Oct 27 2010 2:05pm

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Night of Knives, rest of Chapter 3

Night of Knives by Ian C. EsslemontWelcome 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 readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter 3 of Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont (NoK) from the section beginning with “Temper shouldered...” to the end of the chapter.

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!

Rest of Chapter Three

Temper carries Coop to Seal, an army veteran healer. While there he borrows Seal’s great-Uncle’s armor, to use along with his helmet (which has been made clear is quite recognizable). He heads off after Ash’s group toward Mock’s Hold.

Kiska leaves Agayla’s. She flashes back to the Mouse riots when she interrupted a trio of thugs beating an old man. She won the fight but had been scared at how close it had been and recalls vowing it was the last time she’d risk herself for another. Back in present time, a Hound howls and she flees, leaping off a temple of Fener at one point, to a priest’s amazement. She sees a group of cultists and decides to follow them to see if they’ll lead her to her target (the one who met w/ Oleg and to whom Agayla has written). She finds one killed and notes a bird’s claw tattoo on the corpse. Moving on, she finds her target surrounded by bodyguards who themselves are surrounded by cultists. She watches the ensuing fight but then is taken from behind, gagged and tied up and hooded.

Unhooded, she finds herself in a room in an inn. Her captors are Ash and Corinn’s group (Kiska vaguely recognizes Corinn). Before things can progress much farther, the inn is attacked by a Hound. The Hound kills almost everyone (Ash and Corinn seemingly escape). The last veteran left pulls out a munition and Kiska escapes into the street just before the room explodes.

Temper hears a scream and finds a girl who begs him to help. As he holds her, she changes into a demon snakewoman. Temper is saved by Edgewalker, who advises Temper to stay indoors before leaving.

Temper washes himself in a fountain then heads toward Mock’s Hold then runs from a Hound’s howl. He comes across one of Ash’s gang staggering toward him who dies in front of him then grabs him and tells Temper the Hound had been following him and now is on Temper’s track. Temper runs.

The Hound attacks Temper, mauling him badly. Temper manages to wound the Hound, then passes out as it prepares to spring.

Kiska is in shock and debates hiding for the night but rejects the idea and heads toward Mock’s Hold to find her target.

Kiska climbs a back way into Mock’s Hold, a crevice she’d found as a child. As she enters, she is grabbed and tied up by her target’s main bodyguard. She tells him she has a message for his boss from her Aunt. Her target questions her as to what her Aunt does at Winter’s Turn. When Kiska answers, “she weaves,” that seems to reassure her target, who introduces himself as Artan and his bodyguard as Hattar. He shows Kiska the message, a drawing of a Stormrider, and asks what she sees. He appears surprised a bit when she says she sees ice, then tells her he’s met Agayla several times a long time ago. Kiska tells Artan the message from Oleg, that Kellanved is returning for the throne of Shadow, not the Empire and that Edgewalker seemed to confirm this. She tells him a bit more but Artan says it’s just theory and too abstract for him to worry about. They leave her tied up and move on. She gets loose and plans to follow them.

Amanda’s Reaction to the Rest of Chapter Three:
Amused by the fact that the “ancient cranequin-loading siege arbalest” (what the heck?) is not even loaded—adds a moment of levity to what is rather a charged scene to that point! Although it does strike me that a seasoned soldier like Temper would notice that sort of thingI guess I can cut him a little slack since the literal Hounds of Hell are roaming the streets...

Also noticed that Temper was asked to demonstrate that he bleedsI guess this is to show that he is one of the living rather than the walking undead.

“Ghosts don’t bleed, Temper.”

I love the description of the helm and the wispy memories it prompts in Temperthis clearly has strong links to his past. Lucky that he’s already been recognised by some of the Bridgeburners! Also, Seal recognises the helmet, so I’m guessing that he is from Temper’s past as well?

Whatever Seal had seen or been through during his career as medicer for the Malazan Army, it must’ve been soul-destroying to have left scorn in one still so young.

How poignantand here Cam is using the same technique as Erikson i.e. bringing home to you the heartbreak of war and the devastation it must leave in those involved.

We also hear a little more about the ongoing Malazan War, where Kellanved has already invaded the Unta kingdom and annihilated the Iron Legion. I tell you what, the constant little details and history just astound me...

Wow, Seal is cynicalI mean, you can see why he would be, but it is painful to read his complete distaste in warfare and killing.

Oh, I do drift between loving the descriptions and rolling my eyes at them. Here we have too many details in the passage concerning animals:

It looked more like the attack of a predatory cat such as the catamounts of the Seti Plains, or the snow leopard of the Fenn Ranges [...] it reverberated from a beast the size of a bhederin.

Too much! Way too much! This passage could have finished at “predatory cat.”.

I don’t even have children, but I can empathise with poor Agayla as she has to let Kiska go. Agayla knows how dangerous it is to be abroad on this night and no matter how capable Kiska is, it is going to be a long night for Agayla to wait to see if she stays alive. Kiska doesn’t seem tohave the same appreciation or empathy with her aunt (and I am disapproving, but understanding, of the factI didn’t empathise with my elders when I was young!)

The moon leered down like a mocking eye.

I do love thisit perfectly fits the mood of the night, and the way that you feel something horrific is proceeding. Same as the fact that Kiska is not quite sure on the streets this nightit shows an otherworldly element, also showcased by the skipping back and forth into the Shadow Realm.

The fisherman that Kiska rescued during the riots? The same fisherman who is out on the seas during the Shadow Moon? Especially since he manages to scoot off quite quicklyuse of a Warren?

And for once we’re given more than a hint about what Kiska is actually capable ofa mere slip of a girl managing to take down two hardened soldiers and scare a third is pretty good going. Not massively realistic, but I appreciate the kick ass nature of this youngster.

She vowed then that would be the last time she ever stuck her neck out for anyone.

Three comments on thisthe first is that the prose is clumsy and colloquial (quite rare in these Malazan books); the second is that I can’t actually see Kiska sticking to this; and the third is that it shows a real comparison with Temper who carried Coop to safety.

One roof-hugging tatter of vapour, opalescent silver, darted suddenly between buildings just to her right. As it arced down it took on the semblance of a giant lunging hound...

I am definitely enjoying the horror bent of this tale. The nightmarish qualities of the town are really being brought alive by Cam’s talents. Would quite like to see his efforts with a straight out horror novel!

Hmm, the section about the tattoo is interesting. Sounds like there are at least two factions at play this nightI suppose those who wish Kellanved and Dancer to make their ascension, and those who don’t? Or maybe just people hoping to take advantage of such a powerful night. It is also interesting that Kiska knew about the Claws but not the Talons. Is this because the Talons are just too old an organisation and are being removed? Or is it because the Claws are just more open about their activities? It gives a good observation on whether fear is caused more by shadows in the night, or by the open threat that you know is coming but can’t combat. Your thoughts?

Three extraordinarily tall and thin cultists in ash-pale robes now stood to one side. Where in the Queen’s Mysteries had they come from?

Three points concerning this quote as well! First of all, these figures are incredibly intriguingwant to know who or what they are. Second, Kiska knows all about Warrens (according to some of her thoughts at the start of the book), so why doesn’t she assume Warren magic immediately here? And third: after seeing words like “shit” etc, it is now equally jarring to see “Queen’s Mysteries” in place of something like “hell.” As far as I am concerned, either use made up cusses or realistic cusses, but don’t flit between the two!

Who is this man that Oleg told Kiska to find?!

I know it’s wrong, but I am laughing a little at the fact that the all-knowing Kiska, who believes herself to be so capable, is kidnapped and carried like a sack away from the escalating battle!

Although I am definitely not laughing at the idea that Kiska might be killed here by the Bridgeburners just for being curious. In fact, that leaves me rather choked up! Especially the dignity she shows in the face of death.

Oh, the whole scene with the Hound is just terrificgory and thrillingly nasty as we watch youngsters and veterans being taken down with the same ease. Also, just want to point out the youth who screams:

“Kellanved! Protect me! I invoke your name!”

Now, is this young soldier screaming this because Kellenved was his Emperor? Or is it known at this point about Kellanved’s attempts to align himself with Shadow? [Bill’s interjection: “Invoke” implies a view beyond the secular.]

And that veteran! Is that someone we know from GotM? Carrying the munition I wonder if it could be either Fiddler or Hedge!

Nice little misdirection there by Mr. Esslemont, by showing the young girl running towards TemperI did think it was Kiska! (But then that is also because I’ve forgotten what Kiska looks likewere we told or is she just a little unmemorable?)

I am beginning to really look forward to any encounters with Edgewalkerhe is certainly the most mysterious of those characters we’ve found in NoK.

It resembled an Imass warrior, though taller and slimmer.

I don’t feel so bad now about musing on whether Edgewalker was one of the Imass when we first met him... [Bill’s interjection: Nice bone for Esslemont to toss you, so to speak.]

Dear Lord, how about poor Temper being targeted by the corpse so that he, too, would be hunted and killed by the Hound? The stuff of nightmares! At least it looks as though Temper has some kind of idea about how to deal with it. Although...

The beast hauled him to a wall and shook him as a terrier might a rat.

Maybe not! Is it just me who wasn’t quite as scared of the Hounds in GotM because Paran had that connection with themI mean, it isn’t as though they were fluffy puppies or anything, but they didn’t create this chilling impression as they do right now in Cam’s work. [Bill’s interjection: Oh, just you wait! And these aren’t even the worst hounds.]

The biggest night of her life and she was hiding in a shitter.

At times Cam’s humour is more crude than Erikson’s, but still works to break the tension.

This is an excellently written encounter between Kiskatia Silamon Tenesh and Artan (those other two names of Kiska’s are tickling at the back of my mind and I’m not sure why. I’m pretty certain I saw them in Gardens of the Moon though...) Also, liking the extra hints about Agaylashe also reads the Deck of Dragons and...weaves. Not too sure on why she weaves on Winter’s Turn... It also looks as though Agayla is warning Artan about the Stormriders? The night is definitely heating up!

Bill’s Reaction to the Rest of Chapter Three:

In Temper’s defense re: the unloaded arbalest, it’s quite dark (he had to “squint” and “could just make out Seal”), he could barely even tell it was an arbalest, and he’s looking up (so the bolt would be mostly covered from his view). Though when Seal gets closer, as even Temper says, he should have noticed it.

I like the imagery surrounding the helm as well, especially the description of it as Temper’s “severed head of his alter-ego.” Even the metaphorical dead in these books don’t stay dead. It’s also a great allegory to how hard it is to ever truly leave our past behind.

Seal is another of those minor characters in the novel that, as you say Amanda, keeps ever in front of us the costs of war. His bitterness and cynicism, one assumes is well-earned. I find it interesting Temper’s musing that “whatever Seal has seen or been through” while in the army, which in some ways almost seems to imply there was something “really bad,” but perhaps the question is less “what bad thing did Seal see to make him so bitter?” and more “how does anyone seeing any of what they see not end up so bitter?” His need to mute his pain and bitterness via drugs is just another painful aside.

I’m with you on the animal roll call Amanda—two is okay, three is one too many...

Here is a scene with Kiska where I think we see some of that fearfulness that others think is too lacking in her. In a few short pages, she feels the moon “leering” and “mocking,” tries to squeeze “reassurance” from her weapon, is “shaken to her very core” (a phrase a bit overused in fantasy I’d say), is recalled to one of the most harrowing and vulnerable moments of her young life, feels her flesh “crawl with dread” (add to the overused list), recognizes she’d gotten “more than she bargained for,” and wants to “hide.” I’d say that’s a fair run of lack of confidence.

And then, in what I’d label true adolescent fashion, the fear and dread eventually meld into excitement. Their brains really do work differently!

Talons. Claws. We’ll hear/see more of those on many occasions.

I love that scene when Kiska is captured by Ash. Here again I think we see some of her naivete but also her surprising strength. The way she is shocked not by the pain of the slap but by the “casual brutality” of it—the innocence of that line even at this point in her life is a bit heartbreaking I think. As is her realization that her life was casually decided:

Fear no longer clenched her throat. She wanted to cry. Grotesquely enough, what stopped her was something she never would have suspected: pride.

And with her innocence and sorrow over a life cut too short we get that great contrast w/ the dry dark humor and stoicism of the last remaining veteran standing before the Hound—no tears, no screaming, no invoking the gods—just outclassed man and what men have tried to make into an equalizing weapon:

“It’s just you and me now, boy.”

“Boy”—what a great understatement—spitting in the face of death (or Hood). And giving Kiska her chance to flee even as he does so. In GoTM we talked about that line “don’t mess with mortals” and we see Esslemont’s version here as well.

I admit the scene with the she-demon doesn’t do much for me as it seems so familiar to other fantasy stories. But what saves it for me, and what makes me happy it’s included is the arrival of Edgewalker. Imagine what must be going through Temper’s head as he gets up to thank the stranger that saved him from a demon to see Edgewalker—a walking cadaver, dessicated...dried flesh curled back from yellow teeth, its eye sockets empty and dark. And how cute is Edgewalker’s need to ensure that Temper doesn’t blame Shadow for the she-demon? It’s those little moments that bring a character, even one as small as Edgewalker, to unique life.

The next sections, both Temper’s and Kiska’s, felt a bit overlong to me, though I enjoyed Temper’s fight w/ the Hound, especially as it seemed commensurate with their relative abilities. Temper’s final blow with the dirk, for instance, being a mere “wasp sting” rather than seriously wounding the Hound or driving it away.

Kiska’s movement toward the hold and climb, as mentioned, also seemed a bit long, and her arrival while her quarry was still there a bit providential (though again, I appreciate how easily she’s taken down by Hattar. None of that preternaturally adept youth here).

More mystery about Agayla: the fact that Artan knows and clearly respects her, that he’s met her several times. Clearly there’s much, much more to this woman than Kiska realizes. Few people, or things, are as they seem in these books...

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

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

Tai Tastigon
1. Taitastigon
Hello Amanda/Bill:

Beforehand, keep up the good work, it is great fun !!

But right now, a couple of organizational questions:

- Re reread sequence: It looks like Stonewielder takes place around the time of TtH. Cam can confirm that. So would it not make more sense to move the planned Stonewielder reread to right after TtH, which would permit the reread of DoD and tCG back to back as one big, uninterrupted volume - as it was originally designed ?

- Can we somehow link the Q&A threads to somewhere in the main index of this overall reread ? The one existing kinda flickers in and out of the individual rereads and has also started to become something like SE´s communication board with the crowd here. If we do one Q&A per book, it could be listed behind the final reread of given book, could it not ?

Just for thought.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
I liked how Kiska's rememberance of the events during the riots point out both that she has had some experience with this kind of thing and came out ok and also that she has already had some "growth" events in her past.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter

Sounds like there are at least two factions at play this night

At this point we have (from what I can see):Ash and company
The Claws
Artan and Hattar
The Shadow cultists
The hounds
Various "demons" (snake lady)
The people of Malaz--Kiska and Temper
Tricia Irish
4. Tektonica
Thanks Amanda and Bill!

I must admit, I'm plowing through HoC as fast as I can, trying to finish it by next Tuesday...the drop date for the next WoT installment. So, I'm not paying a whole lot of attention to NoK at the moment. I read it, of course, but I don't feel like I have much insight to contribute. My apologies.

I do like your insights, however!

Amanda, I also appreciated the poignancy of Seal. I know a couple of alcoholics who are escaping some ugly pasts, and it's not easy to watch. It's certainly a tragic waste of their present and future. The fruitlessness of war, and the loss of young lives would certainly give you nightmares, especially one devoted to healing life.

There are many dark scenes of horror painted for us too. I did enjoy Kiska's courage in the face of death and her interactions with Artan. Yes, Agayla must be much much more than she seems. I loved the comic relief of her line about hiding in the shitter. How undignified!

I second Taitastigon@1 suggestion that the SE Question thread be posted somewhere in the Malazan chapter reread listings. It's so damned hard to find!
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
If anyone feels like a really big clue (possibly spoiler) at this point as to who Artan is, you might want to look in the Dramatis Personae--specifically at for whom Hattar is a guard. Of course, don't look there if you don't want clues.
Chris Hawks
6. SaltManZ
@5: Clue? That's a little more than a clue.

Did anyone else have trouble with the passage where Kiska sees the Claw/Talon "tattoo"? It's either poorly written or very poorly edited:
A tattoo rode high on the woman's chest: the likeness of a severed bird's foot. A bird of prey, perhaps a falcon or a hawk. Kiska studied the mark, wondering about its significance. Agayla had mentioned Talons, old rivals to the Claws, but it was the first she'd heard of them. A pocket of wind-driven rain pattered down and droplets fell from her hair. They struck the tattoo and its colours blurred. Fascinated, Kiska rubbed two fingers across the sigil. It smeared into a mess of pigments.
She sat back on her haunches. Well, well. Some sort of recognition sign? A pass? Why a bird's foot? The Claws came to mind, but she knew the sign of the Claws and this wasn't it. Yet another mystery in a night virtually raining mysteries. She'd file this one away for later investigation; it had delayed her long enough.

So first she thinks of the Talons and their rivalry with the Claws. Then the Claw organization "comes to mind" and she figures it's not their mark, but whose could it be? Um...duh? This passage would make a lot more sense with the sentences all rearranged, I think.
Ben Wert
7. bennyrex
@Shalter - to clarify, the Dramatis Personae is not a clue, it's a very clear spoiler. (Unless there's more going on here than it seems, a very real possibility.)

I spent most of this chapter trying to rack my brain figuring out who Kiska's target could be. Now I know. Hm.. this adds a very interesting spin into all the scenes that have come before. Did anyone guess Artan's identity correctly without looking to the Dramatis Personae? I had him in mind as a possibility, though without any certainty.

Other thoughts -
I really enjoyed the build-up to the scene in Mossy Tor's Park. I was on the edge of my seat, totally drawn into the action. Kiska's abrupt departure from the scene hit me very unexpectedly. I wanted to see the release of all that power!

When I read 'spicy desert odour', I think 'Ototaral.' I forget, is that an appropriate connection?

The hounds attacking - I'm totally with you Amanda, I didn't remember the hounds seeming nearly this brutal or frightening. And these aren't even the worst of them? Holy crap.

Ash and company - How many are bridgeburners? His casual brutality is making me reassess my initial ' all bridgeburners = good guys' mental categorization.

I definitely thought Kiska was the snake girl at first. I also couldn't remember if we'd gotten a description of Kiska's hair or not. Bill, maybe I don't read enough fantasy horror, but that snake girl scared the crap out of me. Probably the first horror moment of the book that 'got' me, had me looking around my dark room and squirm.

Temper's motivation is a bit unclear to me here... I'm hoping that it's related to his past, and not that I've missed something along the way. The only thing I can think of is revenge on Ash's company, and that doesn't feel quite right to me.

I enjoy how Esslemont wrote all the action sequences in this section. I'm finding it very easy to visualize them, and have them play out in my mind's eye.

I thought Temper baring his teeth at the hound had echoes of Paran.

I'm amazed at how Kiska is still thinking about her ambition. This made me realize how unlike me Kiska is. But maybe this is what a young person needs to be like to grow up to be an epic character like Quick Ben or Kallanved or Laseen.

I've now got a journal with me when I'm reading. I don't think I've ever taken notes on a fiction book before. I think I'm going to enjoy having this tuesday evening ritual for the next while.
Mieneke van der Salm
8. Mieneke
What’s with the fake bird’s claw tattoo’s? Are they pretend-Talon and thus Shadow Cultists?

What was the dark green fruity thing the BB had? Was it a moranth grenade?

What are Enk’aral?

‘Eventually the beast wearied of the game and let him roll away. Crippled, his arm broken and mangled, he was past pain and long past fear. He was in a place he hadn’t know since his last battle nearly a year ago, and it was like a strange reunion. He was floating, euphoric. It was the place he retreated to during the worst of his engagements. Where all his strength and resilience flowed unbound. Where his body moved like some remote automaton of flesh and bone; where no injury could reach. Lying broken and dirt-smeared, he bared his teeth at the hound.’ p. 220

Several of you have mentioned some clumsy writing on Cam's part, but I wanted to draw attention to a passage I found arresting. I really, really liked the flow of these lines. And the baring of his teeth is reminiscent of Paran!

What’s the significance of weaving at Winter’s Turn? I tried to find something on Google about traditions of weaving and New Year's, but no results.

Is Kiska’s full name important? Cause unlike Amanda, I'm not getting any recognition signals from it!

What is the sign Agayla made on the paper?

I love the scene in the cave. Kiska is one stubborn little miss. She’s been warned at least three times not to go after Artan and into the Hold and still she’s going. Guessing that reverse psychology wouldn’t have worked here, would it? Typical teen though!
Mieneke van der Salm
9. Mieneke
Bennyrex @7

I thought Temper baring his teeth at the hound had echoes of Paran.

I'm glad I wasn't the only to think so!
Tai Tastigon
10. Taitastigon
shal/benny @6/7

One major reason why I am not very comfortable with having the NoK reread this early already...spoileration...well, shucks, I guess...
Chris Hawks
11. SaltManZ
Tait @10: Are you equating knowing "Artan's" identity with spoilers for a certain, um... "flag-holder" in a later book? I wouldn't call them spoilers exactly, but it does make for a pretty hefty clue; one I doubt few first-timers will remember by the time it becomes important.

Meineke @8: The "fruity thing" was indeed a Moranth munition. En'karal are some species of animal or demon (I forget what exactly) that we'll see more on in later book.

benny @7: Remember, the Bridgeburners are just an elite military unit, nothing more. They're not all saints. And at this point there are a lot of them around than in GotM.
Robin Lemley
12. Robin55077
@ Bill & Amanda

Great Job as usual! Thanks!

Now I'm going to take a moment to whine, or complain, however you wish to see it.
"Coop groaned from where lay, stirred sluggishly."

How could a proofreader miss this? Is it not obvious to the proofreader that the word "he" is missing? I'm sure this seems like a small, stupid thing to be bothered by but I cannot help it. Here I am, happily reading along and then I get to this sentence and it literally stops me in my tracks.

I will be the first to admit that this seems a little bit obssessive/compulsive even to me. Okay, maybe more than a little bit. However, that doesn't change the fact that I find it extremely bothersome trying to read a poorly proofread book. Wait until we get to RotCG....probably the absolute worst proofread book I have ever come across. Why is it that Erikson's books are so beautifully done and it seems like no real effort was made with Cam's books?
Chris Hawks
13. SaltManZ
Robin: Proofreaders can be pretty hit-or-miss these days, especially in-genre. But what edition of NoK are you reading? Often, mistakes get corrected in later editions; I know the initial Subterranean Press edition of RotCG was so bad that (IIRC) they gave hefty gift certificates to disgruntled customers. But I don't recall many issues in the MMPB edition of RotCG.

Honestly, I'd rather have a single, obviously mistakenly-omitted word than an ambiguously-phrased sentence that takes two or three words to parse properly.
14. Tarcanus
Acutally, I seem to recall en-karal being native to Seven Cities and not some kind of demon - just rare apex predators. I've always pictured them as very small (in comparison to a real dragon) dragon lookalikes.
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
benny@7: Yeah it is kind of like a spoiler (I marked it that way now), but in my copy at least the Dramatis Personae comes right up front so it kind of seems to be meant to be read (I did the first time, so I didn't get the surprise factor). That's why I mentioned to not read it if you haven't yet and don't want the data.
Steven Halter
16. stevenhalter

When I read 'spicy desert odour', I think 'Ototaral.' I forget, is that an appropriate connection?

I don't think Ototaral, but there is something else that comes to mind--although I can't think how it would apply here.
Tai Tastigon
17. Taitastigon
salt @10

...but SOOO flag-holder as sh*t, man, you wouldn´t imagine... ;0) *ggg*...
Steven Halter
18. stevenhalter
@Bill:I also like that Kiska is getting easily handled by people whom it seems appropriate could easily catch her. I would think she would be getting a tad discouraged.
On the other hand, she seem's pretty set on not staying on Malaz.
20. WJD
Enkar'als aren't demons, I think maybe you are getting confused because of a specific scene in HoC. They are just like a smaller breed of dragons, similar to wyvals.

@Amanda: I'm not sure why the cursing gets to you so much. In real life sometimes people say shit, crap and f*@$, as well as God, Jesus, and what the devil/hell?

But since God, Jesus, hell and the devil don't exist in the Malazan universe, SE and Cam just replace them with stuff like Queen's mysteries, Hood's balls, Beru fend, and Fanderay's teats. Its a much more realistic way of swearing than portraying someone being really upset and saying something like, oh idk, 'mother's milk in a cup!'
Chris Hawks
21. SaltManZ
Yeah, en'karal are a dragon-like beastie from Seven Cities. My mistake.

As for the cursing, it makes sense (to me) to use familiar language involving body parts and functions, but to discard/replace words that (as WJD points out) invoke religious figures/locations that don't exist in the Malazan universe.
22. Marc Rikmenspoel
I don't understand why Amanda and Bill have a problem with the description of the hound's work seeming cat-like. We are learning more about Temper as the book continues, and he is a veteran soldier. This is a way of showing that he has been around, in various campaigns. He's been to the Seti Plains and the Fenn Range.

It's as if an American soldier saw some mangled body, and in his mind, started recalling the wild animals he had encountered in his tour of duty in the deserts of Iraq, and that other tour in the mountains of Afghanistan, along with perhaps the grizzly bear attacks he had seen while training in Alaska. It shows he is well-traveled.

About Kiska (a place-name from Alaska, btw) and the Talon/Claw thing, I read it to indicate that she knew what an Imperial Claw was, but had only heard the barest mention that Talons also existed. Now, she was wondering, is this a Talon here? And if so, why? One more sentence at the end would clarify the matter, if that is indeed what Cam intended to convey.
Hugh Arai
23. HArai
@Amanda - Paran's encounters with the Hounds definitely seems to have given you a misleading impression. Don't forget at the opening of GotM, the seven Hounds tear apart "One hundred and seventy-five men and women. Two hundred and ten horses. The Nineteenth Regiment of the Itko Kanese Cavalry." The Hounds of Shadow are bad news.
Robin Lemley
24. Robin55077
@ 13. Salt-Man Z
"Proofreaders can be pretty hit-or-miss these days, especially in-genre. But what edition of NoK are you reading? Often, mistakes get corrected in later editions; I know the initial Subterranean Press edition of RotCG was so bad that (IIRC) they gave hefty gift certificates to disgruntled customers. But I don't recall many issues in the MMPB edition of RotCG."
My NoK is the Trade Paperback, First Tor U.S. Edition, May 2009, and my RotCG is the Trade Paperback, First Tor Edition, April 2010. I think the problem with the Subterranean Press edition was missing pages, but I could be wrong on that.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed RotCG, it is just that I found it very difficult to read because of all of the proofreading errors. I am someone who reads every single word when I read. I never skim....I never skip over anything....I read every single word. When that natural flow is interrupted (especially repeatedly) by proofreading errors, it can really effect the reading experience for me.

Honestly, I have read Uncorrected Proofs -- Special Advance Reader Editions, that had far fewer errors than RotCG. It was just aggravating and dissapointing for me. And I think it could reflect badly on the writer when it is not the writer's fault.

I will now get off my soapbox and get on with my reread of TtH.

Gerd K
25. Kah-thurak
"When I read 'spicy desert odour', I think 'Ototaral.' I forget, is that an appropriate connection?"

This is usually the smell of a soletaken veering. Cant really say what it is doing at this point.
Brian Daniels
26. HoosierDaddy
@24: RotCG is the worst proofed book of all time, and it was apologized for at

@25: Yeah, "spice" smell immediately brings up soletaken or d'ivers.

I've left one "hint" about Erikson, and it's all I'll do here as well:

When Kiska answers, “she weaves,” that seems to reassure her target, who introduces himself as Artan and his bodyguard as Hattar.

Can't wait for DG to start. I like NoK, but seriously.... it's like going from astrophysics to multiplication tables right now.
Amanda Rutter
27. ALRutter
Marc @ #22 - Bill and I don't have a problem with Cam using cats or any other animals to describe the Hounds. That wasn't the issue at all. What we found annoying and jarring was the fact that Cam used this paragraph to try and insert lots of info about various other creatures in the Malazan world. It is a method of clumsy info dumping in an effort to load the reader with information about the universe. It's as though the author went 'well, I created all these various creatures to inhabit my world, so I'm bound and determined to shoehorn them all in.'

I quote again:
"It looked more like the attack of a
predatory cat such as the catamounts of the Seti Plains, or the snow
leopard of the Fenn Ranges it reverberated from a beast the size
of a bhederin."

As I said, that sentence could easily have ended after 'predatory cat'.
Gerd K
28. Kah-thurak
@27 Amanda
Cant really see why this is such a big issue for you. Infodump? About some animals which never appear "onscreen" afterwards or allready have done so? Unlikely. Rather the overly verbose effort to attach an atmoshpere or feel to the hounds, and as Marc said to show Temper's experience.

Also concerning the cursing: I am with WJD here: While I like curses like "Togg's Teats" or "Beru fend", cursing with the word "shit" is allways "realistic" in any world. After all, who likes shit?
Robin Lemley
29. Robin55077
@26. HoosierDaddy
"RotCG is the worst proofed book of all time, and it was apologized for at"
Thanks! I missed that. There are so many posts over there that I haven't come close to reading them all.

The only acknowledgement that I saw was for PS Publising UK, however, since my book is a Tor edition, that doesn't really help me. Can you let me know where that reference is, either here or in my shout box?


30. Abalieno

Bill and I don't have a problem with Cam using cats or any other animals to describe the Hounds. That wasn't the issue at all. What we found annoying and jarring was the fact that Cam used this paragraph to try and insert lots of info about various other creatures in the Malazan world.

I guess the intended effect here is to add "flavor". Describing things relying solely on "Malazan" terms is a way to help the immersion, describing things in the same way they would be described to and by someone living in that world. It's actually an attempt at making the narrative voice consistent with the setting.

If you imagine that Esslemont is not the writer, but that the tale is being told by someone who lives within that world, then those kind of descriptions would feel natural. Actually most fantasy and sci-fi puts a lot of work to establish specific "jargon" for that purpose: close the system to the outside and make it self-creating.

Maybe it's done a little clumsily, but for example Tolkien uses that style 100% of the time. And if you don't like that then don't read Brandon Sanderson because The Way of Kings is ALL like that ;)
Steven Halter
31. stevenhalter
I found it interesting that while Kiska was watching the fight between the Shadow cultists and Artan and his bodyguards she thinks:

Though not a talent, Kiska knew herself to have a feel for such things, ...

I found myself wondering just what Kiska considers a "talent". It would seem like having a feel for such things might be part of a talent. Of course, she isn't blowing away buildings at this point--so maybe that's what she's thinking.There is also the point of why Agayla wanted Kiska to stay out of sight during the riots. There is obviously the fact that riots aren't really a good place for a teenager to be, but recall that these riots were specifically about the Regent's (Surly's) decree baning magic use.
Kiska certainly isn't consciously using any kind of magic at this point, but these things seem suspicious.
Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
I think that Amanda and Bill are just saying that there were too many examples in the passage. Something like:
It looked more like the attack of a snow leopard of the Fenn Ranges, but that damned baying sounded as if it reverberated from a beast the size of a bhederin.
Might be more in line. Here, Temper is thinking of a couple local animals--one for the type of attacks and one for the size. This lets the reader hear about the local slant and experiences of Temper, but doesn't sound quite so much like a list. As Bill says, two is okay, three is one too many.
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
Quick thoughts -

Agree lots of typos in both NoK and RoTG. Maybe Ian can upgrade editing staff for next book.

Like Bill, I'm seriously fascinated by Agayla. I'd love to know what's up with the "weaving" reference. I've now read the entire SE and IE works and I still don't know what this implies.

Kiska remains an annoying character to me, leavened only somewhat by her role in RoTG.

I like Temper as a character and was fascinated by him here. Some nice bits in these chapters.

Again, I'm not getting the role of Stormriders here. Maybe will be clear by Ian's next book.

34. Abalieno
Again, I'm not getting the role of Stormriders here. Maybe will be clear by Ian's next book.

Should be a bit like Soletaken and D'ivers in DG: they are just looking forward to the convergence to seize control of Shadow Warren.

In fact when Kiska is in the warren she also sees the ice front on the horizon. Just another struggle for power.
Gerd K
35. Kah-thurak
Later in Night of Knives Edgewalker makes a small comment about the Stormriders, but I guess it makes more sense to discuss this in the appropriate post.
Dustin George-Miller
36. dustingm
I certainly don't blame Cam for the proofing errors in his books, and I hope nobody else does either.

I'm not sure what edition of NoK I have, but it's hardback, and I think I ordered it overseas from (and paid an extraordinary shipping fee). Bantam, maybe? I'll have to check.

Anyway, there were some minor inconsistencies ("Seven City" vs. "Seven Cities") between Cam's prose and Steven's and that's to be expected. But what I just noticed last night while reading is that my copy of NoK doesn't have a chapter four, but instead has TWO chapter 5s. I came to Chapter 5 and said out loud, "Wait, didn't I just finish chapter 5?"

Anyone else have that issue?
37. Marc Rikmenspoel
We'll have to agree to disagree on the cat descriptions ;-)

As to the missing Chapter 4, that is also in the Tor Trade Paperback, but was corrected for the Tor Massmarket Paperback.
Chris Hawks
38. SaltManZ
The Bantam MMPB has the corrected Chapter 4 as well.

We find out a more about the Stormriders in Stonewielder, so I hear.
Steven Halter
39. stevenhalter
Salt@38: Yeah, it sounds like Stonewielder is going to be really good.
Sydo Zandstra
40. Fiddler
Hi all! RL had me busy for a while. Good to be back. :)

@Salt and shalter:

I'm looking forward to read Stonewielder as well. I turned over my rereading schedule for that book (I was about to start on RG), since I have only read RotCG once before, and a lot of the details have slipped my mind. Right now I'm reading RotCG, and the last part of HoC. Tek asked me a few things about it I had to look up, and SE kept me reading on there. :)

Anyway, back on topic.

Reading about the Bridgeburners in this book excited me as well as others here. Although I have more affection for the Bonehunter army, but that's probably because we accompany them in their journey from (mainly) untested recruits towards awesomeness, while the Bridgeburners were already having their status when the story starts.

I am wondering about these Bridgeburners in NoK though. As of GotM the Bridgeburners are still part of the Malazan army. How did these ones get to have time off, away from the rest of them? Did they desert or is this because something I forgot about over the years?
Robin Lemley
41. Robin55077
@36. Dustingm
"But what I just noticed last night while reading is that my copy of NoK doesn't have a chapter four, but instead has TWO chapter 5s."

The TorU.S. First Edition, Trade Paperback has the same error.

I definitely do not blame Cam for these errors. These clearly fall into the realm of editing, not the writing. I just find it very unfortunate. Not that I expect absolute perfection, but I do expect some semblance of an effort to be made. That is all I was trying to say.

I apologize to everyone, as I really did not mean to take up this much time/space on the posts with such a silly complaint. These type of errors really are comparable to an OCD moment for me when I come across them. I know it is stupid, but I can't help it, and since I am paying $18 (U.S.) for the Trade Paperback books (which cost more because they are supposed to be better quality), I guess my expectations are higher thnt what Ifelt I got.

Perhaps I should just start on some type of OCD meds before reading one of Cam's books?

Robin Lemley
42. Robin55077
Re: Agayla and "weaving" reference.

When I first read this reference to "weaving" I immediately thought that Agayla must be a follower of Ardata. Weaving of webs popped immediately into my mind and that was my initial thought.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I think that the "weaving" is something specific to the stormriders. It makes sense to me that (other than a convergance such as the Shadow Moon) the most dangerous night of the year for the stormriders to make it to Malaz Island might be the Winter solstice. We do not yet know enough about the stormriders for me to know if this train of thought has any merit or not. I'm thinking that Stonewielder may help explain this, as it seems we will learn a lot more about the stormriders there.

@ 40. Fiddler
"I am wondering about these Bridgeburners in NoK though. As of GotM the Bridgeburners are still part of the Malazan army. How did these ones get to have time off, away from the rest of them? Did they desert or is this because something I forgot about over the years?"
I don't think that you forgot anything specific relative to this group of Bridgeburners, or, in the alternative, I have forgotten also. :-)

My take on it was always that they must have deserted. We know that the Bridgeburners were loyal to Kellanved and Dancer. The events of this night occurred relatively shortly after Surly/Lasseen "did away with" Daseem. And for those who had the power to figure it out, it was known (at least to some) that the night of the Shadow Moon Kellanved and Dancer were supposed to return to Malaz City. It made sense for me that some Bridgeburners would find it "an even trade" (to borrow a phrase) to desert in an effort to protect Kellanved/Dancer from Lasseen on that night. Knowing that Lasseen had just recently taken out the First Sword, I doubt the Bridgeburners would really have even seen it as desertion.

Of course, I could be so far off base that the base isn't even in sight!

P.S. I also have much more affection for the Bonehunters than I do for the Bridgeburners and although I had never thought about why that is, I think you explained it perfectly. We really see them from pre-conception, through formation, recognition, and their attempts to "save the world." We ge to see them grow, from babies into adulthood. With the Bridgeburners, we see the end of the Bridgeburners so to speak, with just an occasional glimpse of their "younger years." Thanks for putting that into words for me!

Sydo Zandstra
43. Fiddler

Good points, on both counts.

The weaving may have something to do with Agayla being "one of Ardata's" (and she just pops up again in the same book that phrase I quoted is being said...).

There is a Moon involved here!
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
@Robin:That seems like a pretty good guess as to how these Bridgeburners get to the story at this time.
Brian Daniels
45. HoosierDaddy
@Robin, re post 29.

I was, erm, confused. Why Tor would have the same problems that the first copy had in proofing is astounding. I was referring to the Bantam editions. Well, that just makes it even more egregious, doesn't it? Hopefully Stonewielder had an OCD proofing it. :)

Re: Weaving. The wheel weaves as the wheel wills. Wait. Sorry. Wrong series. :p Perhaps this is symbolic of the way she manipulates her warrens physically? (As opposed to throwing one's arms in the air and shouting "release the seven within me!")

Re: Bridgeburners. Robin has good thoughts on this. I don't think they deserted, per se. I think they "drowned" somewhere along the way, and their goals happen to somewhat coincide with the Cultists, in that they want to go up against Surly because they want vengeance of some sort. Whether that be for themselves, the Sword, or against the Claw as an organization is up to the reader, I think.
shirley thistlewood
46. twoodmom
Weaving comes up often enough in fantasy and folklore that Agayla didn't surprise me. It has connotations of creating as opposed to destroying which are appropriate in face of an attack and might not have any other connection in the series.
Chris Hawks
47. SaltManZ
@HD "Why Tor would have the same problems that the first copy had in proofing is astounding."

For years now, Tor's just been taking the Bantam page layouts and slapping a new cover/title page on them. The MMPBs have gotten that treatment since HoC, although the MMPB of NoK was exempt for some reason, probably because the Bantam edition had such an inflated page count.
Chris Hawks
48. SaltManZ
Re the Bridgeburners in NoK: you may note the Dramatis Personae calls Ash "an ex-officer of the Bridgeburner Brigade". So maybe he's no longer officially with the BBs? (Corinn, however, appears to still be one.)
Amir Noam
49. Amir
shalter @3:
At this point we have (from what I can see):
Ash and company
The Claws
Artan and Hattar
The Shadow cultists
The hounds
Various "demons" (snake lady)
The people of Malaz--Kiska and Temper

I'll add:
The yet unnamed imperial official
Amir Noam
50. Amir
bennyrex @7:

The hounds attacking - I'm totally with you Amanda, I didn't remember the hounds seeming nearly this brutal or frightening. And these aren't even the worst of them? Holy crap.

No kidding. The Hounds of Shadow really are the tame ones.

Ash and company - How many are bridgeburners? His casual brutality is making me reassess my initial ' all bridgeburners = good guys' mental categorization.

IIRC, Whiskeyjack said that just before the disaster in Pale there were 1400 Bridgeburners. Many of them were quite nasty fellows, as other Bridgeburners in the series will freely admit.
Mieneke van der Salm
51. Mieneke
Salt @11: Woot!! I got something figured out *grin* Thanks for the answers!
Robin @12: Sloppy proofreading is something that bothers me too. Especially when it's clear it's a typo.
Robin Lemley
52. Robin55077
@ 50. Amir
"IIRC, Whiskeyjack said that just before the disaster in Pale there were 1400 Bridgeburners."

I believe we are told in GotM that there were 1400 Bridgeburners in the tunnels at Pale, of which only 38 or 39 survived the cave-ins. However, throughout the series we will occasionally encounter "ex-Bridgeburners" who I have always assumed were maybe just not with the army at Pale, retired, deserted, or "dead." Sometimes we are specifically told their status, such as "deserted," and sometimes not. Sometimes they are honorable men, sometimes not....what they all are .... is soldiers. And in the Malazan world, that means that, in order to survive, most of them were probably brutal at times.

Remember, in GotM we were told that the Bridgeburners were one of the "Elite" groups. As such, we can probably assume that they usually saw some of the worst of the fighting...that they were frequently thrown at the worst foes. The Bridgeburners were not the soldiers you lined up for parades, or asked to guard nobles on a cross-country trip. They were the best at what they did. And what they did was Fight! And Conquor! And they did that by killing. For the most part, they were a nasty, mean, fighting machine. That's not to say that many of them were not great human just have to keep in mind that they were Kellanved's Elite group of soldiers, in particular during the Empire's invasion of Seven Cities. As such, they cannot be weighed on the same scales of humanity as civilians would be.

Remember, it is hard to see black or white about anything in this series....I think everything is probably varying shades of grey.

Robin Lemley
53. Robin55077
Thanks to all for the nice responses to my recent posts. It is always nice when I post and someone responds that my thought process is not totally out of the park!

Steven Halter
55. stevenhalter
There's a new question thread (Live today). Silly spam filter won't let me post the direct link, but: attention-malazan-fans-join-steven-erikson-and-ian-c-esslemont-in-conversation
here's a space inserted version.
56. Abalieno
I cross paste this from Cam:

In Knives I'd hoped to provide two contrasting POVs, each of which stands on either side of the fence on this genre convention issue. On the one hand, we have a representative of the traditional 'romanticizing' of the genre with Kiska. Wide-eyed expectations of glory, rosy-hued romancism, and dreams of crowds applauding while laurels are pinned.

On the other hand we have Temper. He is the counter-weight with his 'tempered' realization that the best thing to do is not cooperate in other's flesh-rending plans of aggrandizement, and that justice and reward do not necessarily follow effort (unlike the genre trope that it does).
57. Abalieno
(I guess light spoiler about Temper's story here)

Also this:

But that wasn't the total focus of the novel anyway -- breaking every convention/expectation, I mean. (for experimental fiction try Cheever, for example). Kiska's growth remains (resilient wrongheadedness of youth and all that). As to one part of the end, well, Temper retires to obscurity and poverty just as the so lauded veterans of Wellington's Continental Army retired to begging for handouts on the streets of London. And that ain't the just rewards for loyalty of service you find in most of the rest of the genre.
Steven Halter
58. stevenhalter
Those were two good quotes from the conversation about NoK. I hadn't really considered that Temper was the counterweight to Kiska in the story, but I really like the idea and device now that I think about it.
I also really like the continuation of the 'reality' aspect of the series through the discarding that Temper experiences. All to similar in those who are for a time idolized here and then cast aside.
As Cam mentions, the traditional romanticising of medieval aristocracy and peasantry in fantasy is fairly ridiculous to say the least.
Ben Wert
59. bennyrex
@52 Robin

Awesomely well-worded description of the bridgeburners. Thanks for that.

I understand that few things are black and white in Malazan, it's just that I've still been trained for the most part by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson and Tolkien and Lewis (and even Martin to an extent) and Williams et al about what to expect in fantasy. I guess the Bakker books have much less clear good/bad distinctions, but still... There's knowing, and there's actually knowing... Knowing that there's so little 'black and white' in Malazan didn't counteract almost every other fantasy novel I've read and stop me from idealizing the idea of the bridgeburners. I liked Whiskeyjack and Fiddler and Quick Ben and Kalam so much... when I saw Ash the bridgeburner, I thought Yippee! Bridgeburners! I reacted very viscerally to Kiska being slapped by him. What I knew at a surface level is now sinking in. I've got new teachers now.
Robin Lemley
60. Robin55077
@ 59. Bennyrex (and all the other "newbies" to the Malazan books)

I know that I am not alone feeling this way but I just want to say that all of you who are reading these books for the first time (the "newbies" and I use that term lovingly), have no idea how absolutely enjoyable it is for those of us who have read the books numerous times to get to re-experience the newness of these writers and these books through you and your posts. In my humble opinion, these books are as great on your fifth read as they were are on your first, but to get to share my sixth-read with your first-read is something amazing.

Thank you so much to all of you "newbies" willing to share your experience on here so we "old timers" can relive a bit of our youth in these books!

Robin Lemley
61. Robin55077
@ 59. Bennyrex
"I liked Whiskeyjack and Fiddler and Quick Ben and Kalam so much... when I saw Ash the bridgeburner, I thought Yippee! Bridgeburners!"

I recall that that was my exact reaction upon my first read of NoK. LOL Then, I immediately started disecting every description, etc., trying to figure out if any of my favorite Bridgeburners were there with Ash.

If I had to pick one character in the entire series as my single, most favorite character, it would probably be Fiddler. However, that is only if I were absolutely forced (under penalty of death, or something equally dire) to choose just one! Shoot, if you told me I had to make a list and could only list my 20 most favorite, I would have an extremely hard time. Luckily, I never have to limit myself in that way and they are all sitting there on my shelf, waiting for me to drop by whenver I have time.

I have decided that my favorite character in these books is....whichever one I am reading about at the time you ask me.

Robin Lemley
62. Robin55077
@ 48. Salt-Man Z
"Re the Bridgeburners in NoK: you may note the Dramatis Personae calls Ash "an ex-officer of the Bridgeburner Brigade". So maybe he's no longer officially with the BBs? (Corinn, however, appears to still be one.)"

You are probably right. However, seeing as how rank often seems to change (and not always up), they could simply mean that last week he was a Sargeant and this week he is an ex-officer, as opposed to next week,when he may be a Captain or a Fist. LOL Some of the promotions and/or demotions in these books have given me a chuckle or two over the years.

Stefan Sczuka
63. moeb1us
yeah I second that. One could almost speak of an often found 'reversal of command' - although the reasons why a specific demotion is welcome seem to vary. It's a theme that pops up again and again, and once more, this mixture of experience/ex-officers, recruits, life-long corporals etc is a strength of the malazan military.

I have to admit I am on the side of 'hate it', too when I stumble over editing errors. So unnecessary. I am not a natural speaker, and atm I mostly read the ebook versions with an included dictionary if one clicks a word. Missing words that make long sentences misleading, words that are rarely used, plain errors, wrongly spelled words etc all mixed up make up for a bad reading experience, at least for me. I want to know if the author used a word that is not in the merriam websters advanced learners edition (happens!) or if it is simply spelled wrong. Ruins the flow somehow. Stains on the surface of the book :)
Sydo Zandstra
64. Fiddler
Robin@61 and 62:

If I had to pick one character in the entire series as my single, most favorite character, it would probably be Fiddler.

Aww, thank you... ;)

Seriously I agree there (obviously). I love reading his POV's. And he's probably the lesser insane sapper in the Malazan army, which is probably why he's one of the few of them who still lives...

Stormy would be second here in favourite characters. I actually named my cat after him (he's a big likeable red brute too).

You are probably right. However, seeing as how rank often seems to change (and not always up), they could simply mean that last week he was a Sargeant and this week he is an ex-officer, as opposed to next week,when he may be a Captain or a Fist. LOL Some of the promotions and/or demotions in these books have given me a chuckle or two over the years.

I wanted to post that today too, but you beat me to it. Especially in MoI, when Picker gets promoted to Lieutenant, I always had the feeling it wasn't new to her. And Gesler and Stormy are prime examples of the promotion/demotion thing. I seem to recall a comment from Stormy that he was the smarter one since he was a corporal now and Gesler a sergeant.

And of course the whole sapper commander thing in DG tops all of that.
Chris Hawks
65. SaltManZ
Yeah, I wasn't sure if the Dramatis Personae was attempting to indicate
     (ex-officer) in the BBs
     ex-(officer in the BBs).

In the former case, it seems an odd thing to call out in the DP; in the latter, it seems an odd way to do it.
Chris Hawks
66. SaltManZ
Oh, good grief. Did y'all know the comment editor flags non-breaking spaces as spam? Blargh.
Sydo Zandstra
67. Fiddler
@Salt-Man Z:

Yeah, I wasn't sure if the Dramatis Personae was attempting to indicate

(ex-officer) in the BBs
ex-(officer in the BBs).

What is the difference?

Shouldn't the distinction be made at:


Robin Lemley
68. Robin55077
@ 64. Fiddler

You are welcome. Nice to be loved, isn't it?

Honestly, of all Eriksons many talents as a writer, I think the one I cherish most is his characters. And some of his dialogue is certainly the best I have ever had the pleasure to read.

I just finished a re-read of TtH. As you "old timers" will recall, there is a scene were a few "retired" Bridgeburners are sitting at an open cafe type establishment and at a table across the way from them is sitting Barathol, Scillara, and Chaur. Neither table knows anything about the other but suspicions start up as to whether the occupants at the other table are friend or foe. After a short period of sly glances that progress to outright stares, Scillara orders a bottle of wine to be delivered to the BB's table.

The dialogue from BB Antsy regarding this bottle of wine is absolutely hillarious. In just half a page of a book, Erikson gives us this paranoid (and definitely not the brightest) look at Antsy. We all know an Antsy from somewhere in our life. For most of us it was probably childhood and that child we remember who was so gullible that they believed everything someone said. Oh what fun!

When Picker says, "There are some poisons that kill the person next to the one who took it" and Erikson writes:
"The ex-sergeant lurched back in his chair. "Damn you -- I heard of those -- you killed me!""
I absolutely lose it. I mean, laugh out loud funny! I have to be very careful reading these books in public as Erikson sometimes has me either crying or laughing out loud at the simple stroke of his pen. Sometimes both within the span of just a few lines.

a a-p
69. lostinshadow
Finally got caught up! Had to wait for a friend to bring me a copy of NoK since as someone noted in one of these reread posts, the international shipping fees from amazon uk are rather mind boggling (I just paid 3 times the book price for ToM as shipping fees - ouch) and then life got in the way.

Anyways, I have to admit I'm more inclined toward the camp of those who appreciate Temper and find Kiska annoying (totally missed her appearance in the SE novels). Just can't connect with her.

Still enjoying the story though, I have to admit I have been a bit distracted with trying to clear my reading and real life schedule for ToM. * waves at Tek* you gotta finish HoC, it's a good place to pause in the series because really the first 4 books are the set up and everything just really starts happening book 5 on.
Tricia Irish
70. Tektonica
Hi Lost **waves**

100 more pages to go in HoC....Lovin' it as usual....but not as much as DG or MoI. And then.....a Malazan break for the Towers of Midnight...dun dun dun.....

Happy Halloween everyone...I'm going to Raraku to Sing and Haunt......
Sydo Zandstra
71. Fiddler

Don't mess with Antsy. :D

He's probably been put up as comic relieve for Picker and Blend in MoI. But after all the BB's that died in this series, he is still there. Which means he must be a tough bastard in a fight.
Brian Daniels
72. HoosierDaddy
Antsy and others are given their own lovely characterisation by Erikson himself: "Wide-eyed stupid."

@69: Kiska does not appear in the 10 book arc by SE (well, I suppose she could be in TCG, but seriously, seriously doubt that).

As for a break after HoC... I'm of two minds. Midnight Tides will challenge many first time readers without taking a break, I could easily see someone taking a break after HoC, getting to MT and then not being able to get into it. On the other hand, odds are staying immersed wouldn't stop that from happening anyways. So, yeah.

Re: humor in the series. Erikson is a master of both the obvious slap-stick, the subtle one liners, and is peerless, imo in his banter.
Robin Lemley
73. Robin55077
@ 71. Fiddler

I would never mess with Antsy! Are you crazy? There is no way of ever knowing what kinds of weapons and/or how many of each that guy is carrying at any give time. Mess with Antsy? Not me!

74. Marc Rikmenspoel
FWIW, I just finished HoC, and so MT is next. I'm looking forward to it, for two reasons. One is to get to know the characters for the third story arc. The other is that many readers claim that MT is their favorite of all Malazan books. So I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

However, I probably won't read it for a while, since I have some odds and ends I want to complete, and two new Glen Cook books are out in November. Gilded Latten Bones, the 13th Garrett, P.I. is out on the 2nd, and Surrender to the Will of the Night (Instrumentalities #3) is out three weeks later. But I'll be reading MT in the near future, and I might have all the Malazan books read (including RotCG and SW) by a year or so from now.
Tricia Irish
75. Tektonica
House of Chains is finished. Whew. Gasp. The coming together of so many threads. Now it's time to digest....and pause.

Does Steve Erikson think like this all the time? Is all of life this layered and complex for him, every moment? Exhausting.

Happy Halloween to all!
Julian Augustus
76. Alisonwonderland

So what do you think of the ending of HoC? Here I was looking forward to this big-ass fight between the Bonehunters and Shaik's army that had been building up the entire book, and then? The ending completely threw me. Dare I say it, a minor DEM?
77. Marc Rikmenspoel
DEM? I know what it means, and it doesn't apply here at all. I've seen others use it also in discussing the end of the book, and I think the term that is intended is "anti-climactic." But even that isn't true. The major characters, most of them at any rate, are not expecting some great battle. Read the last third or so of the book carefully, most of the important players are aware that the interactions of a few of the mighty are going to decide how things resolve. So Erikson has given the reader plenty of signs that there won't be a great battle, even as reader expectation, from other series, might be for a great battle.
Brian Daniels
78. HoosierDaddy
Spoilers for House of Chains below...

-Nope, still not far enough.

-Okay. This should be far enough away.

I assume Alisonwonderland is referring to the memories of Raraku and how the ghost legions were responsible for the annihilation of the Dogslayers.

This is one of those interconnected things between DG, MOI, and HoC that seems tenuous at first, but makes more sense after a couple of reads.
Amir Noam
79. Amir
Alisonwonderland @76:

I don't see this as a DEM. However, what you describe is a recurring element in the Malazan world - a huge build-up spanning an entire book which simply doesn't come into play at the end.

This can indeed be frustrating on the first read and if the build-up was reseolved by a relatively new element of that world, it feels "DEM-ish" to some of the readers; probably because they feel that this new element "robbed" them of the climax that they expected (I know I felt this way with some of the books).

I'm curios how I would feel about the same books with this re-read (first time I'm re-reading any of the books). So far, I was very pleasantly surprised. On my first read I thought that the end of GotM was very DEM-ish (still loved the book, though!). After this re-read, I really don't feel that way anymore. I still think some elements could have been handled better, but I no longer feel "robbed" of the promised showdown at the end.
Tricia Irish
80. Tektonica
I didn't have any DEM feeling about the ending of HoC. Much had been foreshadowed. There were a several things that had me in a state of wide-eyed wonder, with a silly grin on my face. Of course, there was some not unexpected tragedy.... Some unexpected empathy out of certain characters, (Pearl, Cotillion).....The cavalry arriving just in time, in several forms ;-).....Some good humor!

And I loved the power in/of the Land. Some big concept stuff going on here! And this is set up? Four books for set up?! Yikes....what a mind.

Edit: Things that seemed kind of DEM when I first read GotM, no longer seem so to me. I've given SE and ICE a "free pass" on DEM's now, as I now see many of those items as "set up" and "world building" for things to come. Many seeming DEMs are really just introductions that are present in the rest of the books, imho.
Steven Halter
81. stevenhalter
I think we now have a couple of interesting pieces of information wrt Kiska to consider as we progress in the reread.
As Cam mentioned in the conversation, he is purposefully using Temper and Kiska as character foils to highlight a couple of fantasy tropes that he is seeking to puncture.
The other thing to keep in mind is that Kiska isn't a single book character. As has been mentioned, we'll see some more of her in RotCG and it sounds like quite a bit more in Stonwielder (I haven't read it so I don't know how much more).
Rob Munnelly
82. RobMRobM
Tek - you may begin reading MT and say (as I did), what the heck is going on with an entirely different land and cast of characters. But...not a frolic and detour. Very important to series, so gentle suggestion that your attention is warranted.

Tai Tastigon
83. Taitastigon
Rob @82

Yep. MT becomes necessary reading at this stage, with all them grey dudes popping up all the time and being naughty... ;0)
84. Marc Rikmenspoel
I think House of Chains makes it clear that Trull Sengar is going to tell his tale, and then a glance at Midnight Tides shows that this is Trull's tale. So I'm not off-put by the change of locale and cast. I also know that the events of MT are tied into the other storylines in Reaper's Gale. MT is another piece of the puzzle, and we won't have it all until the Crippled God, or maybe not even then ;-)
Tai Tastigon
85. Taitastigon
Marc @84.

Yep. Wit the observation that a good part of the tie-in starts in BH already.
86. Some_Random_Schmuck
I like that passage too. However, I think the word "automaton" is out of place.
Alex P. W.
87. Alex_W
What where you all talking about endings of books here which come much later in the series? Since this thread is about the end of chapter 3 of Night of Knives it seems a bit disturbing to me. But whatever. Who am I to judge.

Great action going on there. I like the horror in some scenes here. The hound in the tavern, what a great scene. I find myself asking which of the Hounds it was from Gardens of the Moon who we see in action here. I remember from that book the name of Gear, but the others I have forgotten it seems by now. The fight beetwen Temper and the dog is also very great and I can see these scenes really clear in front of me when I'm imagining them. Yeah, this Bridgeburners seem not so nice as the ones we know from GotM. But great explanations about that I've read in some comments here. Thanks for that. They seem very plausible.

Well, I can not really quite understand here the motivations of both Kiska and even less Temper. Ok, she's young and keen for adventures (By the way, I was cheering to Kiska inside myself, when she helped this old man at the time of the riots and how she dealt with these soldiers that were about to rape here then, well done Kiska!!!) and want's to get away from Malaz City, but after what she has allready encountered here this night, she should damn well know by now, that she is really out of her depth here and should stay put and save somewhere. There are surely other ways of getting away from Malaz Island one should think?

And Temper I understand even less, he is in hide of his old life, wants to lead a quite life, find himself some nice woman (As Corine would probably be one and I think he would not mind considering her as his woman :-) ) and yet he puts on his old helmet and his old swords, which probably tell a lot about his past life to everyone seeing it and yet he goes after these Bridgeburners in this dangerous night. Makes no sense to me. And now I'm really wondering how he will escape the muzzle of that Hound.

And what? The hounds of shadows are not the worst hounds? THE HOUNDS OF SHADOWS??? Well, I'm definitely curious now, what other Hounds we will meet during the read of that series :-).


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