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House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 4) Paperback – August 22, 2006
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Best selling author Steven Erikson returns with the latest in the morbid history of the Malazan Empire
In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flatlands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove to be an extraordinary destiny.
Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Tavore, the Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold of Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand soldiers, mostly raw recruits but for a handful of veterans of Coltaine's legendary march, into a force capable of challenging the massed hordes of Sha'ik's Whirlwind who lie in wait in the heart of the Holy Desert.
But waiting is never easy. The seer's warlords are locked into a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself suffers, haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis: her own sister, Tavore.
And so begins this awesome new chapter in Steven Erikson's acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen . . .
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“Truly epic in scope., Erikson has no peer when it comes to action and imagination, and joins the ranks of Tolkien and Donaldson in his mythic vision and perhaps then goes one better.” ―SF Site on House of Chains
“A multilayered tale of magic and war, loyalty and betrayal. Complexly drawn characters occupy a richly detailed world in this panoramic saga..” ―Library Journal on House of Chains
“This is true myth in the making, a drawing upon fantasy to recreate histories and legends as rich as any found within our culture.” ―Interzone on House of Chains
From the Back Cover
Some years later, Tavore, recently appointed Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last Malazan stronghold on Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand soldiers, into a force capable of confronting the massed hordes of the seer Sha'ik's Whirlwind who lie in the heart of the Holy Desert.
But waiting is never easy. The tribal chiefs are locked in a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself is haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis, Tavore, her own sister...
So begins this awesome epic novel of war, intrigue, magic and betrayal from a writer regarded as one of the most original and exciting storytellers in fantasy today.
- Publisher : Tor Books; 1st edition (August 22, 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 672 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765315742
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765315748
- Item Weight : 2.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.48 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #348,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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In conclusion, I give this book 1 star! It is the most disappointing book in the series in my book! It was so terrible I almost quit continuing the series!
In the Holy Desert, Felisin Paran has been reborn as the apocalyptic Shrike, an avatar for a vengeful goddess. To gain her own revenge on the sister that sold her into slavery, she surrenders everything she has. Around her are a host of men plotting how to use her power for their own benefit while the desert tribesmen ache to unleash the fury of her power on the Malazan Empire
Crokus has lost his innocence. No longer a youth, he's now an assassin called Cutter. To keep walking beside Apsalar's side, he forces himself to become what she is. But is that what she wants from him? Has he stepped onto a path that will change everything for him.
Fiddler, re-enlisted in the Malazan army, lands with the newly formed 6th army under the command of Tavore Paran. With him is a group of veterans and new recruits who will have to march into the desert and battle the Army of the Apocaylpse and avenge Coltaine and his massacre outside the walls of Aren. However, the new army's start is beset with dire omens. How will they fare in the desert?
Will they meet Coltaine's fate?
In the Holy Desert, gods, ascendants, and mortals are thrown together in a clash that will change everything as the Chained God makes his bid to seize power. So many storyline are woven together in this book. Storylines criss and cross. Erickson weaves them all into a vast tapestry built on the foundation of the weight of history.
If you've been reading Malazn Book of the Fallen, then you know what you're in for. Many of your favorite characters are back for the next chapter in the bloody history of the Malazan Empire. Everyone has their own agendas. Their own tales that mix together to form this outstanding book. It's riveting to read, drawing you on the final showdown between two sisters.
Felisin wants revenge on her sister Tavore never knowing that Tavore's plan to protect her went so wrong in Book Two. Now they are dragged by the chains of fate to fight each other. Only one shall survive in this tragic tale.
It took a lot to get to where we were going in this book. Mainly the overall arc is that Tevore and the Malazan’s are going to march into the desert to fare Sharik and her appocolyptic sands. So that is where the various lines all converge by the end of the story. It took a long time to get there and at the end I will say that again most of my feelings are bittersweet. At least this one didn’t gut my insides out like the previous two books but again there seems to be no such thing as a happy ending when you are in the world of the Malazans.
I’m really never sure where the book is going to take me and this one again starts off with a culture and people that we don’t really seem to know. Karsa Orlong how I hated you. This started as a really difficult read because I completely hated Karsa and his cultural ways. It was difficult to real all of Book I since it was just about him and his beginnings to where we left off in Deathhouse Gates. The good news is that even though I still don’t like him per say I was rooting for him later in the book. His character went through a lot of changes so by the end of this book I grew to enjoy his arc and I have high hopes for him.
“You have learned much, Karsa Orlong."
"I have, T'lan Imass. As you shall witness.”
The good news about travelling with Tevore and the Malazans is that we get to be with what is left of the Bridgeburners, Coltain’s wounded that were saved and some of the other wiccan clans. I don’t really like Tevore if only for what she was prepared to do to her sister. So while she isn’t my favorite I did love being with Strings a.k.a. Fiddler and some other all stars from the prior books.
Sharik, Heboric, Felisin and a slew of others had an strange and interesting tale. I will say that while Sharik wasn’t my favorite I did like Heboric and Felisin the younger quite a bit. Heboric’s change in this was actually one of my favorite parts since I really did want the once priest to find purpose again and it seems that maybe another god saw something in him too. But the most memorable point driven home again was that if in a fantasy world of any kind never drink the tea, it doesn’t go well fore anyone. Just ask Alice, Nynaeve, Egwene or the ever murderous Marquel.
There is some stuff with Apsalar and Crocus but they didn’t get a lot of time and in the end I didn’t really understand what happened between them. But the crazy dude who is a priest for Shadowthrone in middle of the desert and his many spidered wife are hilarious. So I did enjoy when they ended up there.
There is the big buildup going into the end and then it sort of fizzled out when we were supposed to get a big battle. I know that SE did it like that on purpose but still I guess I just wanted a bigger battle sequence after all that time getting to it. Don’t get me wrong there is still some very cool stuff that happens and I especially liked what happened to the Dog Killers but I wanted Tevore and Sharik’s story line to end a little differently I guess.
One of the more followable books in the series for me. But between warrens, gods, ascendants and races it is so hard to keep track of everything.
Top reviews from other countries
His writing is vivid and compelling, never overtly moralistic, and leaves the reader satisfied and with a distinct impression that there was much more going on than the author chose to reveal.
Erikson rarely explains things directly, leaving the reader to put it all together for him- or herself. The Malazan Empire and surrounding continents are realised with originality and unsurpassed complexity, which really bring the places, civilisations and people to life in the mind’s eye.
With not an Elf or an Orc to be seen (at least, Erikson would never explicitly call them by those names), this is a fantasy writer deserving of much wider acclaim. The whole series of novels is inspired and (literally) fantastic, but this particular book stands out: Karsa Orlong stands head and shoulders above Conan!
Each strand exists separately and yet I know there is a grand construction being pulled together here, with as many new strands emerging as there are strands coming together to form the fabric of the series.
Details, descriptions, emotions: all are present in a novel you'd expect to be studied in an A Level class rather than a standard fantasy - heavy on action, light on literature. These tales are a pleasure to read and once more I highly recommend this book even as I race onto the next!
Author of the sci-fi fantasy series Folio 55, Books 1 & 2 (End of a Girl, Undon), available now on Amazon.
The issue with the novel is, that the back would give you the idea that it was a showdown between Tavore and Felisin, whilst it really isn't. The first quarter of the book is a flashback, explaing the character and presence of Toblaki in Deadhouse gates. The rest is so concerned with various storylines that the promised showdown falls flat on its face. This only jars me because I was led to believe that this book was a "end to the first half" of the series, and I was hoping to take a break to let my wallet and my studies recover....sadly not so, I remain gripped as ever. And in truth, the climax was still excellent, just more a battle of assassins in which giant dogs, ghosts and a very angry Toblaki wander into the mix. There is little else in the book that I can openly criticise, the plot lines remain as strong as ever, and as always, erikson gives us copious amounts of philosophical musing, bizarre comedy and sheer randomness. As we have come to expect from him, not everything is answered, and thus we must keep reading until the bitter end. The next novel in the series is excellent, and I believe that the Bonehunters is currently residing in my postbox.