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Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy) Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Kharkanas Trilogy Series

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Hardcover, September 18, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steven Erikson is an archaeologist and anthropologist. His New York Times bestselling Malazan Book of the Fallen has met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. The first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award. The second novel, Deadhouse Gates, was voted one of the ten best fantasy novels of 2000 by SF Site. After completing this now internationally bestselling series, he continued with Forge of Darkness, the first volume in a new epic fantasy trilogy which takes readers back to the origins of the Malazan world. He lives in Canada. Find him online at www.steven-erikson.com.

From Booklist

The creator of the vast and vastly popular Malazan Book of the Fallen now launches a trilogy intended to provide the background for the original 10-volume epic. In Kurald Galain, the Warren of Darkness, Mother Dark herself is supposed to reign and, incidentally, keep all the various magical forces at least minimally under control. But she has married a foreigner, Lord Draconus--always a questionable move when there’s a rival for her hand. In this case, the rival is the hero of the people, Vatha Urusander, and this rivalry is generating tension and intrigues on an alarming scale. Not the least alarmed are the three Sons of Darkness, who wonder whether their heritage, Purake Hold, will survive the time of troubles. Readers who have survived the original saga (more than a few) will certainly jump into this one, and new readers may besiege the libraries because of Erikson’s epic’s resemblance to George R. R. Martin’s best-selling Game of Thrones. --Roland Green

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Product Details

  • Series: The Kharkanas Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780765323569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765323569
  • ASIN: 0765323567
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Whitehead on September 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
It is more than a quarter of a million years before the time of the Malazan Empire. In this ancient age, the Tiste race is divided between noble families and bickering militias, trying to find their place in the world following the devastating wars against the Forulkan and the Jheleck. When the Tiste ruler, Mother Dark, takes the obscure Draconus as lover and consort, the noble houses are incensed and the seeds are sowed for civil war and religious conflict.

Forge of Darkness is the first novel in The Kharkanas Trilogy, a prequel series to Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. This trilogy will chart the splintering of the Tiste race into the three sub-races seen in the main series book (the Andii, the Liosan and the Edur) and explain much of the ancient backstory to the series. Some characters from the main series - such as Anomander Rake, Silchas Ruin, Hood and Gothos - appear here as much younger, far less experienced figures. However, those hoping for I, Anomander Rake will likely feel disappointed. Rake is a central character in the events unfolding and appears a few times, but much of the action takes place around new, much less important characters. Also, while the story is set more than 300,000 years before Gardens of the Moon, this isn't the alpha-point of the entire Malazan universe. Tiste society is many thousands of years old when the story opens and Rake, Mother Dark, Ruin and Draconus are already important characters with significant histories in place.

Instead, the trilogy is much more concerned with clarification of events in the main series books and explaining why certain things are the way they are.
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Format: Hardcover
My personal experience with prequels has been that too often they have a going-through-the-motions feel to them, as if the author is mechanically connecting the dots, reverse-engineering the novel from characters and events laid out in the original story: " Explained why they call that thingamabob a "graggle"? Check. Explained why everyone wears red now? Check. Why Character A is a jerk? Check." While this may result in some readerly satisfaction--"Oh, so that's why it's a graggle. Cool!"--it seldom creates an organically compelling storyline or rich characterization. These problems are compounded by the fact that we know where story and characters are heading, thus robbing the prequel at the outset of narrative tension and reducing the opportunities for those joyful moments of discovery.

So how does Steven Erikson deal with these potential pitfalls in Forge of Darkness, the first novel of a trilogy set before his massive Malazan Book of the Fallen (MBoF) series? He sets the prequel so far in the past--thousands of years--that any lines connecting the dots have either long since faded out of sight over the horizon (because events and people have been forgotten) or have curved out of joint (because events and people were distorted into myth), thus freeing himself from the plot/character constraints that dog so many prequels.

The truly brilliant twist in Erikson's method, however, is that many of his characters are so long-lived that they actually span that time period. You loved Anomander Rake in MBoF? No problem, he's still here. But because time has lost and/or distorted so much, you can still be surprised by him because a lot of what you thought you knew was wrong or wasn't the full story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Forge of Darkness is the first book in the Kharkanas Trilogy. It is a prequel trilogy, taking place hundreds of thousands of years before the immense Malazan Books of the Fallen. Its focus will be the splintering of the Tiste people--what happened and why.

Structurally, this seems to be a real change from how Erikson wrote all of the MBoF. In that series, even though there were continuing storylines, each book seemed to be more self-contained, with climaxes built into each volume. So, for example, we got the Chain of Dogs story, which climaxed and had resolution within a single volume, although there were characters and storylines which continued into subsequent volumes. The Forge of Darkness, however, is structured more like the first volume in a traditional fantasy series. When it climaxes, it is rather a setup for the next volume in the series. There is no resolution to the storylines found here; this is buildup to the larger storyline.

In many other ways, this is a typical Steven Erikson novel. There is a massive pool of characters, with revolving POVs from many of them. Even though it is set hundreds of thousands of years before the MBoF, there's already lots of hazy backstory that we learn about through rumor and speculation. Characters are prone to rumination and philosophizing.

Many familiar characters appear here: Gothos, Draconus, Anomander Rake, Silchas Ruin, just to name a few. No, we don't get POVs from any of these high level characters. That duty falls to numerous other friends, relations, vassals, etc who live and act around these familiar names.

If you've made your way through all 10 books of The Malazan Books of the Fallen, then absolutely you'll want to read this.
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