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

( 71 )

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

  • ISBN-13: 9780765348814
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/6/2007
  • Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 1024
  • Sales rank: 74,493
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.73 (h) x 1.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Erikson is an archaeologist and anthropologist and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His Malazan Book of the Fallen series, including The Crippled God, Dust of Dreams, Toll the Hounds and Reaper’s Gale, have met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. The first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award. The second novel, Deadhouse Gates, was voted one of the ten best fantasy novels of 2000 by SF Site. He lives in Canada.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Verge of the Nascent, the 943rd Day of the Search

1159 Burn's Sleep

Grey, bloated and pocked, the bodies lined the silt-laden shoreline for as far as the eye could see. Heaped like driftwood by the rising water, bobbing and rolling on the edges, the putrefying flesh seethed with black-shelled, ten-legged crabs. The coin-sized creatures had scarcely begun to make inroads on the bounteous feast the warren's sundering had laid before them.

The sea mirrored the low sky's hue. Dull, patched pewter above and below, broken only by the deeper grey of silts and, thirty strokes of the oar distant, the smeared ochre tones of the barely visible upper levels of a city's inundated buildings. The storms had passed, the waters were calm amidst the wreckage of a drowned world.

Short, squat had been the inhabitants. Flat-featured, the pale hair left long and loose. Their world had been a cold one, given the thick-padded clothing they had worn. But with the sundering that had changed, cataclysmically. The air was sultry, damp and now foul with the reek of decay.

The sea had been born of a river on another realm. A massive, wide and probably continent-spanning artery of fresh water, heavy with a plain's silts, the murky depths home to huge catfish and wagon-wheeled-sized spiders, its shallows crowded with the crabs and carnivorous, rootless plants. The river had poured its torrential volume onto this vast, level landscape. Days, then weeks, then months.

Storms, conjured by the volatile clash of tropical air-streams with the resident temperate climate, had driven the flood on beneath shrieking winds, and before the inexorably rising waters came deadly plagues to take those who had not drowned.

Somehow, the rent had closed sometime in the night just past. The river from another realm had been returned to its original path.

The shoreline ahead probably did not deserve the word, but nothing else came to Trull Sengar's mind as he was dragged along its verge. The beach was nothing more than silt, heaped against a huge wall that seemed to stretch from horizon to horizon. The wall had withstood the flood, though water now streamed down it on the opposite side.

Bodies on his left, a sheer drop of seven, maybe eight man-heights to his right, the top of the wall itself slightly less than thirty paces across; that it held back an entire sea whispered of sorcery. The broad, flat stones underfoot were smeared with mud, but already drying in the heat, dun-coloured insects dancing on its surface, leaping from the path of Trull Sengar and his captors.

Trull still experienced difficulty comprehending that notion. Captors. A word he struggled with. They were his brothers, after all. Kin. Faces he had known all his life, faces he had seen smile, and laugh, and faces—-at times—-filled with a grief that had mirrored his own. He had stood at their sides through all that had happened, the glorious triumphs, the soul-wrenching losses.

Captors.

There were no smiles, now. No laughter. The expressions of those who held him were fixed and cold.

What we have come to.

The march ended. Hands pushed Trull Sengar down, heedless of his bruises, the cuts and the gouges that still leaked blood. Massive iron rings had been set, for some unknown purpose, by this world's now-dead inhabitants, along the top of the wall, anchored in the heart of the huge stone blocks. The rings were evenly spaced down the wall's length, at intervals of fifteen or so paces, for as far as Trull could see.

Now, those rings had found a new function.

Chains were wrapped around Trull Sengar, shackles hammered into place on his wrists and ankles. A studded girdle was cinched painfully tight about his midriff, the chains drawn through iron loops and pulled taut to pin him down beside the iron ring. A hinged metal press was affixed to his jaw, his mouth forced open and the plate pushed in and locked in place over his tongue.

The Shorning followed. A dagger inscribed a circle on his forehead, followed by a jagged slash to break that circle, the point pushed deep enough to gouge the bone. Ash was rubbed into the wounds. His long single braid was removed with rough hacks that made a bloody mess of his nape. A thick, cloying unguent was then smeared through his remaining hair, massaged down to the pate. Within a few hours, the rest of his hair would fall away, leaving him permanently bald.

The Shorning was an absolute thing, an irreversible act of severance. He was now outcast. To his brothers, he had ceased to exist. He would not be mourned. His deeds would vanish from memory along with his name. His mother and father would have birthed one less child. This was, for his people, the most dire punishment—-worse than execution by far.

Yet, Trull Sengar had committed no crime.

And this is what we have come to.

They stood above him, perhaps only now comprehending what they had done.

A familiar voice broke the silence. 'We will speak of him now, and once we have left this place, he will cease to be our brother.'

'We will speak of him now,' the others intoned, then one added, 'He betrayed you.'

The first voice was cool, revealing nothing of the gloat that Trull Sengar knew would be there. 'You say he betrayed me.'

'He did, brother.'

'What proof do you have?'

'By his own tongue.'

'Is it just you who claims to have heard such betrayal spoken?'

'No, I too heard it, brother.'

'And I.'

'And what did our brother say to you all?'

'He said that you had severed your blood from ours.'

'That you now served a hidden master.'

'That your ambition would lead us all to our deaths—-'

'Our entire people.'

'He spoke against me, then.'

'He did.'

'By his own tongue, he accused me of betraying our people.'

'He did.'

'And have I? Let us consider this charge. The southlands are aflame. The enemy's armies have fled. The enemy now kneels before us, and begs to be our slaves. From nothing, was forged an empire. And still our strength grows. Yet. To grow stronger, what must you, my brothers, do?'

'We must search.'

'Aye. And when you find what must be sought?'

'We must deliver. To you, brother.'

'Do you see the need for this?'

'We do.'

'Do you understand the sacrifice I make, for you, for our people, for our future?'

'We do.'

'Yet, even as you searched, this man, our once-brother, spoke against me.'

'He did.'

'Worse, he spoke to defend the new enemies we had found.'

'He did. He called them the Pure Kin, and said we should not kill them.'

'And, had they been in truth Pure Kin, then...'

'They would not have died so easily.'

'Thus.'

'He betrayed you, brother.'

'He betrayed us all.'

There was silence. Ah, now you would share out this crime of yours. And they hesitate.

'He betrayed us all, did he not, brothers?'

'Yes.' The word arrived rough, beneath the breath, mumbled—-a chorus of dubious uncertainty.

No-one spoke for a long moment, then, savage with barely bridled anger: 'Thus, brothers. And should we not heed this danger? This threat of betrayal, this poison, this plague that seeks to tear our family apart? Will it spread? Will we come here yet again? We must be vigilant, brothers. Within ourselves. With each other. Now, we have spoken of him. And now, he is gone.'

'He is gone.'

'He never existed.'

'He never existed.'

'Let us leave this place, then.'

'Yes, let us leave.'

Trull Sengar listened until he could no more hear their boots on the stones, nor feel the tremble of their dwindling steps. He was alone, unable to move, seeing only the mud-smeared stone at the base of the iron ring.

The sea rustled the corpses along the shoreline. Crabs scuttled. Water continued to seep through the mortar, insinuate the Cyclopean wall with the voice of muttering ghosts, and flow down on the other side.

Among his people, it was a long-known truth, perhaps the only truth, that Nature fought but one eternal war. One foe. That, further, to understand this was to understand the world. Every world.

Nature has but one enemy.

And that is imbalance.

The wall held the sea.

And there are two meanings to this. My brothers, can you not see the truth of that? Two meanings. The wall holds the sea.

For now.

This was a flood that would not be denied. The deluge had but just begun—-something his brothers could not understand, would, perhaps, never understand.

Drowning was common among his people. Drowning was not feared. And so, Trull Sengar would drown. Soon.

And before long, he suspected, his entire people would join him.

His brother had shattered the balance.

And Nature shall not abide.

Copyright © 2006 by Steven Erikson

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    TERRITORY MARKER

    PRIDE OF THE FALLEN LAND! TRESPASSERS WILL BE DEALT WITH HARSHLY!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    B

    o.o
    <br>
    o

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  • 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

    more from this reviewer

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

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    Posted November 6, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

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    Posted February 27, 2011

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    Posted September 6, 2011

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    Posted October 7, 2011

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    Posted December 29, 2010

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