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Ian C. Esslemont

Ian C. Esslemont(1962- )
Ian Cameron Esslemont is a Canadian writer. He was trained and has worked as an archaeologist. He is best known for his Novels of the Malazan Empire, which is set in the same world as the Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series popularized by his friend and collaborator, Steven Erikson. Esslemont is the co-creator of the Malazan world.

Malazan novels by Ian C. Esslemont

Novels set in Steven Erikson‘s MALAZAN world. (2004-2014)

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PATH TO ASCENDANCY — (2016) Esslemont’s all-new prequel trilogy takes readers deeper into the politics and intrigue of the New York Times bestselling Malazan Empire. Dancer’s Lament focuses on the genesis of the empire, and features Dancer, the skilled assassin, who, alongside the mage Kellanved, would found the Malazan empire. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Night of Knives: Strong characters

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Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Any die-hard fan of the Malazan novels by Steven Erikson should know of Ian Cameron Esslemont. For the uninitiated, Mr. Esslemont and Steven Erikson are the co-creators of the Malazan world, which was originally conceived as a role-playing game.

I am a big fan of the Malazan novels. It was in 2004 that I first heard about the series thanks to the Science Fiction Book Club, which was featuring Gardens of the Moon when it was making its U.S. debut. When learning that the first five books were already available in the UK, I purchased them and immediately devoured all five novels, establi... Read More

Return of the Crimson Guard: Better than Night of Knives

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Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian C. Esslemont

Return of the Crimson Guard is the second of Ian C. Esslemont’s books set in the world he helped create with Steven Erikson, whose longer-established Malazan Empire series has been going for years (the tenth and final book is due out in January).

Esslemont’s first Malazan book, Night of Knives, took place a bit back in the pre-history of Erikson’s series, set on the night that the old emperor Kallenvad and his companion Dancer ascended into the realm of Shadow and Laseen beca... Read More

Stonewielder: Esslemont’s best book so far

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Stonewielder by Ian C. Esslemont

Stonewielder is Ian C. Esslemont’s third book in the Malazan series co-created with Steven Erikson, and which Erikson has been exploring for years with his own series. If you look over my reviews for Esslemont’s first two Malazan books, Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard, you’ll see I’ve given them mixed reviews, though I thought Return of the Crimson Guard was an improvement on Night of Knives and boded well for the next book in the series. That prediction turned out to be mostly accu... Read More

Orb, Sceptre, Throne: Esslemont’s most enjoyable MALAZAN book

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Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian Cameron Esslemont

It has been a real pleasure to watch the development of Ian Cameron Esslemont as a writer. Both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard were solid offerings but burdened with problems of pacing and character, though Return of the Crimson Guard showed some improvement. Each seemed pretty clearly the product of a new author. Stonewielder, the third of Esslemont’s MALAZAN novels was a big jump forward in terms of quality and craft; though it shared some of its predecessors’ flaws, they were less frequent and less detrimental to the overall reading experience. I’m happy to say that trend continues with Esslemont’s newest — Orb, Sceptre, Throne — which I found to be his most thorou... Read More

Blood and Bone: One of the best in this series

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Blood and Bone by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Blood and Bone is the penultimate book of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s main MALAZAN EMPIRE series (I say “main” because he has just begun a prequel trilogy) and while it has its issues, it easily ranks in my top three of the main series’ six titles thanks to a few well-drawn characters and, especially, thanks to its relatively unique setting.

That setting is the jungles of Jacuruku, one of the as-yet-unexplored continents of the Malazan universe. The continent is mostly split in half, with one side under the dominion of a group of sorcerers known as Thaumaturgs and the other half, referred to as “Himatan,” is ruled by the powerful and mysterious Ardata, worshipped by some as a goddess and by others as... Read More

Assail: Ties up some loose plot threads and raises entirely new questions

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Assail by Ian C. Esslemont

Once upon a time one could speak of the “upcoming conclusion” to the tales of the Malazan Empire, the multi-volume shared world series by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. But with Erikson currently writing the second book in his prequel trilogy, and both he and Esslemont contracted for more books set in this world, it’s best nowadays to perhaps muse on “resting points” rather than “conclusions.” And so it is with Esslemont’s sixth book, Assail, billed as bringing to “a thrilling close” the “epic story of the Malazan Empire,” but which also, even as it ties up some loose plot threads, raises entirely new questions. And that’s fine; even with my admittedly mixed respo... Read More

Dancer’s Lament: A prequel the way it should be done

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Dancer’s Lament by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Prequels can be tricky things for authors. One obvious obstacle is that being a prequel, the story is robbed of at least some of its natural narrative tension, as readers already know that this or that character will not die, that this or that battle will not be won. Authors also run the risk of having painted themselves into narrative corners via the original work — this character has to do A to end up at C, this thingamabob has to appear because it’s the signature thingamabob of Character X and so on. In weaker prequels, it all feels very mechanical, as if the author just traced the lines backward and dutifully filled in the obvious and necessary plot points, character appearances, and portentous arrivals of requisite talismans. Even the author who successfully navigates all the prequel pitfalls can end up losing, à la an army of irate fans comp... Read More