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Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy) Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While the many insightful reviews above are excellent, I just wanted to add one note: the increasingly nihilistic element in Erikson's writing. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Davie 44
Erickson continues to stun with the depth of his characters and the evocative power of his scenes. Having read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series through a couple times, I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tyrone Reyes
Erikson has done it again. This book is beautifully written, although the overall feel of the book is tragic.
A fantastic read. Read more
The ideas in this book are awesome, but everything is buried in to much thinking. Every character seems to think and express themselves exactly the same. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chris Schulte
This is the crisp, poetic literary writing that so endeared me to Mr. Erikson. The "Crippled God" was a complete let down. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John
Set before the events of the Malazan decology, this first volume of the history of the Tiste presents a riveting story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by CHAD W SIMMONS
A solid return to the world of Erikson's Malazan series. The book gives an interesting glimpse into the shaping of many characters that feature prominently in Erikson's series.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Too many plots with no real story. The language makes it hard to read and drags too much. Only one of the stories is worth following but that's only about 20% of the whole bookPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer