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Return of the Crimson Guard(The Malazan Empire, #2)
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 their hundred-year-old vow: undying opposition to the existence of the Empire – and yet all is not well with the Guard itself. Elements within its elite, the Avowed, have set their sights on a 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?
Epic and ilvolving, Return of the Crimson Guard is an enthralling new chapter in the
tumultuous history of the Malazan Empire.
"Everything you expect of a Malazan story, being both epic and relevant… nail-biting and anything but obvious." – SFFWorld
I finally managed to buy a hardcover edition of Return of the Crimson Guard, so I had to read it last night. I simply couldn't stop reading it, so I stayed up late and finished reading it after 4 am.
In my opinion Return of the Crimson Guard is an excellent book. Although Ian C. Esslemont isn't as good a writer as Steven Erikson, he knows how to write good stories. This book had enough depth and the story was interesting. The writing style wasn't always as fluent as it should've been, but that didn't bother me much, because other things made up for it.
I can recommend this book to all Malazan fans. If you've read Steven Erikson's books and Ian C. Esslemont's previous book (Night of Knives), you'll enjoy this book. Before reading this book I strongly recommend that you read Erikson's books, because you need to know certain things about the Malazan Empire in order to enjoy this book.
This is the second book by Esslemont situated in the Malazan world which he is co-author with S.Erikson. Unlike the first book, Night of Knives, which is more of a prequel this one is set right in the middle of the story and it would be best read after The Bonehunters. The story follows Quon Tali rebellion against Malazan empire, and The Crimson Guard who is also set to destroy the empire. There are some familiar characters from the previous books and a lot of new ones, and we see some legendary characters which were often mentioned dead or missing in the previous books. Writing style was sometimes off, and I had a bit of a struggle at the beginning to follow the story, cause there was lot of jumping from one character to the other. Still it's a very good addition to Malazan world and essential one for the overall story, cause some pretty surprising and rather important events occurred in it.