Malazan Reread of the Fallen

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Gardens of the Moon, Chapters 12 and 13

and

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapters 12 and 13 of Gardens of the Moon (GotM). Other chapters are here.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing, so while the summary of events may be free of spoilers, the commentary and reader comments most definitely will not be. To put it another way: Major Spoilers Next Eight Months.

Another fair warning! Grab a cup of tea before you start reading—these posts are not the shortest!

CHAPTER TWELVE

SCENE 1
Kruppe reads in Mammot’s study about the ancient calling down of a god, its crippling, and its chaining, at which was present many Ascendants, including five black dragons and one red dragon. Baruk magically contacts Mammot and sets him a task as well as requests through him that Kruppe comes to meet. Kruppe leaves, thinking he needs to find out who was following him earlier (Sorry).

SCENE 2
Crone tells Baruk of her encounter with Hairlock on the Rhivi Plain and that Hairlock is seeking something. Baruk tells her of the Jaghut Tyrant buried in the hills and that his assumption is the Malazan Empire is seeking that power, but he isn’t willing to tell Rake exactly where the Jaghut is buried.

SCENE 3
In Shadowrealm, Quick Ben is escorted by Hounds of Shadow to Shadowthrone. He tells Shadowthrone that he was once an acolyte and knows he is under constant threat of assassination for leaving. He makes a deal to deliver to Shadowthrone Hairlock (who hurt the Shadowhound Gear) in exchange for having the assassination order lifted. At the end, Shadowthrone recognizes who Quick Ben is but too late.

SCENE 4
Kruppe conveys to Baruk a message from the Eel to “look to the streets to find those you seek.” Baruk tasks Kruppe to gather Murillio, Rallick, Coll, and Crokus to spy on any activity in the Gadrobi Hills (where the barrow lies).

SCENE 5
Quick Ben returns to Darujhistan and tells Kalam he’s succeeded in his mission to Shadowthrone (we learn Quick Ben was a “high priest” of Shadow). Sorry arrives to tell them she’s found them an assassin (Rallick) at the Phoenix Inn and that she’ll be doing another assignment from Whiskeyjack. Quick Ben and Kalam agree Sorry is “the one we thought her to be.”

SCENE 6
At the Inn, Rallick notes Kalam’s entry and goes to tell Ocelot, head of the local assassin guild. Ocelot tells him to lead Kalam to a warehouse as a trap.

SCENE 7
Crokus begins to break into the D’Arle home to replace what he’d stolen from Challice.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twelve
I’m cheating here, but from what I’ve seen in comments and spoilers for Gardens of the Moon I know that Apsalar is related to Sorry. I’m not sure if the Apsalar mentioned in the little poem at the start of Chapter Twelve is the self-same, or is a whole different character. Drisbin is the author—yet another new name!

The passage that Kruppe opens this chapter by reading sounds like it is tremendously important considering it mentions a God who is Crippled, and the last Malazan Book is going to be called The Crippled God:

…and in the Calling Down to earth the God was Crippled, and so Chained in its place. In the Calling Down many lands were sundered by the God’s Fists, and things were born and things were released. Chained and Crippled was this God…

The same passage mentions the five black dragons of the Tiste Andii, and a red dragon called Silanah. I’m sure it is hinted that Coll is being ridden by someone who spoke through his mouth and used him to bring up the dragons—is this the case?

I just want to pull out the name of the book Kruppe was reading just in case it becomes pertinent at a later stage: Alladart’s Realm Compendium.

I also love the fact that Kruppe bemoans the long-winded writing in the book when he is just as bad! These lovely touches of humour make Gardens of the Moon incredibly entertaining as well as deep and challenging.

“Such long-lipped dribbles common to those ancient scholars are a curse Kruppe is thankful to find extinct in our time.”

Who is Kruppe’s grandmother? I imagine she might be quite important based on Kruppe’s skill with magic!

What interests me is that even in the slower passages where two characters are just having a chat, a fair amount of information can be conveyed by Erikson. Here we have Mammot and Kruppe talking about Crokus, and the differences they have noticed in the young lad. There is also a very interesting line about Rallick Nom where Kruppe muses:

“Yet is it blood that travels his veins?”

Nice to see another use of the warrens as well—as a sort of magical telephone line to communicate. Also, I am wondering if Mammot has any magical ability, or if warrens can be used to communicate with non-magical people. I guess that Paran travelled by warren, so it is clear that they are useable by those without power.

Baruk is very concerned about Anomander Rake and his intentions, despite their alliance. He also makes a reasoned judgement about the different factions within the Malazan Empire who are trying to seek out the Jaghut Tyrant. Strikes me that this is a very intelligent man—and he’d have to be, what with coming to pre-eminence in the underworld of Darujhistan. Yet he doesn’t know that Kruppe is the Eel, which suggests Kruppe is far cleverer!

There are also hints that the alliance between Baruk and Rake is incredibly fragile:

“Inform your lord that the present dissatisfaction exists with us as much as it does with him.”

Another fantastically cinematic scene in the realm of Shadowthrone as the Hounds come to guide Quick Ben to Shadowkeep. You can definitely see the movie-like qualities of this book.

Oho! “I was once an acolyte within your temple, Lord,” says Quick Ben to Shadowthrone. How very intriguing! Why did he leave the Paths of Shadow?

And how wonderful to finally see Shadowthrone for an extended period of time—his giggling and rather whimsical utterings do tend to bring to mind insanity from the god. Quick Ben strikes a deal with the devil: he wants the threat of assassination lifted from him in exchange for delivering over Hairlock. And I have to say that I would not want to deal with Shadowthrone:

“Given that you will seek to betray me at every opportunity, given that you’ll hunt for the weakness in my plan, given all this, I would have your word that you will complete your part of the deal if all else fails you, Lord.”

And oooh! Quick Ben is revealed to also have the name Delat—a shapeshifter.

Kruppe hides the fact that he knows there is a Malazan presence in Darujhistan to Baruk, especially the fact that they have already met and marked the Coin Bearer whom they are all sworn to protect.

“While he is Oponn’s tool, he also is the means by which another Ascendant can reach Oponn,” says Baruk, indicating that Crokus would be in danger from those who seek to put an end to Oponn.

I like the cross purposes at which Kruppe and Baruk end up, when talking about a work party digging *giggles*:

Kruppe started. “As in…road repairs?”

He must be ever so worried that Baruk has also discovered the Bridgeburners!

Finally Quick Ben has it entirely confirmed that Sorry is an agent of Shadow, since she was able to sense his link to the Shadow Realm. Both Kalam and Quick Ben are aware that Sorry—as a pawn of the Rope—can kill them without a moment’s thought . This is incredibly scary when you consider that they are an assassin and a mage of great note, respectively.

I could do with some help regarding the scene with Ocelot and Rallick—does Ocelot want to make a deal with the assassin Rallick has found (obviously Kalam), or does he want to remove him? And who is Vorcan—someone I have met already that I’ve now forgotten? Or someone new?

Has anyone else got a sense of dread about Crokus heading into the D’Arle mansion to put the jewels back?

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twelve:
You’re right, the name in the title of the poem is connected to Sorry, and I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that Apsalar is the Mistress of Thieves, thus the “Thieves’ Road” in line two. There will be a connection later, but one link now is the idea of being sung “in two”: Sorry, as we know, is split between her old self and her Dancer/Cotillion/Rope self. I think one could also make a connection to Crokus here as he’s obviously a thief but also one who is somewhat split in two (between wanting to be a thief and choosing another life, something his friends desire for him), one for whom the Thieves’ Road may be a “misstep.”

Kruppe’s book reading scene is a great example of a subtle info dump, as we’ve got Kruppe seemingly looking for information on Moon’s Spawn and those five dragons Coll mentioned earlier. But that’s actually a red herring as the truly important information (as you guessed Amanda) is on the Chained God, whose actions and responses to those actions will drive most of the plot in the series (that little bit on Dessembrae is also of some note). And you’re right, you have to love Kruppe bemoaning the tome’s lack of brevity, and Mammot’s choking response.

The scene with Quick Ben and Shadowthrone obviously sets up a plot point dealing with a response for when Hairlock turns on Quick and the others, as he’s clearly moving toward doing. But there will be ripples from this deal far beyond expectations of either party. That said, perhaps even more interesting is the information we get re: Quick Ben—that he was once an acolyte in a Shadow temple and that Shadowthrone recognizes him at the end. A few pages later, we learn he was in fact a high priest of Shadow who burned his robes and abandoned the temple. The story of Quick Ben—who or what he is, what his powers are—will be one of the longest running and, for me, most satisfying/intriguing mysteries throughout the series. My advice to you Amanda is to file away all the snippets we get on his past and present and see what greater picture might emerge.

Baruk is, as you say, highly intelligent. But we’ll get a more interesting bit about him in just the next chapter.

I admit to a little confusion on Kruppe lying to Baruk about the Malazans. He doesn’t tell him they’re there, but then tells Baruk to “look to the streets” to find them (then of course slips and mentions “road repairs” a little later). I’m wondering if this is to
a) keep distance between himself and what he knows as far as Baruk is concerned (though Baruk is clearly aware that Kruppe knows a lot),
b) a means to build up the Eel (from whom the info supposedly comes), or c) something much more obvious I’m missing (anyone?)

We haven’t met Vorcan personally but she was mentioned earlier as the master of the Assassin’s Guild in the city. My reading of the meeting scene goes like this: Ocelot and the Guild believe the Empire is killing them off, and so from their viewpoint this is purely an ambush scene. Kalam and Quick don’t know the Guild’s been killed off (by the Tiste Andii of Rake), so they think this is an ambush to ask questions (rather than actually kill Kalam) via which they’ll make a deal with the Guild to take out the power structure in the city (usual Empire method).

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

SCENE 1
Kalam and Quick Ben (invisible) follow Rallick to the warehouse, though both have a bad feeling about it.

SCENE 2
Rallick tells Ocelot he’s brought Rallick and Ocelot prepares his assassins’ ambush.

SCENE 3
A demon belonging to Baruk is observing the rooftops where Kalam and Quick Ben are but is suddenly attacked, barely escaping as 12 assassins fall from the sky and begin killing Ocelot’s group of assassins.

SCENE 4
Kalam and Quick Ben are attacked.

SCENE 5
Rallick kills one of the mysterious assassins, whose body disappears. He and Ocelot head out.

SCENE 6
Sorry watches Crokus at the D’Arle estate while musing over all the “potential players” she’d already eliminated: Paran, a Claw Leader in Pale, others. She knows Crokus should die but finds herself at war over that. She feels sorcery from the assassin attack across the city.

SCENE 7
Crokus and Challice speak as he returns the loot and he tells her he will be in her line of suitors to be formally introduced. As he leaves with the alarm sounding, he sees Sorry watching him.

SCENE 8
Kalam and Quick Ben continue their fight. Quick Ben uses one of Tayschrenn’s imperial demons (Pearl) to cover their escape. When Quick Ben tells Pearl his true name (Ben Adaephon Delat), the demon says he’s supposed to be dead, marked as killed by the Empire. Rake arrives and the demon turns to fight, knowing he will be killed.

SCENE 9
Rallick walks the streets thinking of his (to him) inevitable future: becoming an assassin Guild Master and losing his sense of outrage at injustice. He thinks his plan to get revenge on those who hurt Coll will be his last humane act. He meets Crokus and tells him to tell his uncle that the guild’s best have been killed, that there is a Claw in the city, as well as someone from the sky killing everyone. He also tells him to quit stealing. Crokus leaves and Murillio arrives to tell Rallick of Baruk’s task. Rallick says he can’t go. They enter the Phoenix Inn.

SCENE 10
The Tiste Andii assassins’ leader, Serrat, reports to Rake of their injuries and deaths to a Claw accompanied by a High Mage and of one fallen to Rallick. Rake is happy to hear the Claw and Guild were about to fight each other.

SCENE 11
Quick Ben brings Kalam to the squad to be healed by Mallet. He tells Whiskeyjack, Fiddler, Hedge, etc. of the attack. They realize Rake was taking out the Guild so the Empire couldn’t use it.

SCENE 12
Sorry heard the conversation between Rallick and Murillio. She decides to kill Crokus outside the city once she discovers their mission. She also decides she’ll have to deal with the threat of Quick Ben and Kalam.

SCENE 13
Rake arrives at Baruk’s and tells him he’d been killing the local assassins (and hopes to kill the Guild Leader Vorcan) so the Empire wouldn’t contract them to kill Darujhistan’s leaders. Baruk tells Rake this is a bad idea as they keep the city in balance and yells at Rake for not consulting. When Rake expresses surprise at his temerity (“I’m unused to being addressed as an equal”), Baruk tells him “there are many paths to Ascendancy, some more subtle than others.” He informs Rake that Vorcan is a High Mage. Rake apologizes for not consulting.

SCENE 14
In Kruppe’s dreamscape, K’rul tells him Tattersail is growing swiftly (greatly accelerated growth). He also tells him of Rake’s sword Dragnipur, “forged in darkness, it chains souls to the world that existed before the coming of light” and that Rake is the Knight of High House Darkness and in league with Baruk and the Cabal of mages—Darujhistan’s true leaders. He warns Kruppe to avoid the Imass or Jaghut and protect the Coin Bearer.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Thirteen:
Okay, spiders in this next poem—spiders are always to do with sitting at the centre of a web and waiting for prey to stumble into them. Secrecy and pulling strings, that sort of thing. So who is the spider referred to by Blind Gallan?

Kalam and Quick Ben are setting themselves up to spring the ambush of Rallick Nom. Kalam used to be a Claw and Quick Ben a priest of Shadow—these two have come a long way since those days, and I suspect their backstory would be fairly monumental. As well as their easy camaraderie, this section showcases the fact that they work slickly together—including using “two old friends,” spells from Quick Ben that Kalam is clearly familiar with. Their jadedness with the Empire and desire to get clear—and their loyalty towards the captain (it seems as though all the time Whiskeyjack stays tied to the Empire, they will too) comes across very strongly.

I quite like the fact that we, as the audience, are aware of the fact that this is all about to go pretty wrong for Quick Ben and Kalam—and that Quick Ben openly states, “Kal, do you smell something bad about this?” Made me chortle. Again, it felt like the sort of scene you would see in a movie.

The Assassins’ Guild have access to “spotters,” to pick up any magic use, and apparently Rallick doesn’t use something provided him by Ocelot. I imagine that this might be both a signpost for events ahead and magical artefacts used by other assassins.

The demon is summoned by Baruk, I recall? And ooh, we get to see more of the Tiste Andii assassins now—sounds like they are out to destroy Ocelot’s team. Does this mean that they are aware of Quick Ben and Kalam? Are they protecting them? Or is their presence just incidental?

…And there was a very quick answer to that, as Kalam is targeted by one of the floating assassins! One thing that immediately struck me during this sharp little encounter is that Kalam is aware his opponent is female, but does not hold back at all. She is shown to be just as good as him at hand to hand, and they have an equal-ish skirmish. This again is a fantastic example of women being written in a strong and realistic manner by Erikson.

Hmm, not sure whether Ocelot is a mage or just utilising items of power. I am loving these encounters in the dark—they have been written so well, that you can imagine the terror of suddenly experiencing being shot at, and mysterious cloaked assassins appearing from nowhere.

Oh interesting—it sounds as though Sorry is in the game purely to neutralise the Oponn players; this section mentions the fact that she killed Paran and the un-named garrotted Claw Leader in Pale.

The Coin Bearer was the last of Oponn’s influence, and the god’s most vital player in the game.

It’s interesting that Sorry’s desire to follow Crokus and observe him might not be the will of Shadowthrone—rather, this might be the influence of the Seer who also inhabits her mind. As has been mentioned by Bill and others, it is both heartbreaking and heartening to realise that Shadowthrone doesn’t have complete power over this young girl. Having said that she kills a guard “effortlessly” while following Crokus—got to wonder if this is a moment of chance that will create problems later?

Sorry stiffened. Sorcery had burgeoned in another part of Darujhistan, and its flavour was known to her.

Ha, this could be one of many people! Quick Ben, the Tiste Andii, the mages/artefacts of the Daru assassins, Kruppe, Baruk…. And is the sorcery known to Sorry, or is it known to the power that rides her?

What an odd way to describe the regular breathing of a young girl: “like the breath of a dragon.” I have to say, this is not the first way of describing breathing to come to mind, so this has to be deliberate on Erikson’s part.

It is a sweet exchange here between Crokus and Challice (yep, now I get that reference from a previous poem—thanks Bill). I do hope that we don’t have too much of the “boys and girls just don’t understand each other” routine. It strikes me from Challice’s behaviour and actions that she is rather thrilled and taken by Crokus and is delighted by his announcement to court her properly, whereas Crokus just sees her laughing at him and reads into that that Challice is displeased with him. I mean, I think that is what is happening here—or maybe it is I that doesn’t understand romance!

And how chilling would that be? To have all your dreams punctured, to almost be caught by a guard and then to top it off you see outside the window a person who you know has recently murdered someone. That would give me nightmares!

Wow, wow, wow, wow—I’m just going to go all fangirl for a moment. Can I just say that I am whipping through this chapter, and barely being able to pause to make my comments? Usually I read it so slowly, savouring every word and trying to catch all the little nuances. But here I am gobbling the words—no doubt missing loads—and having an absolute ball. These are simply amazing action sequences!

More little tidbits about Quick Ben as well: he is aware that he is facing off against Tiste Andii, he has probably stolen a demon from Tayschrenn, his name (or one of them) is Ben Adaephon Delat, he is supposed to be dead (“Your name is so marked on the scrolls of those High Mages who fell to the Empire in Seven Cities”), and he senses the extreme power of what must be Anomander Rake before he sends Pearl, the Korvalah demon, to its death. Is it just me, or does it make it worse knowing that someone will die when they’re given a name?

I feel really sorry for Rallick! His sense of despair and fatalistic acceptance of a life he didn’t originally seek from himself bleeds from the page. Makes me wonder how he reached this point, where he believes that his last act of humanity is to complete the scheme he and Murillio are working on. And this scheme is hinted at:

“If all went as planned, Lady Simtal and those men who’d conspired with her in the betrayal of her husband, Lord Coll, would die. Could that right the wrong, could it even the scales of retribution? No, but it might return to a man his life and his hope.”

Tiny bit confused here—do we know whether Lord Coll is alive or dead? Betrayal indicates he’s been killed, but returning to a man his life and hope indicates he is alive. Not sure here. Oh, hang on! Is this the same Coll who spoke about the five black dragons from a couple of chapters ago?

You also get a sense from Rallick that he is a man of great honour—he sees betrayal as the greatest of crimes (which is why he appears to be working on this scheme of revenge). He also says to Crokus:

“Stop feeding off the city’s lifeblood, lad. There’s no hero’s role in sucking others dry”

I think that Rallick wants to be the hero.

In the scene with Anomander Rake we see the ignominious end to poor Pearl—strange I am thinking “poor” about a demon who can supposedly level cities. Doesn’t that give a big indication of just how powerful the Tiste Andii are? Also amused that, with all the Daru assassins on the rooftops—meant to be trained killers, after all—it is Kalam who downs the majority of the Tiste Andii assassins. That also shows us Kalam’s capabilities. I am wondering why Anomander Rake is so hot to have the Guild in Darujhistan shut down… [Bill’s interjection: To prevent the Empire from employing the Guild to take out the power structure for the Empire, as has been the usual state of play for the Empire.]

Ha, when Erikson talks about how the introduction of Moranth alchemy changed the role of the Bridgeburner sappers, this is as close to an infodump as I have seen from the man so far!

Whiskeyjack’s reverie about his armour and the way he can now feel every cut and wound when he wakes in the morning; the description of how his sword has weathered since he first picked it up—all of this designed to show us that Whiskeyjack is feeling old and tired. The comparison to his mind-set when he was a young soldier is a harsh reminder of how far he has come, and what he has endured to get there.

Again we see an indication of just how powerful Pearl is—or was, when the Empire soldiers go still when they realise that it has been unleashed by Quick Ben. And then a quick mention of the magic Quick Ben and Kalam had faced:

The sorcery had that flavour. Old, dark and icy cold. Kurald Galain.

Whiskeyjack shows a grudging respect for Rake:

“Worse, the Moon’s lord is a move ahead of us. He reckoned we’d try to contact the Guild, so what does he do?”

“Takes out the Guild,” Kalam said. “How’s that for arrogance?”

“Whatever arrogance that lord has,” Whiskeyjack said, grimacing, “he’s earned it. I’ll give him that.”

There is mention that the Korvalah demon suffered “a death in truth”—there is little enough of that going on so far! And it shows something of what Rake’s sword can achieve, backed up by the quote which Bill also picks out about absolute darkness, creaking wheels and clanking chains.

Couple of points (there are more that I would have pulled out but I don’t want to trample all over the points Bill is about to raise): Rake appears to be involved in a private war with Laseen, Vorcan is a High Mage, and Baruk deals with Rake as an equal.

Finally—Kruppe is ending up very much between a rock and a hard place, what with the Knight of High House Darkness being a lodestone to power, wielding a sword that has never yet been withstood and the warning about “Elder magic brews anew, after so long. It is Tellann—of the Imass—but what it touches is Omtose Phellack—Jaghut Elder magic.” This is officially now a pageturner!

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Thirteen:
In this chapter I like how the structure of multiple narrators adds to the suspense as we watch a frantic battle between the Tiste Andii assassins and Quick Ben/Kalam and Rallick. Erikson moves us between fight scenes but doesn’t resolve them before moving on. So we see the assassins land near Rallick then cut to Kalam’s and Quick Ben. We see Kalam fight off two assassins but leave before we learn what happened to Quick Ben. We watch Rallick and Ocelot attempt to escape after fighting off two assassins, but leave before knowing if they make it or not, cutting all the way across town to Crokus and Sorry. Lots of keep the reader guessing scenes here.

I’m in total agreement with you on Pearl, Amanda. This scene shows us yet again Erikson’s unwillingness to let a death passed unnamed and unmarked. Easy enough to have Quick Ben drop the vial, order the demon to fight and leave. Instead, we learn the demon’s name, see he has a sense of compassion (“they accept my challenge, should I pity them?”), a sense of mortality (“you send me to my death”). We’ve also been set up for the horror of what Pearl faces by the prior conversation between Rake and Baruk about how death is better than being killed by Rake’s sword, and thus Pearl’s “pity me” strikes with more power.

Rallick’s movement toward the Phoenix Inn is one of those seemingly unnecessary scenes/details some complain about—after all, Erikson could simply cover his running into Crokus on his way to the Inn in a sentence or two. Instead, Erikson uses the need to get him to the Phoenix Inn (and into run-ins with Crokus and Murillio) to do a few more things. One is to reemphasize the Jaghut’s tomb lying outside the city. Another is to remind us of the gas shafts and tunnels underlying the city. ( The next scene begins with the Grayfaces shutting off the valves: twice in two pages that the gas has been mentioned—given greater emphasis by prominent placement at beginnings of scenes. Time to start paying attention!) Yet another point to Rallick’s slow movement is to keep the idea of Vorcan, Master of Assassins, fresh in our heads. And finally, having him physically appear a distance away from the Inn gives him time to muse on all of that and his own internal issues—his resignation to a life less human (a theme we’ve seen already with both Whiskeyjack and Sorry) as an assassin and the idea that the plan to help Coll is his last bit of humanity. And his views on betrayal—a topic that will come up again and again.

There’s another nice structural moment in the scenes with squads reporting to their leaders: Serrat’s Tiste Andii assassin’s reporting to Rake and Quick Ben/Kalam reporting to Whiskeyjack, both of them wondering just what the other ran into out there—I always like those sort of echoes or parallels in books. This one (about to date myself here) reminded me of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they keep looking back at their pursuers and ask “who are these guys?”

The scene with Rake and Baruk offers up a few interesting tidbits along with clearing up what happened to Pearl. One of the more intriguing is the hint that Baruk might be an ascendant himself (“there are many paths to Asecendancy, some more subtle than others”), something we’ve just been set up for as his demon muses on how the demon is powerful but not as powerful as his master Baruk. We can also see the concrete result of what Brood had complained of to Crone, that Rake’s distance (both literal and figurative) from day to day existence on the ground means he can overlook the repercussions of his actions, in this case, the ripple effect of killing off the Assassin’s Guild. We also see Rake is a big enough man to admit when he is shown to be in the wrong.

That’s a good pickup on Whiskeyjack’s respect for Rake; we’ll see a lot more of those two and this section starts to set us up for what’s to come.

Finally, we also get more tantalizing visions associated with Dragnipur:

a world of absolute darkness . . . the creak of wooden wheels, the clank of chains, the groans of a thousand imprisoned souls

A small expansion of what Baruk sensed the last time he saw Rake’s sword:

from which came . . . a faint groaning sound.

Baruk’s simile in this scene, though he uses it in a wholly different context—“like any burdened wagon . . .”— is particularly appropriate, as we learn in the closing scene when K’rul gives Kruppe more detailed information on the sword. That sword is one of Erikson’s greatest creations in this series, I think. Such a cliche on the surface, at first, and yet once we get into it more (so to speak), so much more…

We also get another connection between Rake and dragons:

In Kruppe’s mind his Deck of Dragons rose. He saw the image of half man, half dragon—the Knight of High House Darkness. The man held aloft a black sword trailing smoky chains.

(Chains, by the way, is another one of those words we’ll see ad infinitum throughout the series).


Bill Capossere writes short stories and essays, plays ultimate frisbee, teaches as an adjunct English instructor at several local colleges, and writes SF/F reviews for fantasyliterature.com.

Amanda Rutter contributes reviews and a regular World Wide Wednesday post to fantasyliterature.com, as well as reviews for her own site floortoceilingbooks.com (covering more genres than just speculative), Vector Reviews and Hub magazine.

164 Comments

Subscribe to this thread

Post a Comment

All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor.com's Moderation Policy or be subject to moderation. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful.

Hate the CAPTCHA? Tor.com members can edit comments, skip the preview, and never have to prove they're not robots. Join now!