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Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
Cover Artist: Steve Stone
Review by Steve Sawicki
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765323569
Date: 18 September 2012 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Mother Dark rules over the people of Kurald Galain but the rule is indecisive and fraught with places where chaos threatens entry. She has taken a consort, Lord Draconus, against what the people thought would be her choice, the commoners hero, Vatha Urusander. While Urusander wrestles with his indecisiveness, his troops take things into their own hands and begin to march across the land.

Squarely in the middle are the three sons of darkness, Andarist, Silchas Ruin, and Anomander. It is a time of great deception and of odd alliances and of free agents taking actions far beyond their scope. Everything points to ruin with little hope of reconciliation. All are steadfast in their positions even if they remain unaware of being so. Armies move and factions begin to form and the end is unknown although feared by nearly all.

This is book one of the Kharkanas Trilogy which means, I suppose, that there are two more books coming. I have to admit that I enjoyed this book least of all of those that make up the Malazan universe. It has nothing to do with the writing and everything to do with the story, which seemed small in scope and lacking in the kind of energy that all of the previous books contained. It's not that the story itself was small, it certainly was not, and yet it had the feel of being something of little consequence. Perhaps it had more to do with the story being more historical in nature. These are characters which we have come to know in our present sense now acting in their own past. To a sense we carry that knowledge of who they are now, with us as we follow their past.

It's hard to put my finger on the exact cause of my dissatisfaction. I can only tell you that I was pretty sure that this book spelled the end of the series. I thought that perhaps Erikson had run out of story to tell and was now mining the little known pathways between major plot lines. It was even with some trepidation that I picked up the new Esslemont book, Blood and Bone. But, reading that, as you can see by my review elsewhere in this issue, I was happy to note that the series seems fine. So, maybe just a one off. And certainly Erikson suffers from all of those previous books being so good that even a lessening of that will seem pale in comparison.

If you are a true fan then you've probably already read this. If your wondering though I would have to say you can pass this one up and not worry too much about missing anything.

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