Release Date: 23/03/17
Publisher: Bantam Press
Before the Malazan Empire, there was a time that set the stage for all those tales yet to be told . . .
The winter is bitter. Civil war threatens Kurald Galain for the warrior Urusander’s army has begun its march on the city of Kharkanas. Led by the ruthless Hunn Raal, it intends to cast aside Mother Dark’s consort, Draconus, and set Urusander himself on the throne beside the Living Goddess. Those who would stand in the way of the rebels lie scattered and weakened – leaderless since Anomander went in search of an estranged brother. In his stead, Silchas Ruin resolves to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn families to him, and to resurrect the legendary Hust Legion, but time is not on his side.
Far to the west, an unlikely army musters. It seeks an enemy without form, in a place none can find. And yet Hood’s call has been heard and the long-abandoned city of Omtose Phellack is now home to a rabble of new arrivals: Dog-Runners from the south, Jheck warriors, and blue-skinned strangers from across the Western Sea have come to offer Hood their swords. From the distant mountains and isolated valleys of the North, Thel Akai arrive to pledge themselves in this seemingly impossible war. Soon, they will set forth with weapons drawn under the banners of the living in pursuit of Death itself.
Such events presage chaos, and now magic bleeds into this realm. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, it begins to run loose and wild and following its scent, seeking the places of wounding and hurt – new and ancient entities gather.
In a world becoming rotten with sorcery, can honour truly exist?
I've been a fan of Stevens since I read the original Malazan title and with each subsequent book I knew that I was onto something truly wonderful as the characters were not only vibrant but the storyline had wonderfully woven twists, beautifully create prose and of course was so full of colour alongside characters you cared about that it was perhaps one of favourite series of all time.
I love complicated aspects in some fantasy and when its done well it really does give the reader something that they can not only get thier teeth into but generates a hell of a lot of thought as we all try to work out what events will transpire as well as seeing how certain things have been revealed due to the previous books.
However I have to say that whilst I love the fact that Steven has returned to the complex world, I feel that this book left me thinking what the hell for most of it. It was a real struggle to get through and whilst it does have a lot of work and detail within, its the delivery aspect that really has let me down as I feel it was more of a tell rather than show, almost using the book as a way to develop tension for future outings whilst just filling it with dialogue that serves more as a filler than anything else.
All round, not a favourite for me and whilst I will read the next part as I love the Malazan series I just hope it really makes up for this tale that I felt could have been heavily edited with a certain amount of chat slashed in order to let the reader see more than having them sit there praying for top notch action to kick in.