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paulgoatallen
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MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

 

 We've got quite a few fans here of Steven Erikson's shelf-bending Malazan Book of the Fallen fantasy series (Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, etc.) Well, here's an unexpected treat. Ian C. Esselmont is the co-creator of Erikson's Malazan Empire and this is his debut fantasy novel, a "Novel of the Malazan Empire" which is a prequel of sorts to Erikson's saga. Night of Knives is described as a "momentous chapter in the unfolding story of the extraordinarily imagined world of Malaz" and the PW review (below) was nothing short of a rave. 

 

Publishers Weekly

Steven Erickson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series only hints at the empire's distant history, which Esslemont, cocreator of the original world, explores in this dark, powerful novel (first published in the U.K. in 2004) and its planned sequels. On a Shadow Moon night on the Isle of Malaz, dead souls rise and demonlike hounds attack any who dare to leave their homes. Knowing that Emperor Kellanved is prophesied to use the Shadow Moon for his own ends, the emperor's enemies gather on the small island for their own nefarious purposes, starting a plot that spirals into bloody violence. Esslemont nails the feel and flavor of Erickson's books and brings the historical characters to life with a dexterity that will win over even the most skeptical fans.

 

How many of you out there are fans of the Malazan Book of the Fallen? And how many of you are going to read this book?

Paul 

 

 

 

 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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TiggerBear
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

Anyone got the series list for this one? And an opinion of the first and the series of a whole would be nice. This one's out of left field for me.
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont


TiggerBear wrote:
Anyone got the series list for this one? And an opinion of the first and the series of a whole would be nice. This one's out of left field for me.

Tig:

Here's the list of novels in the Malazan saga, which is a projected 10-book series. As far as book summaries go, check out this  link. I've read the first three and I've got two things to pass on: first, this is a MASSIVE storyline, arguably the most ambitious fantasy story ever told (seriously). Second, it's DENSE. These are not quick reads – these are novels that were written to be savored, novels where the reader becomes totally immersed in the world. Are these novels better than Jordan's Wheel of Time? Yes. 

Paul 

  1. Gardens of the Moon (1999)
  2. Deadhouse Gates (2000)
  3. Memories of Ice (2001)
  4. House of Chains (2002)
  5. Midnight Tides (2004)
  6. The Bonehunters (2006)
  7. Reaper's Gale (2007)
  8. Toll the Hounds (2008)
  9. Dust of Dreams (forthcoming)
  10. The Crippled God (forthcoming)

 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont


TiggerBear wrote:
Anyone got the series list for this one? And an opinion of the first and the series of a whole would be nice. This one's out of left field for me.

Tig:

Sorry, I just realized I didn't fully answer your question. My review of the first book, Gardens of the Moon, is below in case that helps...

Paul

 

The Barnes & Noble Review
Gardens of the Moon is the first novel of a shelf-cracking ten-volume saga called the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (pseudonym for Canadian author Steve Rune Lundin) that is as richly storied as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, as brutally realistic as Glen Cook's Black Company novels, and as thematically intricate as Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.

 

Reading the first pages of Gardens of the Moon can be likened to jumping off a cliff into a lake far below; it is sudden and total immersion into a sprawling empire seething with discontent. The Empress Laseen -- who, since the mysterious death of the former emperor years earlier, has solidified her rule with the aid of assassins and spies -- is in the process of expanding her empire. The city of Pale has just fallen, and Dirujhistan, the last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, is next. Leading the strike is legendary military leader Dujek Onearm, a favorite of the former emperor, but the chaotic campaign may just be a means for Laseen to get rid of Onearm and his renowned squad of Bridgeburners. But the leaders on both sides of the conflict are just pawns in a much larger, much more sinister game.

 

Fantasy fans who are easily irritated by series that stretch on for years without any comprehensible conclusion need not worry here -- although the Malazan Book of the Fallen is by definition a series, according to the author, the ten novels can be better described as historical episodes during the rise and fall of the Malazan Empire, and each can be read as a stand-alone story. Paul Goat Allen


 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

Helpful, yes thank you.
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

[ Edited ]

I have to admit, reading Night of Knives has gotten me excited about the Malazan Book of the Fallen saga – again – and the introduction by Erikson was great. It really gave me invaluable insights into how Esslemont and Erikson worked together, how and why they created the realm of Malaz, etc. I find it fascinating how they've split the timeline of Malaz up, Erikson taking recent history and Esselmont taking "ancient" history. 

 

I also liked how this novel wasn't written just like the Malazan Book of the Fallen novels. Night of Knives takes place in a roughly 24-hour period and is much more intimate, focusing on two characters instead of dozens.

 

Esslemont’s debut, the beginning of his own series, is a prequel of sorts to the Malazan Book of the Fallen and is set in the realm’s distant past – and the entire story takes place in the span of one day and night! Every few centuries, the island of Malaz experiences a Shadow Moon, a night where the boundaries between the real world and the shadow realm are weakened and a “Convergence”  opens up thresholds between the realms in which all kinds of entities can pass – demon hounds, undead legends, and all sorts of nightmarish monstrosities. On this night, veteran soldier Temper and Kiska, a young girl with a mysterious affinity to the supernatural, stand witness to the much-prophesized return of Emperor Kellanved and his master assassin partner, Dancer. But amidst the carnage and chaos – there are powerful forces that will do anything to thwart Kellanved’s return – it becomes apparent that a much larger conflict is being fought – with the prize nothing short of becoming a god.


Fans of grand-scale fantasy storytelling – like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Jordan’s Wheel of Time – should definitely seek out not only Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series but Esslemont’s Night of Knives as well. A highly palatable fusion of military powered fantasy and epic fantasy à la Glen Cook’s Black Company saga, this novel exemplifies what fantastical fiction is all about – readers will be immersed, entertained and left wanting more.


As Esslemont dedicated his debut novel to Erikson, so too did Erikson dedicate his debut, Gardens of the Moon, to Esslemont: “Worlds to conquer, worlds to share.” And as far as shared realms go – imagined worlds where more than one author writes stories, like George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe – when all is said and done, Malaz may very well be the most complex, meticulously historied and richly described realm of them all.

 

I thought this novel may have been a good read and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Esslemont's series MAY even be better than Erikson's!

Paul 

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 05-20-2009 12:16 PM
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Raven_Lunatic
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

I've finally gotten around to reading it, and- as with Erikson's books- I am now sitting here wondering what just happened. Er, what did happen? 

 

And it's been a while since I read the main Malazan books- do Temper and Kiska make any appearances in Erikson's books?

_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings
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Raven_Lunatic
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

Anyone wanna help me out on this one?
_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

[ Edited ]

Raven_Lunatic wrote:

I've finally gotten around to reading it, and- as with Erikson's books- I am now sitting here wondering what just happened. Er, what did happen? 

 

And it's been a while since I read the main Malazan books- do Temper and Kiska make any appearances in Erikson's books?


Raven:

Are you asking what eactly happened in Night of Knives?  

 

Well, as you know from reading Erickson's books, the history of Malaz is muddied at best but the crux of most of it revolves around the assassination of Kellanved and Dancer (Shadowthrone and Cotillion in Erikson’s novels). I suppose although NoK focuses on Temper and Kiska, it's ultimately a book about Kellanved and Dancer – and although there are no solid answers as to what exactly happened, I'm thinking that the mysteries surrounding these two will be explored in the sequel to Night of Knives, Return of the Crimson Guard...

Paul 

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 06-06-2009 02:25 PM
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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paulgoatallen
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont


Raven_Lunatic wrote:

I've finally gotten around to reading it, and- as with Erikson's books- I am now sitting here wondering what just happened. Er, what did happen? 

 

And it's been a while since I read the main Malazan books- do Temper and Kiska make any appearances in Erikson's books?



And it's been a while since I've read the Malazan Book of the Fallen novels but I do not remember Temper and/or Kiska being in any of them...

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Re: MAY FEATURE #2: Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont

Thanks.
_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings