Steven Erikson biography

Steven Erikson portrait image to appear alongside the Steven Erikson biography.

Steven Erikson was born on the 7th October 1959 in Toronto, Canada. Erikson is his writing name, his real name being Steve Rune Lundin. Educated in Canada, he trained in both archaeology and anthropology before graduating from the acclaimed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has a wife and son and they currently live in Cornwall, UK.

Erikson is best known and he is in particular famous for the fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen. As an author he always attempts to go against the grain of fantasy convention when writing his novels and does not favour the good versus evil approach that many authors of the genre use. His characters are multi-dimensional and posses both the positive and negative traits that are prevalent in all human beings. It would be fair to say that no one can easily predict what will happen next in an Erikson novel. He also uses his his training as an archeologist and anthropologist to give his books a realistic feel and depth.

"One of the things both Cam and I were agreed on regarding this series, was to write in a style that conveyed a sense of vastness, with a strong flavour of realism where not all answers are forthcoming, not all truths survive their utterance, and sometimes mystery abides no matter how desperate we all are for an end to the questions. That said, there will be plenty of resolutions, but the world will not be wrapped up with a pretty bow. As for the events that have been recounted in the books, well, things are always open to interpretation, and I am also rather pleased to learn from readers that the books fair well in re-reads. I am a writer obsessed with layering my narrative, so there’s plenty to find for the reader even after the raw events of the story are well-known."
An excerpt taken from an interview we conducted with Steven Erikson in 2009. Read the full interview here.

The Malazan Book of the Fallen series started in 1999 with Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates followed this in the year 2000. Memories of Ice (2001), House of Chains (2002), Midnight Tides (2004), The Bonehunters (2006), Reaper's Gale (2007), Toll the Hounds (2008), Dust of Dreams (2010) and The Crippled God (2011) complete the series.

Erikson began writing fiction when he was in his early twenties and this was when he wrote what was, in is own words "a bad fantasy novel". Then followed a few years of archaeology and travelling plus two writing courses. Then, unemployed and with a pregnant wife, he started and completed the first draft of Gardens of the Moon. It was another 9 years until the book was published.

Erikson's enjoyment in turning the fantasy genre on its head shows in the vitality of his books. An example of his unique style can be found in the way he opened the series in the midst of an ongoing story rather than at the beginning, as convention usually deems necessary.

Erikson has taken the fantasy to another level and the genre is all the more fresh and worthy for it. The author has been short listed for the World Fantasy Award.

The official Steven Erikson website - http://www.stevenerikson.com

Steven Erikson influences

  • Stephen Donaldson
  • Glen Cook
  • Robert E. Howard
  • E. R. Burroughs
  • Homer
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Roger Zelazny
  • John Gardner
  • Gustav Hasford
  • Mark Helprin
  • Robin Hobb

Steven Erikson also mentioned, in an interview, a book called The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton which he says "proved very influential in my writing, although in a most subversive way".

Steven Erikson books reviewed

Steven Erikson bibliography

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

  • Gardens of the Moon (1999)
    Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out - and Empress Lasseen's ambition knows no bounds. However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand...
  • Deadhouse Gates (2000)
    Weakened by events in Darujhistan, the Malazan Empire teeters on the brink of anarchy. In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha'ik gathers an army around her in preparation for the long-prophesied uprising named the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in its size and savagery, it will embroil in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known: a maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust that will shape destinies and give birth to legends... In the Otataral mines, Felisin, youngest daughter of the disgraced House of Paran, dreams of revenge against the sister who sentenced her to a life of slavery. Escape leads her to raraku, where her soul will be reborn and her future made clear. The now-outlawed Bridgeburners, Fiddler and the assassin Kalam, have vowed to return the once god-possessed Apsalar to her homeland, and to confront and kill the Empress Laseen, but events will overtake them too. Meanwhile, Coltaine, the charismatic commander of the Malaz 7th Army, will lead his battered, war-weary troops in a last, valient running battle to save the lives of thirty thousand refugees and, in so doing, secure an illustrious place in the Empire's chequered history. And into this blighted land come two ancient wanderers, Mappo and his half-Jaghut companion Icarium, bearers of a devastating secret that threatens to break free of its chains...
  • Memories of Ice (2001)
    The ravaged continent of Genabackis has given birth to a terrifying new empire: the Pannion Domin. Like a fanatical tide of corrupted blood, it seethes across the land, devouring all who fail to heed the Word of its elusive prophet, the Pannion Seer. In its path stands an uneasy alliance: Dujek Onearm's Host and the Bridgeburners ­ each now outlawed by the Empress ­ alongside their enemies of old including the grim forces of Warlord Caladan Brood, Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness, and his Tiste Andii, and the Rhivi people of the Plains. But more ancient clans too are gathering. As if in answer to some primal summons, the massed ranks of the undead T'lan Imass have risen. For it would seem something altogether darker and more malign threatens the very substance of this world. The Warrens are poisoned and rumours abound of the Crippled God, now unchained and intent on a terrible revenge...
  • House of Chains (2002)
    In Northern Genabackis a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flat lands. Their intention is to wreak havoc among the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove an extraordinary destiny. Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Coltaine, revered commander of the Malazan 7th Army is dead. And now Tavore, elder sister of Ganoes Paran and Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold of the Seven Cities to take charge. Untested and new to command, she must hone a small army of twelve thousand soldiers, mostly raw recruits, into a viable fighting force and lead them into battle against the massed hordes of Sha’ik’s Whirlwind. Her only hope lies in resurrecting the shattered faith of the few remaining survivors from Coltaine’s legendary march, veterans one and all. In distant Raraku, in the heart of the Holy Desert, the seer Sha’ik waits with her rebel army. But waiting is never easy. Her disparate collection of warlords – tribal chiefs, High Mages, a renegade Malazan Fist and his sorceror – is locked in a vicious power struggle that threatens to tear the rebellion apart from within. And Sha’ik herself suffers, haunted by the private knowledge of her nemesis, Tavore…her own sister.
  • Midnight Tides (2004)
    After decades of warfare, the five tribes of the Tiste Edur have finally united under the implacable rule of the Warlock King of the Hiroth. But peace has been exacted at a terrible price - a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has devoured all of its less-civilised neighbours with rapacious, cold-blooded hunger. All, that is, save one - the Tiste Edur. For Lether is approaching a long-prophesied renaissance - from kingdom and lost colony of the First Empire to Empire reborn. And so its people have fixed their avid gazes northward, to the rich and abundant lands and coasts of the Tiste Edur. And beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword, it seems the Tiste Edur must fall. Or so Destiny has decreed. As the gathering for a pivotal treaty between the two nears, ancient forces are awakening. For the impending struggle between these two civilisations is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle - a confrontation with the still-raw wound of an old betrayal and the craving for vengeance at its heart. Among the Tiste Edur - among Trull Sengar's people - it is believed that the darkest hungers of the spirit arrive on the tides from the south, and these tides come at midnight...
  • The Bonehunters (2006)
    The Seven Cities Rebellion has been crushed. Sha’ik is dead. One last rebel force remains, holed up in the city of Y’Ghatan and under the fanatical command of Leoman of the Flails. The prospect of laying siege to this ancient fortress makes the battle-weary Malaz 14th Army uneasy. For it was here that the Empire’s greatest champion Dassem Ultor was slain and a tide of Malazan blood spilled. A place of foreboding, its smell is of death. But elsewhere, agents of a far greater conflict have made their opening moves. The Crippled God has been granted a place in the pantheon, a schism threatens and sides must be chosen. Whatever each god decides, the ground-rules have changed, irrevocably, terrifyingly and the first blood spilled will be in the mortal world. A world in which a host of characters, familiar and new, including Heboric Ghost Hands, the possessed Apsalar, Cutter, once a thief now a killer, the warrior Karsa Orlong and the two ancient wanderers Icarium and Mappo, each searching for such a fate as they might fashion with their own hands, guided by their own will. If only the gods would leave them alone. But now that knives have been unsheathed, the gods are disinclined to be kind. There shall be war, war in the heavens.And the prize? Nothing less than existence itself…
  • Reaper's Gale (2007)
    The Letherii Empire is in turmoil. Rhulad Sengar, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths, spirals into madness, while the Errant, once a farseeing god, appears suddenly blind to the future. Driven by the corruption and self-interest, the empire edges ever-closer to all-out war with its neighbouring kingdoms. And the great Edur fleet draws ominously ever closer. With Karsa Orlong and Icarium Lifestealer among its warriors, that blood will be spilled is certain. But a band of fugitives look to escape from Lether. One of them, Fear Sengar, seeks the soul of Scabandari Bloodeye, for he hopes that with its help, they might halt the Tiste Edur and so save the emperor, his brother. But another is Scabandari’s old enemy: Silchas Ruin, brother of Anomander Rake. He carries scars inflicted by Scabandari, and such bloodshed cannot go unanswered. There is to be a reckoning and it will be on an unimaginable scale…
  • Toll the Hounds (2008)
    It is said that Hood waits at the end of every plot, every scheme, each grandiose ambition. But this time it is different: this time the Lord of Death is there at the beginning... Darujhistan swelters in the summer heat and seethes with portents, rumours and whispers. Strangers have arrived, a murderer is abroad, past-tyrannies are stirring and assassins seem to be targeting the owners of K’rul’s Bar. For the rotund, waistcoat-clad man knows such events will be dwarfed by what is about to happen: for in the distance can be heard the baying of hounds. Far away, in Black Coral, the ruling Tiste Andii appear oblivious to the threat posed by the fast-growing cult of the Redeemer – an honourable, one-mortal man who seems powerless against the twisted vision of his followers.So Hood waits at the beginning of a conspiracy that will shake the cosmos, but at its end there is another: Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness, has come to right an ancient and terrible wrong...
  • Dust of Dreams (2010)
    On the Letherii continent the exiled Malazan army commanded by Adjunct Tavore begins its march into the eastern Wastelands, to fight for an unknown cause against an enemy it has never seen. The fate awaiting the Bonehunters is one no soldier can prepare for, and one no mortal soul can withstand—the foe is uncertainty and the only weapon worth wielding is stubborn courage.In war everyone loses, and this brutal truth can be found in the eyes of every soldier in every world. Destinies are never simple.Truths are neither clear nor sharp.The Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are drawing to a close in a distant place, beneath indifferent skies, as the last great army of the Malazan Empire seeks a final battle in the name of redemption. Final questions remain to be answered: can one’s deeds be heroic when no one is there to see it? Can that which is unwitnessed forever change the world? The answers await the Bonehunters, beyond the Wastelands...
  • The Crippled God (2011)
    The Bonehunters are marching to Kolanse, and to an unknown fate. Tormented and exhausted, they are an army on the brink of mutiny.But Adjunct Tavore will not relent.If she can hold her forces together, if the fragile alliances she has forged can survive and if it is within her power, one final act remains. For Tavore Paran means to challenge the gods. Ranged against Tavore and her allies are formidable foes. The Fokrul Assail are drawing upon a terrible power; their desire is to cleanse the world – to eradicate every civilization, to annihilate every human – in order to begin anew. The Elder Gods, too, are seeking to return. And to do so, they will shatter the chains that bind a force of utter devastation and release her from her eternal prison. It seems that, once more, there will be dragons in the world. And in Kurald Galain, where the once-lost city of Kharkanas has been found, thousands have gathered upon the First Shore. Commanded by Yedan Derryg, they await the coming of the Tiste Liosan. Are they truly ready to die in the name of an empty city and a queen with no subjects? In every world there comes a time when choice is no longer an option – a moment when the soul is laid bare and there is nowhere left to turn. And when this last hard truth is faced, when compassion is a virtue on its knees, what is there left to do?Now that time is come – now is the moment to proclaim your defiance and make a stand...

The Kharkanas Trilogy

  • Forge of Darkness (2012)
    Now is the time to tell the story of an ancient realm, a tragic tale that sets the stage for all the tales yet to come and all those already told... It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power… and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold...
  • Fall of Light (2015)
    It is a bitter winter and civil war now ravages Kurald Galain, as Urusander’s Legion prepares to march upon the city of Kharkanas.The rebels’ only opposition lies scattered, bereft of a leader since Anomander’s departure in search of his estranged brother, Andarist. The last brother remaining, Silchas Ruin, rules in Anomander’s stead. He seeks to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn Noble families and resurrect the Hust Legion in the southlands, but is fast running out of time. The officers and leaders of Urusander’s Legion, led by Hunn Raal, want the Consort, Draconus, cast aside and Vatha Urusander wedded to Mother Dark, taking his place on a throne at the side of the Living Goddess. But this union will be far more than political, as a sorcerous power has claimed those opposing Mother Dark - given form by the exiled High Priestess Syntara, the Cult of Light rises in answer to Mother Dark and her Children. Far to the west, an unlikely army has gathered, seeking an enemy without form, in a place none can find, and commanded by a Jaghut driven mad with grief. Hood’s call has been heard, and the long-abandoned city of Omtose Phellack is now home to a rabble of new arrivals. From the south have come Dog-Runners and Jheck warriors. From the Western Sea strange ships have grounded upon the harsh shore, with blue-skinned strangers arriving to offer Hood their swords. And from the North, down from mountain fastnesses and isolated valleys, Toblakai arrive, day and night, to pledge themselves to Hood’s impossible war. Soon, all will set forth – or not at all – under the banners of the living. Soon, weapons will be drawn, with Death itself the enemy. Beneath the chaos of such events, and spanning the realm and those countless other realms hidden behind its veil, magic now bleeds into the world. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, the power that is the lifeblood of the Azathanai, K’rul, runs loose and wild. Following its scent, seeking the places of wounding where the sorcery rushes forth, entities both new and ancient are gathering. And they are eager to feed. Comprehending the terrible risk of his gift of blood, a weakened, dying K’rul sets out, in the company of a lone guardian, to bring order to this newborn sorcery – alas, his choice of potential allies is suspect. In the name of order, K’rul seeks its greatest avowed enemy…
  • Walk in Shadow

Willful Child (2014)
These are the voyages of the starship, A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life life-forms, to boldly blow the... And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback - think James T Kirk crossed with ‘American Dad' - and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space’...

Critical acclaim

"Steven Erikson afflicts me with awe... vast in scope, almost frighteningly fecund in imagination, and rich in sympathy, his work does something that only the rarest of books can manage: it alters the reader's perceptions of reality" Stephen R. Donaldson

"Complex and powerful ... the best fantasy novel I've read since George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, bar none ... Superb stuff" Waterstones