Nov 17 2010 1:00pm

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Night of Knives, Chapter 6 and Epilogue

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 6 and the Epilogue of Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont (NoK).

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 Five

Kiska wakes up in Seal’s room. Seal tells her he healed her, Hattar, and Tayschrenn, though he says Tay pretty much took care of himself. Seal says he has a message from them to her, but Kiska guesses it is that they are down at the wharf. Seal says yes and she heads out.

Kiska finds Hattar and Tayschrenn loading up the boat to leave and asks to be taken. They agree to take her into service. She heads off to tell Agayla and her mother.

Kiska finds Agayla exhausted. Agayla guesses Kiska is leaving. When Kiska mentions seeing Agayla (when she was in the warren), Agayla says it was just a dream/vision. Kiska says goodbye and as she heads to her mother’s, wonders how Agayla knew the name “Artan.”

Temper heads up to his post on the Hold, passing Lubben on his way. He hears that Larkin (the barracks bully) is under arrest for refusing to stand his post last night. He arrives at his post and pretends to Chase that he has no idea what happened last night as he was too drunk. Chase tells him there was an assassination attempt on an imperial official but that somehow the garrison didn’t hear a sound and the night watch saw/heard nothing. Chase takes off. Temper muses on how he’s proud he still had “what it took” and more importantly, found something left “worth fighting for.” He looks forward to seeing Corinn and hopes she won’t be leaving, especially as Temper will be spending a “long while to come” at the Hanged Man. He sees Tayschrenn’s cutter heading out.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Six:
Stewing broth, huh? Reminds me of the entry for food in Diana Wynne Jones’s “A Tough Guide To Fantasyland”:

Stew (the Official Management Terms are thick and savory, which translate as ‘viscous’ and ‘dark brown’) is the staple food in Fantasyland, so be warned. You may shortly be longing passionately for omelette, steak, or baked beans, but none of these will be forthcoming, indoors or out. Given the disturbed nature of life in this land [...] Stew seems to be an odd choice as staple food, since, on a rough calculation, it takes forty times as long to prepare as steak.

Y’all have read this gem of a book, yeah? If you haven’t, I insist you go and buy a copy RIGHT NOW. Go on, me and Bill will wait for you to catch up. *grin* [Bill’s interjection: Second that rec!]

Anyway, where were we...?

Amused by Kiska’s reaction to the fact that Seal burnt her clothes! It is just like a teenager. Either that, or because she is from a poor family, and doesn’t have many more sets of clothes! I guess either could be the interpretation here but I prefer the first.

Pah! Now not amused by Kiska at all, with the way she behaves towards Seal. He is proud of what he has accomplished, clearly, and she doesn’t even bother to thank him properly—not for the healing or the stew. Just wants to know about Tay and Hattar. I am thinking that she is aware they might leave without her and wants to be involved and taken away from Malaz Isle, and is concerned that she will be left in the same position before the night started. But, seriously, being self-obsessed is taken to the nth degree here by Kiska.

And why is Kiska so smug about knowing that Tay and Hattar are down by the wharf? Why does Seal make the reaction he does—laughing and calling her clever? I’m stumped by that. After all, Tay and Hattar are important folk who have things to do away from the island so it is clear they’ll be departing via the wharf at some point. Have I missed something?

The residents of Malaz greeted the dawn like stunned survivors of a typhoon and earthquake combined.

I can imagine the way they would be reluctant to even peer around their doors, having enjoyed a night of the walking dead and the unearthly howls of the Shadow Hounds.

Oh my, here we go again... Having been told that she lacks discipline Kiska then makes retorts towards the person making the decision as to whether she will be allowed to go. I just can’t get on board with Kiska. (And I am aware that I am sounding like a broken record at this point...) Thing is, I’ve read books with annoying teens before—and the writing has served to make you empathise with them, rather than just want to throttle them! I am merely annoyed with Kiska here and struggling to understand why I’d want to read anything else about her.

Curious as to where Agayla knows Tayschrenn from. And why is Tay sometimes called Artan? From his childhood? I would be glad to read more about Tayschrenn and his history.

Sub-Fist Pell has made not a single on-screen appearance in this novel. Not exactly an inspirational leader of men, hey?

Hmm, Chase says to Temper:

“Well, it’s just Chance, you know. The Twins of Chance and age.”

Makes me wonder whether Oponn has actually entered the game at this early stage?

But he couldn’t keep a satisfied grin from his lips; he’d done it againstepped into the gap. Held the wall.

I love this last, introspective scene with Temper and the fact he’s so proud of himself. He’s regained his pride and shown his strength, and knows he still has something worth fighting for. Will be interesting to see if he retains this feeling when the Guardianship comes to the fore.

I love the symmetry of this last scene as well, with Temper watching the sea and noting the odd behaviour of the weather vane. Whatever I might think about some of Esslemont’s writing, the structure of Night of Knives is damn fine.

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Six:

I like the immediate shift in tone that opens this chapter, with Coop simply trying to get his apron back. After the events of the night, it’s a nice tension reliever and effective signal that things are pretty much back to normal mundane life.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure of why Seal has such a reaction to Kiska’s guess re: the message—seems a bit over the top to me. I can’t come up with anything to explain it.

Hmm, you’ve read books with teens and you didn’t want to throttle them? That’s why they're called “fantasy.” :) I do buy into Kiska’s portrayal as pretty much like a teen; the annoying aspect I just live with as verisimilitude.

One thing that did bother me though was that Kiska’s pain seems to have subsided perhaps a bit too quickly, at least without notice of such. She couldn’t even stand at Seal’s and yet she walks all the way down to the wharf and then the only thing that stops her running (on her way to Agayla’s) is a side stitch. I know she’s been healed but the memory of her severe pain from standing is only a page old.

I also thought the departure scene with Agayla seemed a bit rushed and abrupt to me. It’s hard to imagine Agayla wouldn’t have given her some advice. I would have liked to have drawn that out a bit more, both because it would have been more in character I think and also for its emotional potential.

And finally, I could have gone without Temper’s self-appraisal. I would have liked Esslemont to leave that up to the reader. Certainly we all know he “stood the gap” and I think we’re pretty clear on him finding something to live/fight for again. This whole paragraph seemed a bit unnecessary to me. The same holds true slightly as he watches the cutter leave (am I getting cranky or what?). Let us make the connection that he saw it arrive and now he’s seeing it go—those sort of things I think are more richly felt when the reader gets them on their own.

The nod to his “long while” at the Hanged Man, however, which I assume refers to his acceptance of the Guardianship of the Deadhouse, seemed a good nod to the reader.



Edgewalker finds Kellanved and Cotillion in Shadow. Kellanved reshapes shadow (Edgewalker thinks how they can “create whatever they wished from the raw stuff at their disposal”) into a keep. He then proposes a walk around the realm with Edgewalker as guide. Edgewalker says he doesn’t take Kellanved’s orders and when Kellanved threatens to set the Hounds on him Edgewalker says they would not attack him as they are “all kin. Slaves to Shadow.” Kellanved says he understands and that while Edgewalker is slave to Shadow, Kellanved “commands” Shadow. Edgewalker says nothing in reply to that. Kellanved and Cotillion disappear. Edgewalker leaves wondering why none of the claimants to the Shadowthrone ever learn or wonder why the throne is often so empty, though he also looks forward to the change and possible “progression” this new claimant might bring to the realm.


A young boy and girl find a scaled man of some sort wedged into rocks and half-buried in sand at the beach. The creature grabs the boy then lets go. Later, the children lead their grandfather to the place. They stay back while he looks, then he comes out and tells them it was gone, though the girl sees something odd in her grandfather’s eyes. As they leave, the old man thinks of how he had killed the creature and how before he had done so it had spoken to him in Korelan and asked him four times “why are you killing us?” And the old man recalled his surprise that the creature’s blood had been warm and red.

Amanda’s Reaction to the Epilogue:

Ooh, following comments from some of our gang after last week’s instalment, it is noticeable that Kellanved says:

“What in the Word of the Nameless Ones do you want?”

He and Tay have both said this. Who are the Nameless Ones? And what is the connection between Tay and Kell, apart from being part of the Old Guard?

“For the nonce”: ack, this is the first time that either Erikson and Esslemont have brought in words like this. For the record, I don’t like ”alas,“ ”forsooth,“ or ”nonce.“ I do like ”rapscallion" though! *grins*

So, we now have Shadowthrone and Cotillion instead of Kellanved and Dancer... Even more scary! Shadowthrone is showing hints of that madness, with his giggling, and both are able to “create whatever they wished from the raw stuff at their disposal.”

Edgewalker is a slave to the House? Would that be the Shadow rather than the Deadhouse? Is he in the same straits as Jhenna, or a slave to something else?

And how much does this fit into the arc of the entire series?

How many times, he wondered, had he heard that very same conceit from a claimant to the Throne? Would they never learn? How long, he wondered, would this one last? Why was it none of the long chain of hopefuls ever bothered to ask why the Throne should be empty in the first place?

And why the emphasis on “...progression”?

I’m guessing the creature found by the children is one of the Stormriders? It doesn’t speak their language, and is extremely eerie looking. Is Pyre on Malaz Island?

Oh! “Why are you killing us?” Now that certainly is a turn up for the books!

Bill’s Reaction to the Epilogue:

We’ll find out more about the Nameless Ones (though par for the course, not as much as we’d like) soon, and even see some of them. They play a major role in the series.

The Epilogue, ironically enough, felt less like an epilogue to me than the preceding few page with Temper. I loved the meeting between Edgewalker and the dynamic duo, beginning with the “old habit” of Kellanved’s illusion distracting someone while Dancer hangs out behind them.

Edgewalker’s expositional thought on how the two can create what they need from Shadow is a bit unneeded, as we just saw Dancer do that and are about to see K. do the same. On the other hand, I thought his explanation of how he and the Hounds are “slaves to Shadow” does need to be said, and I like how what he doesn’t say—in this case not replying to K’s claim to “command Shadow”—is just as important here as what he does say. That will start to rear its head I think in the latter books of the series, so it’s a good line to point out. The section on previous claimants is slightly overdone; a simple “why don’t they ever learn?” would have sufficed, but I do like his hint and sense of excitement at the possibility of “progression.” We’ll find out more of the history (and boy is it history) of the Shadow Realm as we continue.

As for the final scene—it’s a nice bit of cliffhangery-type ending. The main storyline is resolved, but the author leaves us with a continuing mystery (the Stormriders) that just got a lot more mysterious. This little scene was my favorite part of these last two chapters and the most effective I thought.

Amanda’s Reaction to Night of Knives:

This first encounter with Esslemont’s side of the Malazan world has sure been a bumpy ride. For every Temper there was a Kiska, basically. *grins* I don’t think I need to re-emphasise my dislike of the young naive character. She was an effective tool in Esslemont’s hands to help any info-dumping go smoothly and feel realistic, but, by all the Gods, she got annoying damn quickly.

My overriding impression of the novel is that is was basically a novella to start with, and got padded out to fit a novel length. There isn’t a great deal of real action here, in terms of moving along the story, and the biggest scene by far is the ascension of Kellanved and Dancer, but I found myself rather confused about it rather than thrilled.

At times the prose was weak when it should have been exciting, with clumsy exposition and characterisation.

With that said, I did enjoy a lot of what was on show here. I loved the horror aspect of the novel—something that we haven’t seen from Erikson in the same way. Anything involving Temper, especially the flashbacks with Dassem and the final showdown between him and Jhenna, was just brilliant. I also enjoyed seeing an entirely different perspective of Tayschrenn compared to Gardens of the Moon—I join other people now in finding him entirely intriguing. Definitely more to come.

My favourite character from Night of Knives was definitely Temper—from his grizzled resignation to his flash of pride to the potential of what is yet to come. How about you? And why?

In summary, this will never be my favourite part of the Malazan series, but I have not been deterred from Esslemont’s future works. I think this was a slightly simplistic read in comparison to Gardens of the Moon—however, I do firmly believe that Esslemont can only improve going forwards, and I’m looking forward to Return of the Crimson Guard when we hit that as part of the re-read.

So, onto Deadhouse Gates.... I am apprehensive, pleased, excited, and already confused :-p

Bill’s Reaction to Night of Knives:

The first time I read this I was, to be honest, disappointed somewhat. I was less so now, but I think part of that was simply coming in with that previous knowledge and thus somewhat lowered expectations. I’m with you Amanda, and several of our readers, that the plot is a bit thin and a bit “bumpy.” I felt at times it was rushed, at times overly abstract, at times too much happened off stage (though I liked the off-stage portrayal of the big confrontation), at times stretched or repetitive. Thus the “bumpy.”

The strength of the book for me lies in its character and choice of POV. I liked the structural counterpoint of the world-weary knows-too-much Temper and the oh-so-eager-and-naive Kiska. Age and youth. Cynicism and optimism. Taciturn and overly talkative. Grieving and unscathed.

What I felt I was seeing in NoK was an author relatively new to his craft, still trying to feel out how to pace a novel: what scenes to select, which to omit; where to go slow and where to speed up; where to show and where to tell, when to let the reader find the meaning and when to help them along or just tell them. It was rough, but the potential was clearly there. Return of the Crimson Guard has, I think some of the same flaws, improves on many of them, and manages to find a few new ones. But I do think it is a better book, Amanda. And my assumption is Stonewielder will continue that progress and I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on it (wink wink hint to our Tor overlords).

As for Deadhouse Gates—buckle up!

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.

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
I enjoyed the epilogue and the byplay between Kel and Edgewalker. It is again interesting that Edgewalker finds the drag path in the dust and then Kel and Cotillion laying there. This leaves the question of how exactly they went from the Deadhouse to Shadow house fairly open.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
Wrap Up:
I think my reaction was fairly similar to Bill's. I enjoyed the book more than on my initial read. I liked the view of Tay we see and the Dassem flashback's are great.
I've ordered Stonewielder.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Amanda & Bill: Will we be starting DG next week and/or will there be an ICE discussion thread?
Chris Hawks
5. SaltManZ
Basically, what Shalter said except for that I haven't ordered Stonewielder yet. (I should have, it used to be only $15 at the Book Depository; now it's $25.)

Anyway, I've said previously, the epilogue with the Stormrider is actually my favorite part of the book. Just very mysterious and oddly moving.

An interesting transition, moving from NoK (my least favorite in the series) to DG (my absolute favorite). Can't wait.
Karen Martin
6. ksh1elds555
I think Bill's assessment is right on with my feelings on the book. The strong points in my view were the scenes with K&D, Edgewalker, and Temper(especially his flashbacks with Dassem). I did love the 180 degree turn in the Epilogue showing the wounded Stormrider. This is one of the most interesting aspects of this series, how these writers can present a point of view about a person/race/etc and then turn it on its head by presenting another POV. So at first the Stormriders appear as these mystical beings bent on destruction or some unknown nefarious thing. Then you see the stormrider on the beach saying "Why are you killing us?" in such an emotional scene. They aren't monsters after all... I do agree wholeheartedly with Amanda's annoyance with Kiska. Why does she remind me of Scrappy Doo... and how he ruined my favorite TV show when I was a kid!!!

All in all, I'm glad I read this to get the extra tidbits about the characters I like so much, previously mentioned. But bring on DEADHOUSE GATES!!! I'm already get misty-eyed thinking about it, but in a good way :-) I have read it once already and can't wait to get back to 7 cities...
Marc Rikmenspoel
7. Marc Rikmenspoel
I really enjoyed the part of the Epilogue with the Stormrider, it had just the right bit of mystery to it. Overall, I enjoyed the book more than Amanda or Bill, but I fully recognize that it is just a tangent to the main stories that SE and ICE are telling in the rest of the series.

I adored Deadhouse Gates, and I'm very eager for the reread of it! Does that begin next week, or will there be a break first? Regardless, bring it on!
Hugh Arai
8. HArai
Maybe I enjoyed NoK on my initial read more than some because I never expected it to be more than a Malazan novel. It feels like the same world, so it lived up to my expectations. I wasn't expecting SE, since they put ICE's name on the cover, so it didn't put me off when he had his own strengths and weaknesses.

Loved Temper and Kiska (sorry Amanda). I think of them as a sign that the Malazan world is a whole world. Not everyone is a schemer like Quick Ben, Kellanved or Iskaral Pust. You have people that do what they say and say what they mean like Temper. And not everyone is age-old, cautious and cynical like Kallor, some are risk-taking and clueless like Kiska.
Ben Wert
9. bennyrex
Loved, loved, loved the epilogue. Loved most of the book except for chapter 5, really. Maybe it's because I'm quite self-absorbed myself, but I enjoyed reading Kiska's POV's.

Overall, I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the structure of the story, and anything with the Stormriders and the Hounds. Yeah, if I cast my mind back further than last week, I can remember that there's a lot for me to love in this book.

@Robin, I'm really looking forward to hearing you talk about the significance of this one for you.

And add another cheer from me for Deadhouse Gates! I'll be dipping back into already explored territory, then it's off into the completely unknown!

(edited to make sense)
Thomas Jeffries
10. thomstel
I'm feeling the need to give a big Teen Girl Squad "IT'S OVER!"

Aside from that, some thoughts:
- Stormriders, you sneaky sneaky SOBs. You go ahead and stay on the periphery of the Tales, and don't you give us anything more than a couple interactions as we watch the story unfold. Do it I say! And send a set of armor to a character nine-ish books later to confuse the issue further! Kthxbai!
- Like the Temper ending a lot for really non-critical reasons (it's nearly "too safe" a way to end his arc really), as it fulfills the standard of "status quo restored, but better off than it was at the start" ending that such classics as "Back to the Future" and others have done so well.
- Still not impressed with Kiska...too much "gee golly" still, even after the horrors of the night. What sort of kid in real life would have that much (terrible) reality shoved in their face in so little a time and still have the runaway attitude? So offputting to me. Eh, maybe next re-read I'll see something different.
- Shadowthrone and Cotillion are so great, and now direct conversation with Edgewalker, who is also great. Why are all the deadpan characters the most fun to read about? I can almost hear the leathery creak of his head tipping when he refrains from commenting on the "command" comment that Shadowthrone utters.
- Bring on Deadhouse Gates! Character switcharoo confusion, followed by bitter adventuring party story, less bitter adventuring party story, and bitter, bitter, BITTER war campaign story.

*Edit Dancer -> Cotillion. He's ascended now, duh!
Mieneke van der Salm
11. Mieneke
The ending was a bit neat for me, everything nicely squared away, with only the Stormriders for a hook for the next book, but other than that I really enjoyed Night of Knives! It was totally different from SE, but that never bothered me as much as it seems to have bothered others.

I actually liked Kiska's POV, however exasperating she was, because she really was a typical teen. I loved Temper too. But funnily enough, Tayschrenn was my favourite character in this book. I loved the way he sort of took Kiska under his wing.

My favourite scenes in the book were the flashbacks of Dassem and the battle at the Deadhouse. That just had me turning pages till it ended, I just couldn't stop reading.

Can't wait for us to start the Deadhouse Gates!
Mieneke van der Salm
12. Mieneke
Oh BTW Bill and Amanda, will you give us another weekly reading list at the start as you did for NoK? Cause I really found that useful!
Chris Hawks
13. SaltManZ
@12: Speaking of which, it would be awesome if we could get the chapter list written up on the re-read index page ahead of time. So everything's written up beforehand like so

Deadhouse Gates
Prologue and Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 and 4
Chapter 5

and you just have to add the links in each week.
Tricia Irish
14. Tektonica
Thanks Bill and Amanda! I really didn't mind this book at all. Not my favorite so far, that would be Deadhouse Gates! or Memories of Ice, but this provided some interesting background on Kell and Dancer and Daseem and Tay.

I didn't mind Kiska too much as a self-absorbed teen. She was a bit shallow as a character. I mean really, after all she went through and all she witnessed, her skipping off to say a quick goodbye to Agalya seemed to show her incomprehension of what had just transpired. But I did like the juxtaposition of Kiska and Temper. And I did love the tease with the Stormrider at the end!

I agree with you Bill, that this seems like a first novel with the author figuring out how much to tell and how much to leave between the lines.

I'm very excited to move onto Deadhouse Gates. I've only read it once, and have been blasting through the next 4, so it will be great to be able to discuss this incredible book with you all!
Tai Tastigon
15. Taitastigon
Bill/Amanda: Great job so far !

Bring on DG ! So far, we have had 2 chamber pieces; it is time for the symphonies.

Tek @14

*I'm very excited to move onto Deadhouse Gates. I've only read it once, and have been blasting through the next 4*

You have made up thru tBH already...!?
Tricia Irish
16. Tektonica
Taitastigon....I'm in there right now! Whoohoo!
Tai Tastigon
17. Taitastigon
Darn, Tek, you raced thru MT ? And now BH ?
Slow down girl !!!! Enjoy the fun !!! Those last two are the ones that benefit MOST from rereads ! Whatcha think about Tehol and Bugg ? ;o)
18. darkul
Still, Kiska should really change completely in ONE night?
Does any human being change in 12 hours? Ok, those events will burn in her brain, but later. Not yet.
There are some fine lines where it's obvious that she thinks different. But those new views have not yet manifested in her character.
Kiska as character was ok for me, though I don't like overly powerful (prudish) girls in any genre.

All scenes with K/D or S/C are special. I don't want to spoiler here, but there are other combinations that work also extremely well f.e. Tehol/Bugg, Mappo/Ic, conversations with/between gods/ascendants... always extremely well written dialogues.

It's not really clear to me what happened with that grandfather. Is he possessed or is he not? Is that Stormrider really dead? Or is that grandfather someone really important who eats Stormriders? Don't have a clue.
But that scene has a very strong emotional level. Big one.

I never set my expectations very high. So I was pleased with NoK. It was different but had the same Malazan feeling. I was hooked from the beginning. And after 40 pages I was sure, ICE and SE have an almost perfect teamwork.
The main contents of this novel were clear: Surly "murdering" K/D, their ascending, seeing something of Dassem. And we got more: the Stormriders, the Deadhouse, the Sword, more about Edgewalker, new "old" intriguing characters.

I knew that it is impossible for ICE to write like SE. ICE has just one flaw in my eyes. Giving too much information away by mentioning facts double-times, using Kiska as info dumping vehicle, using names too often when it is obvious for the mindful reader who is meant. That does not completely change in RotCG, but there it is bearable. Sometimes necessary to make it easier to understand the who is who in 400 pages of action scenes.

I do not have a favourite book in the Malazan main series. I always look for the main storyline. And this is supposed to be written in 10 parts. Just like LotR is just one great story, not 3 as some might think.
Marc Rikmenspoel
19. Billcap
Hey all,
thanks for all the comments and appreciation--we're glad you're enjoying it! We're still discussing what's coming up next and we'll post here as soon as we find out, which shouldn't be long. And yes, we'll put up another reading schedule (good suggestion on the links too). Back in a while for actual comments . . .

Marc Rikmenspoel
20. billcap
Just to clarify as upon reading I realized some might worry that means a change in reading schedule--no worries on that. What I meant was we're discussing getting Cam involved and how to handle the holiday week (Thanksgiving for those non-US folks)
Marc Rikmenspoel
21. AeriaLynn
Aargh! Not the stew thing again! Seriously, DWJ didn't think that entry through very well, and it's not the first time I've seen parts of it quoted as commentary on books. Honestly, the issue isn't that it's always stew because of time of cooking. Cut the bits up small enough, and it'll be done quickly if cooked on a warm fire. If Rachel Ray can figure that out, so can anyone with experience cooking. Sure, great, steaks take a lot less time to cook. That's awesome. In the olden days, with hunting laws and other problems, how many times do people out on the trail have access to steaks? How many people can afford to eat meat on a regular basis, esp. in a land where it costs roughly twenty times the amount of energy to raise animal protein than it does to raise grain and vegetables? No, in terms of base ingredients and cooking times, it's always stew because in real life, it's always stew. Think of the story of stone soup. It takes fewer ingredients to create a filling meal, and no where near the time DWJ seems to think it would take.

Oh, and eggs over a campfire? Yeah, find the eggs first. Make sure they haven't been fertilized and have half-formed birds in them. Then hold your hand over the fire the entire time to scramble them without burning yourself or the eggs, not to mention flipping the eggs for that perfect omlet.

The issue with "it always being stew" is that it's lazy worldbuilding. Stew is the generic term. Why is it never curry or gumbo or ragout or tharid or yota? These are all stews, but they have specific ingredients that indicate culture. Going with the generic term is a waste of story potential, and shows the author is taking shortcuts with worldbuilding.
Robin Lemley
22. Robin55077
What does NIGHT OF KNIVES mean to me? Okay, here goes…..

Upon my initial read of NoK, Temper reflects that after he departed from Dassem & Ferrule he filed “false papers” so that he could rejoin the military as a guard in Malaz City. Later on in the main series, we see one of Erikson’s characters do something similar…re-enlist under a false name. We even see “Sorry” enlist under the name “Sorry” which we know at the time is not her real name. Now me, being the “overachieving clue seeker” that I am, I immediately thought that Temper must be an alias and proceeded through NoK in search of his real name. Now, we all know that Temper did not take an alias (I’m still not clear why he didn’t…but he didn’t); but did I realize this at the time? NO!

So….I get clear to the end of NoK and still have no clue as to Temper’s “real” name. BUT, I have convinced myself that his “real” name is something other than “Temper,” so what do I do? Why, I start a re-read of the entire series, with the sole purpose of looking for clues as to Temper’s “secret identity.” Upon this re-read, I found reference (and by way of “reference” I mean I found one little sentence buried in a conversation between characters in Deadhouse Gates that reads something like, “My father was there that night, you know, the night Kellanved and Dancer ascended.” Well, of course, upon seeing that, I think to myself, “Wow…I figured it out! I know who Temper really is!”

However, this being an Erikson book, you really cannot base anything on one little clue, so I proceed to re-read the entire series, looking for additional clues to prove my theory. I don’t find any additional clues all the way through Toll the Hounds, but I start my re-read of NoK, still feeling somewhat confident that I knew Temper’s “real” name.

There was reference here in NoK where Temper tells us that he was never really physically close to Kellanved but that he was familiar with Dancer. In fact, when Dancer appeared above Temper on the steps inside Mock’s Hold, Temper recognizes him just from his shadow and his stance and the way he walks, as Dancer. I, of course, think YES! I was right! (See how my mind works! Because, as you re-readers know, the person I am thinking of was a Talon, so they would have been very familiar with Dancer…..for those on your initial read, no spoiler info for ya’.) However, I immediately went from that high of having my theory confirmed….to the ultimate low, as Temper goes on to speculate about bits and pieces he had heard about the secret organization loyal to Dancer. DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! Temper was not a Talon!?!?! There went my theory!

What did I do then? Did I give up on my theory that “Temper” was an alias? Did I hit the Malazan Empire Boards to ask someone else to answer the question for me? NO…..Not me! Oh no…I began another re-read….of the entire series! I just knew the answer was there….hidden in the pages of Erikson’s text….I just had to find it! I didn’t want anyone else to answer it for me! I wanted to answer it myself! And I did too….after completing another full re-read of the entire series….I realized that…yes……drumroll please………..Temper was his real name! It wasn’t an alias! There were no clues to be found relative to this theory of mine! Nada….zilch…zip…zilda…zero! NOHING!

But I will tell you this…I loved every second of that search! I have never had so much fun reading a series in my life! Not just reading it, but actually “weighing” every word, of every sentence, of every page, first to last!

SOOOOOOO, in a way…NoK (or, more specifically, two words “false papers” in NoK) resulted in my complete re-read of the series, not ONCE, but TWICE!

Robin Lemley
23. Robin55077
@ 15. Taitastigon & 16. Tektonica

The Bonehunters is my favorite book! Enjoy!
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
@Robin: Cool, lol. I wonder, though, who the person's father was? It would seem likely to be one of the Shadow Cultists since some of them seem to have been Talons.
Tai Tastigon
25. Taitastigon
Robin @23

tBH at first read irritated me...except for Ygathan...;0).

Upon reread...what a smorgasbord....!!
Tai Tastigon
26. Taitastigon
Bill @19/20

Bill, ole bud !
Re scheduling sessions: We had some nice feedback stuff with SE after GotM and with SE/CAM at that fantasy convention just a couple a weeks ago. IMHO ? No need for ANOTHER Q&A session right now !

Let´s get into DG right away - you´ve seen the comments here ! Let´s get to the goods, man, the goods...!
Steven Halter
27. stevenhalter
I'm all for any author input they care to provide.
Robin Lemley
28. Robin55077
@ 24. Shalter
"I wonder, though, who the person's father was? It would seem likely to be one of the Shadow Cultists since some of them seem to have been Talons."

You wonder? You can imagine how I feel after I put all that work into that one simple sentence! :-)

I would have loved to have seen even a corny, "So, how's junior?" Something...some hint to let me know which character he was. LOL (Like you, I assume he was one of Dancer's shadow cultists, since many of them were Talons.)

Marc Rikmenspoel
29. endymion
my favorite so far is also bonehunters, read the series several times through!

Bill, who do you play ultimate with?
Robin Lemley
30. Robin55077
@ Amanda
"Makes me wonder whether Oponn has actually entered the game at this early stage?"

I see it more that Oponn is ALWAYS in the game. Chance is a much more "palpable" part of the Malazan World, and always has been.

Chris Hawks
31. SaltManZ
Quick note: the link on the reread index page says only "Chapter Six", when it should say "Chapter Six and Epilogue".
Robin Lemley
32. Robin55077

Does anyone know the release date for Stonewielder either in UK or US? I thoutht that last I saw it was slated for this past Monday (11/15) in the UK, yet, I have not heard or seen anywhere confirmation of that so I am assuming that it has not yet been released. Anyone know?

Julian Augustus
33. Alisonwonderland

The person you were thinking about also has imposing size and incredible physical strength, so it makes sense to suspect Temper might have been his father. But none of the shadow cultists described in the book have any size at all, almost as if the majority were women (that's the impression I get, anyway). The only person other than Temper who was present and whose size makes him a potential candidate for B's father is Trenech, but Trenech was not a Talon! Perhaps B's father was stretching the truth a little bit (about being on Malaz when K & D ascended, I mean)?
Robin Lemley
34. Robin55077
@ 33. Alisonwonderland

Anything is possible but the way I view this particular character (which is kind of wierd because we never actually see him and only hear a tiny fragment or two about him) is that he would not have stretched the truth when he told his son about it. His son, who we become very familiar with, would not have stretched the truth and I see it as "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." I don't know why I feel that way about it. Like I said, kinda wierd and I have absolutely nothing to back it up.

Marc Rikmenspoel
35. Marc Rikmenspoel
Amazon indicates that Stonewielder's US release date is May 10, 2011. Amazon dates for Tor releases tend to be accurate, in my experience.
Robin Lemley
36. Robin55077
@ 35. Mark

Thanks! I see that Barnes & Noble is listing it with the May 11, 2011 date as well. I could swear that when I checked the date only a few weeks ago it was slated for release around now in the UK and December 28, 2010, for the US.

Could be I have it confused with some other book maybe.
Gerd K
37. Kah-thurak
Hm... the german Amazon still claims I will get Stonwielder in early December. The thread on the Malazanempire forum also indictaes a late November release.
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
There is a limited edition version avaialbe now for £99. That was a tad steep for me, but I did order the British edition--late November.
39. Abalieno
Matt Hilliard, the guy who rose some mess this past August criticizing Martin's series, wrote possibly the BEST review ever of Gardens of the Moon:

Quite long and well worth that length.
Chris Hawks
40. SaltManZ
The Bantam edition of Stonewielder is still slated for November 25.
Marc Rikmenspoel
41. billcap
Endymion @29
I play ultimate in a Rochester NY league. Sadly, my travel/tournament days appear to be behind me . . .

Wouldn't it be nice to see £99 and not even think about it? Oh, the books I'd own . . .
Stefan Sczuka
43. moeb1us
@aba 39 re hilliard review

reading it right now but already found something to ramble about: his somewhat derogative comment on the cover picture of his book on which basis he does this review. come on. imho, that is a shame for someone who claims to criticize (high) fantasy novels.

maybe some don't care about the artwork, but they should not do so. only because cheap publishers hire cheap artists that don't read the books and create cheesy and stereotypical front covers on way too many books, shouldn't they continue to look behind the scenes and recognize the exceptions.

especially regarding the history of GotM. I know of five front covers, ranging from imho cheesy (early tor) to okay (early bantam) to whats-the-deal (late bantam).
Clearly outstanding in this group is the edition matt talks about. This is subterraneanpress with their limited edition of GotM, for which no other than Michael Komarck has done the artwork.
And in my humble opinion, anyone who has the slightest understanding of painting as an art and handcraft (maybe has tried it himself) can only call Komarck a master.
The inside of the book wrapper is simply _breathtaking_.
Chris Hawks
44. SaltManZ
That was a fantastic review. Thanks for the link, Abalieno
Robin Lemley
45. Robin55077
@ 39. Abalieno

Thanks for the "heads up" and also for providing the link! A really, really nice review and a great read!
Marc Rikmenspoel
46. Jan Pospíšil
Thank You both for the re-read so far!

It's great fun for sure. Temper was my favourite character also, I have a weak spot for solid warriors with shields and the "hold the wall" mentality.

Seriously, I can't wait for the Deadhouse Gates reread, many people consider it the best of the Malaz books so far. My pick would be the Memories of Ice though, I hope you get to that soon. :)

Thanks again!

Sydo Zandstra
47. Fiddler

What did I do then? Did I give up on my theory that “Temper” was an alias? Did I hit the Malazan Empire Boards to ask someone else to answer the question for me? NO…..Not me! Oh no…I began another re-read….of the entire series! I just knew the answer was there….hidden in the pages of Erikson’s text….I just had to find it! I didn’t want anyone else to answer it for me! I wanted to answer it myself! And I did too….after completing another full re-read of the entire series….I realized that…yes……drumroll please………..Temper was his real name! It wasn’t an alias! There were no clues to be found relative to this theory of mine! Nada….zilch…zip…zilda…zero! NOTHING!

Are you really sure you didn't miss this tiny clue at some point when your attention was a bit down? *evil grin*

Re: Stonewielder delivery estimation.

Here's what my Amazon UK says:
Delivery 2 of 3: The following item will arrive by 24 Dec 2010. Not yet dispatched
Dispatch Estimate: 26 Nov 2010
Delivery Estimate: 29 Nov 2010 - 30 Nov 2010

Apparently it's been moved up a month...
Robin Lemley
48. Robin55077
@ 47. Fiddler have another false clue for me to follows? Thanks! LOL
Maggie K
49. SneakyVerin
Dang-I am glad this is my first reading and I dont have to worry about delivery dates for a while

I REALLY liked this book. I think it was a bit easier to read than Erikson, but still full of action.

I felt the epilogue a bit pat, too. I agree Kiska was young, but she could have had a moment of reflection somewhere? At least maybe gratitude? I don't know.

I am already storming through Deadhouse Gates and need to check myself!

and Robin-now you've got me all wondering about this...I need to distract myself now before I go try and figgure it out myself!
Steven Halter
50. stevenhalter
"Here's another clue for you all, the Walrus was Paul."

Sydo Zandstra
51. Fiddler

Paul Atreides then, since you mentioned a walrus and they are sea creatures and Caladan is a sea planet?

Robin Lemley
52. Robin55077
@ 49. SneakyVerin"
"and Robin-now you've got me all wondering about this...I need to distract myself now before I go try and figgure it out myself!"

Ahhh, but that is what I find so much fun on the re-reads ...tracking down clues! Words cannot explain how much joy I have gotten from this series!

Happy hunting y'all (because here in West Virginia, we do say y'all.)

Steven Halter
53. stevenhalter tells me that my Stonewielder has been dispatched. :-)
Tai Tastigon
54. Taitastigon
Gotta admit that I am a wee bit confused: What is the schedule for this week, now ?
Chris Hawks
55. SaltManZ
Yeah, do I want to start reading DG tonight, or what?
Steven Halter
56. stevenhalter
Fiddler@51: I think Caladan was pretty temperate. We would want more of an ice planet -- like Hoth.
Karen Martin
57. ksh1elds555
Now that I am 80% through the way with Bonehunters, I am so thankful I read this book and got a little background on some characters that just showed up! I do really like Temper. So far Bonehunters is my favorite, and I would rank MOI 2nd. I'm sure that will change upon further reading and re-reading of this series!
Robin Lemley
58. Robin55077
@ Fiddler Shalter

Are your references to "Caladan" a reference to Dune or am I totally in the dark?

Not being stupid, just ignorant. :-)
Robin Lemley
59. Robin55077
@ Bill and/or Amanda

Any word yet as to whether we are starting on DG this week or is Cam able to joins us for a Q&A session relative to NoK?

So what if it is Thanksgiving! I would love a post this week if possible. :-)

Tai Tastigon
60. Taitastigon
Robin @59

Hi Robin. Considering that the week has passed w/o the *offering* of a specific Q&A session and that a very fruitful on-line Q&A session was recently held during the WFC-event, leaving little additional material to discuss re NoK, I seriously do expect that we get into DG starting tomorrow. Anything else would be...hmmm.... a letdown...? OK, I´ll be willing to give a Thxgiving discount..but at this rate, we might be finishing this reread some 3 years plus from now...(dunno whether THAT would be THAT bad, though...*g*)
Amanda Rutter
61. ALRutter
We're on a break this Wednesday, y'all! Bill is travelling for Thanksgiving so, although it's just a random Thursday for me, we'll be back bright as a button with the first round of DG goodness next Wednesday. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!
Steven Halter
62. stevenhalter
Robin: Yes, Caladan was the home planet of Paul Atreides in the book Dune. It was a very nice place--as opposed to Arrakis (Dune), where he followed his father.
Sydo Zandstra
63. Fiddler

1 Stonewielder (Malazan Empi... £13.14 1 £13.14
Dispatched via TNT (estimated arrival date: November 26, 2010).

Now if only TNT weren't going to be on strike over here for the rest of the week, and they usually offer it twice at the door before passing it on to the nearest post office... (during working hours...)

So I'll probably will be able to get it next Thursday at the earliest. :-s

OTOH, that should leave me time enough to reread RotCG fully before I can start. :)
Robin Lemley
64. Robin55077
@ 62. Shalter

I thought so but wasn't absolutely certain. I don't recall for certain that I ever actually read that one as, if I recall correctly, it is more sci-fi than fantasy?
Robin Lemley
66. Robin55077
@ 60. Taitastigon

I too will be generous this week (in the spirit of Thanksgiving) but these week's off between books are hard on me!

67. Abalieno
I didn't pay too much attention to this part initially:

How many times, he wondered, had he heard that very same conceit from a claimant to the Throne? Would they never learn? How long, he wondered, would this one last? Why was it none of the long chain of hopefuls ever bothered to ask why the Throne should be empty in the first place?

Especially since I read the book after House of Chains... That last line could be quite revealing.

And why the emphasis on “...progression”?

I think it's merely a cultural point. It's said that history is about repeating mistakes, one of the recurring themes in the series, and here we get the other aspect: as long there's change there's always hope that things won't repeat exactly as they were.

To explain I'll use a quote from Glen Cook's "The Tyranny of the Night" that I'm reading:

Old Juie Sachs, the carpenter, told Brother Candle, "Sounds like a slow curse upon the world you got there, Master."

Puzzled, the Perfect said, "Please explain."

"It's a mathematical thing. If only the best people become Perfect and escape the world, then, each time one does, the world will get a little darker."

Jhean, the carpenter's son, said, "Maybe that's why me permanent snows get deeper and the winters get longer and colder. Maybe it don't have nothing to do with the wells of power."

And here's the relevant part:

"We inspire the will to do good works by doing good works. The soul of the newborn does not bring with it the burden of sin accumulated in its previous life. In the beginning we stand equal before the Light, a book not yet written."

"Life starts as a blank tablet," he said. "Character is created and written each day. Meaning that there will always be more good people coming up."

We can expect that mistakes are going to be repeated, but that blank state will always hold the potential to break the pattern, eventually. As long things are not written, they can also be changed.
Steven Halter
70. stevenhalter
Robin@64:Yes, Dune is more SF than Fantasy. It is set in the far future. There is intersteller travel. You get to see several planets and alien species.
However, for various reasons, fights are mostly carried out with knives, swords and assasins. Mental abilities are more important that technological ones. The fulfillment of prophecy and destiny is quite important.
Thus, there is much that is (at the least) fantastical about it. In a number of ways, it transcends genre boundaries.
In other words, Dune is a really good book and I would recommend reading it.
Tricia Irish
71. Tektonica
Shalter: I have never thought about the fact that Dune is as much Fantasy as SciFi, but youre right! No wonder I liked it so much more than most Science Fiction.

Robin: Read least the first three, then, not so much.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Rob Munnelly
72. RobMRobM
@70. Agreed. Dune still remains my overall favorite in SFF genres. Beautfully crafted. I also very much enjoy the progression of Paul - the apt pupil trained by father in statecraft, Duncan and Gurney in weapons/fighting, Thufir in functioning as a human computer, and his mother in physical/mental skills of the Bene Gesserit sisters, who is thrown into an entirely new and dangerous situation.
Sydo Zandstra
73. Fiddler
What I find powerful in Dune is that, although it's Science Fiction, it's not the Science that the story focuses on, but prophecy/ philosophy instead, in a universe with extreme societies.

I also like political intrigues, and there's enough of that in Dune.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that in Dune it's not the science that defines the story.

Bujold does a similar thing in the Vorkosigan books. Yes, there are space battles, and technologically advanced societies, but they are a part of the background/setting most of the time.
Ben Wert
74. bennyrex
This is the first wednesday with no Malazan reading since I joined the fracas. The day feels so empty. ;)

Happy thanksgiving, you Americans. I had my Canadian turkey over a month ago. Maybe I'll use today to finish Towers of Midnight... hm... not a bad plan.
Dan K
75. kramerdude
So any word from Amanda and Bill. Are we looking at DG Prologue and Chapter 1 for Wed's Adventures in (Re)Reading?
Dan K
78. kramerdude
Tait@61: I pretty much knew we were getting started and figure that it will be two chapters a week (or prologue and chapter 1 for the first one) but was wondering if we'd get confirmation on the general schedule. Thanks though.
Tai Tastigon
79. Taitastigon
kd @78:

Amanda confirms tomorrow as of post 61.

EDIT: Ah, I expect they will give the schedule together with the first instalment.
Chris Lough
80. TorChris
Hi everyone,

Amanda's gotten unexpectedly stranded by snow today (We have dispatched a pack of St. Bernard's with brandy and hugs.) so there won't be a Malazan post or Deadhouse Gates schedule from her or Bill today. The reread will resume next week, along with an interview with Cam (which you can still submit questions for).
Sydo Zandstra
81. Fiddler
Thanks for letting us know, TorChris. :)

I read earlier today how the snow has been hitting her part of the world (since it's not really that far from my part of it).
Rob Munnelly
82. RobMRobM
OK. To keep you all busy, can someone explain the Nameless Ones?
83. Abalieno
Ok, but I wonder why one day delay corresponds to a week of delay, especially if it's been already 2 weeks missed. It's not like they are forced to write the reread an hour before it's posted and if they miss that window they have to wait another seven days for another opportunity.

I'm not complaining, really, it's just disappointing that these news come last minute when there are weeks to plan ahead.
Steven Halter
84. stevenhalter
For a fairly spoiler free explanation, the Nameless Ones are a group (sect?) who are following a shadowy goal. We will be seeing quite a bit of them through the series. They seem to be often disliked.
It is amusing that everyone outside their group names them the Nameless Ones.
Robin Lemley
85. Robin55077
@ 82. RobMRobM

While trying to avoid spoilers, I think it is okay to say that I think of them more or less as priests of the Azath. Just like we see priests of Shadow or, in the prologue to Deadhouse Gates we meet Heboric, an ex-priest of Fenner. Various gods and ascendants have their respective priests and I have always throught of the Nameless Ones as priests of the Azath. Beyond that, I don't really know what would be appropriate to discuss at this point.

If I recall correctly, DG is where we start picking up information about them so I'm sure some of the discussions as we work our way through the book may help.
Stefan Sczuka
86. moeb1us
I'm with Aba on this point somewhat. Disappointment. Since this field of web-working has benefits like working at home and send in the texts to be posted electronically or post them directly in the first place the argument 'snow' is shaky at best (dunno maybe it's a blizzard or 2 m of snow?). Delaying the post one week due to missing the right time for this window is a bummer too :|
I can't wait to continue and there is so much still to read.. I stopped my reread in the middle of MoI to read along with this blog, but the pace...the pace...

@Nameless Ones
I don't see them as priest directly, more like a group with mutual interests or view-points that supports the theme of the azath to negate/defuse beings with too much power or to forestall convergences as long that is possible.

I want to weaken the term priest deliberately, because I think many members of the NO are mighty/powerful mages/entities themselves and I think somehow that opportunity is a big motivation for the NO (Sister Spite?).

The actions taken are often unscrupulous. The end justifies the means. Big questionsmarks.
Marc Rikmenspoel
87. billcap
Just a note re the delay (beyond the obvious apology).

I was the cause of the delay, as I was traveling for a week, much of it on the road driving cross country. We'd planned only a one week pause, but when it became clear I'd overestimated my ability to work, we decided to post just the schedule and announcement re Cam's interview. That's the post that was delayed by Amanda's snowfall.

This is all new to me and I'm still working out things:
communication across the time-shift with Amanda, with TOR, and with you folks here

the time requirement (each book read twice--once the week before we start and then again as we move through it, on top of rereading the entire series before we began)

Meshing this with my actual job, especially during peak times (like now during finals week)

seeing my family (I'd add having a social life, but that would be pretending I had one before this began)

Anyway, as I tell my students, there's a difference between reasons and excuses and this isn't meant as an excuse. Just an explanation as to why we missed this week and why there will probably still be a few bumps in the road going forward, though obviously with hopes of smoothing those bumps out. So apologies once more for this week and in advance for future disappointments.

Stefan Sczuka
88. moeb1us
hey bill,

that is very nice that you took your time to further explain the situation.
Obviously, we have no insight into the interna / behind the scene to really judge anything. I think one easily underestimates the effort that goes into this and of course you have your normal lives.

My posting was no real complaint as such, more like whining and being disappointed that the longed for wasn't gonna happen.

You two make the pace and that's it. No need to feel bad about it. Keep up the good work so far -taps shoulder-
Marc Rikmenspoel
89. billcap
thanks Moebius,
I didn’t take your comment as a complaint or whining--I took it as first disappointment in a missed post and second as a desire for better communication, both perfectly valid. If we’re going to miss a post, you guys certainly deserve an explanation as to why (and an indication as early as possible would be nice too). As for underestimating the work, that’s certainly been the case (I think back on how we’d planned to be three weeks ahead of the schedule and just giggle), but I think we’re both getting a handle on that now (no matter how many times my wife shakes her head and asks “do you really need to . . . “)

Thanks for the encouragement. And now back to Icarium and Mappo . . .
Marc Rikmenspoel
90. Marc Rikmenspoel
Thanks for the explanation, Bill. I hope all is back in order, as much as possible, with you!

Have any of you ever been to a big rock or metal concert, where the audience starts chanting the band's name (before the show, or while awaiting the encore)? I feel like that now:


Chris Hawks
92. SaltManZ

It's just not up on the reread index page yet...
Alex P. W.
93. Alex_W

I enjoyed the book. After all, it is all about one single night. Mr. Esslemont did a good job in my opinion.

Temper of course, is my favourite in this book. Enjoyed him a lot. Especially his flashbacks with Dassem and his End-Fight with Jhenna.

Would be nice to read more of him in the future.

I don't want to write too much this time. Looking forward to start with Deadhous Gates now soon. Probably next week, as today and may be tomorrow and the next day, NoK still has to sink in completely in my mind :-)

So long.


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