I am diving in to the Malazan series written by Ian Esslemont, finishing the first one in the series – Night of Knives – a couple of days ago. Thoughts:
- Esslemont takes a bit of a risk in this novel, especially in the light of Erikson’s series, as he chronicles just one night. It only follows two points of view, which helps, and it tells the story of the night that Kellanved and Dancer ascend, but compared to Erikson’s novels which encompass long arduous journeys and long distances it covers very little space or time.
- It has the feel of a Malazan novel, or at least it does not betray the world. It offers a few more clues to motivation than does the Erikson series…
- In particular, it gives reasons for ascension that have nothing to do with religious purity or anything else of that oeuvre – the Emperor and Dancer ascend for reasons of power, nothing more, nothing less.
- It also gave me a far different reading of Malazan, as I was trying to put the Malazan quest for empire in a context that I understood (either Rome or the USA, with implications of establishing order). There is little attempt for justice here, no just war, no desire to bring law and its rule to other folks. For the most part (and there are exceptions) Kellanved and Dancer seek empire in order to dominate and perhaps wipe out other threats from other, often non-human powers.
- Esslemont gives more narrative intervention than does Erikson, which I sort of appreciate, since I spent most of the time in the other series confused. Still, I kept reading, so that confusion clearly had a purpose…