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Dancer's Lament
Malazan Empire
Night of Knives   •    Return of the Crimson Guard   •    Stonewielder   •    Orb Sceptre Throne   •    Blood and Bone   •    Assail
Night of Knives (2005)
Malazan Empire 1

The small island of Malaz and its city gave the great empire its name, but now it is little more than a sleepy, backwater port. Tonight, however, things are different. Tonight the city is on edge, a hive of hurried, sometimes violent activity; its citizens bustle about, barring doors, shuttering windows, avoiding any stranger's stare. Because tonight there is to be a convergence, the once-in-a-generation appearance of a Shadow Moon—an occasion that threatens the good people of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker things …

It was also prophesied that this night would witness the return of Emperor Kellanved, and there are those prepared to do anything to prevent this happening. As factions within the greater Empire draw up battle lines over the imperial throne, the Shadow Moon summons a far more ancient and potent presence for an all-out assault upon the island. Witnessing these cataclysmic events are Kiska, a young girl who yearns to flee the constraints of the city, and Temper, a grizzled, battle-weary veteran who seeks simply to escape his past. Each is to play a part in a conflict that will not only determine the fate of Malaz City, but also of the world beyond …

Drawing on events touched on in the prologue of Steven Erikson's landmark fantasy Gardens of the Moon, Night of Knives is a momentous chapter in the unfolding story of the extraordinarily imagined world of Malaz.

Source: Tor Books

 

  DRAMATIS PERSONAE

THE MALAZANS
Emperor Kellanved, absent ruler of the Malazan Empire
Dancer, Master-Assassin and bodyguard to Kellanved
Surly, Mistress of the Imperial assassin corps, the Claw
Tayschrenn, Imperial High Mage
Temper, a Malazan soldier
Corinn, a mage, member of the Bridgeburner Brigade
Ash, an ex-officer of the Bridgeburner Brigade
Seal, a one-time Malazan army healer
Dassem Ultor, Champion and 'First Sword' of the Empire
Chase, an officer of the garrison at Mock's Hold
Hattar, bodyguard to Tayschrenn
Ferrule, member of Dassem's bodyguard, the Sword
Possum, an imperial assassin, Claw


INHABITANTS OF MALAZ ISLE
Coop, proprietor of the Hanged Man Inn
Anji, servitor at the Hanged Man Inn
Kiska, a youth hoping to enter Imperial service
Lubben, gatekeeper at Mock's Hold
Fisherman, a mage of Malaz Isle
Agayla, spice dealer and mage of Malaz Isle
Trenech, regular at the Hanged Man Inn
Faro Balkat, regular at the Hanged Man Inn
Obo, a mage of Malaz Isle


OTHERS
Edgewalker, elder inhabitant of the Shadow Realm
Jhedel, a prisoner of the Shadow Realm
Oleg Vikat, a scholar of the Warrens
Surgen Ress, last Holy City champion
Pralt, a leader of the shadow cult
Jhenna, Jaghut guardian of the Dead House

Night of Knives (2005)
Bantam Press

 

Night of Knives (2005)
PS Publishing

 

Night of Knives (2005)
Tor Books

 

Book Excerpt

Sea of Storms south of Malaz Isle
Season of Osserc
1154th Year of Burn's Sleep
96th Year of the Malazan Empire
Last Year of Emperor Kellanved's Reign


THE TWO-MASTED RAIDER RHENl'S DREAM RACED NORTH-east under full straining sails. Captain Murl gripped the stern railing and watched the storm close upon his ship. Pushed to its limit, the hull groaned ominously while the ropes skirled high notes Murl had never heard.

The storm had swelled like a wall of night out of the south, a solid front of billowing black clouds over wind-lashed waves. But it was not the storm that worried Captain Murl, no matter how unnatural its rising; Rheni's Dream had broached the highest seas known to Jakatan pilots, from the northern Sea of Kalt to the driving trade winds of the Reach south of Stratem. No, what sank fingers of dread into his heart were the azure flashes glinting like shards of ice amid the waves at the base of the churning cloud-front. No one told of seeing them this close. None who returned.

Riders, Murl and his fellow pilots called them. Sea-demons and Stormriders to others. Beings of sea and ice who claimed this narrow cut as their own and suffered no trespass. Only his Jakatan forbears knew the proper offerings to bribe the swiftest passage south of Malaz Isle. Why then did the Riders pursue? What could entice them this far north?

Murl turned his back to the punishing wind. His cousin, Lack-eye, fought to control the helm, his legs splayed, arms quivering at the tiller's broad wheel. As the ship canted forward into a trough, Murl tightened his grip against the fall and booming impact. "Did we forget any of the offerings?' he shouted over the roar of the wind.

Gaze fixed ahead to the bows, Lack-eye shook his head. "None" he called. "We've tried "em all.' He glared over his shoulder with a pale blue eye. "All save the last.'

Murl flinched away. He drew himself amidships hand over hand along the guide ropes. Already the deck lay treacherous beneath a sheet of ice. Wind-driven rime as sharp as needles raised blood on his neck and hands. All save the last. But that rite he'd never enact. Why, in Chem's cold embrace—every soul on the Rheni was blood-kin to him! Murl remembered the one time he'd witnessed that rite: the poor lad's black-haired head bobbing atop the waves, pale arms clawing desperately at the water. He shuddered from the cold and something worse. No, that he could not bring himself to do.

Murl crouched next to a slim figure lashed to the mainmast, slumped as if asleep. With a hand numb from the freezing salt-spume, he reached out to caress a pale cheek. Ah Rheni dear, I'm so sorry. It was just too much for you. Who could possibly hope to soothe a storm such as this?

Ice crackled next to Murl as his first mate, Hoggen, thumped against the mast and wrapped an arm about it. "Shall I break out the weapons?'

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