The return of the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard, could not have come at a worse time for a Malazan Empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries. Indeed, there are those who wonder whether the Empress Laseen might not be losing her grip on power as she faces increasing unrest as conquered kingdoms and principalities sense freedom once more.
Into the seething cauldron of Quon Tali - the Empire's heartland - marches the Guard. With their return comes the memory of the Empire - and yet all is not well with the Guard itself. Elements within its elite, the Avowed, have set their sights on far greater power. There are ancient entities who also seek to further their own arcane ends. And what of the swordsman called Traveller who, with his companion Ereko, has gone in search of a confrontation from which none have ever returned?
As the Guard prepares to wage war, so Laseen's own generals and mages, the "Old Hands," grow impatient at what they see as her mismanagement of the Empire. But could Laseen have outwitted them all? Could she be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors from the days of her illustrious predecessor, Kellanved?
©2008 Ian Cameron Esslemont (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks, all rights reserved.
The story is awesome and ICE really stand up to Erikson in this book. However the narration didn't work for me, at all. This is literally the first audiobook I had to quit listening and ended up reading on kindle exclusively. I simply could not stand Mr Banks performance for some reason. Coming from the Malazan universe, don't expect anything close to Michael Page or Ralph Lister.
Love the book and performance.
However there were 4 minutes way out of order. The last 4 minutes of "chapter 30" are very clearly supposed to be in an earlier chapter, I believe 28 or 29. I was very confused until I checked my hard copy of the book. I can't explain better without spoilers. Still five stars from me though.
The long reach of perspective across time, and books. Lots of pots on the stove cooking, some for now, some for later.
When the girl from the boat was distraught by the traveler.
You are often brought intuitively to the same decision as a character.
While the style is different, Mr. Esslemont stays true to the Malazan series I love so much. I was entranced through the entire story, and am left bereft that it has ended. I can not wait until the next book in his series is released.
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