Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: The Bonehunters, Epilogue

Just a few notes:

  1. With the recent addition of Orb, Sceptre, Throne to the series we’re considering changing the reread book order, but we’d like your input! Vote in the comment section as to your personal preference and, if there is a clear favorite we’ll adjust accordingly (we did check with Steven who actually suggested the vote).
  2. Speaking of Steven, he’ll be available for our usual question/answer period next week. Look for the question post upcoming.
  3. Once Steven has responded, we’ll be taking our first hiatus. Look for us back here on July 20th. (Bill will be in and out of internet connection, but we’ll post which book is next before then).

Now onto the Epilogue and wrap-up of The Bonehunters!




Scillara asks Cutter to tell her of Apsalar and he recalls when Apsalar danced one night at Coll’s, danced so well everyone just stopped to watched. Scillara says she could never dance unless drunk and Cutter asks if she misses those days. She says no; she doesn’t miss anything and Cutter says he envies her happiness. Cutter says he wants to lie in her arms and she thinks you take what you can get, though she knows he’ll lie with her for the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, Mappo is weeping in the bow.


Karsa asks Samar why she’s so excited and she tells him the Edur lost hundreds in a failed assault and only one Letheri, the champion, and the champion’s servant returned. She tells him she isn’t excited; she’s terrified because she knows who the other champion is—Icarium. Karsa says he’s pleased and recalls how their last fight was interrupted before he could kill Icarium.


Icarium asks Veed why the Edur suddenly looks at him with hope, adding he woke after the battle feeling “more refreshed, more hopeful” than ever. He says there is a warmth inside and Veed replied bitterly he’ll have to tell Icarium yet again what he is and what he must do. Icarium tells him there is no need and Veed tells him “Unlike you, I remember.” Icarium repeats there is no need for Veed to tell him, and thinks it to himself again as he turns away.


Shadowthrone and Tayschrenn meet at Mock’s Hold. Shadowthrone wonders how Tayschrenn always lets himself get “caged” and Tayschrenn says that like Shadowthrone, he takes the “long view” and then makes clear he was well aware of what was going on. Shadowthrone asks if he could have guessed how D’rek would kill the adherents and Tayschrenn says he never left the cult. Tayschrenn asks if Shadowthrone plans on taking the Empire again and Shadowthrone says no, saying “hate is the world’s most pernicious weed, especially when people like you do nothing.” He then asks why Tayschrenn agreed to be Quick Ben’s shaved knuckle in the hole and why Quick Ben didn’t use him. Tayschrenn repeats he takes the long view. Shadowthrone wants to know how Tayschrenn avoided getting killed by D’rek and Tayschrenn says he talked her out of it. Shadowthrone bemoans the upcoming fate of his Wickans and Tayschrenn says they’re stronger than Shadowthrone thinks, saying they have not only Nil, Nether, and Temul, but in years to come Temul will have a young Coltaine to teach. He then says Shadowthrone should “fear for your own child.” When Shadowthrone says he fears nothing, Tayschrenn reminds him of how he fled from Temper. Tayschrenn asks if Kalam is alive and Shadowthrone says Kalam is in the Deadhouse, agreeing with a laugh that it isn’t the full answer Tayschrenn was seeking.


The Master Investigator of Kartool makes his report regarding the deaths of the acolytes and priests in the D’rek temple, concluding they committed an “orgy of suicide.” His boss says Helian had concluded the same and dismisses him. Outside, the investigator enjoys the beauty of the paralt spiders’ webs festooned across the sky. The spiders look below with “cold, multifaceted eyes” and a sense of hunger, as well as patience as they wait for their traps to fill.


Bill’s Reaction to the Epilogue

I like the contrast of the dance we’ve just “seen” (at least “imagined” Apsalar doing, where she left over 300 Claw dead, with the breathtaking beauty of her dance at Coll’s.

I also like how after these huge action-filled scenes we come back to some quieter, one on one moments between characters. This conversation between Cutter and Scillara is very poignant on both ends of it I think: Cutter in his need, his memory of Apsalar and Scillara in her recognition that Cutter’s need of her is “for all the wrong reasons” and that she’ll take it anyway.

Mappo weeping is a bit interesting, to say the least. Does he know something? Sense something?

Whereas the conversation between Cutter and Scillara is more character revelation than plot, the one between Karsa and Samar is mostly plot rather than character, giving the reader a bit tease of maybe a titanic battle to come (and that’s not even considering Rhulad in the mix). After Icarium-Trull, this is a nice job of whetting the readers’ appetite for a possible second course.

Speaking of a tease, that a pretty loaded line Icarium delivers not once, not twice, but three times: “There is no need” in reference to Veed saying he’ll have to remind Icarium of what he is and what he’s done.

Then we get another one on one between Tayschrenn and Shadowthrone. I could have done without the reference/metaphor of the crack (at least the fullness of it), but I enjoyed the rest of this. A few points:

Tayschrenn’s statements that he takes the “long view” is a nicely subtle way of forcing the reader to wonder what, if anything, his fingers are in as well as whetting the appetite for the idea he may be popping up again.

File away that fact that Tayschrenn remains in contact of some sort with D’rek.

Shadowthrone seems to have given up on interference with the Empire and Laseen now.

So, I confess I have no idea if we had a way of knowing that Tayschrenn had agreed to be Quick Ben’s SnitH. Anyone? And thoughts on why he would have done so? And why Quick Ben didn’t’ use him vs. Icarium?

I like the full circle to the spiders. And also how after a lot of resolution, we get that cold, tense, ominous closing.


Bill’s wrap-up

Since this is clearly one of my favorite series, it’s going to be tough to say “this is my favorite” or “one of my favorites,” but boy I like this book. And so much happens at the end that it really leaves such a great and lingering after-taste, so to speak. It’s also, I’d say, setting us on the path toward the end. Which seems kind of weird to say, but in many ways (as we sort of said when we wrapped up Midnight Tides), the prior books are really building the sets, peopling the stage (and somewhat un-peopling it), and setting plot lines in motion. Which is another reason I like how things sort of pivot with The Bonehunters. Other reasons this is one of my favorites:

  • Cotillion, Cotillion, Cotillion. I always want more of this character and we got a pretty good look at him in this novel, with so many poignant scenes, especially that last look of him with his head in his hands. Send more Cotillion.
  • Kalam versus the Claw. Need I say more?
  • Apsalar. Speaking of poignant. So many painful scenes with her, this poor fisherman’s daughter. You just want her to find happiness. Not just with Cutter, but with herself. But will she?
  • Icarium versus Trull. Need I say more?
  • Fiddler’s song.
  • The introduction of so many great characters and the coming into their own of the Bonehunters. Oh, the journeys we will take with them.
  • Cotillion, Kalam, Quick Ben in the Imperial Warren.
  • The assault on Y’Ghatan and the firestorm.
  • Pella and Truth.
  • The crawl under Y’Ghatan. The emergence from Y’Ghatan. The return to the 14th of the survivors.
  • Kindly and Pores.
  • The shock of that attack on Cutter’s group.
  • “I’d kill the mule.”

And just a few things (of many) to remember

  • “Dragons are at the heart of all that will come.”
  • Lots of focus on Hood in this book.
  • She half-believed this man [Karsa] could cut a swath through an entire pantheon of gods.
  • Paran has an army now.
  • “She [Sinn] won’t tell me . . . what happened at the estate. What happened . . . to her.”

Amanda Rutter is the editor of Strange Chemistry books, sister imprint to Angry Robot.

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


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