House Of Chains by Steven Erikson

(9.2/10) Erikson gives you everything you are looking for � and more

House of Chains is the fourth book in Steven Erikson’s A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Bantam Press originally published House of Chains in 2002.

In the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs extraordinary destinies are being played out. Karsa Orlong, a tribal warrior from Northern Genabackis descends into the southern lands as part of a raiding party. Adjunct Tavore faces the legions of the seer Sha’ik with an army of raw recruits. Waiting in the heart of the Holy Desert the Sha’ik’s warlords are at each other’s throats and she herself is haunted by the knowledge the her nemesis is her own flesh and blood. So begins the pivotal chapter of Steven Erikson’s spectacular fantasy series.

The first 250+ pages of House of Chains are most un-Erikson like. The story is linear and follows Karsa Orlong on his journey from his tribal homeland in the north to the lands in the south that will be familiar to the reader. This forms Book One of the House of Chains, is called Faces in the Rock and is in itself a story all of its own. However, once Karsa’s story has been told up until a pivotal moment we are once again flung into the richly interwoven storylines for which Erikson is known. Characters, new and old enter and leave at a heady rate and you need to firmly attach your mind to the pages you are reading or face the prospect of becoming utterly and hopelessly lost.

'And what is the name of this House?' the customer asked. 'What throne? Who claims to rule it?'
'The House of Chains, my friend. To your other questions, there is naught but confusion in answer. Ascendants vie. But I will tell you this: the Throne where the king shall sit - the Throne, my friend, is cracked.

From: House of Chains - Chapter: Book 2 - Cold Iron - Chapter Nine

The setting for the book is Genabackis, the same as used in Gardens of the Moon and Memories of Ice and will be familiar to the readers of the series. Once again, questions are raised and answers are found. Points that were left unexplained in the first three books begin to make sense and you feel that you are part of one of the most complex fantasy stories to have arisen in decades. The reading of this book requires effort and concentration, both of which are amply rewarded. The House of Chains is the fulcrum of the entire book, part of Erikson’s complicated schema of gods and demigods. This book also reads like the second book of a trilogy, the part that takes the story, ties up loose ends and then sets the foundations for what will undoubtedly become a scintillating conclusion.

He swung away, made insensate by layer upon layer of blindness. Numbed to the outside world, to whatever Sha’ik was now saying, to the brutal heat of the sun overhead.
Stay?
He felt no longer able to leave.

From: House of Chains - Chapter: Book 3 - Something breathes - Chapter 13

This is Steven Erikson’s best work yet; and that is high enough praise itself. The bar is lifted a notch higher and the best fantasy series of recent times gets better and better. So, set aside at least a couple of weeks and let yourself be carried away by an author who can give you everything you are looking for … and more.

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3 positive reader review(s) for House Of Chains

Our interview with Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson's ongoing fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen has brought new life and originality into the fantasy genre. Steven Erikson kindly spoke to Fantasy Book Review in September 2009, shortly after the [...]

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House Of Chains reader reviews

from France

It has been a while since I read Memories of Ice. Baffled and impressed, I was left in awe, and at the same time eager and afraid to go on. Then, years passed, and Erikson's super-huge-chaotic-epic-archeo-fantasy universe called me again. In the interval, I matured as a reader. I learned a few things. And I am now more inclined to forgive Erikson's wanderings and clever, frustration-generating ways of telling his story. Actually I learned that there is nothing to forgive - all is to take, everything is to embrace in this wild, sprawling story. House of Chains is an achievement. In giving us something we did not expect. More closely focused than Memories of Ice, this return to Seven-Cities brings a slightly different tone to the series. It's relying more on suggestion than before, and Erikson is trying to do a lot of different things at once - stylistically, character-wise, etc. - and somehow... he's succeeding. The storylines unveil themselves quickly - no time to lose after a quarter of the book being spent (quite brilliantly) on Karsa Orlong's story. Then, Erikson offers us (again) a layered and textured tapestry of events, some small, intimate or mysterious, other grand - though don't expect an epic like the previous book. No, this one's about something else. What? Hard to tell. Finding peace. Finding one's own way. Finding balance.

from Uk

Amazing.

from Scotland

Brilliant book, brilliant series. No other fantasy author manages to keep up this level of excellence so far into a series, the events of the earlier book clear and many questions are answered. I think that this is the best book of the four so far and the initial chapters following Karsa Orlong can stand alone as a book in its own right. This is the kind of series that I'd hoped Robert Jordan was going to produce but failed. Fingers crossed, Erikson might see this one all the way through....

9.3/10 from 4 reviews

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All reviews for Steven Erikson's A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series

The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen written by Steven Erikson

Set in the awe-inspiring world of the Malazan Empire, three tales of the enigmatic and eccentric necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach collected in a single, readily av [...]

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The Wurms of Blearmouth

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen written by Steven Erikson

Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorde [...]

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The Second Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen written by Steven Erikson

The necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach - scourges of civilization, raisers of the dead, reapers of the souls of the living, devourers of hope, betrayers of faith, sl [...]

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Gardens Of The Moon

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 1 written by Steven Erikson

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 [...]

Published: 1999

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews

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The Crippled God

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 10 written by Steven Erikson

The Bonehunters march for Kolanse, led by Adjunct Tavore. This woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confide [...]

Published: 2011

Our rating: 10.0 | positive reader reviews

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Deadhouse Gates

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 2 written by Steven Erikson

In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Un [...]

Published: 2000

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews

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Memories of Ice

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 3 written by Steven Erikson

The ravaged continent of Genabackis is a terrifying new empire, the Pannion Domin, that devours all. An uneasy allliance resists: Onearm's army, Whiskeyjack's Bridg [...]

Published: 2001

Our rating: 9.8 | positive reader reviews

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House Of Chains

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 4 written by Steven Erikson

In Northern Genabackis, tribal mountain warriors raid southern flatlands. Years later, Tavore, Adjunct to the Empress, enters the last Malazan stronghold. New to command, s [...]

Published: 2002

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews

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Midnight Tides

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 5 written by Steven Erikson

After decades of warfare, the five tribes of the Tiste Edur are united under the implacable rule of the Warlock King of the Hiroth. But the price of peace is a pact with a [...]

Published: 2004

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The Bonehunters

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 6 written by Steven Erikson

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 Leoma [...]

Published: 2006

Our rating: 10.0 | positive reader reviews

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Reaper's Gale

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 7 written by Steven Erikson

All is not well in the Letherii Empire. Rhulad Sengar, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths, spirals into madness, surrounded by sycophants and agents of his Machiavellian chan [...]

Published: 2007

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Toll the Hounds

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 8 written by Steven Erikson

In Darujhistan, the city of blue fire, it is said that love and death shall arrive dancing. It is summer and the heat is oppressive, but for the small round man in the fade [...]

Published: 2008

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Dust of Dreams

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In war everyone loses. This brutal truth can be seen in the eyes of every soldier in every world… In Letherii, the exiled Malazan army commanded by Adjunct Tavore be [...]

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