Casting thrilling new light onto an extraordinary creation, this is the second epic fantasy novel from the co-creator of the Steven Erikson world of Malaz.|
The return of the mercenary company the Crimson Guard could not have come at a worse time for the Malazan Empire. Driven by constant warfare, weakened by betrayal and rivalries, many see the grip of Empress Laseen beginning to weaken as conquered kingdoms and principalities test their old independence.
Into this gathering civil war on Quon Tali, the Empire’s homeland comes the Guard. And with their return comes the memory of their hundred-year-old vow — undying opposition to the existence of the Empire. Yet rivalries and betrayals stalk the Guard as well; elements of its elite, the Avowed, scheme to open paths to even greater power, and ancient potent entities, Ascendants, also lend a hand exploiting all sides to further their own arcane ends. Meanwhile, a swordsman, Traveller, and his companion Ereko, move from one strange encounter to another in a mysterious dance meant ultimately to bring the swordsman to a final confrontation from which none has ever returned.
As the Crimson Guard gathers from around the globe, Empress Laseen faces a more immediate threat from the generals and old commanders of her predecessor, Emperor Kellanved, who have lost patience with what they see as Laseen’s mismanagement. Yet there are hints that Laseen may be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors of her predecessor’s rule.