Wed
Apr 10 2013 12:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Toll the Hounds, Prologue

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen Toll The Hounds Prologue Steven EriksonWelcome 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 the Prologue of Toll the Hounds (TtH).

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 spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

 

PROLOGUE SUMMARY

SCENE ONE

Two unnamed characters, a male former priest and a formerly-wealthy woman, are in a run-down, dust-filled and equally nameless town. Both believe themselves to be dead and each has a dog. The woman’s dog attacks the other and is killed. The priest says it feels like he has been in this town forever, and the woman feels the same, though it appears she just arrived. They note a storm approaching, one filled with jade rain. Edgewalker, taking no notice of them, walks by and meets a hooded figure and both agree the hooded one called Edgewalker here to “mitigate.” They are joined by Shadowthrone and several Hounds, and then eventually a fourth appears in the distance whom they have apparently been waiting for.

SCENE TWO

Inside Dragnipur, Ditch, a former wizard of Pale who’d been killed by Rake for betrayal, speaks with a demon who is carrying many of the fallen on his back. The demon tells Ditch the wagon-pullers are failing, which Ditch considers obvious. Ditch complains that Rake should have killed more dragons and then the two discuss the need to find someone who knows what will happen when the storm of chaos that chases the wagon catches up. The demon disappears and Ditch, pondering who might know what would happen or what to do, thinks of Draconus, whom he’d met earlier.

SCENE THREE

Still inside the sword, Apsal’ara, Lady of Thieves, thinks of how she has spent uncounted years under the wagon trying to use friction to break the chains. She recalls the arrival of a stranger (Paran) and the subsequent escape of the Hounds and Paran, how she’d tried to follow but had been driven back by the cold of “negation. Denial.” She thinks of how she has stolen the moon, stolen fire, walked in Moon’s Spawn, and how there must be a way to break her chains and escape.

SCENE FOUR

In a mountain village of the Teblor, a mangy, limping dog suddenly takes off and is followed by two near-twin girls who noted his departure. They head south toward the lands of the Nathii.

SCENE FIVE
Kruppe sits by a fire and is approached by K’rul, who says he has something to tell him. K’rul notes that Kruppe appears sad and asks if he’d like to talk about it, but Kruppe points out K’rul himself doesn’t look so great and forebears. K’rul tells Kruppe he is “not in this war,” and Kruppe says he knows, but he knows as well that K’rul is the “prize” in it. K’rul agres. They are joined by a third and Kruppe says he will tell them a tale as he “dances” and a tear glistens in his eye.

 

Amanda’s Reaction

And. Here. We. Go... Sorry, can never resist a quote from the Joker!

Very excited to be diving back into Erikson’s side of the Malazan world, and it’s thrilling to look down the Dramatis Personae and see some deeply familiar names. Not only some of the ex-Bridgeburners, but Kruppe! And it delights me that his description is merely “a round little man.” Yep, that’s like calling Bugg Tehol’s man-servant....

And I suppose that I had best become accustomed to this slight feeling of confusion as I read. It isn’t helped by the breaks we’ve taken to dip into Esslemont—it seems like a damn long time since I’ve read Erikson. And even damn longer since we’ve been anywhere near Darujhistan and some of the characters we’re going to see.

Also, Erikson uses his Prologues, I think, as a place to deliberately sow a little confusion and make the reader wonder about what is to come.

So here we have two dead people, talking in a ramshackle village and observing without pity the plight of their fighting dogs. My first thought was to wonder who they are and whether we’ve seen them before. Since one is a priest who hasn’t gone to be with his god in the afterlife, I’m thinking we do have some candidates, including Heboric.

We also see immediately the rain of jade statues, which brings them straight to mind at the beginning of this novel—one of the oddest parts of the books so far.

And then this gathering of immortals. Edgewalker and Shadowthrone are definitely amongst them, because they are named. Is the hooded one Hood himself? After all, we are in a place of death. What exactly is Edgewalker to mitigate? And who is the one coming: “One more and the last, yes.”

Ah, I’m falling into the prose and the immediate tumble of ideas: “There were rare thoughts, no more or less unwelcome than any others, mocking him as in their freedom they drifted in and out; and when nowhere close, why, they perhaps floated through alien skies, riding warm winds soft as laughter.”

Here we encounter one of those who fell at Pale to Dragnipur, wielded by Anomander Rake. Apparently Ditch is one who betrayed Anomander—not something advisable, I would have thought. Certainly not when seeing Ditch’s fate—to carry the Burden in Dragnipur with others who also fell to Anomander and Draconus before him.

I love this idea: “Was there comfort in shared fate? . . . No, surely there was no such comfort, beyond the mutual recognition of folly, ill luck and obstinate stupidity, and those traits could not serve camaraderie.” I wonder if this is the way of things between those held in prisons? On death row? In any place where there seems no end to the situation?

What is the Burden? It seems key to the heart of Dragnipur. Especially when the demon says “We fail.” Fail in what?

And then from Ditch’s perspective—that of endless horror and exhaustion—we skip over to Apsal’ara, who seems to view her sojourn in Dragnipur as merely a temporary inconvenience, and is most frustrated by the fact two Hounds escaped where she has not. I’m guessing this Apsal’ara is who our Apsalar took her name from! Maybe their difference in perspective is due to a matter of mortality?

I love the thought of this pesky thief finding her way to a little resting place beneath the wagon that others are trying so hard to keep moving. She’s quirky, but her self-centred behaviour could be either appealing or unattractive, I guess. Will be interesting to see how you re-readers approach her, knowing what story is to come.

Ah, I think I will love her, when I read things like this:

She had stolen the moon once.

She had stolen fire.

She had padded the silent arching halls of the city within Moon’s Spawn.

She was the Lady of Thieves.

And a sword had stolen her life.

Oh! Are these two girls from the seed of Karsa? “Like the dog, the two girls were fearless and resolute. Though they did not know it, such traits came from their father, whom they had never met.”

And then a beautiful scene to finish. Kruppe on the page again is an absolute joy—not just because of his eccentric speech, but because of those quiet moments of respect between him and K’rul. The recognition of Kruppe that K’rul is the prize in this war is a key one, I think. We saw references to this at the end of Reaper’s Gale, with Icarium. More to come on this matter, for sure.

Who is the grey-haired bard who comes to join Kruppe and K’rul, and has given warning about strangers coming to Darujhistan? He who has “a wan face, an expression of sorrow and pain”?

It might have been short today, but it was very sweet indeed.

 

Bill’s Reaction

Welcome back everyone! Can’t wait to hear what Amanda and folks think about this one.

You’re right Amanda that we start out in some confusion and abstraction, and I think I’ll leave much of that to our commentators as to just what they want to expound on as I think this beginning sets the tone for this novel.

We open with two strangers, seemingly as at sea as the readers, finding themselves in an unnamed town, recalling “very little” of “her life in the time before.” They certainly could in fact be speaking for the readers when they say:

“Aye, it’s all rather confusing, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

And we thought life (substitute any prior Malazan title here) was confusing

So before we get the other characters arriving, there are a few things I note in the scene with just the two.

One is the obvious focus on death: both characters apparently dead, the dogs, Hood’s eventual arrival.

Going along with this, the equally obvious emphasis on decay: the man is “ragged;” his cloak, once “opulent,” is now “frayed;” his coiled leash is “rotting and tattered;” the town, besides being unname,d is “decrepit,” “falling apart,” and “all dust and rot;” the surrounding hills are “denuded;” the woman’s leash, like the man’s, is also “rotted” and “frayed,” while her clothing is described as “rags.”

The ominous overtone of the approaching storm (and its connection to “tears”, not to mention the jade), and the rumble of something large approaching.

A sense of self-delusion or of unmet expectations: the priest has found himself in a place that seems to belie his earlier belief, the woman thought her wealth would purchase her a different ending (I’d also argue, without a lot of hard evidence save tone/mood, that her relief that her “carriage” is coming shows her self-delusion is not over).

The reference to the cyclical nature of things: “We seem to repeat things here,” followed by the priest declaring (based one assumes on this meeting he witnesses) that things just may change, a declaration he makes after looking at the dog, which had attacked the priest’s dog and then been killed.

As for our meeting of powerful folks, it certainly does make one wonder what they are planning, eh? And who, as Amanda says, is that fourth they are waiting on? Someone of power, obviously, to join this group. And power is pointed to as well by the way the Hounds respond, even at a distance.

And now we’re in Dragnipur with Ditch from Pale (and there are some old-time references we’ve not heard in a while).

There’s an interesting image reflection here, moving from the rumble of the carriage wheels to the rumble of the wagon, and from the jade rain coming down like “arrows” to the storm chasing the wagon shot through with “spears of iron.”

As for what is pursuing the wagon, Amanda, here is a lengthy section of our summary from Memories of Ice that is probably good to recall as we move forward:

Draconus agrees and says Paran needs to explain the truth to Rake—that Rake is “too merciful to wield Dragnipur. The situation is growing desperate.” Paran asks what he means and Draconus says: “Dragnipur needs to feed.” Too many that pull the wagon are failing and being thrown into the wagon, which makes the burden heavier and slower: “Tell Rake—he must take souls. Powerful ones, preferably. And he must do so soon.” He tells Paran to use his Master’s vision to see what pursues the wagon. Paran sees “Chaos . . . a storm such as he had never seen before. Rapacious hunger poured from it . . . Lost memories. Power born from rendered souls. Malice, and desire, a presence almost self-aware, with hundreds of thousands of eyes fixed on the wagon . . . so eager to feed.”

Draconus tells him: “Darkness has ever warred against Chaos . . . ever retreated. And each time that Mother Dark relented—to the Coming of Light, to the Birth of Shadow—her power has diminished, the imbalance growing more profound. Such was the state . . . in those early times . . . Chaos approached the very gate to Kurald Galain itself. A defense needed to be fashioned. Souls were required . . . Chaos hungers for the power in those souls—for what Dragnipur has claimed . . . such power will make it stronger . . . sufficient to breach the Gate. Look to your mortal realm . . . civilization-destroying wars, civil wars, pogrom, wounded and dying gods— . . . your kind progress . . . on the path forged by Chaos. Blinded by rage, lusting for vengeance, those darkest of desires . . . Memories—of humanity, of all that is humane—are lost.”

Paran says how can Draconus want Paran to shatter the sword. Draconus answers he has realized over time he spent in the sword that he had made a “grave error.” He says he believed “only in Darkness could the power that is order be manifested. I sought to help Mother Dark—for it seemed she was incapable of helping herself. She would not answer, she would not even acknowledge her children . . . we could not find her . . . Before the Houses, there were Holds. Before Holds, there was wondering . . . but not wandering but migration. A seasonal round—predictable, cyclical. What seemed aimless, random, was in truth fixed, bound to its own laws. A truth—a power—I failed to recognize.” He tells Paran breaking the sword will return the Gate to its migration, to “what gave it strength to resist Chaos.” The sword forced the Gate of Darkness to flight for eternal, but if the souls in the sword weaken/diminish, it cannot flee. He says Rake needs to send more souls to bide time to shatter Dragnipur.

He says he’s learned something else as well since he forged the sword: “Just as Chaos possess the capacity to act in its own defense, to indeed alter its own nature to its own advantage in its eternal war, so too can Order. It is not solely bound to Darkness.” Paran guess he’s referring to the Azath Houses and the Deck an Draconus says “The Houses take souls and bind them in place. Beyond the grasp of Chaos.” When Paran says what’s it matter then if Darkness falls, Draconus replies: “Losses and gains accumulate, shift the tide, but not always in ways that redress the balance. We are in an imbalance that approaches a threshold. This war . . . may come to an end. What awaits us all, shout that happen . . . well, mortal, you have felt its breath, there in our wake.” He says Paran must tell Rake this.

By the way, it’s been a while, but we’ve seen this demon who speaks to Ditch about the sword failing. Recall that he must have been killed by Rake. His last words to Ditch: “Do not pity me, please” are a clue as well, echoing his other “last words.”

In Chekhov’s Gun mode, does anyone think we get a short section of Apsal’ara showing mind-boggling determination and patience in attempting to escape her chains, a section closed by that passage Amanda quotes detailing her past successes and ended with the line “This will not do,” anybody read this and think she’s not going to get out of those chains?

Yes Amanda, these are Karsa’s girls (and his dog as well). One can only assume where they’re off to....

And then this wonderful closing scene, which begins with a poem/song (important I think) and offers up, I believe, a tone of the ephemeral nature of things, an elegiac tone right away, with the reference to the “frail” city followed by such desolate, sad, lonesome imagery: “an empty plain,” “an empty night sky,” “A lone fire, so weak.” It is with fire we beat back the night and cold and darkness, and yes, I’d say we should be reading that on both a literal and metaphorical level (and what is fire—society, civilization, art), but all fires are, relative to what they war against, “weak,” and “flickering”, always on the verge of going out. Though one could also say always ready to be rekindled, I suppose.

And it is with Kruppe and K’rul that we get the reintroduction, very quickly, of perhaps THE theme of this series: the two-sided coin of compassion/empathy, with K’rul noting Kruppe’s sadness and desiring to ease it by listening and Kruppe noting K’rul’s own weariness and wishing not to add to it. Love this moment between the two.

And then a mysterious third to join them (and how many scenes in this prologue involve waiting on an arrival?), someone who knows songs/poetry (we’ll soon get a better hint).

And yes, isn’t this the core of humans—tale-telling round a fire (I’d guess there’s a reason Amazon called it a “Kindle” and a “Fire,” though for all I know those were the two names Bezos had always fantasized about calling his kids until his wife said “No way!” If he’s even married. Or has kids. But I digress...). Some of those stories scare, some thrill, some teach (none are mutually exclusive). But as we can see by that “glisten” in Kruppe’s eye, this one, while it may or may not do all or some of those, will certainly make us cry. Prepare for some tragedy, he’s telling us folks. Who is ready to witness?


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 fantasyliterature.com.

36 comments
Darren Kuik
1. djk1978
Yay! Toll the Hounds! Glad to get this underway. I'm very much looking forward to this re-read.

Can't wait to read Amanda's, Bill's and others' thoughts about this book.
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
Yes, this is the one I've looking forward to rereading most, as not only has SE called it the "cipher" to the series, but so many other Malazites have gushed over how much it improves on the reread—even those who didn't like it the first time through.

So good to get back to Erikson's prose again. I read his The Devil Delivered and Other Tales in February, and it was good (the title story was amazing) but nothing quite competes with SE-Malazan.
Tai Tastigon
3. Taitastigon
Aaaah - good to be back. And come to think of it - SE actually does put it pretty bluntly in his Prologue, in hindsight.

Same goes for the main flavor that permeates TtH: Death, decay, regret, melancholy.

A very peculiar entry to the series - rarely seen the likeability of a book oscillate so violently, depending on the mood you are in when you read it.
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
Amanda:Yes, it is good to be here swimming amidst the prose. Do pay attention that Kruppe is speaking (dancing) to K'rul (and the other) here.
‘Join us, friend,’ said Kruppe. ‘Sit here by this fire: this scene paints the history of our kind, as you well know. A night, a hearth, and a tale to spin. Dear K’rul, dearest friend of Kruppe, hast thou ever seen Kruppe dance?’
A tale to spin, indeed.
Peter Bathge
5. Fansal
Two things:

1. I want to thank both Amanda and Bill as well as the commenters of this re-read for their insights in the Malazan books. You, ladies and gentlemans, are doing an excellent job and have been a great help to me in understanding some of the more complex themes in the series (dreams, jade statues, random encounters with thousand-year-old beings of infinite power and unknown identity)! I have been following this re-read since forever, although I kind of dragged behind for a long time. Now, finally, I caught up with you folks, at least in regards to reading your posts. Concerning the books, I'm actually reading DoD for the first time right now, after entering a hiatus after TtH and having done a re-read of the first eight books including NoK, RotCG and Stonewielder for the last year. So now I am actually ahead of the curve but will nonetheless chime in from time to time with the current re-read as much as my spotty memory of TtH allows :)

2. I totally forgot how much of this book's plot was revealed in the prologue. At the end I had totally forgotten about Karsa's daughters. Also, I'm not quite sure anymore who those two dead people in the beginning are. The guy's description as priest seems to sort of fit with Heboric, but not quite. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

P.S: I'm not a native speaker so just ignore all those pesky grammar/spelling errors ;)
Tai Tastigon
6. Taitastigon
Fansal @5:

Also, I'm not quite sure anymore who those two dead people in the beginning are. The guy's description as priest seems to sort of fit with Heboric, but not quite. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

A couple of years ago, SE himself commented on these two.
But before I post this:
Can anybody remind me on how the SPOILER function works here ?
Thx !
SSSimon
7. SSSimon
I second djk1978's comment!
Iris Creemers
8. SamarDev
Yay! Toll the hounds! After a long hiatus I'm back and am planning to stay and read along again :-). (the last couple of books I just followed the reread and that made me comment a lot less, if that makes sense).

It's quite some time ago that I read Toll the hounds, and I liked it. I'm looking forward to how the prose will be received by new readers, or those who reread for the first time.

Thanks Bill for the quote from Memories of Ice. It reads very different now, after Forge of Darkness. Do I feel a new reread coming? ;-)

Tai: long time ago I practiced, but I remember it as posting by 'preview comment', then whiting out, then posting without previewing it again. I'll try a test here and if the first 'here' in this sentence is whited out, it worked...
Philipp Frank
9. KillTheMule
Hey all, first time reader here, I'm just about finishing Dust of Dreams. I've always accompanied my read with this reread and had a blast, and now I'll be happy to join in :)

I remember thinking that TtH was a bit verbose on "philosophical" issues, let's see how it fares the 2nd time.

As a question, can someone explain to me (non-native speaker) the meaning of the title? I know what a "toll" is, and a "hound", but I can't really quite put those together...
Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
KillTheMule@9:Toll has a couple of meanings:
You can toll a bell -- this means ring the bell. Usually a slow ringing such as like a funeral.
You can pay a toll, here a toll is like a tariff.
You can read the title various ways from these:
Pay the hounds or Make the hounds pay.
Or, pay homage to the hounds via a song (music/bell). Or, the very literal meaning of ring the hounds like a bell.
The obvious choice for the hounds are the Hounds of Shadow/Dark. But, hounds can also mean people on a trail or of a particular sort.
Pick and choose among the meanings--it's a metaphor of multiple nuances.
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
SE has commented that the MBotF is modeled on a Greek tragedy and the Kruppe portion reminds me of the beginning of the Iliad:
Mênin aeide, thea, Pêlêiadeô Achillêos
(the editor doesn't seem to do Greek characters)
or--Sing, goddess, of the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus
Here the poet is asking the goddess (muse) to inspire him to sing of the story of Achilles. At the start of Toll the Hounds we have Kruppe telling K'rul that the scene is set for a tale.
Tai Tastigon
12. Taitastigon
SD @8: Ah, thx Samar, will try.
Works !

F @5: SE pretty much said that those two characters have no particular significance to the plot. He used them as props, no more.
Darren Kuik
13. djk1978
@stevenhalter I've always had a different (slightly) view. The traditional tolling of the bell (i.e. for whom the bell tolls) is what I've always assumed. In this case subsitute hounds for bells (i.e for whom the hounds toll).
SSSimon
14. Eoin8472
Maybe my favourite book of the series. I love this one.
The significance of the demon carrying his fallen "comrades"
And that meeting of immrotals in the prologue!
SSSimon
15. Osyris
Probably my favourite book of the series. It's been a long wait :)
SSSimon
16. Eoin8472
"content with his place in the glorious city he had saved more than once"

Awesome. Even after 5(6?) rereads, I never spotted or thought deeply about that one.
Steven Halter
17. stevenhalter
djk1978@13:Yes, I left that one off--the Hounds are tolling for ...
Darren Kuik
18. djk1978
Anyway I agree with your assessment, I don't think there is a single right answer on the title meaning, although some may be more relevant than others.

@Bill, the demon has a rather un-demonic name, as I recall. :D
Chris Hawks
19. SaltManZ
The verb "to toll" also means "to summon by tolling (a bell)" which I find to be the most relevant take on the title, essentially: "Summon the Hounds".

There's an awful lot of dog/hound imagery right away just in the prologue.
Tricia Irish
20. Tektonica
Nice to be back in Malazan with some familiar old characters! Kruppe! This will be my second time through this one, so I'm really looking forward to it.

I always felt Toll the Hounds meant "calling the hounds", but it definitely had funarial overtones to me. I love that there are so many different wayt so interpret the title....all relevent.
Peter Bathge
21. Fansal
Taistastigon@12
Thanks for clearing that up! :)

Regarding the whole of the book: I found it quite drawn-out in the first half or so, but the second part is indeed awesome. Although, as with so many novels of this series, a second read improved my opinion of TtH, some parts (a certain group of wandering sort-of teenagers comes to mind) I still found rather tedious. All in all, it's not my series favourite, but a very good book nonetheless, somewhere behind MoI, BH and RG.
Cody Burkholder
22. jaybird7
Hi guys,

Bill and Amanada, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this re-read. I've been following the posts for a long time now, but I started a few books behind, so I just finally caught up. It's been a whole lot of fun knowing that so many other people are (re)reading these books and experiencing this at the same time. Steven Erikison and Ian C. Esslemont have created something really special here. I look forward to discussing with you all now that I'm finally on the same page (sorry for the bad pun).

For what it's worth, I would love to see this keep going through the new Kharkanas books.
Tabby Alleman
23. Tabbyfl55
I always took the title of the book to mean "Announce the arrival of the Hounds".
SSSimon
24. Nimander
My interpretation of the title is:
Toll as in exerting a toll and the Hounds as in regrets. I think it's been mentioned in earlier books how we always are hounded by our regrets and i think that "the hounds" (in the title) signifies that. And toll i don't take as "the hounds" (regrets) taking a toll on you, but you exerting a toll on your regrets and all this "sums up to" redemption/forgiveness which are major themes in this novel (i could elaborate a bit more but i don't want to spoil anything, those of you that have finished the novel can probably see a bit more signifigance in this).
Corey Sees
25. CorwinOfAmber
The opening scene of this prologue is one of the most confusing parts of the whole series for me (perhaps only second to Heboric's plotline). Specifically who the people are and where they are.
The final scene of the prologue sets up my favorite part of the book: Kruppe's narration!
I seem to remember reading something about how SE was most proud of this book. I certainly found it to be the most structurally and thematically satisfying book in the series.
Bill Capossere
26. Billcap
Nice to see the love for this book so early. And thanks for the kind words re the reread. Good to see people not just sticking with us but feeling fine about popping in and out (it is, after all, a looonnnngggg reread). And yes, for those who asked, Amanda and I, looking off into the far future, do see the Forge of Darkness, et. al. books getting added ('course, that'll be up to Tor. Who knows, by that point all this may be just downloaded into your brains directly)

and yep, djk1978, that demon does have a somewhat non-demonic name . . .
Paul Boyd
27. GoodOldSatan
I, too, am glad to beack to tMBotF, although this book, too, has a plotline I found to be an unsatisfying distraction. Hopefully this re-read will put it into a new light.

Before I get started ... there were a lot of good questions posed of ICE as the RotCG reread finished up. How or where (& when) will the be addressed?

Well it's late Friday AM, so the next post is due up soon, & the spoiler is very minor ... The song Kruppe and the third member of the party begin to sing is found in full at the beginning of Chapter 1. The third member appears to know the words.

The Demon with the undemonic (and only repeated) name has been seen previously? Last chapter of GoTM?

Have we seen this Apsal'ara previously? If she has walked the halls of Moon's Spawn, it must have been Rake, rather than Draconus, who invited her in. When/how did that occur?

So as thick as I am, the "carriage” referred to in the first scene is the wagon we see in the second? The fourth arrival is Draconus? The Hounds' response??? They have an intimate history with what's coming?

(BTW, the unknown woman's relief at the arrival of the carriage brought to mind Warren Zevon's "My Ride's Here," although, I think, in an ironic sense.)

And the ever confusing Jade. Am I inappropriately drawing a connection here (and for the first time), between the Jade raining down and Chaos?

Thanks all for your help.

GOS
Darren Kuik
28. djk1978
GOS: If Rake had invited Apsal'ara into Moon's Spawn she probably wouldn't be languishing inside Dragnipur don't you think? I assume he caught her thieving.

I don't think the carriage and wagon in the first two scenes are the same. The imagery serves as a segue, nothing more. And I am utterly sure that the fourth arrival is not Draconus, although who I think it is shall remain unnamed for now.

And the jade rain should serve to fix the time reference for us. Think back to the end of the Bonehunters. Toll the Hounds takes place immediately in time after the Bone Hunters. So this book more or less runs in parallel both with the events of Reaper's Gale (and Return of the Crimson Guard). I say more or less, because with this series it's important to always remember that the timeline is not important. :)

For myself, I think the plotline that people don't like serves a purpose and has value for that.
SSSimon
29. Jordanes
Just to correct the previous comment, this book takes place immediately after, not parallel to, the events of Reaper's Gale and Return of the Crimson Guard, NOT the Bonehunters.
Sydo Zandstra
31. Fiddler
@djk1978

To add, I am pretty sure events in TtH are going parallel with events in DoD and tCG.

Things considering 2 Major Events (with gods) come to mind. ;)
Darren Kuik
32. djk1978
Alright alright. :D

(I thought of those things after Jordanes correction, along with a number of other factors.)

I hesitate to dwell on timeline issues anyway. It only leads to bafflement.
Paul Boyd
33. GoodOldSatan
djk re: #28

Thanks.

(My reference to the invitation was obtuse, I was referring to Dragnipur, not Moon's Spawn).
Brian R
34. Mayhem
Yep, TTH runs parallel with DoD, with OST running with and after tCG.

one other thing to keep in mind ... Unlike most prologues in the series, some of this one happens in the future. The tale about to be told, like Midnight Tides, has already happened and K'rul and Kruppe are meeting in the aftermath. And based on Kruppe's demeanour it clearly won't be a happy tale.
That probably explains why I've always felt this and MT have a similar tone to them, and the reference to the Illiad above is bang on.

as for the title, well, there's a very important difference in emotion between the howl of a wolf, and that of a hound. The title as everyone can agree is a very clever choice of words that works on many levels, as usual most of which don't make sense till we finish ...
SSSimon
35. Eoin8472
Just a correction to that point Mayhem.
OST runs somewhere in parellel to DoD/TCG, but it does not end before the end of TCG
Its B&B that also runs in parallel to OST and DOD/TCG and its end is about parallel to the end of TCG.
George A
36. Kulp
Wow, finally caught up to the current book. Mostly confused after each section, but SE's prose is a real treat after RotCG. Throughout the reread it has appeared that people are split on their level of enjoyment of this book. These comments make it sound like the best book in the series, looking forward to finding out why :)

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