- Mass Market Paperback: 843 pages
- Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (February 7, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765348799
- ISBN-13: 978-0765348791
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 35.3 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (388 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Deadhouse Gates: A Tale of The Malazan Book of the Fallen Mass Market Paperback – February 7, 2006
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*Starred Review* The second of the projected 10 volumes of the Malazan Book of the Fallen raises the stakes set by Gardens of the Moon [BKL My 15 04]. From the Holy Desert Raraku, in the land of the Seven Cities, the seer Sha'ik sends her followers out on a holy war known as the Whirlwind. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the current violent Islamic jihad, but Erikson's scholarship is sufficiently thorough to enable him to avoid simpleminded likeness making. His imagination is also sufficient to bring the setting of the Seven Cities vividly to life, although his realism is rather literally gritty, including a great deal of sand and gravel that will inevitably recall for some readers a country in which American troops are now fighting. The opposition to the Whirlwind is varied but includes the inevitable mercenaries, limned in the manner that stems from David Drake's sf and in fantasy is practiced particular skillfully by Glen Cook. Erikson is making his dark characters and grisly battles very much his own, however, and fantasy readers with a strong appetite for world building and action ought to enjoy his efforts. Whether they'll stay for all 10 volumes is another matter, but so far, so good. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Give me the evocation of a rich, complex and yet ultimately unknowable other world, with a compelling suggestion of intricate history and mythology and lore. Give me mystery amid the grand narrative. Give me a world in which every sea hides a crumbled Atlantis, every ruin has a tale to tell, every mattock blade is a silent legacy of struggles unknown. Give me, in other words, the fantasy work of Steven Erikson. Erikson is a master of lost and forgotten epochs, a weaver of ancient epics on a scale that would approach absurdity if it wasn't so much fun.” ―Andrew Leonard, Salon.com on The Malazan Book of the Fallen
“Steven Erikson afflicts me with awe. Vast in scope, almost frighteningly fecund in imagination, and rich in sympathy, his work does something that only the rarest of books can manage: it alters the reader's perceptions of reality.” ―Stephen R. Donaldson on Deadhouse Gates
“I stand slack-jawed in awe of The Malazan Book of the Fallen. This masterwork of imagination may be the high water mark of epic fantasy. This marathon of ambition has a depth and breadth and sense of vast reaches of inimical time unlike anything else available today. The Black Company, Zelazny's Amber, Vance's Dying Earth, and other mighty drumbeats are but foreshadowings of this dark dragon's hoard.” ―Glen Cook on The Malazan Book of the Fallen
“One of the best fantasy novels of the year.” ―SF Site on Deadhouse Gates
“Rare is the writer who so fluidly combines a sense of mythic power and depth of world, with fully realized characters and thrilling action, but Steven Erikson manages it spectacularly. The books are reminiscent of Tolkein's scope, Zelazny's cleverness and wit, and Donaldson's brooding atmospherics; yet all combined with dazzling talent into a narrative flow that keeps the reader turning pages. Some writers open windows on worlds, Erikson opens worlds and makes them so real, so magical, you're not sure if you can escape-and I don't want to.” ―Michael A. Stackpole on Deadhouse Gates
“Such is the impact of the first book in Erikson's monumental Malazan saga, Gardens of the Moon, that the achievement of this sequel is doubly surprising. Not only is the vigour and sweep of the earlier book effortlessly captured, the complex plot is simultaneously deepened and accelerated, with a grasp of tempo that has the reader inexorably gripped . . . Roll on, book three!” ―The Good Book Guide on Deadhouse Gates
“Gripping, fast-moving, delightfully dark, with a masterful and unapologetic brutality reminiscent of George R. R. Martin. Steven Erikson brings a punchy, mesmerizing writing style into the genre of epic fantasy, making an indelible impression. Utterly engrossing.” ―Elizabeth Haydon on Deadhouse Gates
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Top Customer Reviews
I finished up page 598 of Deadhouse Gates, and my next act was to go to my library's website and put the third book in the series, Memories of Ice, on hold.
Deadhouse Gates is Erikson's second entry in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, which, despite its rather clumsy series name, is bang-up stuff. Few authors write martial scenes quite this well in high fantasy; Tolkein's final battle in Return of the King, Elizabeth Moon's depictions of day-to-day troop life in The Deed of Paksennarion, just about every aspect of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Yes, I'd rank Erikson with those three. Easily.
Readers of Gardens of the Moon may find themselves slightly confused when opening up Deadhouse Gates, no doubt because it takes place half a world away from Darujhistan, the city at the heart of Gardens of the Moon. You'll remember that everyone was worried, at the end of that novel, about something called the Pannion Seer. Well, you'll not see the Pannion Seer, nor most of the surviving characters from Gardens of the Moon, here (from the description I just read, that tale continues in Memories of Ice). Instead, a select few characters have fled east across the sea for various reasons, and only they link the tales.
Like Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates is an ensemble tale, but is even more sprawling in scope; at any given time, Erikson is following between two and six plot threads in alternating sections of any given chapter. There are four main plot threads, through they meander towards and away from each other, split off, and join together differently, throughout the text. The first concerns a trio pressed into slavery-- an ex-priest of Fener the Boar God, a noble-born teen, and a barbarian, none of whom seem to have anything in common, yet who are forced by circumstances to forge an uneasy bond. The second revolves around Duiker, the Imperial Historian (mentioned, but never met, in Gardens of the Moon), who accompanies the Seventh Army on a grueling overland journey from the northern city of Hissar to the southern city of Aren. The third involves Crokus, Apsalar, and Fiddler, three of the characters from Gardens of the Moon, who have come east to try and get Apsalar home to her father. The fourth involves another refugee, Kalam, who has come east for decidedly different means.
Deadhouse Gates is, essentially, a tale of journeys. In epic fantasy series (and this one is truly epic in scope; the first three books alone total close to twenty-five hundred pages), the book of journeys, or the book of transitions, is often the weakest in the series (cf. Martin's A Clash of Kings, or King's The Waste Lands). Erikson, on the other hand, has crafted an amazing piece of work in Deadhouse Gates, investing the journeys, and the underlying transitions, with more than enough action and intelligence to keep the reader going, while still getting all the boring stuff out of the way under the surface. Everyone gets where they're going, all the plot threads are eventually sewn up (except those left as obvious hooks into the remainder of the series), all the details that one almost expects, these days, to see disappear into the dust of all these riders on their journeys come to satisfying conclusions. Erikson's eye for detail is truly astounding in some cases.
One word of warning, though, in case you hadn't yet realized it after reading Gardens of the Moon. Erikson is just as hard on his main characters as is George R. R. Martin; some of the characters in this novel have a decidedly Janet Leigh air about them, but Erikson never once, in the hundreds of pages before he dispatches them, lets you know which ones they'll be, and their deaths often come with the same surprise (and surprisingly-felt sorrow) as the surprising death at the climax of A Game of Thrones (the identity of the victim of which I shall not reveal here to spare those handful of you who have not yet started that equally brilliant series).
An incredible piece of work, quite likely to find its way onto my Best-I-Read list for 2005. **** ½
Ok, did you read Gardens of the Moon? Did you like it? Then you will like Deadhouse Gates. Erikson's writing is more assured, his characters are better, he has become a more confident skillful writer. He’s also slyly funny. It sneaks up on you because you don’t really expect it in the “grimdark” world he has created. If you didn't like Gardens of the Moon at all, this probably won't change you on the series but if you liked it but found it too confusing or weird, give Deadhouse Gates a try and see if the chain of dogs doesn't bring you on board.
Deadhouse Gates takes place after Gardens of the Moon but is not a direct continuation of that story, some of the characters reappear (Fiddler, Kalam) but many are new (Coltaine is an all-time great character, Heboric, Icarium and Mappo Tell and Baudin aren't bad either). DG takes place on the continent of Seven Cities as the Malazan forces are facing revolt and rebellion from the locals know as the Whirlwind and led by a prophet named Sha'ik in the Holy Desert Raraku. There are 3 major plot lines, Felisin Paran (sister of Ganoes Paran from GotM) is sent to a prison mine at the behest of her sister, Kalam and Fiddler, using returning Apsalar to her home as an excuse, plan to kill the Empress and newly promoted Imprerial Fist Coltaine must lead 30,000 refuges across an entire continent steps ahead of a rebellious army. I loved Coltaine's story and kept wanting to get back the to the 7th army and the trail of refugees they were
I also started to understand the scope of the series in this one, the hundreds of years of history, the dozens of races, empires that rose and crumbled, Gods of varying power and ascendancy. I believe Erikson has a plan for all of this, something that’s hard to see in just one book, but when you read the second you can see the threads start to emerge. It’s as though each book is a battle in a war that the characters don’t even know they are in yet, the reader doesn’t even know where the battle lines are drawn, but after reading this one, I trust that Erikson does and I’m onboard to find out, even if he only shows hints of the grander stage here and there through the narrative.
He starts with the land. What are the characteristics of the land? How did it shape the people, the civilization, and the wildlife. Then he goes deeper. What is the spirit of the land? What lies under the land in past civilizations? How did they change the land? Are their spirits chained to the land? What magic runs through it? I believe given his education everything starts the surface layer and then every and any detail going up, down, left, right and in spiritual or magical directions we cannot see are all factored in and meshed together in astonishing detail where what seems like unrelated all becomes interconnected.
Then he takes the human element into account in the same multilayered fashion. No character is without fault. Every character is bound by motivation. They have failing, triumphs, tragedies, hopes, moments of despair. The push and pull of luck, gods, magic and everything else in the universe guiding them to where they never thought to be.
And that’s without talking about the brilliant prose he uses in describing this incredible world.
When you blend all that together it redefines the term epic. Perhaps the best book I’ve ever read. Better still………I’ve only finished book two!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
MBOTF II was just as good as the first.
Best books I've read in quite some time. Four more words required.