassed his years. He was counted among the finest warriors of the clan. While the Uryd disdained use of the bow, they excelled with spear and atlatl, with the toothed-disc and the black-rope, and Synyg had taught his son an impressive efficiency with these weapons as well.

None the less, such training was to be expected from any father in the Uryd clan. Karsa could find no reason for pride in such things. The Fighting Dances were but preparation, after all. Glory was found in all that followed, in the contests, the raids, in the vicious perpetuation of feuds.

Karsa would not do as his father had done. He would not do . . . nothing. No, he would walk his grandfather's path. More closely than anyone might imagine. Too much of the clan's reputation lived only in the past. The Uryd had grown complacent in their position of pre-eminence among the Teblor. Pahlk had muttered that truth more than once, the nights when his bones ached from old wounds and the shame that was his son burned deepest.

A return to the old ways. And I, Karsa Orlong, shall lead. Delum Thord is with me. As is Bairoth Gild. All in our first year of scarring. We have counted coup. We have slain enemies. Stolen horses. Shifted the hearthstones of the Kellyd and the Buryd.

And now, with the new moon and in the year of your naming, Urugal, we shall weave our way to Silver Lake. To slay the children who dwell there.

He remained on his knees in the glade, head bowed beneath the Faces in the Rock, knowing that Urugal's visage, high on the cliff-face, mirrored his own savage desire; and that those of the other gods, all with their own clans barring 'Siballe, who was the Unfound, glared down upon Karsa with envy and hate. None of their children knelt before them, after all, to voice such bold vows.

Complacency plagued all the clans of the Teblor, Karsa suspected. The world beyond the mountains dared not encroach, had not attempted to do so in decades. No visitors ventured into Teblor lands. Nor had the Teblor themselves gazed out beyond the borderlands with dark hunger, as they had often done generations past. The last man to have led a raid into foreign territory had been his grandfather. To the shores of Silver Lake, where farms squatted like rotted mushrooms and children scurried like mice. Back then, there had been two farms, a half-dozen outbuildings. Now, Karsa believed, there would be more. Three, even four farms. Even Pahlk's day of slaughter would pale to that delivered by Karsa, Delum and Bairoth.

So I vow, beloved Urugal. And I shall deliver unto you a feast of trophies such as never before blackened the soil of this glade. Enough, perhaps, to free you from the stone itself, so that once more you will stride in our midst, a deliverer of death upon all our enemies.

I, Karsa Orlong, grandson of Pahlk Orlong, so swear. And, should you doubt, Urugal, know that we leave this very night. The journey begins with the descent of this very sun. And, as each day's sun births the sun of the next day, so shall it look down upon three warriors of the Uryd clan, leading their destriers through the passes, down into the unknown lands. And Silver Lake shall, after more than four centuries, once again tremble to the coming of the Teblor.

Karsa slowly lifted his head, eyes travelling up the battered cliff-face, to find the harsh, bestial face of Urugal, there, among its kin. The pitted gaze seemed fixed upon him and Karsa thought he saw avid pleasure in those dark pools. Indeed, he was certain of it, and would describe it as truth to Delum and Bairoth, and to Dayliss, so that she might voice her blessing, for he so wished her blessing, her cold words . . . I, Dayliss, yet to find a family's name, bless you, Karsa Orlong, on your dire raid. May you slay a legion of children. May their cries feed your dreams. May their blood give you thirst for more. May flames haunt the path of your life. May you return to me, a thousand deaths upon your soul, and take me as your wife.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    long novel, longer series

    If you're looking for something to fill your time and your a fan of fantasy novels, these books will work.
    I can't say that there's too much about them that makes me want to recommend them, but I do keep buying them.
    Huge fantasy world with a tun of characters. I sometimes have troubles keeping track of who's who, but that's why Erikson provided a cast of characters and a glossary, and it proves the usefulness of the Find button on my nook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Great read

    Erikson continues a great series with book 4 in this epic series. This series itself is a musr read for engine who is a fan of authors such as Martin or Tolkien.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Another great read from Erikson!

    If you have enjoyed the first three books of this series, Erikson offers up more of the same outstanding writing and character development that he has in previous series books.

    The action in this book takes place primarily in the Holy Desert Rarauku in the Seven Cities, however there is a large section of the book dealing with Karsa Orlong that takes place in previously undisclosed locations. Characters from previous books such as Kalam, Apsalar and Crokus (now with a new name) make appearances also. Much like Memories of Ice this book builds up to a grand battle at the end, but has the stylistic feel of Chain of Dogs. A must read for any fan of the Malazan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    Amazing continuation of an already stellar story

    If you haven't already become enmeshed within the sprawling story as of yet, this book will probably become the make or break point in the series. You'll either grow to love the concept of the shaping of common men into what the deck/pantheon requires or you'll just find that the story is convoluted and tiresome. The story unfolds as a layered and complex story, as only an archeologist/anthropologist could articulate a top-down portrait of a long since passed culture. The feeling of being immersed within the minutia of the soon-to-be greatest history ever told is ever-present. I cannot say enough good this about how refreshing this series is. 5/5

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Perfect continuation

    I must admit that when I first started Gardens of the Moon I was a little overwhelmed with all the Gods, Warrens, Players, etc. But as I kept reading it all made sense. I am hooked on the Malazan world. The author does a excellent job with the characters: As many as their are, yet the author paints them so vividly, You are able to feel all of them. The House of chains will introduce you to new and characters while bringing back a few. New places of the world (which could have used more maps). There is not much more to say except enjoy and immerse yourself into the world Erikson and Esslemont have created.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    The saga continues!

    Not a light read, but a great book and series. My only complaint is that I would like to see lots more maps.

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  • Posted September 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Great Follow-up

    Very good continuation from the previous books, I like how Steven Erikson pulls together distant events and brief contact with caracters from Memories of Ice and they become central to the story. Overall very good reading.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Good read

    Quite long, and then you have to read the next one, but worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    The calm after the storm.

    The first three novels in this series kept escalating with excitement and new and interesting characters. This novel is what I would call the eye of the storm. This is a great time for the characters and plot to re-group before it becomes too convoluted. Erikson certainly knows how to keep the reader interested, even when going into more detail (intrigue) as is evident in this book. I can't wait to see how Erikson picks up the pace again, leaving his readers begging for more.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    a reviewer

    In Northern Genabackis, the raiders leave the mountains to bring death and destruction to those lowlanders they hate residing in the southern flatlands. Amidst these brutal warriors is Karsa Orlong the Teblor who is unaware at this time he has just begun an odyssey that will spin into the middle of a future confrontation between the Malazan Empire and Sha'ik's Army of the Apocalypse.-------------------- Meanwhile some time in the future, Tavore, the Adjunct to the Malazon Empress, arrives at the Seven Cities, the last Malazan stronghold of Seven Cities. Her assignment is to turn a force of twelve thousand inexperienced former civilians into a powerful fighting force prepared to battle with the overwhelming armies of her sister, Sha'ik. Tavore herself lacks leadership experience so fears she is not up to the job as the enemy is so much more powerful. However, she does have a few experienced survivors from Coltaine's march, who she depends on to shape her soldiers so that they stand a chance when the latest hostilities in the hundred years of war heat up in the Holy Desert.-------------- Series fans will be shocked by the long opening sequence as the fourth book of The Malazan Book of the Fallen stays with Karsa rather than the usual constant changing of the point of view. However, Steven Erikson reverts to form as the rest of the exhilarating story line is anything but linear. The key to this superior fantasy, as is the case with its predecessors is no one is 100 percent good or evil instead readers understand motives on both sides of the conflict and feel for those caught in epic events. Though better to have read the previous entries, HOUSE OF CHAINS is a great entry in a terrific saga.------------ Harriet Klausner

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    Posted July 2, 2013

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    Posted May 8, 2012

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    Posted November 6, 2009

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    Posted December 28, 2011

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