Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson is the second entry into The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. This book was published in 2000, but I didn’t get it until 2001 as it was only being published in the UK at that time and I hadn’t quite figured out the whole international ordering business at that point.
This book follows a few of the characters (Kalam, Fiddler, Apsalar & Crokus) we knew in Gardens of the Moon, but for most of the book we are introduced to a whole new set of characters and experiences on a different continent than the setting of Gardens of the Moon.
This is a magnificent second entry into the series. We have the introduction of Icarium and Mappo–probably one of the most heart rending pairings in fantasy literature. We have The Chain of Dogs storyline.
In the The Chain of Dogs storyline, the Malazan 7th Army, under the command of the Wickan leader, Coltaine, arrives on the subcontinent of Seven Cities just as it explodes into open rebellion.
The army has to fight its way across about 1500 miles of hostile territory while being burdened down around 50,000 refugees. This legendary march becomes known as the Chain of Dogs. There are battles and sorcery and heartbreak galore here. When you get to the end of this storyline, know this: Steven Erikson began the book with the image of an arrow in flight. You’ll know the one when you get to it.
In addition to this, we follow Fiddler and company as they also trek across Seven Cities on their way to Tremorlor–another of the Houses of the Azath. They are accompanied for some of the way by Icarium and Mappo and also by one of the most maddeningly devious characters in Iskaral Pust–High Priest of Shadow.
We also follow Kalam as he continues the plan he and Quick Ben came up with at the end of Gardens of the Moon.
Again, if you become confused as you read, don’t give up–the details are there. If you can’t find them, then check out the reread of the Fallen at Tor.com.
For another personal bit, by the time I read this I also got Memories of Ice (Book 3) and had read it in time to go to Minicon. I mentioned the books to Glen Cook and asked if he had read them. He said that he had and enjoyed them quite a lot but that “Erikson is really hard on his main characters.” This is quite true and also amusing coming from Glen.