Books: House of Chains

…by Steven Erikson.  Every time I’m about to begin another chapter in Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, I get that prickly sense of anticipation of a reader who knows they’re in for some of the good stuff.  House of Chains, Book 4 in this series, definitely meets that standard.  The paperback checks in at over 900 pages.  It has maps in the front, a glossary, and a character list.  It starts with a scene of callous carnage – bloated corpses washing upon the shore in the aftermath of battle.

House of Chains picks up with threads from the previous books, though the central plot element involves the showdown in the holy desert of Raraku between Felesin, now possessed by the vengeful goddess Sha’ik, and Tavore, Adjunct of the Malazan Empire.  Felesin and Tavore, who happen to be sisters, each have their respective armies and their Ascendant patrons in the mix.  This includes a couple of hard-to-kill Bridgeburners and other recurring characters to round out the cast.

As always, there are ancient threads and multi-planar intrigue tied to the showdown.  On either side there are other characters drawn in to battle who have their own histories and agendas, some of which provide hints and clues to this world’s epochal history, some of which will no doubt feature in future chapters. Continue reading