Malazan Book of the Fallen

Malazan Book of the Fallen
Malazan Book of the Fallen  
The cover of The Crippled God, the tenth and final book in the series.
Author(s) Steven Erikson
Language English
Genre(s) High fantasy
Publisher Bantam Books
Publication date 1 April 1999 - 21 February 2011
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 7705 (UK; First 8 novels in paperback form)
7028 (UK; all 10 novels in UK hardcover)

The Malazan Book of the Fallen is an epic fantasy series written by Canadian author Steven Erikson, published in ten volumes beginning with the novel Gardens of the Moon, published in 1999. The series was completed with the publication of The Crippled God in February 2011. Erikson's series is complex with a wide scope, and presents the narratives of a large cast of characters.[1][2][2][3][4][5] Erikson's plotting presents a complicated series of events in the world upon which the Malazan Empire is located. Each volume is relatively self-contained for the first five novels, in that the primary conflict of each novel is resolved within that novel. However, many underlying characters and events are interwoven throughout the works of the series, binding it together.

The Malazan world was co-created by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont in the early 1980s as a backdrop to their GURPS roleplaying campaign.[6] In 2005, Esslemont began publishing his own series of five novels set in the same world, beginning with Night of Knives. Although Esslemont's books are published under a different series title - Novels of the Malazan Empire - Esslemont and Erikson collaborated on the storyline for the entire fifteen-book project and Esslemont's novels are considered as canonical and integral to the series as Erikson's own.

The Malazan series is often compared both to Glen Cook's The Black Company series (to whom the seventh book is dedicated) and George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. By 2006, the series had sold 250,000 copies.[7]


The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series

# Title Pages Words 1st Publication
1 Gardens of the Moon 768 203,896 1 April 1999
2 Deadhouse Gates 943 266,260 1 September 2000
3 Memories of Ice 1187 345,755 6 December 2001
4 House of Chains 1021 307,427 2 December 2002
5 Midnight Tides 940 272,724 1 March 2004
6 The Bonehunters 1232 362,804 1 March 2006
7 Reaper's Gale 1280 386,342 7 May 2007
8 Toll the Hounds 1296 391,897 30 June 2008
9 Dust of Dreams 1280 379,326 18 August 2009
10 The Crippled God 944 383,595 15 February 2011
Totals: 10,891 3,300,026 11 years, 10 months, 14 days

Novellas in the Series

  1. Blood Follows (2002)
  2. The Healthy Dead (2004)
  3. The Lees of Laughter's End (2007)
  4. Crack’d Pot Trail (2009)[8]

Novels of the Malazan Empire

  1. Night of Knives (2004, written by Ian Cameron Esslemont).
  2. Return of the Crimson Guard (2008, written by Ian Cameron Esslemont).
  3. Stonewielder (2010, written by Ian Cameron Esslemont).
  4. Orb, Sceptre, Throne (2011, written by Ian Cameron Esslemont).

Other works

  • The Encyclopedia Malaz (forthcoming, to be written by Erikson and Esslemont and published some time after The Crippled God)


The Malazan world was originally created by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont in 1982 as a backdrop for role-playing games using a modified version of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.[9] By 1986, when the GURPS system had been adopted by Erikson and Esslemont,[6] the world had become much larger and more complex, approaching its current scope. It was then developed into a movie script entitled Gardens of the Moon. When this was not successful in finding interest, the two writers agreed to each write a series set in their shared world.[10] Steven Erikson wrote Gardens of the Moon as a novel in the period 1991-92 but it was not published until 1999. In the meantime, he wrote several non-fantasy novels. When he sold Gardens of the Moon, he agreed to a contract for an additional nine volumes in the series. The contract with Bantam UK was worth £675,000,[11] making it "among the largest fees ever paid for a fantasy series".[12]

Ian Cameron Esslemont's first published Malazan story, the novella Night of Knives, was released as a limited edition by PS Publishing in 2004 and as a mass-market hardcover by Bantam UK in 2007. The second novel, Return of the Crimson Guard, was published in 2008, with a limited PS Publishing edition preceding the larger-scale Bantam UK release. The third novel has the provisional title, Stonewielder. Steven Erikson has indicated that the two authors will collaborate on The Encyclopedia Malaz, an extensive guide to the series, which will be published following the last novel in the main sequence.[citation needed]


The series is not told in a linear fashion. Instead, several storylines progress simultaneously, with the individual novels moving backwards and forwards between them. As the series progresses, links between these storylines become more readily apparent. During a book signing in November 2005, Steven Erikson confirmed that the Malazan saga consists of three major story arcs, equating them to the points of a triangle.

The first plotline takes place on the continent of Genabackis where armies of the Malazan Empire are battling the native city-states for dominance. An elite Malazan military unit, the Bridgeburners, is the focus for this storyline, although as it proceeds their erstwhile enemies, the Tiste Andii led by Anomander Rake and the mercenaries commanded by Warlord Caladan Brood, also become prominent. The novel Gardens of the Moon depicts an attempt by the Malazans to seize control of the city of Darujhistan. Memories of Ice, the third novel released in the sequence, continues the unresolved plot threads from Gardens of the Moon by having the now-outlawed Malazan armies uniting with their former enemies to confront a new, mutual threat known as the Pannion Domin. Toll the Hounds, the eighth novel in the series, revisits Genabackis some years later as new threats arise to Darujhistan and the Tiste Andii who now control the city of Black Coral.

The second plotline takes place on the subcontinent of Seven Cities and depicts a major native uprising against Malazan rule. This rebellion is known as 'the Whirlwind'. The second novel released in the sequence, Deadhouse Gates, shows the outbreak of this rebellion and focuses on the rebels' relentless pursuit of the main Malazan army as it escorts some 40,000 refugees more than 1,500 miles (2,400 km) across the continent. The story of the pursuit, and the event itself, is referred to as the Chain of Dogs. The fourth novel, House of Chains, sees the continuation of this storyline with newly-arrived Malazan reinforcements – the 14th Army – taking the war to the rebels. The 14th's exploits earn them the nickname, 'The Bonehunters'.

The third plotline was introduced with Midnight Tides, the fifth book released in the series. This novel introduces a previously unknown continent where two nations, the united tribes of the Tiste Edur and the Empire of Lether, are engaged in escalating tensions, which culminate in open warfare. The novel takes place contemporaneously with earlier books in the sequence and the events in it are in fact being related in flashback by a character from the fourth volume to one of his comrades (although the novel itself is told in the traditional third-person form).

The sixth book, The Bonehunters, sees all three plot strands combined, with the now-reconciled Malazan army from Genabackis arriving in Seven Cities to aid in the final defeat of the rebellion. At the same time, fleets from the newly-proclaimed Letherii Empire are scouring the globe for worthy champions to face their immortal emperor in battle, in the process earning the enmity of elements of the Malazan Empire. The seventh novel, Reaper's Gale, sees the Malazan 14th Army arriving in Lether to take the battle to the Letherii homeland. The ninth novel, Dust of Dreams, picks up the storyline on the Lether continent and is expected to deal with the activities of the 14th Army following their successful 'liberation' of the Letherii people and the revelation that the K'Chain Che'Malle species has returned and is pursuing unknown goals in the east.

Ian Cameron Esslemont's novels are labeled as Novels of the Malazan Empire, not as parts of the Malazan Book of the Fallen itself, and deal primarily with the Malazan Empire, its internal politics and characters who only play minor roles in Erikson's novels. His first novel, Night of Knives, details events in Malaz City on the night that the Emperor Kellenvad was assassinated. The second, Return of the Crimson Guard, investigates the fall-out in the Malazan Empire from the devastating losses of the Genabackan, Korelri and Seven Cities campaigns following the events of The Bonehunters. Esslemont's third novel, Stonewielder, explores events on the Korelri continent for the first time in the series and focuses on the often-mentioned, rarely-seen character of Greymane. The forthcoming fourth novel, Orb, Sceptre and Throne, revisits Genbackis once again in the wake of Erikson's Toll the Hounds. Further comments by Esslemont and Erikson have hinted that Esslemont's fifth novel may visit the continent of Assail and the sixth, set on Jacuruku, will serve as a closing chapter and coda for the entire series.


It is difficult to work out a precise timeline for events in the series (due to some confusion with dates), but a rough chronological ordering is possible. The dates given are by Burn's Sleep, the calendar used in the Malazan Empire.

  • Night of Knives (1154)
  • Blood Follows (c. 1154)
  • The Lees of Laughter's End (c. 1154)
  • The Healthy Dead (c. 1158)
  • Midnight Tides (unknown but from internal evidence it occurs sometime during Gardens of the Moon and possibly up to ten years prior)
  • Gardens of the Moon (1163)
  • Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice (1163–64, these two novels occur simultaneously)
  • House of Chains
  • The Bonehunters (1164–65)
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (c. 1165, just after The Bonehunters)
  • Reaper's Gale (c. 1165 or 1166)
  • Toll the Hounds and Dust of Dreams (takes place simultaneously)
  • Stonewielder (estimated to start roughly half way through dust of dreams maybe a little later)
  • The Crippled God

- it has been hinted to that Esslemont's next 2 or possibly 3 books will take place shortly after the events of the crippled god and serve as a epilogue to the series

There are a few instances in Memories of Ice that hint at the events of Midnight Tides. Lady Envy travels to the city of Callows with one of her Seguleh, only to find the entire city destroyed. When she speaks to K'rul, he tells her that the destruction was carried out by a race of inhuman killers that are plying the world's oceans, seeking champions. The Seguleh champion mentioned in Reaper's Gale was found in the city of Gallows by the Tiste Edur. Another indication of Midnight Tides occurring simultaneously with the other two novels is a mysterious Tiste Edur that captain Paran's squad finds washed up on the shores, who can be assumed to be the same Tiste Edur teleported away at the end of Midnight Tides, Theradas Buhn.

In the case of the novellas, it should be noted that The Lees of Laughter's End is presented before The Healthy Dead (i.e. in chronological order, rather than publication order) in the compendium version of the novellas, and should be read as such.[13]

Characters of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

Races of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

There are numerous intelligent human, humanoid and non-human races on the Malazan world, divided into the four founding races of the Forkrul Assail, Jaghut, K'Chain Che'Malle and Imass, and the Tiste invader races, the Tiste Andii, Tiste Edur and Tiste Liosan. In addition there are races of intelligent demons.


The series largely takes place on one planet, although there are extensive sequences that take place within the warrens (other realms or planes of existence) of magic. There are also occasional flashbacks to events in the distant past. This planet is comparable to Earth, although its size has not been revealed and it has been inhabited by intelligent races for much longer. Midnight Tides confirms that there are six continents on this planet, although the series makes frequent use of the term 'subcontinent' which makes it unclear what landmasses are considered continents and which are considered subcontinents.

The major landmasses are held to be Seven Cities, Quon Tali, Genabackis, Jacuruku, Korelri, Assail and the continent that contains Lether and the Tiste Edur empire. The discrepancy between the number of continents and the landmasses named in the series is believed to be explained by the landmasses: Quon Tali and Seven Cities, which are considered one continent, although separate (much as Europe and Asia are considered to be two separate continents). This discrepancy is caused by an error by either the writer or by the character who made that in-text statement, the latter more likely as geographical ignorance is common amongst characters in the series.

Seven Cities

The continent of Seven Cities is the setting for the novels Deadhouse Gates, House of Chains and The Bonehunters, and contains the Holy Desert Raraku where significant portions of the plot and history take place. It is termed a subcontinent and only its eastern-most extent has been shown on maps in the series. It is named for the seven holy cities (Aren, Karakarang, Ubaryd, Ehrlitan, Karashimesh, Yath Alban and Ugarat), although other large cities exist such as Hissar, Panpot'sun and G'danisban. The subcontinent consists of large areas of wasteland and desert known as 'Odhans'. The subcontinent is also held to include the nearby large island of Otataral (where the magic-deadening ore of the same name is mined), which lies off the northeastern coast. The mapped region of Seven Cities extends nearly 2800 leagues from east to west and over 1800 leagues from north to south. The western part of Seven Cities has not been mapped but has been described in The Bonehunters, where it is revealed that three nations (Nemil, Perish and the Shal-Morzinn Empire) lie west of the Jhag Odhan and Trell tribe lands.

Quon Tali

The continent of Quon Tali has been seen briefly in Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates, but is more thoroughly explored in Return of the Crimson Guard. It is the homeland of the Malazan Empire and lies to the south of Seven Cities. The extensive island chain of Falar lies off the north-eastern coast. The Quon Tali landmass extends for over 500 leagues from east to west and for approximately 780 leagues from north to south (including the Falari Isles); it is the only continent to be mapped in its entirety in the series.


The continent of Genabackis is the setting for the novels Gardens of the Moon, Memories of Ice, Toll the Hounds and a lengthy sequence at the start of House of Chains. Genabackis is named a continent in its own right and lies to the east of Seven Cities and Quon Tali, across the Seeker's Deep (which natives of Genabackis call the Meningalle Ocean). The mapped portion of Genabackis – which resembles a very large peninsula – extends for over 600 leagues from east to west and over 1000 leagues from north to south. Genabackis' northern area is controlled by the Malazan Empire, whilst its central area is held to be controlled by a loose coalition of cities led by Darujhistan. Its southern coast does not appear on the maps in the books. However, there is mention of two important places which are found to the south of the continent. Morn, mostly known for the K'Chain Che'Malle barrows and the jarring wound seething with chaos, and the city of Elingarth, home city of the legendary company of the Grey Swords (the army sworn to the Boar of Summer) and the Trygalle Trade Guild.[14]


Darujhistan is a city of three hundred thousand on the continent of Genabackis. It has its origins in a battle between the Forkrul Assail, Jaghut and T'lan Imass; the struggle ended with the departure of the Assail and entombment of the Jaghut within great barrows. Rumors and treasure hunting among the remains led to settlement by the human Gadrobi tribes. Camps and shanty towns eventually grew into the Blue City, Darujistan. It is also known as the "City of Blue Fire" as its streets are lit by gas trapped in massive caverns, which burns with a blue glow.

Though ostensibly governed by a group of counselors in the form of a Republic, the true rulers of the city is a group of sorcerers known as the T’orrud Cabal. Darujhistan opens the series as an influential part of the alliance of the Free Cities who resist the advances of the Malazan Empire; after being occupied by the Empire it becomes one of its primary trading partners. The city was the site of a massive conflict between various forces and the revived Jaghut Tyrant, which eventually resulted in the creation of an Azath house to trap the creature. Darujhistan is the setting for Gardens of the Moon and Toll the Hounds and is featured in Memories of Ice and House of Chains.


The continent of Jacuruku has only appeared in flashback. This landmass is described as a 'sister continent' of Korelri. It was largely destroyed in a devastating war that took place many tens of thousands of years before the series. Prior to The Bonehunters, some fans disputed whether Jacuruku still existed or whether the entire continent had been removed from the world during events in the prologue to Memories of Ice. However, The Bonehunters confirms that Jacuruku still exists when a character reminisces about meeting people from there, and in Reaper's Gale, several characters are reported to have visited it recently, and in Return of the Crimson Guard, one group of characters land there for a brief period.


The continent of Korelri lies relatively close to Quon Tali to the south, and Malazan armies were led by Greymane upon it prior to campaign collapse and Greymane becoming a renegade. Korelri First appearance in the Series takes place in Esslemont's Stoneweilder novel. Korelri consists of two subcontinents, named Korel and Stratem. The Korelri continent is said to have been badly damaged in the downfall of the Crippled God, leaving hundreds of small islands along its coasts and many lakes in the interior. Night of Knives and The Bonehunters reveal that a powerful race of sorcererous beings known as the Stormriders dwell in the sea between Quon Tali and Korelri, and Korelri is defended from them by a massive fortification stretching along the north coast, known as the Stormwall guarded by religious fanatic warriors pledged to the Blessed lady a priestess who achieved near godhood by drawing on power from remains of the crippled god. Malaz Island is quite close to the northern coast of Korelri, as the water separating them is referred to as a strait. In Gardens of the Moon it is noted that Stratem was once home to the K'Chain Che'Malle. prior to their migration and near extinction.


The continent of Assail has been mentioned several times. It lies between Genabackis and the Letherii continent and is held to be the most dangerous and hostile part of the Malazan world. The Crimson Guard mercenaries and some T'lan Imass are known to have present engagements there. The Malazans know of the existence of Assail and the Wrecker's Coast along its shores, but the Empire has chosen to make no incursions there due to the extreme danger of the land. It is known that the continent is dominated by a human leader (or possibly several human leaders) [Memories of Ice, pg. 573] whose armies are powerful enough to destroy T'lan Imass forces. Little else is known of it.


The continent of Lether is the setting for the novels Midnight Tides, Reaper's Gale, Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God. It lies on the other side of the globe to the Malazan Empire. The mapped portion of the continent seen in Midnight Tides extends for over 600 leagues from north to south and for nearly 700 leagues from east to west. The map in Reaper's Gale is significantly larger in scope, but does not have a scale. The map in Crippled God shows the eastern part of the continent and also does not have a scale.


The history discussed in the novels to date extends back for over 300,000 years and has not been fully revealed. Erikson has stated that he has kept the history of his world purposefully ambiguous.[15]

At the beginning of the series, the reader is uninformed about the nature of the Malazan world. The history of the world is deeply tied to the many intelligent humanoid races that populate the world. By employing the viewpoints of extremely long-lived characters, and through a few scenes from the ancient past, Steven Erikson reveals details of the world, its history, and its inhabitants.


Magic in the Malazan series is accomplished by tapping the power of a Warren or Hold, from within the body of the mage, or the taking of spirits. Effects common to most Warrens include enchantment of objects (investment), large-scale blasts and travel through Warren across great distances in a short period of time. Only a minority of humans can access Warrens, usually tapping and working with a single one, though the High Mage Quick Ben can access seven at any single time out of his repertoire of twelve (due to his killing of and subsequent merging with the souls of eleven other sorcerers) and non-humans can access up to twelve as well. Certain Elder races have access to racial Warrens, that seem to be significantly more powerful and cannot be blocked by the magic-deadening ore otataral.

Cards and Tiles

Cards are from the Deck of Dragons while the elder Tiles belong to the Tiles of the Hold. They are similar in that they are used to get information about present and future events. They are used separately on two different continents and both are not known about contiguously except by very rare people such as Bottle, a squad mage in Tavore's 14th Army.

Deck of Dragons

The Deck of Dragons resembles a Tarot card deck in that it consists of cards that divine the future. The difference is that a real Deck of Dragons adjusts itself to the changing circumstances of the pantheon. If an entity ascends or dies, the deck will change to reflect this fact. The pictures on the cards reflect the gods/ascendants that each is made to represent. Not all cards are active on all continents; for example Obelisk is referred to as inactive on Seven Cities until partway through Deadhouse Gates.

Tiles of the Hold

Similar to a primitive version of the Deck of Dragons, the Tiles of the Holds are used for divination. Their use is restricted to the continent of Lether, where the influence of the Jaghut Warren halted the evolution of magic in a more primitive state. The Tiles of the Holds are cast rather than read, and do not overlap with the houses of the Deck.

In film and gaming

Rumors of a film version of the series have circulated for the past several years. Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont originally developed Gardens of the Moon as a film script, apparently a comedy centering on the Phoenix Inn Regulars of the first novel. All copies of this script now seem to have been lost. More recently, a script has been in development entitled Chain of Dogs, which is essentially an adaptation of a major plot strand of the novel Deadhouse Gates. This script is awaiting funding. The writers (who have consulted with Steven Erikson on the project) have declared they hope to fund the film outside of the Hollywood system, but acknowledge the large budget and extensive CGI requirements may make this impossible.

Discussions have been entered into about a role-playing game based on the series, possibly using the D20 system used by the newest version of Dungeons & Dragons.[citation needed] No formal announcement has yet been made.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Erikson, Steven (2007). "Preface to the Gardens of the Moon redux". Gardens of the Moon. Bantam Books. pp. xii-xiv. ISBN 978-0-553-81957-1. 
  7. ^ Steven Erikson biography
  8. ^ Erikson, Steven (2009-08-03). "Midsummer madness!". PS Publishing. 
  9. ^ Introduction to Gargens of the Moon, Special Edition
  10. ^ Gardens of the Mon, special edition
  11. ^ Moss, Stephen (1999-10-14). "Malazans and megabucks". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  12. ^ Interview with Steven Erikson in SFX Magazine issue #99, Christmas 2002.
  13. ^ Erikson, Steven (2008). Bauchelain and Korbal Broach: The Collected Stories: Volume 1. PS Publishing. ISBN 978-1905834921. 
  14. ^ Memories of Ice
  15. ^ Erikson, Steven (2003-01-27). "Post by Steven Erikson on" (php). Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 


External links

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