Jun 22 2012 1:00pm

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

The Malazan Reread on Tor.comJust a few notes:

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

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




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


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


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


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


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


Bill’s Reaction to the Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bill’s wrap-up

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

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

And just a few things (of many) to remember

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

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

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

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
I pretty much agree with Bill and all his points as to why this is a great book. It is certainly close to the top in my favorites for the series--although as Bill said it's hard to just pick a favorite.
In this single book, it has always seemed to me that enough huge things happen as could be used as the entire basis for some other (lesser) fantasy series.Y'Ghatan, Poliel, Malaz. Out of it all, the Bonehunters emerge as a force for Tavore. What will happen to them, we'll have to see.

I actually took Cutter's memory of Apsalar's dance as a metaphor for the beauty underlying destructive potential rather than a contrast. I would guess she was doing the same dance (albiet slowed down and without the blood and killing) at Coll's as in Malaz. Rather like the guy seeing the spider webs as beautiful--they are beautiful but hold death at their core.
Tricia Irish
2. Tektonica
Great list, Bill! Thanks for reminding us of all that has happened in ONE book! It's amazing to realize that Y'Ghatan was in this book too! So many many moments of epic awesome. Yup....this is my favorite book of the series, if only for sheer density. So many pivitol and emotional moments, as well as SE's great action sequences. I'm sad to have it end. *sigh*

As for reading order, my vote is for Reaper's Gale. Personally, I find shifting between SE's and ICE's styles very difficult.

btw, When Tayschrenn says that Shadowthrone should "fear for his own child", did he mean The Empire? That's how I interpreted it, anyway.
3. Tufty
Alright, well for the "vote on read order" thing, my vote is still on:

RG >> RotCG >> TtH >> SW >> DoD >> OST >> TCG

Anyone interested in the big explanation can see it in comment #16 from the last Re-Read Entry. But it basically boils down to

1. No spoilers for books you read later.
2. Maximize emotional impact.
3. End all the "3 main areas" (7C, Lether, Genebackis) books with the big TCG finale.

I don't expect ICE or SE to agree though :P
4. Tufty

Lots of conspiracy theorists like to interpret it as Kellanved has an actual child out there somewhere, but yes I would take it as meaning the Empire is Kellanved's child, especially considering how they were just talking about the Wickans.

Besides, Kellanved is (much) over a century old, any actual kid of his should be able to take care of his/herself by now!
Chris Lehotsky
5. Tel_Janin
First, I'm a long-time lurker on the re-read, but I want to say that I've really enjoyed both Bill and Amanda's analyses. With a series like this, a re-read is neccessary to appreciate it. I flew through the Erikson books and missed a ton.

This book is high on my list within the series for all the reasons you mentioned, Bill. I knew Erikson had a plan of some sort, but MT (though awesome) kind of threw me, so it was great to start to see how the Edur and Letherii will interweave with the rest of the myriad plots and subplots.

Something to file: Tayschrenn's "fear for your own child." How many theories spawned from this line?

As regards reading order, I would save RotCG for after Reaper's Gale because of a minor reveal near the end of that book. Aside from that, I'd read Stonewielder and OST together because of the one plotline that spans both books. Anytime after TtH, I guess, so that OST makes sense. I'd keep DoD and tCG together as well, for obvious reasons (read Erikson's notes in the novels re: them being one book split in two). That's my opinion anyhow.
Dustin George-Miller
6. dustingm
Thanks for this re-read. The Bonehunters IS my favorite Malazan book and always has been. It's been a lot of fun to see how much more I've picked up this time through (this is my fourth re-read of the series), but this time in conjunction with other fans.

As for the reading order, I agree with the other posters in suggesting moving to Reapers Gale before Return of the Crimson Guard. As for the later books, I haven't yet read SW or OST, as I was waiting to read them until we get there in this re-read! I'll defer to others on that one.

But definitely RG beore RotCG.
Brian R
7. Mayhem
Bonehunters isn't quite my favourite of them all, but it very much is the pivot on which the series turns ... the dominoes begin to fall, and the overall pace picks up significantly. Now we know who the major players are, and where they are, it is time to see how it all plays out.

With regards reading order, I've moved more to the popular view.
RG next, then RotCG, then TTH, then SW & OST together and finally DoD & TCG as a pair. I know Tufty likes the idea of drawing out the finale, but I think the lurkers would kill us :p

I think the end of RotCG flows nicely into the melancholy feel of TTH, SW & OST need to go in somewhere and conveniently fill in what is happening elsewhere in the world, and frankly noone will want to read anything for a while following TCG.
Iris Creemers
8. SamarDev
I'll add my voice in the Bonehunters-is-my-favorite chorus. I think there are many very powerful scenes in it, it is setting up a lot for later (without the feeling it is just setting up), and I liked all the plotlines (where in other books I liked some less, but we'll come to that later).

For the reading order I'd prefere this order:
RG >> RotCG >> TtH >> SW >> OST >> DoD >> TCG

For the continuity now first to Reapers Gale.
Stone Wielder followed by Orb Scepter Throne, so we can end with the duo-book Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God. I wouldn't like splitting those. And this way OST isn't too far after TtH.

By the way, will Amanda post her wrap up later?
9. Kadere
My vote would have to be RotCG next, then RG, then SW, TtH, OST, and finally DoD/CG. That's how I read them.
Sydo Zandstra
10. Fiddler
This is my favourite book, for most of the reasons said by other posters. Also because in my experiences of reading the real story starts with this book. It shows in how events and characters from the previous 5 books are combined in this one. Almost like as if this book is the tipping scale for the plot, which is beatifully underlined by the balance between the Kartool scenes and the spider descriptions in both prologue and epilogue.

Shadowthrone's child: I always read that as being the Malazan Empire.

About the reading order, this is my preference:
DoD+tCG (always keep these two back to back, since they are one book really)

That's my 2 cents :)

EDIT: Mayhem has a good point in saying 'and frankly noone will want to read anything for a while following TCG.' I know I went to read Feist and other light fantasy reading for at least a month, to get a good feeling again. (I do like Feist, btw; his world is a comfortable one)

So I have revised my initial reading order.
David Thomson
11. ZetaStriker
I'm torn myself. I definitely agree with doing Reaper's Gale before Return of the Crimson Guard, but I'm less sure about the placement of Orb, Scepter, Throne. So far, Fiddler's order seems like it could possibly be the best to my eyes, but I do also like the idea of closing the re-read on The Crippled God. If I really sit down and think about it though . . . I think my vote will go:

RG >> RotCG >> SW >> TtH >> OST >> DoD >> TCG

Although I could also stand for Fiddler's order.
12. Fresh0133
Nice wrap up! The Bone Hunters is definitely one of the better books in the series, the "Welcome back, soldiers" scene gets me every time.

In regards to the reading order what I'm seeing most people put up is what I'd do if I were you two. Stonewielder and Orb Scepter Throne both come after Toll the Hounds but before Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God.

You also might want to keep in mind that we're supposed to be getting Blood and Bone by Esslemont before the year is out as well and will likely fall with in the same time frame as Esslemont's latest two novels as well.
Sydo Zandstra
13. Fiddler

I'm guessing you typed that while I was revising my initial order, since our reading orders match now :)
Steven Halter
14. stevenhalter
On the reading order, since this is a re-read and not a read (exclusively) I would slightly prefer RotCG next since that would open up a few things for discussion.
On the other hand, RG open's up some other different things for discussion, so that is OK also.
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
1. The epilogue has my favorite Shadowthrone moment in the entire series. "Isn't that answer enough?" "Not really." "I know!" Giggles and Classic.

2. No Amanda recap? :(

3. How many books are we planning in this reread? I would assume the 10 MBotF volumes, plus ICE's own 6? We haven't read the B&KB novellas, so I wouldn't assume we'd be doing SE's upcoming spinoff trilogies, either. The 16-book SE/ICE sequence is good enough for me, but that still means we've still got 2 ICE books unaccounted for (Blood and Bone this December, and "Assail" [which will supposedly wrap up the entire sequence] presumably either late next year or early 2014.) If it weren't for the RG spoiler in RotCG, I'd say alternate ICE/SE from here out:

RotCG -> RG -> SW -> TtH -> OST -> DoD -> B&B -> TCG -> Assail

(And starting with NoK -> TB..., that's my official reread order.) But swap RG and RotCG, and then I guess I'm mostly ambivalent on the ordering of SW and TtH, though I think SW follows on from RotCG better than OST follows on from SW:

RG -> RotCG -> SW -> TtH -> OST -> DoD -> B&B -> TCG -> Assail
Rajesh Vaidya
16. Buddhacat
DOD and TCG must go together, since they are halves of the same book (as per SE.) So I'd say:
RG -> TTH -> ROTCG -> OST -> DOD -> TCG.

Also, the spoilering works out well with this scheme.
James Golden
17. Treemaster
Please re-read all of the books in Erikson's the Malazan Book of the Fallen, and only later ICE's. I've read all of the Book of the Fallen (finished it about a month ago), but have not (and don't plan to) read ICE's, at least for a while. Although the other books might help the reader understand certain things, they aren't necessary, and, in my view, at least, are outside of the series proper. It's like New Spring in the Wheel of Time.

As for the series itself, I'm torn on where to place it overall. In my opinion, this book marks the high point of the series. Subsequent books also have many great moments, but also too many flaws for me to rank the series as a whole among the best fantasy series. At least that's my view for now.
Dustin George-Miller
18. dustingm
Hey, you scary lot of Malazan fans,

I just recently updated my mind-map of the Bonehunters army disposition following the conclusion of TBH. Some may recall that I posted the updated version of this last after Chapter 7. I'd be interested in any feedback, error-correction, or augmentation of this data.

I really love military fantasy, and I especially love how Erikson in particular has a clear structure in place in his armies. You see a lot of the background work that goes into his characters and his settings in this, even when the data in the text is contradictory!

Anyway, I'd appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

Here's the link. (PDF)
20. MDW
My only comment on read order is, DO NOT split up DoD and TCG! I'm indifferent to the RoTCG/RG choice.
Steven Halter
21. stevenhalter
MDW@20:Yes, the one year in between DoD & TCG was nearly the end of me.
22. The Gunslinger
Just don't split up Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God. They're meant to be two parts of a single book.

As for the ICE books, I almost think they'd be better suited for another reread, taking place after you guys finish Erikson's books. They fit better together than they do with Erikson's work (with the exception of OST), and it seems like it'd break up the flow quite a bit. Not to mention Amanda might get disheartened if she reads a lot of ICE and then TtH: ICE is nowhere near as good as Erikson, and TtH can be pretty tough on first-time readers.
karl oswald
23. Toster
RG >> RotCG >> TtH >> SW >> OST >> DoD >> TCG

this is my vote as well. there are several things that make RotCG flow into TtH really well i think, and SW and OST both take place after TtH chronologically, and i think this would ultimately be the best flow if we're going to intersperse ICE books with SE's.

the question of whether or not to do that is one that should be considered, but i think it might be better asked after RotCG. NoK is a small book, and while good, it's not much to go on for Amanda and our other first-timers, who've no idea how ICE writes a larger, more ambitious book. RotCG can give them an idea of that and let them make a more informed decision.

personally i'd like to include all the ICE books in the re-read, and keep it going in one form or another for all the rest of the material that these guys produce.
24. Karsa
Although the other books might help the reader understand certain things, they aren't necessary, and, in my view, at least, are outside of the series proper. It's like New Spring in the Wheel of Time.
how can you say that when you haven't read them?
Steven Halter
25. stevenhalter
I don't think that not doing the ICE books is either an option nor a desirable outcome. Doing the re-read as including both has been the stated goal from Day 1. It's a shared world.
As long as Bill & Amanda don't give out, I'm perfectly willing to re-read all of the prequels, sequels, ... that SE & ICE produce.
26. andagil
Would someone please remind me of the RG spoiler in RotCG? I have read both (although it's been awhile), and can't for the life of me remember a spoiler that has merited such significance as has been referred to in the last couple of threads.
27. Tufty

These are the two main RotCG >> RG spoilers/issues, Rot-13'd:


1. Ng gur raq bs EbgPT, Fxvaare orpbzrf gur Xvat va Punvaf, fcbvyvat gur snpg gung Euhynq vf qrnq.
2. Ng gur raq bs ET, jr ner fhecevfrq gb yrnea gung Gbp gur Ryqre vf fgvyy nyvir. Guvf fubhyq gura yrnq gb frrvat uvz nyvir va EbgPT nsgrejneqf (naq fvapr ur gura qvrf, ernqvat ET nsgre EbgPT jbhyq or bhg-bs-frdhrapr).
29. andagil
Thanks, Tufty. I had forgotten the first one, and yeah, that's a fairly large spoiler. I still don't recall the second one, though. It does seem that RG would be more appropriate to read first. As for the rest, I haven't read SW or OST yet, so can't speak for them, but I will agree with those above who discourage splitting DoD and tCG. That would just be needlessly cruel to Amanda and the other first-timers.
30. Tufty
@btowl1818 (28)

Actually, I don't think that is mentioned in RG at all, but it *is* mentioned in DoD.
31. Eoin8472
Ok, I believe this reading order will work best (I'm including all of the books). Its a staggering of the ICE books in between the SE books.


As you can see its an equal staggering of the ICE books in between the
later SE books. I think it works well. I really like TTH and OST
following each other. Ya, RotCG and RG have a slight problem as they are. You could perhaps read RG, then RoTCG and then SW. But I like the mix and matching of the two authors's works.

As an aside many people seem to be under the assumption that SW comes after TTH. It does not, or at least its main storyline certainly doesn't. Remember what happens in TTH, then reread SW again and you will spot certain things that have to predate TTH. Though on SW's secondary storylines, thats a bit more flexible
32. Eoin8472
Hi Tufty

Yes those two points could prove problamatic for reading RotCG next. Those are the only major issues with reading RoTCG instead of RG next.
Chris Hawks
33. SaltManZ
Eoin: People are just proposing reading orders here, not chronological timelines. Besides which, chronology of events has never factored much in the series ordering, Exhibit A being MT, of course. SW in particular is divorced enough from SE's series that when you read it doesn't really matter much, though. For the record, ICE has said that SW takes place more or less contemporaneously with TtH. And it seems obvious to me that OST comes fairly immediately after TtH, and a short while after SW.
Brian R
34. Mayhem
I'm also completely against the idea of missing out ICE's work.
It is emphatically a shared world, and his works very much interlink the storylines and fill out a whole heap of backstory, if not always how the reader expected.

Yes, he has a different style, and yes he is less proficient a writer, but his books are still good.

I did disagree however with putting NoK early in the reread - I feel it fits thematically better just before BH as it sets up some of the side events in the endgame. It also reveals the Artanthos/Tayschrenn reveal in MoI. I like it following MT as we're already going back in time for a backstory, so looking at the fall of the emperor just fits.

But RotCG is definitely mandatory, and SW/OST fill in just what is happening in Korel and Genabackis, which we lose sight of soon.

The only stories that are truly sidelines are the Bauchelain & Korbal Broach novellas, they are just good evil fun.

With regards TTH & OST, I prefer having SW in between as it gives the TTH finale time to be .. appreciated .. before going back to Darujhistan.
Two books there back to back would be jarring.
35. Porus Reign
I'd like to offer a counter-point - Is sharing the same world enough to determine inclusion in a series re-read? Stories about Earth or Mars or Vampires share the same world, but, wouldn't necessarily be placed in the same re-read. Who's series is it? The world is shared but is the series?

ICE's books are about the same world, similar time, but do the events in them affect the choices and motivations of those involved in the spine of the series, Eriksons Ten? I don't think they do. Yes they flesh things out, but they are their own tales, not part of this one.

If a re-read is an examination of a series' storytelling, style, voice, worldbuilding, themes and characters it should be considered that switching to ICE would change the essence of THIS re-read as a body of work. It COULD risk diluting some beautiful, exquisite analysis that has been honed over the course of the books so far. When I recommend Malazan Books of the Fallen now, I recommend this re-read with it.

Switching to ICE may be like taking a break from the main event to have a little breather, before heading back to the chunky stuff a little more refreshed. That everyone is insistant on finishing on Dust of Dreams is a reflection of that. Not everyone who is a fan of Erikson is a fan of ICE, and, maybe, vice versa. There is a danger the re-read will become flat and grindy swithching between the two.

Ideally, ICE should be started in his own seperate, parrallel thread. Different voices could be considered to reduce the risk of constant comparrison with Erikson. This way we would get the best of both world and the re-read won't go on until the new millenium. Everything has it time and place and if things are drawn out too long the Magic can fade (Harry Potter Movies are all that come to mind here).

When I recommend the books I tell them to do the main 10 if nothing else... ICE will help with the withdrawal.


Reaper's Gale next....

Finish with a Dust of Dreams, Crippled God combination...

Whatever you like in between.
Tricia Irish
36. Tektonica
Porus Reign@35:

I echo your sentiments and reasoning. As I said, I find the transition between SE and ICE rather jarring, they are such different writing styles. I don't think that ICE's books are necessary to the understanding of the main 10 books set in this world. I found them to be a nice fill in after my first complete read through, and they scratched that "Malazan itch" that the end of the series left in my world. Doing them separately would be good fun!

I have a feeling I'm in the minority here. I love the SE barreling freight train that is just now pulling out of the station. I'd hate to see the momentum slowed.
Pirmin Schanne
38. Torvald Nom
What about the whole Traveller storyline? As far as I'm concerned, that's the main reason why RotCG should be done before TtH.

(I did it the other way round, and I found it very confusing in RotCG - since certain events had not happened yet, even though I've read about them already.)
Sean H
39. PorusReign
Sean H
40. PorusReign
Torvald Nom@38

Confused by a Malazan storyline? Never!

Both books were published about the same time and I think Toll was pubished first so I guess it's quite natural for this story inversion to have happened. I've always thought published order should be the way to go as that is how the story was presented to the world, but anyway, if a duel thread cannot be accomplished the spoiler free route is the best to go.
Gerd K
41. Kah-thurak
I think the next book should be Reapers Gale and afterwards Return of the Crimson Guard. The rest of ICE's books can be read after the main series is concluded as they are only vaguely connected to it.
Julian Augustus
42. Alisonwonderland
I agree RG should definitely come before RotCG because of the major spoilers in the latter, and DoD and TCG should be together at the very end. Whether we bring in the rest of the ICE series, in what order, or before or after TtH doesn't really matter that much to me, though I tend to agree with PorusReign, Tektonica and Kah-thurak (leave the rest of the ICE books till after the end of the SE books).
43. The Gunslinger
Another problem with reading Orb, Sceptre, Throne right after Toll the Hounds:

Spoilers for DoD:

Qenpbahf ergheavat va QbQ. Lrf, jr xabj vg'f tbvat gb unccra ng gur raq bs Gbyy gur Ubhaqf, ohg n ovt cbegvba bs QbQ vf whfg frg hc sbe uvf njrfbzr erghea. V srry gung erghea jba'g or nf njrfbzr, nf va, "UBYL FUVG QENPBAHF WHFG XVYYRQ GRAF BS GUBHFNAQF BS CRBCYR JVGUBHG OERNXVAT N FJRNG!" vs BFG vf ernq svefg, fvapr Qenpbahf fubjf hc oevrsyl va BFG.

I still say leave the ICE books for another reread. Working in RotCG would probably be okay, as it does provide some answers to stuff in Erikson's later works. The other books, though, would probably be best read afterward.
44. Destiny
Personally I’m all for the inclusion of ICE’s books. This is after all a Malazan reread, and he is absolutely part of that.

And frankly, to say that ICE is comparable to writers who also situate their story on Earth/Mars is utterly ridiculous! He deserves the title of Malazan creator just as much as SE does. And since we’ve apparently all decided we should read RotCG, why not just keep going? There are threads introduced there which continue on into SW, so why would we skip that?

Now I haven’t read OST yet, but from what I can understand it takes place before TCG right? (correct me if I’m wrong please). So it makes sense to read it before TCG. Besides, if we want to read it afterwards it would spoil it completely, because everyone would just be forcing themselves to read it. I think it’s fair to say that TCG should be last, as we’d otherwise need a 3-month break to recover.

I’m also utterly against splitting up DoD & TCG.

So my proposed order is this:
(Though I suppose SW and TtH could be switched if people felt they needed a break after TtH)
Brian R
45. Mayhem
@44 Both SW and OST happen more or less concurrently with DoD\TCG.
SW follows events shortly after RotCG, OST is a direct follow on to the events in TTH. Neither really spoil any events in DoD/TCG, although certain characters are alluded to.

All three books are focussed on different parts of the world at this stage, SW is a standalone in Korelri, OST picks up the threads in Genabackis and DoD/TCG follow on from RG in Lether/Kolanse.

The only place not really addressed so far is Assail, and that is coming up in ICE's next book.
46. Eoin8472
Ok hows about this for a minumum of ruining of dramatic moments:


It involves splitting up DoD/TCG. Thats the only issue. Its not ideal but it is doable and we still have the nice SE/ICE staggering of books. Nothing is spoiled if you read the storyline this way. Whatever about SW before TTH, it should be read before DoD for certain. Reading OST kidna spoils the first few pages of DoD so stick that in between DoD/TCG.

Otherwise if we have to keep DoD/TCG together I would say:

2 ICE books followed by 2 SE books.Its interesting, but I don't know how many would like 2 ICE books in a row.

RoTCG after TTH is insane. Don't.
James Golden
47. Treemaster

Because Erikson wrote The Malazan Book of the Fallen as one series. He didn't even write the other books! If he had felt that the events in the other books in ICE's series were necessary, he would have included them in the main series.

Granted, I'm making an assumption, and it is possible (though I believe it unlikely) that I am wrong. If someone can point to an Erikson quote showing he thoguht that ICE's books are necessary to understand the Book of the Fallen, I will retract my statement. Otherwise, I stand by just sticking with the Book of the Fallen.

There's a practical consideration too. Some of the posters have listed extremely long lists of books. It's just not practical to re-read that many books at once. I think you'll lose too many people. Comments on these posts tend to be a bit sparse already, despite their quality. This re-read has by far the highest quality commentators, in my opnion.
Steven Halter
48. stevenhalter
I can get behind:

On thinking about it, a pause between DoD and TCG is probably useful for dramatic tension.
I still think the spoilers in RotCG are minor for first time readers, but it looks like quite a few disagree, so RG and then RotCG is fine.
49. Eoin8472
Treemaster is right, you don't HAVE to read the ICE books to understand the Malazan book of the Fallen. The series is perfectly fine as it is. There are strictly no urgant necessary scenes in the ICE books for the SE books to be understood.
Gerd K
50. Kah-thurak
DoD and TCG are basically one book. Reading DoD on its own is not something I would recommend to anyone. Admittedly it also is the only book in the series which I did not like very much, so maybe I am biased here.

In my opinion SW and OST are not as interwoven into the series as RoTCG is (this one should really be read before TTH - I did not and I found some things pretty confusing). I dont see much merit in reading them before TCG.
Chris Hawks
51. SaltManZ
Yes, ICE's books are not required to understand and enjoy SE's. But we set a precedent by reading NoK as the second book in this reread, and RotCG was planned from the very start. It would be silly not to continue reading ICE's books.

I could maybe get behind the argument that leaves most of ICE's series until we've finished TCG, with those who want to reread ICE's stuff continuing on, and those who don't dropping out. RotCG definitely needs to be part of the reread proper, though.
52. Croaker
Another vote for ICE in a seperate thread.
53. Eoin8472
To be honest Saltman Z, RoTCG is not strictly needed either. None of the storyline elements in that are really followed up by SE in his last few Fallen books. Yes, we hear of things that have happened. But those are off hand mentions of things that don't concern the SE characters. The one thing is RoTCG spoilers that are revealed by characters talking to each other in DoD/TCG, but if we are not going to read ICE anyway, it doesn't matter.

My position is that I would like to reread the ICE books but can understand if not all want to. They are not essential.
Kimani Rogers
54. KiManiak
First off, I want to thank Amanda and Bill for another stellar job with the reread and accompanying analysis. I really enjoyed this book (and there are 2 or 3 of my favorite chapters in the series), but after Amanda and Bill broke things down I realized that there was a lot that I had missed or misunderstood (like always). In addition, my fellow commenters also continued to help make this reread an enjoyable experience, so thanks to you all for that.

As for how we proceed in the future. I want to start off by saying that (if Bill and Amanda are willing to continue) I definitely wish to include all of ICE’s books in this reread. Not just because I believe that ICE’s books compliment Erikson’s; but also (selfishly, I admit) because I look forward to Bill and Amanda’s analysis of those books, as they catch a lot of things that I miss.

I don’t care so much about the order. My only request would be to not split up DoD and TCG. I was fortunate enough to read them for the first (and only) time, one right after the other, and I still had a lot of questions and found myself flipping back to scenes in DoD when I was confused with TCG.

Other than that, I don’t mind if we decide to do SW and OST after DoD/TCG or before. I do think we should do RotCG before TtH (because of Traveler), though; but if Bill/Amanda want to approach things a little differently, I’d be fine with it.

Just my 2 cents
Amanda Rutter
55. ALRutter
Hi everyone!

Right, I feel as though I have spent the entirety of The Bonehunters apologising for not being around. I am sorry, guys, but this time a house that needed sorting ready for selling took precedence. It's all done! Just in time for me to take an official break.... Thems the breaks!

So, just before I do my recap of The Bonehunters (I won't do the epilogue, because I felt Bill covered everything needed) I just wanted to put my own thoughts into this main discussion - and since I am one of the re-readers you might be stuck with this :-p

Basically, I cannot conceive of not doing ICE's books as part of this re-read. I'm happy to be led by Bill and other regulars when it comes to inserting them into the re-read in the right order but, as far as I am concerned, they must be read. Ian and Steven wrote these books together, they dreamt them up together. Just because some of the people following this read are not as fond of the books does not mean we can skip them. Also, y'know, Erikson's books are kind of intense, if you haven't noticed ;-) It's nice to skip to something that doesn't have the same flavour or the same power to the writing. It's nice to take a look at other parts of the world and other characters. So we're not taking them out.

From what I can tell, the agreement is Reaper's Gale next, which I have fed back to Bill, and that is what we'll kick off with on 20th July (that's when we come back from our hols!) We can have the DoD/TCG together or not together argument closer to the time ;-)

Right, anyway, The Bonehunters...

From my perspective this was the hardest novel of the series to read and, as such, it is not a favourite of mine. A lot of this might well have been personal circumstances - I have skipped in and out of the reading and not immersed myself as thoroughly as in past novels. I will be interested to see if I retain the same thoughts in the event that I re-read the Malazan series. However, some of the difficulties came from the structure of the novel. It was very hard to have something with the sheer intensity of Y'Ghatan right in the middle of the novel. Building to that event and then reading all the repercussions, the trek through the earth, the true forging of the Bonehunters - that was epic. Reading on after something as blistering as that, as tough, was SO difficult. And then to build to a further climax, with the death of Kalam and the actions of Lifestealer, the meeting between Laseen and Tavore - it was almost too much. You know when pleasure can verge on pain? Yep, reading The Bonehunters was like that for me.

I have massive respect for what Erikson achieved in this novel - the level of storytelling is probably the very definition of epic fantasy. In the dictionary, against epic fantasy they should now just have the words "Steven Erikson". He defines this very genre with the quality of his work.

I liked the way he did try a different narrative structure in The Bonehunters. I liked the fact he uses parallels to highlight situations (such as brother and sister both taking control of armies and little details like that). I liked the way we saw through the eyes of various people before, during and after Y'Ghatan so that we could really identify with the events happening.

There were some of my very favourite characters featured in this novel - I adore Cotillion and to see him this much, and in some very vulnerable positions, was just wonderful. Quick Ben and Kalam (*sobs*) were fantastic. Seeing Icarium's journey in this novel was heartbreaking. And Scillara just tugs at my heartstrings as well. So many fabulous characters - and they really go through the wringer in The Bonehunters.

So much to like, but it fell just a little short of books like Deadhouse Gates and Midnight Tides. Only just a little ;-)

See you in a few weeks!
Steven Halter
56. stevenhalter
@Amanda:Excellent on ICE.
(The Bonehunters does go down easier on a re-read.)
Brian R
57. Mayhem
Hiphiphurrax, as the Asterix books might say.

Interesting point about mixing up the narrative structure. Bonehunters mostly follows the same structure as MoI, long buildup to big siege in the middle, followed by drawing out followed by dramatic conclusion.
Yet it is fascinating to see things from the other side of the mirror as it were.
In the siege of Capustan, we see the focus on the defenders, and then follow the victors through their salute to the fallen and onwards to glory. In Y'Ghatan we focus on the attackers, and every expectation of victory is smashed aside. We then focus on the remnant survivors, and their cathartic acceptance of what happened then the satisfaction of life renewed.

In Malaz City, it is again the reverse of MoI - Coral takes the wide view - many large groups and a great battle. In Malaz, we focus closely on a few small groups of individuals, the battle one of survival and resistance. The greatest set pieces happen in the background. Where Coral ends on a melancholy tone of death and reminiscence, here we end on a note of renewed hope - most characters have survived the trials, and the army has a new goal and new allies.

For a real mixup, wait till you get to TTH, is all I can say...
Iris Creemers
58. SamarDev
Mayhem @ 57
great comparison, thanks.

And Amanda, thanks as well for your post. Let's have a break, then we'll all be fresh and fruity for Reapers Gale :-)
Sean H
59. PorusReign
I agree with Amanada, in part, this book was not an initial favourite (but who hasn't revised their order of preference numerously over time) it was the first book in the series, I believe, that could not be read standalone; a large part of it's power is derived from the previous five books. I guess this is why its known as the Pivot.

But it is certainly a heavyweight when it comes to moments of Epic! For being able to raise fantasy expectations, exceed them; and then raise and exceeded them again... and then... wait for it... okay one more time! - in one novel... oh... my... Erikson!

I guess the thing about a unique series, set in a unique world, with a unique authorship is that it deserves a unique re-read. We certainly have one with the commentators and contributors we have aboard. The Malazan series is challenging, often confounding; comforting, but most confronting; but, ultimately, compulsive. It was never meant to be easy, it was never meant to be short, it was never made to pander to the masses, it was never meant to be flawless. So for all of us undecideded... I'll see you at the end.
Tai Tastigon
60. Taitastigon
Amanda: 100% with you on BH. Tough to get into the rest after the visceral experience with Ygathan. And a structure*Empire Strikes Back*, maybe...?... ;0)

But BH is the single volume that grows most on rereads...may be my favorite now...but 2-3 rereads are necessary, I fear.

And Kalam is dead...*cough, cough*...?????????
61. amphibian
This is the book with the single highest death toll of the series. I don't think that's a spoiler as the death toll here is literally in the millions - as the plagues caused by Poleil carried off an astounding chunk of the population.

I think part of the stability of the Malazan empire thereafter this book relates to the sudden disappearance of all these people. The associated problems, economic boons and politics just aren't there and the games change for gods and rulers alike. They get simultaneously bigger and smaller, and thus more weighty for those involved.

As of The Bonehunters, the stakes have been upped, the plans are drawing to their end stages and the stories are in full gallop.
62. MDW
Are you SURE about the death toll amphibian? As I recall, MoI starts with an entire continent being burned off. :)
63. GoodOldSatan
Fwiw @ this late date, I agree with Destiny @ #44:

OST (here for personal reasons ... I haven't read it yet.)
Tricia Irish
64. Tektonica
I just noticed that the epilogue isn't listed on the chapter headings page for this's hard to get here now.

Please add Epilogue, Tor mavens. Thanks!
Stefan Sczuka
65. moeb1us
First and foremost: thank you Bill, Amanda and fellow rereaders for this great experience. I am often thinking about how great it is to be able to follow you all along and have so much insight into my favourite series, and on top of that the man himself SE is partaking, in his Q&A and thinking back in the comment section as well (btw, what is Abalieno doing these days?). I like!

Regarding the ICE books, reading the comments I honestly never thought leaving them out completely would be an option (and I think SE would not approve of that, as well) - so the back and forth is really kind of .. unneccessary? :)

Re order: only two things from me, RG before RotCG and DOD/TCG in direct follow-up.

PS: short side story - I kind of infected a collegue at work with the malazan series, he finished DG today. I really enjoy the bilateral recaps with him and give him a little help noticing the many crosslinks and hints and foreshadowing. He talks like a wellspring it is a joy to see that excitement in him.
My main point: it is soooo hard to not spoil anything, to let him have his 'wow' moments and 'wtf' situations and I guilefully say things like 'you just wait'. But to know what he is about to face is priceless :>
I'm sure you share similar experiences?
Chris Hawks
66. SaltManZ
Having finished OST over the weekend, this only just occured to me, but this seems to the best place to state it: It seems to pretty obvious to me that SE intentionally planted seeds for most (if not all) of ICE's books in this novel.

• NoK was published just prior, so we get a ton of nods to that one, including Edgewalker, Temper, Lubben, and a whole mess of Malaz City stuff.
•The uprising against the Wickans that kicks off here leads directly into RotCG.
•Faradan Sort discussing her time in Korel on the Stormwall teases for SW.
•The Soldier of Death drops some nice bombs on Cutter & co. foreshadowing the events of OST.
• And Cotillion's rant about events on Assail is a nice tease about ICE's as-yet-unnamed Assail novel.

The only thing I didn't catch was any references to Jacuruku for ICE's upcoming Blood and Bone. Unless anyone else spotted those?
Brian R
67. Mayhem
Hmm, Mappo briefly visits Ardata's temple in Jacuruku 'four or five years after the fall' during his healing by Mogora.

Heavy wrought-iron clouds scudded over one half of the sky, a high wind spinning strands across the other half, filling a void – as if something had punched through from the heavens and the hole was slow in healing.

I think you might be on to something here...
karl oswald
69. Toster
wanted to post a web i made inspired by your post SaltMan, but apparently the way it goes into the comment box is marked as spam and doesn't keep my spacing the way i wanted. here's a picture of it:
Iris Creemers
70. SamarDev
re Toster @ 69
Nice! You might post that again when we start with Reapers Gale, after the Summer break. Otherwise many people miss it, I think, which would be a pity.
Steven Halter
73. stevenhalter
For fun, I whipped up a little parser to see just what we have been doing in the re-read. To date there have been a total of 350 uniquely named posters who have posted somewhere around 1,541,183 to 1,648,228 total words. It's "around" as it depends on how you want to count a word.
I used two ways. One was to just count the total characters and divide by 6 (a variant of the One True Word count mechanism from TNH) and the second was to just split everything by
whitespace and count them as words. There were 150 people who posted once. I didn't try to do any consolidation if people used several names and I just counted all the main sections as being from both Bill & Amanda even though some were individual. If anyone is curious about any other numbers, feel free to ask.

Here are the top 30 posters by number of posts:
Name____________ posts _______Words _______"OTW"
Bill & Amanda________146______725631______680867

Here are the top 30 posters by word count:
Name ____________posts ____ Words ______ "OTW"
Bill & Amanda______146______725631______680867
Chris Hawks
74. SaltManZ
Wow. I would never have I guessed I was the fourth-most-prolific poster.

I'm curious what the distinction is/are between the following:
• Bill & Amanda
• ALRutter
• Billcap
• billcap
Steven Halter
75. stevenhalter
SaltManZ@74:Bill & Amanda are the authors of each post. ALRutter, Billcap and billcap are the most frequent names they have used when they make comments. I could have gone through and tried to consolidate names, but decided to leave the raw data as it was.
Brian R
76. Mayhem

Heh. The man may not speak much, but when he does, boy do we get an answer :D
karl oswald
77. Toster
Quote game, don't care, doin it. these quotes are two good.

(i know what i did)

"I am always delighted," he said, "when a betrayer is in turn betrayed. In this instance, betrayed by his own stupidity. Which is even more delightful."

and the grand slam:

"They will forge alliances," she said, "They will all war against us."
Anomandaris shrugged, "I have nothing better to do today."
Tricia Irish
79. Tektonica
I've been waiting all day........

So, maybe not today *sigh*.
Mieneke van der Salm
80. Mieneke
RE: Shalter's stat post—> I obviously talk too much!
Kevin Harris
84. Clawmaster
Y'Ghatan... it actually gave me nightmares.

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