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Orb Sceptre Throne: A Novel of the Malazan Empire (Novels of the Malazan Empire) Hardcover – May 22, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in the Malazan Empire Series

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Hardcover, May 22, 2012
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Editorial Reviews


Esslemont ... spins a tale of adventure and history that is both weighty and electrifying, both breakneck and intricate.... A worthy and satisfying installment.

About the Author

IAN CAMERON ESSLEMONT grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has studied archaeology and creative writing, has traveled extensively in South East Asia, and lived in Thailand and Japan for several years. He now lives in Alaska with his wife and children and is currently working on another novel set in the world of Malaz, a world he co-created with Steven Erikson.


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Product Details

  • Series: Novels of the Malazan Empire (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765329964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765329967
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
"Orb Sceptre Throne: A Novel of the Malazan Empire" is a standalone book in the ongoing Malazan series by author Ian C. Esslemont. This book is available in both paperback and e-book form. The paperback edition is 608 pages in length and retails for $12.91, while the Kindle e-version sell for $9.99.

General theme <spoilers> No specific detail revealed.

The continent of Genbackis has be living in relative quiet for some years now. That is until Scholar Ebbin uncovers a malevolent artifact in a sealed tomb. Some things are better left undisturbed and buried.

End <spoilers>

Some thoughts on "Orb Sceptre Throne"...

The Pros:
1.a) as with nearly all Malazan novels, this one starts with several seemingly unrelated story lines. These individual tales of course, eventually come together at the end.
1.b) all 'stories' are told in fairly short segments, i.e. there are no prolonged gaps between individual subtales that leave the reader almost forgetting what has gone on before.

2.) generally well written with interesting dialogues and a sprinkling of humor.

3.) an intriguing story filled with intrigue, betrayals, clandestine plotting, battles both individual and between armies, plus many unexpected twists and turns.

4.) some solid character development

5.) reacquaintance with several old Malazan characters from previous novels (See Cons: 1 below)

6.) two maps... a great map of the city of Darujhistan (the main locale for this novel) and a second map of the southern part of Genbackis (see Cons: 3 below).

The Cons:
1.) lack of knowledge of previous Malazan books...
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It has been a real pleasure to watch the development of Ian Cameron Esslemont as a writer. Both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard were solid offerings but burdened with problems of pacing and character, though RotCG showed some improvement. Each seemed pretty clearly the product of a new author. Stonewielder, the third of Esslemont's Malazan novels was a big jump forward in terms of quality and craft; though it shared some of its predecessors' flaws, they were less frequent and less detrimental to the overall reading experience. I'm happy to say that trend continues with Esslemont's newest--Orb, Sceptre, Throne, which I found to be his most thoroughly enjoyable book yet, though it had a few minor issues and one to be honest quite large one. In the end, there's a part of me that happily ate the book up, and a part of me that had some digestive issues. But more on that later.

Orb, Sceptre, Throne focuses on events at Darujhistan and takes place roughly at the same time as the events of Stonewielder and The Crippled God, as several asides make clear. The major storyline is the rise of the ancient Tyrant that once ruled the city and his attempts to consolidate his rule while others try and stop him. Caught up in this are those we might expect (and perhaps a few surprises), including but not limited to: our group of retired Bridgeburners (Picker, Blend, Duiker, et. al, some resident assassins (Rallick Now, Vorcan), Kruppe of course, Torvald Nom, Barathol Mekhar, Lady Envy, Leff and Scorch, Baruk, Aragan (now ambassador to Darujhistan), and Caladan Brood. Another storyline involves Antsy's journey to the fallen remnants of Moon's Spawn, which have become a magnet to treasure-seekers from across the continent.
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Having just finished a re-read of the entire Malazan series, I dove into this one looking forward to seeing where a couple of the loose story lines ended up (Humble Measure, Tayschrenn, Leoman). While Esslemont did finish these three character plots off for us, nearly everything else about this book was a complete disappointment. This is the second of Esslemont's books I've tried to enjoy, and it will be the last.

1. It jumps around too much. Esslemont jumps constantly from character to character, sometimes spending no more than a page or two with each. While this works okay in small doses and when the action is intense enough to call for it - an entire book in this style is tedious at best.
2. Characters are hardly recognizable. While I wouldn't expect Esslemont to exactly match Erikson's characters, none of the named characters seem remotely like their Erikson namesakes. Kruppe is just oily and baffling - not humorous, articulate, or clever. Leoman is smug and lazy. Antsy just whines a lot, but not the humorous whining of the series or clever anxiety that gives him his name. Just whiny. Spindle is only recognizable because Esslemont continously reminds us of his hairshirt. I could go on, but you get the idea.
3. The two plot lines don't really coalesce at any point. Without spoilers, I couldn't figure out why he combined the two storylines at all into one book. Either would have made a great story if told better, but together they just came across as incomplete, rushed, and disjointed.
4. Inconsistencies were irritating. From an often-discussed gender change for one of the Elder gods, to numerous physical inconsistencies - they're all over the place.
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