Reading Update: Deadhouse Gates

March 25, 2013

The second book of the, “Malazan – Book of the fallen” series, picks up where the first left off with the Bridgeburners Fiddler and Kalam escorting Sorry back to her home in Itko Kan. Seven Cities is their first destination, a conquered land of the Malazan Empire quickly sliding into open revolt, which they must cross to continue by ship on the other side.

Here, Steven Erikson does a masterful job of splitting the storyline and introducing Coltaine, the newly arrived Fist, as he takes command of the Malazan 7th Army to protect the Empire’s interests in the area. Told largely from the perspective of Duiker, the Imperial Historian attached to the 7th, the story of Coltaine and what will become known as “The Chain of Dogs” as he attempts to do just that is reason enough to read this book.

Without going into any spoilers I will just say that more than once I have caught myself searching the bookshelf for “Chain of Dogs” forgetting that this book is called “Deadhouse Gates”.

The role of the Gods in the Malazan world is expanded on in book 2 with more deities, manipulations and priests such as Iskaral Pust, High Mage of the House of Shadow. The concept of accenssion is built upon also, that mortals can “ascend” to godhood through deeds, coup or by crossing through a gate after following the “Path of Hands”.

In all ways this story takes the Malazan tale and raises the stakes, rewards and risks above the previous book. At times one can almost taste sand grit from the Holy Desert Raraku or hear hoof beats of Wickan warriors closing in. All 10 books of this series make one big story, but if I had to pick just one book as a favorite “Deadhouse Gates” would be it.

Next up in this series reread is “Memories of Ice”.

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