House of Chains
House of Chains by Steven Erikson is the fourth book in The Malazan Book of the Fallen and the fifth book in the Malazan re-read at Tor.com. If you are new to Malazan, the Tor re-read is an excellent way to get involved and to get answers to puzzling things. One very nice aspect of the re-read is that Steven Erikson pops in every now and then–especially at the end of books to answer questions.
In House of Chains we start with the character of Karsa Orlong. When we first meet Karsa he seems quite the typical barbarian–all ready to maim, kill and pillage. He isn’t particularly a likeable person at first, but most people find that he grows on you and he definitely has character growth as the book progresses. This part of the story starts prior to the events in Gardens of the Moon.
After Karsa’s introductory storyline we move back to the events on the Seven Cities continent. The story here picks up fairly soon after the events in Deadhouse Gates. We see Tavore Paran as she arrives in Seven Cities as the new Imperial Adjunct leading an army made up mostly of new recruits. This army is intended to put down the rebellion that we saw in Deadhouse Gates. We travel back across the continent as the army gradually finds its own identity apart from the legend of Coltaine.
And, we see her sister Felisin, as Sha’ik reborn–the head of the rebellion. Erikson has stated that Greek tragedy is one of the sources for The Malazan Book of the Fallen and you can certainly see a set-up for that here with the two sisters leading opposing forces.
I’m not going to give out spoilers here, but along the way we re-meet many characters from previous books like Fiddler, Kalam, Cutter, Apsalar, Gessler, Stormy, Heboric, Iskaral Pust and Morgara. Fiddler in particular plays quite a large role in the shaping of the new army.
We also get deeper insight into the way in which the Deck of Dragons and Gods are influencing and being influenced by the events of the world. New beginning, continuations with depth and endings of some things all await in this volume.