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Night of Knives: A Novel of the Melazan Empire Paperback – International Edition, July 3, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Malazan Empire Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Steven Erickson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series only hints at the empire's distant history, which Esslemont, cocreator of the original world, explores in this dark, powerful novel (first published in the U.K. in 2004) and its planned sequels. On a Shadow Moon night on the Isle of Malaz, dead souls rise and demonlike hounds attack any who dare to leave their homes. Knowing that Emperor Kellanved is prophesied to use the Shadow Moon for his own ends, the emperor's enemies gather on the small island for their own nefarious purposes, starting a plot that spirals into bloody violence. Esslemont nails the feel and flavor of Erickson's books and brings the historical characters to life with a dexterity that will win over even the most skeptical fans. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Esslemont nails the feel and flavor of Erickson's books and brings the historical characters to life with a dexterity that will win over even the most skeptical fans.” ―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Enticing introduction to the Malazan series.” ―Library Journal

Night of Knives marked the first installment of the shared world we had both envisioned.” ―Steven Erikson

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; Export ed edition (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593057821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593057827
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,482,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Night of Knives is the first addition to the Malazan series by Ian C. Esslemont (ICE). The fantasy world featured in the Malazan Book of the Fallen was co-created by ICE and Steven Erikson, who has published 7 full-length novels and 3 novellas set in the world.

I loved Steven Erikson's works and was worried to see the world in the hands of another author. However, ICE did not let me down. Night of Knives features all the epic fantasy storytelling action that I've come to expect in a Malazan novel. He has shown the potential to write a series just as grand and Erikson's.

The story takes place before the action of all the other novels. The story is told mostly through the perspective of two characters: Temper, a retired veteran of many campaigns, and Kiska and young female talent with aspirations for greatness. Many characters from Erikson's works are featured and we get to learn more about there background. Dassem Ultor, Surly, Topper, The Claw, The Talon, Tayschrenn, Kellanved , Dancer, Edgewalker all show up. We also get to meet some new Bridgeburners! The events all unfold over a 24 hr period, the night of the Shadow Moon when it is rumored that Emperor Kellanved and his lieutenant Dancer will return after years of traveling the world. A proposition not everyone is thrilled about.

This book is a must read for any fan of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Though I recommend not reading this until after completing all of Erikson's current novels. It will spoil some plot points and reveals in Erikson's stories.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Ian C Esslemont's first entry in the world he shares with Erikson. It's a different style, more expository, wonderfully describes and realizes the setting of Malaz City, and follows two characters instead of...well, a bunch. He makes the world seen in Erikson's works his own, which makes sense since he did cocreate it.

However, it simply isn't of the same quality. It's nice that the events take place over the course of one night instead of an extended period time, as this adds a degree of action and suspense to the story. And it elaborates upon how Kellanved and Dancer ascended, something hardcore fans of the series such as myself can appreciate.

But both of these aspects of Night of Knives, it's strongest positives, also contribute to it's strongest negatives. Because of the confines of the story's timeline and setting (one night, one city) it is much less complex than Erikson's works, and is at times a bit too simplistic. Someone expecting a story of the same depth and quality will be very disappointed.

Second, the plot is good, but not great. It zooms along and has an exciting climax, but the major event of this book is the ascending of Kellanved and Dancer...and yet we hardly ever see them except for two times each, and don't receive any development or insight into their characters whatsoever. There is still plenty for Mala-fans to enjoy, such as some great moments with Tayschrenn and Dassemer Ultor, but not as much as they might hope. I read this after Memories of Ice and understood everything that was going on. Still, as a standalone fantasy, it really doesn't have that much to offer, as fans unfamiliar with the Malazan Empire and the importance of the events they are reading about will probably just be bored and confused.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Malazan World was created by Steve Erikson who writes the "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series and by Ian Esslemont who writes the "Malazan Empire" series . This book is the first of the Malazan Empire books and covers events before Gardens of the Moon.

I've read online that the best way to read the Malazan Book of the Fallen is to read them in order and skip Esslemont's books. The only reason I read NoKs now is that I finished the Bonehunters and knew some of the NoKs characters made appearances in it and also because Cotillion is one of my favorite characters and also I am very interested in Dassem and his back story.

I found the first half of the book to be really boring. One thing that drove me crazy was how no one was given a name at the beginning. It was always "the bald man", "the man in grey she first followed", "the man with scars" etc. It made it hard to focus on characters or know which person was being referenced.

I thought Kiska was whiny and annoying and every other page she was getting captured by someone - it was just ridiculous. I did like Temper and I liked the flashbacks to Y'Ghatan and Dassem (although I didn't get much in the way of answers). I found it really disappointing that Kellanved and Dancer were barely in the book.

Overall I just didn't find NoK to be as engaging or interesting as Erikson's books. I'm sure I'll read the rest of the Malazan Empire books, but not until I finish with the Book of the Fallen.
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Format: Paperback
Night of Knives is the first addition to the Malazan series by Ian C. Esslemont (ICE). The fantasy world featured in the Malazan Book of the Fallen was co-created by ICE and Steven Erikson, who has published 7 full-length novels and 3 novellas set in the world.

I loved Steven Erikson's works and was worried to see the world in the hands of another author. However, ICE did not let me down. Night of Knives features all the epic fantasy storytelling action that I've come to expect in a Malazan novel. He has shown the potential to write a series just as grand and Erikson's.

The story takes place before the action of all the other novels. The story is told mostly through the perspective of two characters: Temper, a retired veteran of many campaigns, and Kiska and young female talent with aspirations for greatness. Many characters from Erikson's works are featured and we get to learn more about there background. Dassem Ultor, Surly, Topper, The Claw, The Talon, Tayschrenn, Kellanved , Dancer, Edgewalker all show up. We also get to meet some new Bridgeburners! The events all unfold over a 24 hr period, the night of the Shadow Moon when it is rumored that Emperor Kellanved and his lieutenant Dancer will return after years of traveling the world. A proposition not everyone is thrilled about.

This book is a must read for any fan of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Though I recommend not reading this until after completing all of Erikson's current novels. It will spoil some plot points and reveals in Erikson's stories.
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