Esslemont's "Blood and Bone" - Out November 22nd (UK)

Lenny

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2012 will ever be known as the year in which we got not one, not two, but three Malazan novels! Orb Sceptre Throne in January, Forge of Darkness in August, and next week/December Blood and Bone, Ian C. Esslemont's fifth visit to the Malazan universe.

From Amazon:

In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expedition in a bid to tame the neighbouring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by a powerful entity who some name the Queen of Witches and some a goddess: the ancient Ardata.

Saeng grew up knowing only the rule of the magus Thaumaturgs - but it was the voices from that land's forgotten past that she listened to. And when her rulers launch their invasion of this jungle, those voices send her and her brother on a desperate mission.

To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign warleader, a veteran commander in battered ashen mail men call the Grey Ghost. This warrior leads these tribes on a raid unlike any other, deep into the heart of Thaumaturg lands.

While word comes to K'azz, and mercenary company the Crimson Guard, of a contract in Jacuruku. And their employer? Could it be the goddess herself...
It's out on November 22nd here in the UK, December 3rd in Australia (I've just realised that you guys don't have Amazon! Incredible), and December 17th in America.

I'm finding FoD a real slog (I've been reading it since the date it was released, and I'm still only halfway through :(), but now I've got a reason to finish it I think I'll just have to power through!
 

Koopa

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Blood and Bone any good?
I've been holdong back because the setting and the characters involved seemed like just a small side story
 

Lenny

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After two chapters, I'm enjoying it far more than I did Forge of Darkness. Sure, Esslemont still isn't half the writer Erikson is (and it shows in some of his sentences that read like they were written by Dan Brown), but the book is more fun.

My problem with FoD (and to some extent the later Malazan Book of the Fallen tomes) was that it spent far too long letting the characters ruminate on the nature of existence. BaB, on the other hand, is more like the earlier MBotF books - we have the storyline that most people will want to skip (there's one in every book - I like to call it the "Mhybe POV"), a set of ex-Malazan mercenaries teaming up with Spite, a group of the Crimson Guard, a big army on the warpath, and a smaller army on another warpath. All this is set up in the Prologue, so I'm not spoiling anything.

In the grand scheme of things, it might as well be a small side story, and like Esslemont's other books it's standalone fare that adds extra meat to the MBotF saga. In terms of chronology with the series, my guess so far is that it sits around Dust of Dreams and Stonewielder. It's definitely after Return of the Crimson Guard, and before the end of The Crippled God.
 

Lenny

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My my... I've only just finished Blood and Bone. I stand by my initial assessment that I enjoyed it more than Forge of Darkness (even if FoD had the better ending), but BaB still ended up being quite a slog.

It's not a bad book, and I'm surprised to discover that in the end I didn't mind which POV I was reading (I can't even remember which I deemed the "Mhybe POV"), but it never seems to get going on the scale that other Malazan books do. I also think that, maybe, there were too many POVs, which left them all more shallow than you'd expect.

So, BaB is not a book I would jump at the chance to read again, but it's not one that I will actively avoid when my inevitable read-through of the series comes around again.

---

On the subject of BaB possibly being a small side-story... I don't think that any more. It is another book that deals with the Crimson Guard, and it sets up Esslemont's next book, which we know is going to be on Assail.
 

Bugg

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I have yet to read Stonewielder, Orb Sceptre Throne, or this one, but am planning to do so when I take on my next complete re-read (which, I suppose, actually makes it my first complete re-read . . . ), which I will start some time soonish :)
 
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