Blood and Bone by Ian C Esslemont
Book of the Month
In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expedition in a bid to tame the neighbouring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by a powerful entity who some name the Queen of Witches and some a goddess: the ancient Ardata.
Saeng grew up knowing only the rule of the magus Thaumaturgs - but it was the voices from that land's forgotten past that she listened to. And when her rulers launch their invasion of this jungle, those voices send her and her brother on a desperate mission.
To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign warleader, a veteran commander in battered ashen mail men call the Grey Ghost. This warrior leads these tribes on a raid unlike any other, deep into the heart of Thaumaturg lands.
While word comes to K'azz, and mercenary company the Crimson Guard, of a contract in Jacuruku. And their employer? Could it be the goddess herself...
For starters, I honestly didn’t think there would be two books in one calendar year from Mr. Esslemont, but I am honestly pleased with the quality and enjoyment I received from them both.
As I (we, I doubt I was alone in this one) so easily predicted, the storylines left dangling from the Malazan Book of the Fallen series are being finished off in these extra books. Or maybe this time extended. This book again is centred on the Crimson Guard and fills in a lot of the questions of the history of K’azz and Skinner and the splitting of the Guard. I was again mesmerized by the story and had fun trying to figure where this story fits into the greater timeline, and guessing who the warleader character really was. But most satisfying to me was the trip to Jacuruku we took. After 15 books, (with a combined reading of about 50x), I was also surprised by the complete lack of knowledge I had of the place. It made me think of my childhood memories of deepest darkest Africa and all the mystery and excitement those words had. And I find myself again waiting for the next book as I am completely on the hook when K’azz was told he would find the answers he was seeking in Assail. Assail! Another mystery name where all I can think of is a lost clan of T’lan Imass; I can hardly wait to see where this goes. And you better write it after dropping an Easter Egg like that Mr. Esslemont.
George Roesch, 8.5/10
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it each time I encounter it: seeing a writer grow in their ability to tell a story is almost as rewarding as the story told itself. When he started out, Ian C Esslemont was a pale imitation of his Malazan universe-companion, Steven Erikson. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really liked ‘Night of Knives’ – I gave it a 7 – but the writing was not its strong point; it made up for it in a cracking fight scene (which made up most of the book).
Four books later and Esslemont is writing passages and entire chapters that rival Erikson at his best.
‘Blood and Bone’ is Esslemont’s fifth Novel of the Malazan Empire and takes us to the oft-rumoured Jacuruku to meet with Ardata. Combining the activities of renegade Malazans, Avowed and Disavowed of the Crimson Guard, gods and ascendants, and a pair of villagers caught out in a universal power play, this book is Esslemont’s best yet.
There was only one storyline that weaved through this book that did not capture my whole attention, but even then it kept me enthralled more than once. I think I simply dislike characters who “are in above their heads” and unaware of the greater conflict.
The Crimson Guard have been central to much of Esslemont’s writing, so far, and that seems as if it will continue. We get to spend a lot of time around K’azz, if not with him, and Skinner returns to wreak his own special brand of mayhem. All in all, the Crimson Guard story lines were my favourites – especially as they crossed over into events taking place in Stonewielder (attentive fans will be able to guess this one).
Chronology has always been a tricky business with the Malazan books, but I’m relatively certain that this book takes place concurrently with Steven Erikson’s ‘The Crippled God’, the final book the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. It also takes us a few days past it as well, I believe, which would lead us to believe Esslemont’s next book will be the first to take place completely set after the events of The Crippled God.
There are some great nods to past Malazan events, characters return and unveil hidden plots long in the making. There are some tantalising hints of events untold (or at least hidden) and some fantastic characters to really sink your teeth in to. Add to that a greater time spent understanding the warrens and the ascendants who have stepped in, and this book just keeps getting better the further you read.
I love when an author gets better, and Ian C Esslemont has done himself proud with Blood and Bone. Anyone involved in the Malazan universe will want to get their hands on this, but make sure you read it after you read The Crippled God.
Joshua S Hill, 9/10
All reviews for: A Novel of the Malazan Empire
Night of Knives
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 1
The empire is named for the tiny island and city of Malaz, now a sleepy, seedy backwater port. Tonight however, a once-in-a-generation Shadow Moon brings demon hounds and d...
Return of the Crimson Guard
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 2
The return of the Crimson Guard could not have come at a worse time for an empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries.Into the seething caul...
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 3
Enter the universe of Malazan, where many a story unfolds and strife is easier to find than water in a well. After finishing their business elsewhere, the Malazan Empire fi...
Orb Sceptre Throne
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 4
The tumult of great powers colliding has passed and the city of Darujhistan and its citizens can at last get on with what matters: trading, bickering, politicking and enjoy...
Blood and Bone
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 5
In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expe...
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 6
Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovere...
Have you read Blood and Bone?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Blood and Bone reader reviews
Anon from US
Beautifully written but as enticing as eating a bowlful of sand. It truly feels like it drags you through one of the most mindnumbing weeks of a meaningful labour with no end in sight and no reward for the work of reading this novel. I have truly enjoyed his other novels but reading this one is time I will never get back. I feel depressed that I forced myself out of a strange compulsion to even finish this. Truly don't know what else I can say other than honouring the hours I lost of my life reading this drab bullshit of a novel. I've read everything leading up to this....and my journey ends now with this epic fantasy world. Thanks for the other gripping novels.....but time for a new world. Epic fail.
4.9/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Ascendants of Estorea
The Estorean Conquord has stood for 850 years. Its Advocate, Herine Del Aglios, knows that she presides over the greatest civilisation in history. But she wants more. And i...
The Drenai Novels
The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, hig...
The Aspect Emperor
R Scott Bakker
A score of years after he first walked into the histories of Men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masse...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: