Fri
Sep 23 2011 1:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: House of Chains, Chapter Nineteen

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Nineteen of House of Chains by Steven Erikson (HoC).

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. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A forum thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

Chapter Nineteen

SCENE ONE

Gamet watches Tavore walk through the remains of the Seti wiped out by Leoman’s band last night, over 300 of them killed in the ambush. Gamet thinks how only the Wickans had shown the discipline that kept them from the ambush and also eventually allowed them to drive off Leoman, who was “too caged to see his force ensnared in an out-and-out battle.” Gamet worries Tavore’s horse will be stung by one of the hordes of wasps and end up getting her injured, though both the horse and Tavore seem to be moving fine through the carnage. Tavore rejoins Gamet and informs him that Leoman had left many of the Seti wounded, thinking the Malazans would get to them before they died: “Wounded Malazans are better than dead ones, after all.” Gamet wonders why Sha’ik didn’t send Leoman’s group out sooner to harass them, saying she could have bought another month’s time and faced a much weaker enemy. Tavore says she has no idea, and both wonder if their enemy is not as monolithic as they’d thought, that perhaps they are “a confused opposition, one at odds with itself.” Tavore tells him to put the marines out tonight, referencing a time when Dassem Ultor faced a similar situation. Gamet remembers and agrees with her, telling her he will command them himself, though she says it isn’t necessary.

SCENE TWO

Fiddler arranges a competition among the army involving the three kinds of Odhan scorpions, involving Gesler and Borduke in his “scheme” and the three agree to split the profits three ways. They randomly select and Gesler and Borduke feel sorry for Fiddler, as he ends up with the birdshit scorpion: “puny and flat and black and looking like its namesake.” Fiddler, though, smiles at his “bad luck” and shares a glance with Cuttle. The first battle is set for this night, which surprises Bottle and Tarr coming right after the army was just badly bloodied. But Fiddler knows they need to get their minds off of it. Fiddler let his group know he actually arranged to get “stuck with” the birdshit scorpion, though he won’t tell them why. As they discuss it, his people let him know they are on to the fact of who he really is, though they tell him they won’t let command know. Gamet, Keneb and Ranal join them and take Cuttle, Fiddler, Gesler, and Stormy off to inform them that they’d be needed for “Dassem’s answer” tonight. Keneb also tells Fiddler he’s betting on Birdshit and has told Gamet to do so as well. Gesler and Stormy start to smell a rat. Fiddler wonders if he should reconsider his opinion of Keneb.

SCENE THREE

Just before the scorpion battle, the three scorpions are examined to make sure they haven’t been altered in any way, such as via magic. When Gesler confirms Joyful Union, the birdshit scorpion, is fine, he adds, “even though I know there’s something about it I’m not seeing and I’m about to lose my life’s savings on the Sergeants’ Wager.” The battle begins and when Joyful Union enters the ring, the other two seem terrified. JU then raises the tail and splits into two small but incredibly fierce and fast scorpions that take no time at all to kill the others. Stormy cries out “Cheat” and tries to draw his sword, but Gesler and Truth hold him back and say they all checked out Joyful Union and swore it was fine. Cuttle tells Fiddler they’re rich. Fiddler then tells his group (and via the “word-line” communication the other marines) that they’re “about to become our own Joyful Union” as they set up the answer to Leoman.

SCENE FOUR

Fiddler begins unpacking munitions and his specially made crossbow, explaining to the impressed Cuttle how he and Hedge had designed it then had it made by a jeweler in Malaz City. He finishes and tells the others it’s time.

SCENE FIVE

Gamet tells Tavore he’ll be heading out to his men in a few minutes, though he won’t actually join them in battle until the fighting starts. She asks Nil and Nether if they’ve done their rituals and Nil says they’ve spoken to the spirits as ordered, but due to the warlock’s weakened powers, they could only talk to the spirits and not compel them. Nether chimes in that “this land’s spirits are agitated at this moment . . . something else is happening.” Gamet leaves, feeling a fog fall over him, “unease and confusion [that] he had heard [claimed] other commanders, but had not thought it would befall him.” He has begun to “doubt his ability to command.” He knows tonight will be the first real test of that command and wishes he had stayed home, “refused her insistence—dammit, her assumption—that I would simply accept her wishes.”

SCENE SIX

Corabb crouches with 800 other soldiers wondering at Leoman’s hesitation. He asks Leoman about it and Leoman says he is wondering “About the Empress. She was once Mistress of the Claw. It fierce potency . . . we have all learned to fear. Ominous origins, yes? And then, as Empress, there were the great leaders of her imperial military. Dujek Onearm. Admiral Nok. Coltaine. Greymane.” Corabb interrupts to point out that none of them are here and Leoman agrees, saying, “True. We face the Adjunct Tavore, who was personally chosen by the Empress.” Corabb gets the implication, but notes Laseen also picked Pormqual, Dom, demoted Whiskeyjack, assassinated (according to rumor) Dassem Ultor. Leoman takes Corabb’s point that she makes mistakes and he orders his men forward. Corabb hopes the spirits smile on him tonight.

SCENE SEVEN

Borduke’s squad is working on a hill, probably a barrow, digging and moving rocks while another group is doing the same on another barrow. Fiddler is nearby, worrying that maybe they’d cut it too close and annoyed by the loud clumsiness of Borduke’s squad.

SCENE EIGHT

Leoman spots the outlying pickets digging on the barrows and is pleased at how they’re stumbling around in the dark due to setting up so late and at how they’ve set up too far apart from each other to really support each other well. Corabb waits for the signal.

SCENE NINE

Gamet is in the empty marine camp, knowing the cutters and healers are getting ready. He knows it’s possible Leoman won’t take the path Tavore has left him so invitingly. A capemoth flutters in front of him and he worries it’s an omen.

SCENE TEN

The rebels attack. Corabb runs toward the barrows and sees an arrow strike a Malazan helm and knock it off, realizing it wasn’t sitting on top of an actual person. Then the marines rise up and munitions start falling

SCENE ELEVEN

Fiddler and Cuttle’s group are firing away. The raid has been stopped dead. Fiddler lets a munition loose over a hilltop to devastating effect on the other side it seems, then enemy warriors start pouring over the ridge and Fiddler calls on his men to fall back.

SCENE TWELVE

Corabb drags himself away from the corpses of his fellow attackers. He runs right into a group of marines and is wounded and ends on the ground. One of the Malazans leaves a small clay ball on his lap and Corabb sees it smoking. He rolls away, grabs a helm, and slams it over the munition.

SCENE THIRTEEN

As they retreat, Cuttle tells Fiddler he left a sharper in Corabb’s lap and he’s “about to be surprised.” They watch Corabb cover it with a helm then get lifted by the explosion of fire under the helm like he’s riding a jetpack rocket. They continue to watch, stunned, as he lands hard on the ground, then runs off.

SCENE FOURTEEN

Gamet heads toward a besieged Malazan position but even as it’s overrun, he falls into a fog of confusion. Someone calls for him to get out of there, but he’s lost “Too many voices. Screams of the dying. The flames—they’re falling away. Darkness closing in. My soldiers are dying. Everywhere. It’s failed—the whole plan has failed.” He’s surrounded and about to be killed when a munition lands, killing the enemies and knocking him off his horse and even more senseless. Gesler arrive and he and Pella help him out, as he looks at Pella’s youth and thinks, “My mind is clear. Perfectly clear now. Finally. They’re all too young for this. It’s Laseen’s war—let her fight it. Tavore—she was a child once. But then the Empress murdered that child. Murdered her. I must tell the Adjunct.”

SCENE FIFTEEN

Cuttle joins Fiddler back at camp. They discuss Corabb’s miraculous survival of the sharper. Gesler joins them and tells them about the overrun position, saying it was screwed up—that most of the Malazans could have gotten away but only four out of three squads did. He says it could have been worse and leaves. Fiddler tells Cuttle to get his squad together so he can go over all the mistakes. Cuttle asks if one of them was Fiddler leading them up the barrow and Fiddler agrees it was, though Cuttle points out it probably saved lives. He tells Fiddler you can’t start second-guessing or using “what ifs.” Fiddler says he knows.

SCENE SIXTEEN

Tavore enters just as the healer finishes with Gamet. He assumes she’s there to relieve him of command. She tells him it was foolish to put himself at risk but hardly reason to remove him. He says it cost lives and she answers that every battle costs lives—“This is the burden of command. Did you this this war would be won without the spilling of blood?“ He tells her he found out tonight he’s no longer a soldier, nor is he cut out to be a Fist. She nods and says since he’s wounded, she’ll allow a temporary field promotion and he suggests Keneb.

SCENE SEVENTEEN

Corabb joins Leoman in the aftermath of their heavy losses telling him Leoman had been right, “The Empress chose wisely.” When Leoman doesn’t answer, Corabb curses the marines and their munitions, saying they were the difference. He wishes he could have found one of those special crossbows. Leoman tells him to be quiet and orders him to send a messenger to Sha’ik saying Leoman will continue raiding and return three days ahead of Tavore’s army. The message is also that Leoman has no faith in Dom’s strategy or his tactics, though he knows Sha’ik will not listen.

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Nineteen

It’s an interesting parallel, this opening scene, similar in so many ways to a scene a long, long ways back in Gardens of the Moon when we had another Adjunct—Lorn—riding a horse through the fly and wasp-filled carnage of an attack while being observed. It’s such a parallel, in fact, that I wonder if the “grizzled old soldier” might not be the one who observed Lorn riding through the Itko Kan slaughter. There’s nothing, as far as I know/recall that points that way, but I kind of like thinking it’s so. Anybody have any ideas as to yea or nay?

We’ve been set up for Tavore’s countermeasure by the earlier scene with her studying old battles even at age nine. Now knowing that, her ability to scan through her memory of historical antecedents to similar situations doesn’t come as any surprise or seem out of place or arbitrary here. I also like how Gamet recognizes the particular situation she references. Also not a bad idea to keep the name of Dassem in front of us, considering his involvement on Avalii.

Okay, there probably isn’t a lot to say in depth about the scorpion plot line here. But a few things. The first is that I absolutely love it. Love the humor, love the sense of camaraderie, love the con game, the reactions, love the way it shows this army starting to coalesce, love how it shows relationships forming and/or tightening, the way it builds the army’s confidence. I mentioned in last post’s response that this was starting to move into Shakespearean tragedy mode, or at least seeming to. This is a good moment, therefore, to give us a bit of a lengthy break from that; a little pause and relief before things start to get dark and ugly (or perhaps I should say darker and uglier). It also, of course, presages this night’s ambush of Leoman’s forces—the split into two groups (one being false), the deceptive appearance. Finally, Keneb’s wager also does a nice job of showing us (and Fiddler) that he’s more on the ball than many think and, because he backs the scammer we like (Fiddler) he becomes more appealing to the reader.

Speaking of humor—lots of funny lines in this chapter:

“How’s the training coming along, Corporal?”
“All right, I suppose. As soon as I figure out what kind of training it needs, I’ll get right on it.”

“What lips? Scorpions don’t have lips”

“Who’s going to listen to our screams of panic in a battle, Sergeant?”

“How’s the word-line Cuttle?”
“Been repeating every word . . .”
“And so legends were born"

Fiddler’s line regarding Gamet looking old and his “tremor of unease” as he looks at him is a nicely efficient pair of phrases, characterizing both Gamet and Fiddler at once—preparing us for Gamet’s issues soon to come and reminding us he may not be cut out for this and characterizing Fiddler as sharply insightful, and quickly so.

Nether’s line about the “land’s spirits being agitated” is another piece of evidence that something large is happening under the surface ‘round here.

Poor Gamet—we’ve had him doubting himself for some time, and had other characters doing the same, and as readers, I think we always like to think the poor sap in over his head will always somehow stumble his way toward victory. But it doesn’t always happen that way. We’ll have to see if this night is a minor setback for Gamet or something worse. Two small lines in his first monologue about his worries tonight. One is the throwaway reference to the soldiers not saluting in enemy territory; it’s another one of those tiny details that keeps the actuality of the situation omnipresent for the reader, rather than just dragging out the context for the big battle scene or the like. The other line in that little monologue of his I wanted to point to was “I should have refused her insistence—dammit, her assumption—that I would simply accept her wishes.” It’s a very revealing line for how Tavore works and the effect her method has. Watch how often people wonder why they follow her, wonder how she got them to do something, wonder why they don’t just turn around and go.

Leoman—oh, so close. We can see how this may play out as a great chess match between him and Tavore. He has no evidence, no real reason save deduction regarding Laseen choosing Tavore, to think that something may be up about tonight’s attack, but even so, he is very close to realizing maybe the attack isn’t a good idea. (by the way—his list of famed Malazan leaders: we’ve seen all but Greymane. Just wait).

Sure, the Corabb-rocketeer scene might be a tad much, but makes me laugh every time, picturing Cuttle and Fiddler’s faces as they watch.

I find Gamet’s lines when he’s saved by Gesler incredibly moving: “Too young for this. I will ask the Adjunct to send him home. To his mother and father, yes. He should not have to die . . . They’re all too young for this.” Too often we get these battle scenes played out for excitement only. Or for shock value via the “grittiness” of the description. Or we’re meant to feel bad because people (often relatively faceless ones) die in bloody fashion. Here, though, we’re given so much more despite the few sentences and lack of vivid battle-imagery. The focus on wasted youth, on the burden of those who send the youth to death, on the responsibility of leaders, on the loss to mother and fathers who are so often totally absent in word and thought. And what I liked even better was we went from this abstract grief and guilt on Gamet’s part as a leader to the more concrete and personal as he shifts from focusing on Pella to Tavore: “Tavore—she was a child, once. But then the Empress murdered that child . . . “

On the topic of showing us parts of battle we seldom see, it’s another little throw-away line, but the bit about how the army picks up the used quarrels and strips the bodies of their dead so the enemy can’t use their equipment is yet another way Erikson presents us a more realistic and full picture of events.

Aloof and cold and remote as Tavore is, it’s a nice way to handle Gamet’s realization that he shouldn’t be fist, though because of how she is, it’s difficult to say if she does this to save his feelings or simply because this way is more “efficient” and less disruptive. Nice to see Keneb making good as time moves on.

And the chess match continues as Leoman realizes the quality of his opponent. And once again, we get one of those pronouncements by a character not quite fully up on things: “I no longer hold faith in Korbolo Dom’s strategy . . . she will not listen to such words.” Little does he know he has risen in Sha’ik’s estimation.

A very short chapter, but as I mentioned last time, the pace is starting to quicken a bit. We get strike and counterstrike in the first true measuring of the two opponents (Leoman and Tavore). We also see the Fourteenth beginning to come into its own: the scorpion battle, their victory against Leoman, Gamet being replaced by Keneb. The stage continues to be set . . .


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

22 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
@Bill:

Anybody have any ideas as to yea or nay?


That was certainly the feeling I got. The veteran says "old memories" and he is a captain... So I'll vote Yea.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
The scorpian battle is pure gold. The first time I read it I couldn't figure out what Fid had planned. Like Gesler, we all knew there had to be something. Then the splitting of Joyful Union--wonderful.
djk1978
3. djk1978
Felt a little sad for Gamet, an old man in way over his head. But we've had some set up that Keneb may be more capable, both in this book and in DG, so maybe this is a good thing for the 14th.

Interesting catch on the veteran. I had not noticed that at all so I'm going to give it a yea vote also.

I'm not convinced that a helmet could stop the full effect of a sharper. That part I found just a little implausible, but that's part of Corabb so I'll let it slide.
Dustin George-Miller
4. dustingm
@djk1978

Gosh, it seems like Corabb is just lucky.

Really... REALLY lucky.

...Hmm.
karl oswald
5. Toster
@3 djk1978
ah, but that helmet was special. corabb was holding it! ;)

i remember catching that little tidbit about the veteran and his 'old memories' on a reread, a very neat thing to include. SE loves his parallels. interesting that once again he watches a paran.

also interesting is how Gamet's line about murdering the child tavore could just as easily apply to felisin. Laseen's dictates ended up causing tavore to do what she did to felisin, 'murdering' the child that felisin was in the process.

i just love the scorpion battle. everything about it is so wonderfully written. i feel like SE has some of his best moments when building the camraderie of the bonehunters.
djk1978
6. djk1978
@4 and 5: Yeah, he probably could have sat on it without a helmet and still been fine. :)
Dustin George-Miller
7. dustingm
@6:

Yes, most likely.

Hmm indeed.

(File.)
Tricia Irish
8. Tektonica
On reread, I noted the poem at the beginning talks about Grub, Keneb's adopted son. I totally missed all this the first time through, or more accurately, it didn't resonate the first time.

The "author", Moragalle, is discussing the fact that little is known of Grub at this point in his life, as he is only 5, and Keneb didn't write much about him during the CoD, as he was, ah, busy. Then this quote:

....As a result, of the future First Sword of the Late Empire period, scant details, beyond the legendary and probably fictitious, are known.

Ummmmmm.......Grub as The First Sword, someday? Anybody have any thoughts on this?

White out below:

We follow Grub to the end in tCG, he leaves Sinn, who then dies, but what happens to him? I don't believe we get info....he must still be quite young even then. So this little tidbit is kind of an early "epilogue", perhaps? Nice!
Robin Lemley
9. Robin55077
Ahh, great minds must think alike! :-)

Here is the exact comment I prepared last night as I read over the chapter for today:

"When Gamet is looking over the site of the dead Seti troops and horses, there is “old soldier” at his side who coughs and spits and then apologizes and Gamet says, “No need….Captain. It is a grisly sight, and we’re all too close…” and the unnamed soldier says, “Not that, sir. Only…Never mind, sir. Just an old memory, that’s all.”
Does anyone else suspect that this “old soldier” was a witness to the work of the hounds outside Itko Kan at the beginning of Gardens of the Moon. I always think he must have been when I read this."


It seems that SE certainly had many of us thinking back to that scene whether it was intentional or not.

:-)
Iris Creemers
10. SamarDev
@ Tektonica re the poem
you're right. And there's another interesting thing in it.

... Grub - refused the wagon on the march. That he walked the entire way, even as, in the first week beneath the year's hottest sun, fit and hale soldiers stumbled and fell.


Another sign of planning way ahead.
Wondering if we will ever know who the other two are/will be (Moragalle writes here about Lifes of the Three). Hmmm, somebody noting it down to discuss it in a year or three? :-)
Iris Creemers
11. SamarDev
By the way, anybody else liking Corabb's name too? It sounds cool!
Sydo Zandstra
12. Fiddler
Tek asked me about this last night.

After having read tCG, and especially a certain discussion between K'rull, Mael and another god about the Malazan armies and what they mean/did, after some thinking I have come to the conclusion that it's more metaphorical, as in Grub is not going to be running around a battlefield being all over-prowess with a sword.

Spoilers, from tCG whited out:
.
The discussion was about three main Malazan armies that were outstanding and putting other races to shame: Dassem Ultor's First Sword army, the Bridgeburners, and lastly the Bonehunters.

The poem was about Grub during the Chain of Dogs, when the Bonehunters didn't exist yet. In the time after that, Grub became the Heart of The Bonehunter army. Remember multiple scenes on where he was decisive in that army's fate.

Also, note that the poem said future First Sword of the Late Empire period. That sentence does not point at Grub as being a First Sword personally at all, but just at the time First Sword of the late Empire was active. That fits The Bonehunter's march better...
.
djk1978
13. Jordanes
The unnamed captain at the beginning of this chapter is most definitely the same unnamed captain seen near the beginning of Gardens of the Moon with Lorn and Paran. His 'old memories' thing is a fantastic touch and a great callback to one of the earliest 'cinematic' scenes in the series.

I'm proud to say that I was the first to point this out on the Malazan Empire forums :)
djk1978
14. Grunt22
Just wondering....where is amanada's post?is she still doing contributing to this blog?
Justin Thibodeau
15. Pugnax
Sorry for that atrocious sentence above by the way.
Iris Creemers
16. SamarDev
@ Grunt22 In last post Shalter told us Amanda is vacationing. So no worries, everybody needs to load the battery from time to time :-)
Justin Thibodeau
17. Pugnax
@ Samar...thanks for the info, I must have missed that post. I don't blame her, just rereading this series is a huge endeavor on its own, never mind have to blog about each chapter afterwards. I was just wondering because I do enjoy both of Bill and Amanda's input, thanks again
Amir Noam
18. Amir
Another nice touch in this episode is that Gamet calls Fiddler "Sergeant... Strings" (with an obvious delay). It seems that Gamet, and by extention Keneb as well, know eaxctly who Fiddler really is.

Together with figuring out Fiddler's scorption con, this definitely makes them seem very competent (especially compared to Lieutenant Ranal who stands next to them, clueless).

Also notice, that in the beginning of this chapter, Erikson only calls Fiddler "Strings", even in his own POV. But after showing us (and FIddler) that the marines and upper command know of his identity, Erikson switches back to refering to him as "Fiddler" again.
karl oswald
19. Toster
i always thought that switching back and forth between 'fiddler' and 'strings' depending on context was a great literary device. certainly it was more well played than crokus/cutter, but i guess you can't be a genius all the time :P
David Thomson
20. ZetaStriker
So if Amanda is back this week, is she doing four posts, and dumping her thoughts in the comments with us rabble? Or is she skipping the commentary on these two chapters and jumping back ahead, at least for now?
Iris Creemers
21. SamarDev
Although it would be very nice to read Amanda's reactions on these chapters (Corabb! Joyful Union! Do you remember the dark?) I can imagine it is quite a lot of work coming back from holidays. When I've had a week off from work, I have a lot of email I have to manage, but it's not expected that I catch up with meetings I've already missed :-). So Amanda, if you like to, your comments are as always highly appreciated, but I would say: don't feel obliged.
Amanda Rutter
22. ALRutter
Grub is one of the “Three”? What three? I assume this will be made much clearer at a later date...

This scene as Tavore walks her horse through the slaughter reminds me exactly of Lorn walking through the slaughter committed by Shadowthrone and Cotillion at the start of Gardens of the Moon – Adjunct following in the path of Adjunct. “The Adjunct rode alone through the slaughter, her back straight, unmindful of her horse’s skittish progress.”

With Leoman’s attack on Tavore’s forces, he has managed to do some damage, but he’s also given her an indication of what manner of opposition she faces. I mean, she and Gamet are bang on when they say: “It’s almost as if we’re facing a confused opposition, one at odds with itself.”

It’s neat the way that Erikson reinforces the points that he has already made. We saw in the previous chapter that Tavore has been a study of warfare and battles in the past, and here she is very clear about showing this: “In the year 1147, Dassem Ultor was faced with a similar situation, with a much smaller army and three entire tribal nations mauling him virtually every night.”

Fiddler knows his stuff, doesn’t he? He might not want to be a leader, he might be feeling loss at the Bridgeburners’ demise, but here he is coming up with schemes to keep the squads attention on something that is not the death of their comrades or the approaching battles. For me, House of Chains has been very much a book of two parts – the familiar and beloved banter between strong military characters in the Malazan tradition, and the rather mystical and philosophical heavy-going of characters like Onrack. At the moment, for me, there is too much of the latter and not enough of the former, and so, when I encounter any lengthy passages like this one involving the scorpions, I absolutely lap them up!

Something about using the pebbles to decide which person will have which scorpion reminded me very much of the Tri-wizard Champions picking which dragon they’d face in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! *grins*

The name ‘Fiddler’ really is the worst kept secret in the world, isn’t it? But this situation where Fiddler allows Bottle to use the name is yet another example of him trying to bring the squad’s mind away from slaughter and encouraging them to follow him through fire, if need be. He is definitely encouraging a little bit of an ‘us and them’ mentality. I don’t think he intends to, but gradually this squad is going to be more for Fiddler than for the Adjunct...

Oh, I do love these bits in Erikson’s work, where a group tries to be all circumspect and secretive, and then the other party (who are believed to not know anything about it) make it clear that they know absolutely everything. It happens time and again (could be considered a tired device!) and yet I love it more every time.

Gesler swears on both Fener and Treach – why would he still swear on Fener when the god has fallen?

Heh, I definitely didn’t see that coming with Joyful Union. I can see why Stormy would be so pissed!

Gamet seems as though he is going to end up in some trouble during the marines’ showdown with Leoman’s troops... For one thing, he is determined to ride, and, as far as I’m concerned, that just makes him a greater target for those opposing him. And he is so desperate to prove himself and his command that I’m worried he will end up doing something stupid.

I enjoyed this battle between the marines and Leoman’s men, not least of which because it is good that they are given the message that Tavore’s army is not to be underestimated. Gamet didn’t do anything stupid, I see, so much as froze in the occasion of battle. He was, after all, only a commander of house troops. I think that Tavore does well saying that she will only offer a temporary field position to another commander until he is back on his feet – it shows empathy and understanding of his position.

And Corabb is just ace! I love that scene with him sailing skyward, then crashing back to earth and walking away as though nothing had happened. He’s a great character.

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