Monday, November 28, 2005

Blood Follows

Steven Erikson's series "The Malazan Book of the Fallen" is widely considered one of today's Great Fantasy Series and he is often listed at or near the top of the list of the best fantasy authors writing today. He's good, but it'll take a few more books until I'm willing to anoint him above a certain George Martin. Thus far only three of his Malazan novels have been published in America and I'm waiting for the third volume, "The Memories of Ice", to come from the library. It's possible that Book 4, "House of Chains", is out, but my library certainly doesn't have it yet. Anyway, along with the primary Malazan series Erikson is also writing a series of novellas set in this same world/universe, but featuring secondary characters which may or may not appear in the main series. As the Malazan books progress we'll see how they tie together or if they even do. "Blood Follows" is the first of these novellas and it is described as being "A Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach".

Who? I don't know, either. Maybe they show up in "The Memories of Ice", but I can't say for sure yet. The story of "Blood Follows" touches up this Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, but the story the novella is telling is two fold. First we have Emancipor Reece, a former coachman for a local merchant who was just killed by this serial killer who has been eviscerating his victims one a night for the past eleven nights. Reece is now out of a job and his wife is commanding that he not come home until he finds one. He does, of course, and it is in the employ of a Bauchelain as his manservant. There is also a sergeant of the city watch who has been ordered by the King to stop the murders and bring the killer to justice. The sergeant is good at his job. Since Reece's last three employers all have ended up dead he is someone the sergeant first talks to, but his investigation also takes him to the foreigners Bauchelain and the so far unseen Korbal Broach.

The novella is only 120 pages or so and Erikson does not have the space to indulge in slowing teasing the reader with little bits of detail across hundreds of pages and "Blood Follows" reads easier than the main Malazan books. It doesn't have the depth of satisfaction or richness as the Malazan books but it does add something to the world, that there is something else going on that may eventually tie in to the main story and how everything may connect. I'm actually looking forward to the novellas as much as I am the novels, if as much because the novellas are less of a time commitment. Finding out more about Bauchelain and Korbal Broach will be interesting and now that Reece has left the city with the two I can only wonder what darkness comes next.

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