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

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

by Steven Erikson

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Overview

In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flatlands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove to be an extraordinary destiny.

Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Tavore, the Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold of Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand soldiers, mostly raw recruits but for a handful of veterans of Coltaine's legendary march, into a force capable of challenging the massed hordes of Sha'ik's Whirlwind who lie in wait in the heart of the Holy Desert.

But waiting is never easy. The seer's warlords are locked into a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself suffers, haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis: her own sister, Tavore.

And so begins this awesome new chapter in Steven Erikson's acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765348814
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 03/06/2007
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen Series , #4
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 1040
Sales rank: 32,973
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 7.35(h) x 1.71(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

House of Chains

Book Four of the Malazan Book of the Fallen


By Steven Erikson

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2002 Steven Erikson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-2660-7



CHAPTER 1

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 Year
1159 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 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 proved less than 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.

She might indeed so bless him. A first yet undeniable expression of her interest in him. Not Bairoth — she but toyed with Bairoth as any young unwedded woman might, for amusement. Her Knife of Night remained sheathed, of course, for Bairoth lacked cold ambition — a flaw he might deny, yet the truth was plain that he did not lead, only follow, and Dayliss would not settle for that.

No, she would be his, Karsa's, upon his return, the culmination of his triumph that was the raid on Silver Lake. For him, and him alone, Dayliss would unsheathe her Knife of Night.

May you slay a legion of children. May flames haunt the path of your life.

Karsa straightened. No wind rustled the leaves of the birch trees encircling the glade. The air was heavy, a lowland air that had climbed its way into the mountains in the wake of the marching sun, and now, with light fading, it was trapped in the glade before the Faces in the Rock. Like a breath of the gods, soon to seep into the rotting soil.

There was no doubt in Karsa's mind that Urugal was present, as close behind the stone skin of his face as he had ever been. Drawn by the power of Karsa's vow, by the promise of a return to glory. So too hovered the other gods. Beroke Soft Voice, Kahlb the Silent Hunter, Thenik the Shattered, Halad Rack Bearer, Imroth the Cruel and 'Siballe the Unfound, all awakened once more and eager for blood.

And I have but just begun on this path. Newly arrived to my eightieth year of life, finally a warrior in truth. I have heard the oldest words, the whispers, of the One, who will unite the Teblor, who will bind the clans one and all and lead them into the lowlands and so begin the War of the People. These whispers, they are the voice of promise, and that voice is mine.

Hidden birds announced the coming of dusk. It was time to leave. Delum and Bairoth awaited him in the village. And Dayliss, silent yet holding to the words she would speak to him.

Bairoth will be furious.


The pocket of warm air in the glade lingered long after Karsa Orlong's departure. The soft, boggy soil was slow to yield the imprint of his knees, his moccasined feet, and the sun's deepening glare continued to paint the harsh features of the gods even as shadows filled the glade itself.

Seven figures rose from the ground, skin wrinkled and stained dark brown over withered muscles and heavy bones, hair red as ochre and dripping stagnant, black water. Some were missing limbs, others stood on splintered, shattered or mangled legs. One lacked a lower jaw while another's left cheekbone and brow were crushed flat, obliterating the eye-socket. Each of the seven, broken in some way. Imperfect. Flawed.

Somewhere behind the wall of rock was a sealed cavern that had been their tomb for a span of centuries, a short-lived imprisonment as it turned out. None had expected their resurrection. Too shattered to remain with their kin, they had been left behind, as was the custom of their kind. Failure's sentence was abandonment, an eternity of immobility. When failure was honourable, their sentient remnants would be placed open to the sky, to vistas, to the outside world, so that they might find peace in watching the passing of eons. But, for these seven, failure had not been honourable. Thus, the darkness of a tomb had been their sentence. They had felt no bitterness at that.

That dark gift came later, from outside their unlit prison, and with it, opportunity.

All that was required was the breaking of a vow, and the swearing of fealty to another. The reward: rebirth, and freedom.

Their kin had marked this place of internment, with carved faces each a likeness, mocking the vista with blank, blind eyes. They had spoken their names to close the ritual of binding, names that lingered in this place with a power sufficient to twist the minds of the shamans of the people who had found refuge in these mountains, and on the plateau with the ancient name of Laederon.

The seven were silent and motionless in the glade as the dusk deepened. Six were waiting for one to speak, yet that one was in no hurry. Freedom was raw exultation and, even limited as it was to this glade, the emotion persisted still. It would not be long, now, until that freedom would break free of its last chains — the truncated range of vision from the eye-sockets carved into the rock. Service to the new master promised travel, an entire world to rediscover and countless deaths to deliver.

Urual, whose name meant Mossy Bone and who was known to the Teblor as Urugal, finally spoke. 'He will suffice.'

Sin'b'alle — Lichen For Moss — who was 'Siballe the Unfound, did not hide the scepticism in her voice. 'You place too much faith in these fallen Teblor. Teblor. They know naught, even their true name.'

'Be glad that they do not,' said Ber'ok, his voice a rough rasp through a crushed throat. Neck twisted and head leaning to one side, he was forced to turn his entire body to stare at the rock-face. 'In any case, you have your own children, Sin'b'alle, who are the bearers of the truth. For the others, lost history is best left lost, for our purposes. Their ignorance is our greatest weapon.'

'Dead Ash Tree speaks the truth,' Urual said. 'We could not have so twisted their faith were they cognizant of their legacy.'

Sin'b'alle shrugged disdainfully. 'The one named Pahlk also ... sufficed. In your opinion, Urual. A worthy prospect to lead my children, it seemed. Yet he failed.'

'Our fault, not his,' Haran'alle growled. 'We were impatient, too confident of our efficacy. Sundering the Vow stole much of our power —'

'Yet what has our new master given of his, Antler From Summer?' Thek Ist demanded. 'Naught but a trickle.'

'And what do you expect?' Urual enquired in a quiet tone. 'He recovers from his ordeals as we do from ours.'

Emroth spoke, her voice like silk. 'So you believe, Mossy Bone, that this grandson of Pahlk will carve for us our path to freedom.'

'I do.'

'And if we are disappointed yet again?'

'Then we begin anew. Bairoth's child in Dayliss's womb.'

Emroth hissed. 'Another century of waiting! Damn these long-lived Teblor!'

'A century is as nothing —'

'As nothing, yet as everything, Mossy Bone! And you know precisely what I mean.'

Urual studied the woman, who was aptly named Fanged Skeleton, recalling her Soletaken proclivities, and its hunger that had so clearly led to their failure so long ago. 'The year of my name has returned,' he said. 'Among us all, who has led a clan of the Teblor as far along our path as I have? You, Fanged Skeleton? Lichen For Moss? Spear Leg?'

No-one spoke.

Then finally Dead Ash Tree made a sound that might have been a soft laugh. 'We are as Red Moss, silent. The way will be opened. So our new master has promised. He finds his power. Urual's chosen warrior already possesses a score of souls in his slayer's train. Teblor souls at that. Recall, also, that Pahlk journeyed alone. Yet Karsa shall have two formidable warriors flanking him. Should he die, there is always Bairoth, or Delum.'

'Bairoth is too clever,' Emroth snarled. 'He takes after Pahlk's son, his uncle. Worse, his ambition is only for himself. He feigns to follow Karsa, yet has his hand on Karsa's back.'

'And mine on his,' Urual murmured. 'Night is almost upon us. We must return to our tomb.' The ancient warrior turned. 'Fanged Skeleton, remain close to the child in Dayliss womb.'

'She feeds from my breast even now,' Emroth asserted.

'A girl-child?'

'In flesh only. What I make within is neither a girl, nor a child.'

'Good.'

The seven figures returned to the earth as the first stars of night blinked awake in the sky overhead. Blinked awake, and looked down upon a glade where no gods dwelt. Where no gods had ever dwelt.


The village was situated on the stony bank of Laderii River, a mountain-fed, torrential flow of bitter-cold water that cut a valley through the conifer forest on its way down to some distant sea. The houses were built with boulder foundations and rough-hewn cedar walls, the roofs thick-matted, humped and overgrown with moss. Along the bank rose latticed frames thick with strips of drying fish. Beyond a fringe of woods, clearings had been cut to provide pasture for horses.

Mist-dimmed firelight flickered through the trees as Karsa reached his father's house, passing the dozen horses standing silent and motionless in the glade. Their only threat came from raiders, for these beasts were bred killers and the mountain wolves had long since learned to avoid the huge animals. Occasionally a rust-collared bear would venture down from its mountain haunt, but this usually coincided with salmon runs and the creatures showed little interest in challenging the horses, the village's dogs, or its fearless warriors.

Synyg was in the training kraal, grooming Havok, his prized destrier. Karsa could feel the animal's heat as he approached, though it was little more than a black mass in the darkness. 'Red Eye still wanders loose,' Karsa growled. 'You will do nothing for your son?'

His father continued grooming Havok. 'Red Eye is too young for such a journey, as I have said before —'

'Yet he is mine, and so I shall ride him.'

'No. He lacks independence, and has not yet ridden with the mounts of Bairoth and Delum. You will lodge a thorn in his nerves.'

'So I am to walk?'

'I give you Havok, my son. He has been softly run this night and still wears the bridle. Go collect your gear, before he cools too much.'


(Continues...)

Excerpted from House of Chains by Steven Erikson. Copyright © 2002 Steven Erikson. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen Series #4) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best series I have read. A true escape. Very well written, a unique and original story. Better than Jordan. Each book in the series keeps you captivated, none feel like filler.
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trinibaby9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My least favourite of the series. Book three was very strong, I felt this book really failed to continue with the same momentum and excitement. A whole lot going on as far as new characters and reintroduction of some old. Overall though not very much happened in the end. I'm hoping the next one will be better. I'm still a fan of the series and the author
CUViper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The entire book builds and builds into one giant climax, which then resolves in a way that is completely unexpected. It's another great addition to the Malazan series, though I think it doesn't quite live up to the bar set in Memories of Ice.
irrhapsodi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the resolution of Shaik's Rebellion and some other loose ends, this was satisfying to finish. The start was shaky, with a lot of focus on a seemingly new character in a far off part of the world, unrelated to all that had come before. But, familiar names and places reappear a fifth of the way through the book, and the new stuff is just the back-story for a past character: It's all good.
majkia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered.¿ Echoed throughout House of Chains, learned by so very many characters, some of whom you think, at the beginning of the book, couldn't possibly grow enough to appreciate the sentiment.A wonderfully adept book at weaving together multiple storylines and bringing them all together for a totally surprising ending. If you think you can predict what will happen, guess again.Best written of the Malazan books up to 4, mainly because the growth of the major players is so amazing.Also, Cotillion!
patrickgarson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
House of Chains may be the book that ends my reading of Erikson's epic series. Always dancing a knife-edge between success and failure, the omnipresent flaws in House of Chains outweigh its creativity by the end of 1000-odd pages. Pretty much a direct sequel to the second novel of the series, Deadhouse Gates, House of Chains takes the reader back to the rebellion in the Seven Cities, now about to explode. Old characters and new will be pulled into the magical whirlwind gyrating in the heart of the desert, but not everyone will make it back out. It's not that this book is such a radical departure from previous novels, more that the weakest aspects of Erikson's writing overcome the stronger parts in this novel. The excess and melodrama he trades in devolves into somewhat indulgent cacophony in the absence of the pathos, pace and clarity that he brings to the stronger novels. Multiple protagonists are a feature of all these books, but the disparity in actual plot and a sense of overall connectedness is decidedly lacking in House of Chains. As Erikson crams his mythos with ever more back-story, several key characters are left with little to do regarding the actual through-line of the novel - the rebellion. At best, they seem to be advancing plots from future novels, at worst they are warped and manipulated to fit the events that Erikson is working towards, or reduced to redundant "guest star" status.The rebellion itself fares little better. In Gardens of The Moon and Memories of Ice, events held clear import for both characters and the world in general - import that was, crucially, apparent as it was read, as opposed to some ambiguously muttered future. House of Chains lacks that clarity, and huge proportions of the book seem to possess little connection to the broader narrative - whatever that is - and thus seem a bit aimless.This is critically exacerbated by the length of the book. It's a big one - as large as some whole trilogies - and there are many pages that simply don't seem to have a higher purpose (as typified by a 200 page prologue that could have been rendered just as well in 50 or less). As I say, it's indulgent, and whilst indulgence is almost inherent to Erikson's unique series, in better books the reward was commensurate to the effort. I did not get that sense here. Further, key characters are reduced to ciphers, and some of Erikson's writerly quirks, namely fading-to-black for crucial exposition and his truly ridiculous over-use of the verb "drawl" left me feeling impatient and to be honest somewhat disrespected as a reader. This is compounded by the constant rug-yanking ("You thought he was a bad guy! No, he's a good guy! He's not a guy at all, he's a horse! No, he's a chair! No, he's a Chair-God! etc etc)To be fair, his action scenes are, as always, rendered well. The world feels huge - and fully inhabited, and the use of gods as active (and very fallible) participants is enthralling at its best. However, over its gargantuan length, the problems and the constant shifting of motivations left me frustrated. This is book four - and about page 3500 of the series, and I still don't know what it's about, what virtually any of the 'powerful' characters are trying to do, or why (you certainly can't believe anything anyone, including Erikson, says), and where it's headed. Erikson's indulgence begged my own, but my generosity is finite.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
HoC opens with something entirely unexpected: more than 200 pages following a single character whose story begins in Genabackis. Karsa Orlong is a Conan-like barbarian with extra streaks of mean - not a likeable guy. At least he's surrounded by the author's hints of lessons to come for this character, and there's an undercurrent of humour to his kind of single-mindedness ("I can't wait for the day they put a pickaxe in your hands," another character observes.) The focus implies this character will have an enormous role to play, and we get a hint of what that is before the novel is done.The rest of the novel is largely a sequel to the events of Deadhouse Gates, serving primarily as the tale of the Crippled God's assemblage of his House. It describes machinations on the part of gods and ascendants on both sides, as they manipulate events through the mortals over whom they have influence. By novel's end we can see that the storylines of Genabackis and Seven Cities are merging but without a clear future direction. Instead a secondary plot involving the T'lan Imass and Tiste Edur will be lending the next volume its focus. The writing style is subtly different throughout this fourth volume. Erikson lingers this time over the philosophical points of his characters' evolutions, and some of his geographic descriptions (particularly of Raraku) turn more lyrical. I've the sense that he's found more value in these things than previously, a greater willingness to devote more energy than simply outlining and forging on. He's actually rather good at it when he makes the effort; some passages are worth pausing to reflect over, and I'm inspired again to believe there will be more aftertaste to reading this series than what mind-numbing scale and go-go-go action alone can supply.
Skribe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another amazing addition to this brutal, alien saga. I thought it would have been hard to top Memories of Ice, but now with this fourth book I'm beginning to feel that the whole story will be one great work, with highs and lows, but all parts crucial to the whole. This time around the story concerns the resolution of the conflict in Seven Cities. You feel the dust, the grit, the bitter smell of magic. Structurally it really feels like he's reinventing the genre. This means that sometimes there's so much agonizing detail and continuity that you want to throw up your hands, but once you settle down and line up everything in your memory, the rewards are fantastic. He's put that much effort into the structure. It strikes me that he used to be an archaeologist, and that the shards he unearthed on a dig must have seemed like clues to a story so huge and detailed that he could never know it all. That's how Malazan reads.There are also completely surprising moments of genuinely felt high emotion: betrayal, rage, anguish. And if you've been following the intricate continuity, discovered moments of irony and coincidence that just knock you out. Amazing amazing. I thought I'd be burning out by now, but I'm ready to go on to the next one. Got to keep all the characters straight in my head...
DRFP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
And just when I thought the Malazan saga was kicking into high gear with the events of Memories of Ice the series is brutally reined in with House of Chains.Maybe it's just something about the plot or the characters involved in the Seven Cities conflict that means I've found this and book two much less enjoyable than the ones focused on Genabackis? Characterization has never been Erikson's strong point in all honesty. I know what certain characters are but I never I know who they are. Having said that, Karsa Orlong, introduced at the start of this novel, is probably Erikson's best developed character. It's a shame that for much of the first 200 pages of this novel he's not particularly likeable and that even thereafter he remains something of an untouchable character in terms of his martial prowess, a fact that renders him slightly boring. Even after that opening "book" in this novel and we're back with the Malazan's and Karsa's place in the story is established this segment of the Malazan saga never quite gets off the ground. Sha'ik's rebellion and attempted suppression is basically a conflict waiting to happen for almost the entire novel; lots of people talking about what might happen with very little actually happening. When events finally do kick off they're deftly written but the outcome is still slightly anti-climatic. Of the other plotlines in this novel - Crokus and Apsalar end up engaged in protecting the Throne of Shadow, the significance of which may or may not be proven in the future. Otherwise their time is spent getting to a point where their stories can get going again and is rather unexciting. Trull Sengar's plotline I found rather uninteresting and seemed to me an overly elaborate and long-winded way of developing just a few plotpoints and setting up book number five.I've read this far, so I'll carry on with the Malazan saga. It's just quite disappointing that after the energy of Memories of Ice and the revelation of the entire saga's nucleus that events slow right back down here. The explosive lift off to the epic conflict with the Chained God that I was expecting just didn't materialise. Some of the problems with his story that I thought Erikson had ironed out with Memories of Ice also reared their head again here resulting in that feeling of the author's reach constantly exceeding his grasp.
lewispike on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another massive chunk of a book, internally divided into 4 parts. Part 1 starts a few years before Gardens of the Moon and introduces us to a seemingly brand new group of people and their culture. These tie to Icarium, and ultimately to the T'lan Imass and the House of Chains of the title.Books 2-4 are set after Deadhouse Gates and on the Seven Cities, as Tavore and Sha'ik move to confront each other.There are, as you'd expect, a whole handful of plots going on here: the development of our new friend from book 1, little bits about a genuinely new race and culture, the son of a god, the ascendancy of the Bridgeburners, the talons, betrayal, female circumcision, more history of the T'lan Imass (which connects to the end of the book wonderfully) and more.Yet again they're interwoven and played beautifully into a single whole that is breathtaking in scope and execution.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book 4 of Erikson's inspired Malazan Book of the Fallen series provides another compelling story. This is a big, complicated book (1000 pages, 7 different interweaving plot lines) set in a big, complicated world. Things that were completely beffudling in the previous books begin to make more sense, but just when you think you're getting the hang of Erikson's world he throws you a series of new puzzles. Disparate plot lines end up fitting together effectively, leaving you with confidence that Erikson both knows where the series is headed, and how he plans to get there (are you listening Robert Jordan?). In short, Steven Erikson is a true god of contemporary fantasy writing (but in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, being a god just makes you a more interesting target for the big, bad, and powerful). Do NOT read this book if you are looking for light escapism and fairy tale endings. DO read this book if you are looking for the best in dark, gritty, compelling fantasy writing in the market today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every minute of this series is as exciting and thought provoking as the last. It's darker than the wheel of time while at the same time more light hearted that game of thrones. I thinks it's safe to say that fans of either could find something they love in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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