The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson

(8.5/10)

August 2010 sees the release of three Steven Erikson novellas, bound together in one edition and titled The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. All three are set in the world of the Malazan Empire and follow the exploits of the mysterious necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach.

Blood Follows: In the port city of Lamentable Moll, a diabolical killer stalks the streets and panic grips the citizens like a fever. As Emancipor Reese’s legendary ill luck would have it, his previous employer is the unknown killer’s latest victim. But two strangers have come to town, and they have posted in Fishmonger’s Round a note, reeking of death-warded magic, requesting the services of a manservant.
 
Emancipor Reese, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach first came to the attention of Malazan fans during events within the sequences’ third book, Memories of Ice. Blood Follows tells of how the eccentric necromancers first met and hired their unceasingly unlucky manservant, Emancipor Reese. Set in Reese’s native home of Lamentable Moll it is a great little story that is full of wry humour and features the usual array of memorable characters and locations that we have come to expect from Steven Erikson.

The Lees of Laughter’s End: After their blissful sojourn in Lamentable Moll, the sorcerers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach – along with their manservant, Emancipor Reece – set out on the open seas aboard the sturdy ship Suncurl. Alas, there’s more baggage in the hold than meets the beady eyes of the crew, and unseemly terrors awaken. For Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, and Emancipor Reese, it is just one more night on the high seas, on a journey without end.
 
The Lees of Laughter’s End continues where Blood Follows left off and charts the ill-fated voyage of the Suncurl and its passengers. There is once again more humour than you may expect and it is an entertaining novella that has some fascinating insight into the K’Chain Che’Malle. Featuring more of the trademark organised-chaos of an Erikson narrative it as another enjoyable read that will satisfy Malazan fans with its insightful nature.

The Healthy Dead: The city of Quaint’s zeal for goodness can be catastrophic, and no one knows this better than Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, two stalwart champions of all things bad. The homicidal necromancers – and their substance-addled manservant, Emancipor Reece – find themselves ensnared in a scheme to goodness into utter ruination. Sometimes you must bring down civilization… in the name of civilization.
 
Erikson brings his trilogy of novellas to a triumphant finale with The Healthy Dead, a tale lighter in tone than that of the Malazan series but still chock full of brilliance and creativity.

This collection of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas is an ideal companion pieces for fans of The Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence. It is also a great entry point for those contemplating reading the series. Definitely recommended.
 
The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Bantam Press (19 Aug 2010)
ISBN-10: 0593063945
ISBN-13: 978-0593063941
 
Archaeologist and anthropologist Steven Erikson's debut novel, Gardens of the Moon, was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award and introduced readers to the epic fantasy adventure that is his acclaimed The Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence, which has been hailed “a masterwork of the imagination”. He lives in Cornwall. To find out more, visit www.malazanempire.com and www.steven-erikson.com.

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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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