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House Of Chains: Malazan Book Of The Fallen 4 [Format Kindle]

Steven Erikson
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Chapter One

Children from a dark house choose shadowed paths.
—Nathii Folk Saying

The dog had savaged a woman, an old man and a child before the warriors drove it into an abandoned kiln at the edge of the village. The beast had never before displayed an uncertain loyalty. It had guarded the Uryd lands with fierce zeal, one with its kin in its harsh, but just, duties. There were no wounds on its body that might have festered and so allowed the spirit of madness into its veins. Nor was the dog possessed by the foaming sickness. Its position in the village pack had not been challenged. Indeed, there was nothing, nothing at all, to give cause to the sudden turn.

The warriors pinned the animal to the rounded back wall of the clay kiln with spears, stabbing at the snapping, shrieking beast until it was dead. When they withdrew their spears they saw the shafts chewed and slick with spit and blood; they saw iron dented and scored.

Madness, they knew, could remain hidden, buried far beneath the surface, a subtle flavour turning blood into something bitter. The shamans examined the three victims; two had already died of their wounds, but the child still clung to life.

In solemn procession he was carried by his father to the Faces in the Rock, laid down in the glade before the Seven Gods of the Teblor, and left there.

He died a short while later. Alone in his pain before the hard visages carved into the cliff-face.

This was not an unexpected fate. The child, after all, had been too young to pray.

All of this, of course, happened centuries past.

Long before the Seven Gods opened their eyes.

Urugal the Woven's Yea

1139 Burn's Sleep

They were glorious tales. Farms in flames, children dragged behind horses for leagues. The trophies of that day, so long ago, cluttered the low walls of his grandfather's longhouse. Scarred skull-pates, frail-looking mandibles. Odd fragments of clothing made of some unknown material, now smoke-blackened and tattered. Small ears nailed to every wooden post that reached up to the thatched roof.

Evidence that Silver Lake was real, that it existed in truth, beyond the forest-clad mountains, down through hidden passes, a week - perhaps two - distant from the lands of the Uryd clan. The way itself was fraught, passing through territories held by the Sunyd and Rathyd clans, a journey that was itself a tale of legendary proportions. Moving silent and unseen through enemy camps, shifting the hearthstones to deliver deepest insult, eluding the hunters and trackers day and night until the borderlands were reached, then crossed - the vista ahead unknown, its riches not even yet dreamed of.

Karsa Orlong lived and breathed his grandfather's tales. They stood like a legion, defiant and fierce, before the pallid, empty legacy of Synyg - Pahlk's son and Karsa's father. Synyg, who had done nothing in his life, who tended his horses in his valley and had not once ventured into hostile lands. Synyg, who was both his father's and his son's greatest shame.

True, Synyg had more than once defended his herd of horses from raiders from other clans, and defended well, with honourable ferocity and admirable skill. But this was only to be expected from those of Uryd blood. Urugal the Woven was the clan's Face in the Rock, and Urugal was counted among the fiercest of the seven gods. The other clans had reason to fear the Uryd.

Nor had Synyg not proved masterful in training his only son in the Fighting Dances. Karsa's skill with the bloodwood blade far surpassed his years. He was counted among the finest warriors of the clan. While the Uryd disdained use of the bow, they excelled with spear and atlatl, with the toothed-disc and the black-rope, and Synyg had taught his son an impressive efficiency with these weapons as well.

None the less, such training was to be expected from any father in the Uryd clan. Karsa could find no reason for pride in such things. The Fighting Dances were but preparation, after all. Glory was found in all that followed, in the contests, the raids, in the vicious perpetuation of feuds.

Karsa would not do as his father had done. He would not do . . . nothing. No, he would walk his grandfather's path. More closely than anyone might imagine. Too much of the clan's reputation lived only in the past. The Uryd had grown complacent in their position of pre-eminence among the Teblor. Pahlk had muttered that truth more than once, the nights when his bones ached from old wounds and the shame that was his son burned deepest.

A return to the old ways. And I, Karsa Orlong, shall lead. Delum Thord is with me. As is Bairoth Gild. All in our first year of scarring. We have counted coup. We have slain enemies. Stolen horses. Shifted the hearthstones of the Kellyd and the Buryd.

And now, with the new moon and in the year of your naming, Urugal, we shall weave our way to Silver Lake. To slay the children who dwell there.

He remained on his knees in the glade, head bowed beneath the Faces in the Rock, knowing that Urugal's visage, high on the cliff-face, mirrored his own savage desire; and that those of the other gods, all with their own clans barring 'Siballe, who was the Unfound, glared down upon Karsa with envy and hate. None of their children knelt before them, after all, to voice such bold vows.

Complacency plagued all the clans of the Teblor, Karsa suspected. The world beyond the mountains dared not encroach, had not attempted to do so in decades. No visitors ventured into Teblor lands. Nor had the Teblor themselves gazed out beyond the borderlands with dark hunger, as they had often done generations past. The last man to have led a raid into foreign territory had been his grandfather. To the shores of Silver Lake, where farms squatted like rotted mushrooms and children scurried like mice. Back then, there had been two farms, a half-dozen outbuildings. Now, Karsa believed, there would be more. Three, even four farms. Even Pahlk's day of slaughter would pale to that delivered by Karsa, Delum and Bairoth.

So I vow, beloved Urugal. And I shall deliver unto you a feast of trophies such as never before blackened the soil of this glade. Enough, perhaps, to free you from the stone itself, so that once more you will stride in our midst, a deliverer of death upon all our enemies.

I, Karsa Orlong, grandson of Pahlk Orlong, so swear. And, should you doubt, Urugal, know that we leave this very night. The journey begins with the descent of this very sun. And, as each day's sun births the sun of the next day, so shall it look down upon three warriors of the Uryd clan, leading their destriers through the passes, down into the unknown lands. And Silver Lake shall, after more than four centuries, once again tremble to the coming of the Teblor.

Karsa slowly lifted his head, eyes travelling up the battered cliff-face, to find the harsh, bestial face of Urugal, there, among its kin. The pitted gaze seemed fixed upon him and Karsa thought he saw avid pleasure in those dark pools. Indeed, he was certain of it, and would describe it as truth to Delum and Bairoth, and to Dayliss, so that she might voice her blessing, for he so wished her blessing, her cold words . . . I, Dayliss, yet to find a family's name, bless you, Karsa Orlong, on your dire raid. May you slay a legion of children. May their cries feed your dreams. May their blood give you thirst for more. May flames haunt the path of your life. May you return to me, a thousand deaths upon your soul, and take me as your wife.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Longtime fans may be surprised by the fourth book in Erikson's masterful fantasy epic that began with Gardens of the Moon (2004), because the long opening section follows a single character, the Teblor warrior Karsa Orlong, and his companions on a gory raid through enemy territory and into the human lowlands of Northern Genabackis. The time-hopping, perspective-shifting, looping story lines typical of this Canadian author return later, as Erikson ties Karsa's actions to the ultimate showdown between the forces of the Malazan Empire and Sha'ik's Army of the Apocalypse. Against a backdrop of brutal power struggles, the stubbornly determined Karsa is able to accomplish more than even he could have imagined. Unusual among fantasy writers, Erikson succeeds in making readers empathize equally with all sides involved in his world's vast, century-spanning conflict. Newcomers will eagerly seek out previous books in the series. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2689 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 676 pages
  • Editeur : Transworld Digital; Édition : New Ed (15 juillet 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0031RS6PK
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°79.432 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A very rewarding read 24 juillet 2009
Par Lily44
The Malazan series is truly wonderful. Steven Erikson has created a believable world peopled with both human and mystical characters. The plot is always complex and tends to be a bit confusing at first, but it is so worthwhile unravelling the mysteries and coming to understand the characters, and how they interlink from book to book.If you enjoy authors such as Tolkien,George R R Martin and Stephen Donaldson,you will love Steven Erikson.I would recommend these books to anyone who likes science fantasy.Enjoy.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  160 commentaires
53 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Already dying for the next one... 25 janvier 2003
Par T. Wheaton - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a tale of two armies.
In the aftermath of Coltaine's death, the Adjunct Tavore must lead her rag-tag collection of soldiers into Raraku, the holy desert, in hopes of defeating Sha'ik's dreaded Army of the Apocalypse. Her army is uneasy. They are a patched together group of raw recruits, hoary old veterans and the broken survivors of Coltaine's army and they know nothing of the Adjunct, seeing her as untried and aloof.
In the meantime, Sha'ik is beset within her own army. The wily Korbolo Dom and his triumphant Dogslayers are the backbone of her fighting forces, yet they have their own agenda. The High Mages Bidithal and Febryl can't be trusted but they are necessary for Sha'ik's plans. Betrayal seems imminent from all sides. And Sha'ik herself is in turmoil as the Goddess of the Whirlwind and Felisin battle for the soul of the person they both inhabit.
The two armies meet one fateful night and two sisters will clash. Only one will remain standing.
While the two armies prepare for their monumental clash, we travel the journey of discovery with a remarkable warrior named Karsa Orlong. We watch as Lostara Yil, one of the formidable Red Blades, and a Claw named Pearl set out on a task set for them by Adjunct Tavore only to be horrified and saddened by what they discover.
This is the fourth book of the Tale of the Malazan but it picks up the thread of the story that ends in the second book, The Deadhouse Gates.
I had a hard time getting into this book at first because the first 200 pages details the exploits of a seemingly unknown warrior named Karsa Orlong. The events told actually pre-date the events of the first book of the series. As Karsa's story begins to unfold we start to catch up with the current time in the series. And as this first section ends, we realize that we have already met Karsa Orlong in the previous books, only by another name.
As is his M.O. with this series, Erikson starts slow but kicks into stride as the book moves along and we get to "current" events and the imminent clash of the two armies. Felisin, who had become hard and vengeful in book 2 as a result of her feelings of betrayal by her sister and the horrors she experienced as a slave, seems to be trying to find something of the old Felisin as she struggles with the Goddess. Erikson does a wonderful job conveying the suffocating atmosphere of distrust and imminent betrayal in Sha'ik's army while at the same time allows the slow coming together and gelling of Tavore's army. And there are great moments of soldier humor studded throughout the book.
Winding throughout is a bit more deep background of the beginnings of the Malazan Empire with Kellanved. Rope is portrayed as surprisingly human despite the fact that he's a God. And we get to watch (and mourn again) as people learn about the demise of the Bridgeburners.
Even though this is a good book to read, it was somewhat disappointing following the magnificent drama that was the third book, Memories of Ice. But the ending is spectacular (another of Erikson's M.O.s with this series) and once again is heartbreaking and leaves one with the astonished realization that he has managed to turn your assumptions or expectations of a character completely around and in a very realistic way.
Not the very best of the series, but still very good and better than many other books being written in the genre.
25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant, essential and underappreciated 23 janvier 2003
Par Ian Kell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Steven Erikson is hardly known here in the states, where he's yet to publish, but his four fantasy novels are unequivocal modern classics. "House of Chains," the newest entry in the long-winded "A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen" series, continues the fascinating saga.
Fans of Jordan and Martin will be wowed by Erikson's epic, sweeping narrative and complex plots. Stephen R. Donaldson is quoted on the back of House of Chains, and for good reason. Comparisons could also be made to Glen Cook's "fantasy-noir" style, and other postmodern fantasy/scifi authors who effectively blur the lines between notions of good and evil.
Erikson's world is endlessly complex, replete with thousands of societies, deep history, vast geographies, and unique magic. There is plenty of humor, a fair amount of gore, and constant action. And an important, unavoidable facet of Erikson's writing style is that he challenges the reader. He doesn't deliver stock characters and cliched, predictable plots on a silver platter.
Start with "Gardens of the Moon," and order from amazon.co.uk if you must. Fingers crossed, Erickson will publish domestically, and all of those weak, poorly written, hackneyed derivative juvenile fantasy books currently choking the shelves of your local bookstore will be swept aside.
21 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The height of fantasy! 30 août 2006
Par D. Barnes - Publié sur Amazon.com
For those of you out there that still subscribe to the "Tolkien is God" theory of Fantasy, this book probably would drive you insane. While the sheer mass of the book and the number of characters are reminicent of the Lord of the Rings, that is where the comparison ends. Nowhere in Erikson's work will you find an elf, a dwarf, a dark lord, or a downtrodden youth turned hero. What you will find is a deliciously dark story full of courage and cowardice, complex and extremely flawed characters, and a plot line that moves with the feeling of the Fourteenth Army. There are no "good guys" in shining armor. Even the heroes are twisted, pulled by the forces of the greater struggle facing the Malazan Empire. Even the pantheon of "gods" in the book are strikingly ambiguous in their alignment. There is no good god, but those that we meet and get to know become strikingly human. There is no better example than Cotillion, the patron god of assassins, who becomes almost devestated when he is forced to use children to defend the Shadow Throne and also when he accepts the return of Apsalar.

For those that would say that the first 200 pages that chronicle the exploits of Karsa Orslong are a weakness to the story, I would have to say that I initially felt the same way. After reading the rest of the book, I have since changed my mind. Although he is not my favorite character (that distinction would have to go to Ganoes Paran or Fiddler), he has become an important part of the story.

Although this is not the best book in the Malazan series (that would have to be either Memories of Ice or The Bonehunters), this book gives important background into the mind of the Crippled God, as well as gives the "humanity" of Cotillion and Shadowthrone.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The series has really found its footing 12 mars 2008
Par CMad - Publié sur Amazon.com
See my review of Deadhouse Gates for context if you wish.

Erikson's first book was a fun, if confusing fantasy novel. His 2nd book was a gore and rape filled horror slog through hell. I understand some of that was necessary for the point he was trying to make, but I felt it was over the top.

With the third and fourth books of the series he has finally found the balance he needs to bring all his elements together. He is still 1/2 horror novelist, 1/2 fantasy novelist, but the mix of these two elements comes more naturally and there is more humor, and pleasant characterization going on. The plot is intensely complicated, and each book adds even more characters to learn about. Read the other reviews for plot elements and such, but here are the few things you really need to know:
Erikson is a great writer of very complex stories. If you like world building you will be wildly impressed, but often confused!
He likes war, soldiers, strategy, gods and magic and the books are FULL of these elements
He dislikes romantic stuff. People do care for each other and there have been some meaningful story lines that have a relationship bent, but in general he avoids them. Even when it happens it is never "romantic"
He has a sarcastic and cutting sense of humor that I really enjoy

Try the first three books (you'll make it through the 2nd I promise... jsut keep going) and you'll know exactly what you're going to get.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Whomp. 19 janvier 2009
Par frumiousb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
1037 pages of super-dense little tiny text. Whomp.

When I read this book, I was thinking about a question an online friend asked lately about the difference between literary fiction and genre fiction. I didn't know how to answer her question then, and I still don't now. But the question has been itching away in the back of my head because I think that there is-- at least for me-- some kind of an answer. But I'm kind of like one of those irritating people who say "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."

So then I thought-- hey, what do I like? So then I started thinking about the genre fiction that I really liked and what various books would be if they were music. It's kind of a bizarre switch, but it more or less worked for me. Some kinds of fantasy-- romantic fantasy, for one, are kind of like pop music. It can be really satisfying, but is very rarely surprising. The text deedle dees around and is sweet and even if it's dealing with a really serious life issue it still comes out sort of like Madonna singing "papa don't preach". (I'm sure that I'm going to offend someone with this, but in my defense I don't claim to be speaking for anyone except myself.) There can be perfect pop songs, and I *adore* them-- but the thing that stands out if they're really true to form is the lack of surprise for me as a listener.

So. There's something about surprise in what I think of as more "literary fiction". In musical terms, if I think: "that's a really good pop song", then it's genre. If I think "that's a really great song", then it's literary fiction. (It's also possible for something to be both, but that's messy and just confuses my metaphor. Which is frankly already confused enough.)

So. What is Steven Erikson? Well, not a really good pop song, that's for sure. Erikson is more like a really good metal-leaning song by some band like Blue Oyster Cult or Deep Purple. It's nearly silly long. There's lots of violence and adult themes. There are many many layers which show off the writer's technical mastery. But there still isn't really much in way of surprise. So. A really good metal song.

But for me, that's an accomplishment. I don't like metal. I don't really like the battle-heavy tough men doing tough things stuff which is Erikson's stock-in-trade. Still, I really like this book.

The first book in this series made me nuts. Too much. Too dense. Now on book 4, I'm not sure that much has changed except it just doesn't bother me anymore. I just read the darn thing and let the things that I don't understand float by me and away. I cope with the 70,000,000 characters. I actually kind of enjoy the tortuously complex structure of the powers-that-be. In short, on book 4 I am now nearly fully converted.

So, book 4 in the Malazan book of the fallen. No idea what really happened. Ghosts, death, Gods, truth, battles. The usual. But I didn't really care either-- darn good fun.

Onwards and upwards to book 5.
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