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Duiker was the Imperial Historian[1] attached to the 7th Army (later known as the Chain of Dogs). Born on the plains of Dal Hon,[2] his dark skin and fluency in Dosii were assets which served him well in Seven Cities.[2]

He was a veteran soldier, capable of impressive swordsmanship when required and skilled with a crossbow.[3][4] While on Seven Cities, he wore the native dress of a cowled Telaba cloak over a tunic with moccasins. Only the Imperial diadem pinned within his cloak betrayed his Malazan origins.[5][6]

Selected worksEdit

  • Life of Dassem Ultor[7]
  • Malazan Campaigns (or Imperial Campaigns) - multiple volumes[8][9]

In Deadhouse Gates Edit

Duiker by Matt Smith

Duiker by Matt Smith

Duiker travelled to Hissar by warren where he became attached to Coltaine's staff when the Fist took command of the 7th Army.[10] Duiker's true purpose in Seven Cities was to effect the rescue of a colleague, Heboric Light Touch, imprisoned by the Empire on nearby Otataral Island.[11] He convinced the Malazan cadre mage Kulp to accompany him across the strait by boat to await Heboric's pre-arranged escape.[12][13]

But their plans were interrupted by the eruption of the Whirlwind uprising. Kulp escaped by sea aboard the Ripath to complete the rescue of Heboric. Duiker could no longer participate with the entire continent up in arms, and raced back to the now deserted army headquarters.[14] In order to reach Coltaine, Duiker traveled in disguise with the rebel forces for three months before escaping across the lines to join Coltaine and his army at the River Sekala.[15]

Once he found the army, he was assigned the young Corporal List as escort. Duiker was tasked by Coltaine to keep an official record of events as an official Historian.[16] As the army's numbers dwindled through attrition, he eventually wound up being drafted into regular service in the 7th. In addition to his duties as official historian, he fought at the battles of Gelor Ridge and Vathar Crossing.[17][18] He also took part in an assassination mission against a Tithansi Warleader and the Semk godling.[19]

During this time, he became close to an un-named Marine. A flirtation began between the two that was inhibited by Duiker's embarrassment over their age difference.[20][21] The pair fought side by side at the Battle of Gelor Ridge where the marine forced the issue after their victory and they consummated their affair.[22][23] But the relationship did not last, and Duiker said the decision had been mutual because each had "enough losses to deal with". Captain Lull called them both fools.[24]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Duiker.

After the Battle of Sanimon, the 7th Army was on its last legs. Coltaine tasked Duiker with leading the refugees and the remaining Wickan warlocks, Nil and Nether to Aren. Coltaine and the rest of the army would follow behind to hold off Korbolo Dom's troops and let the refugees escape to safety.[25]

Duiker accomplished his task, and watched from the city's walls as Coltaine and his last remaining soldiers were cut down by Dom's hordes. The frightened High Fist Pormqual refused to allow his ten thousand soldiers assist and Coltaine was crucified in full view of the city.[26] Pormqual listened to the poisoned words of Nethpara and Pullyk Alar, and blamed the 7th's defeat on Coltaine and Duiker's treachery. The next morning he took Mallick Rel's advice to lead his soldiers (including Duiker) against Dom's presumably exhausted hordes. Mallick revealed himself a traitor and the entire army was surrounded and captured. But Duiker had some measure of revenge when he informed the priest that the Aren Guard still manned the city's gates. The city still stood and the traitor's plan had failed. Dom ordered Duiker crucified with the others on Aren Way.[27]

The servants of Baruk, Irp and Rudd, later collected the body of the historian.[28] A glass vial, originally gifted to Coltaine by Quick Ben but given by the Wickan to Duiker, caught the historian's soul and enabled Baruk to resurrect him. According to Temul, Nil called the vial a 'saving stone'.[29]

Significant plot details end here.

In Toll the Hounds Edit

Duiker moved to Darujhistan, where he became a regular at K'rul's Bar.[30] He was befriended by Fisher kel Tath, the well-known bard.[31] He also became close friends with Scillara after she and Cutter arrived in Darujhistan.[32] Scillara and Duiker had been at K'rul's Bar on the night of the Assassins' Guild attack, but they left the bar shortly before the assault began.[33] Scillara observed, "His sadness was an absolute thing, and he never came up for air."[34]


During the time of the Emperor, Duiker was a soldier in his thirties in the Malaz 1st Army serving under Dassem Ultor in the campaigns for Falar and the Wickan Plains.[35][36] For unstated reasons, the Emperor himself sought to reward Duiker by pulling him from the ranks and appointing him his Imperial Historian. Because Duiker could neither read nor write, Kellanved placed him under the tutorship of Toc the Elder for over six months. Duiker's education was eventually completed by Toc the Younger, who was still a boy.[37]

Returning to the ranks, the now literate Duiker chose not to carry a weapon or shield, insisting he could not simultaneously fight and record events for history. During the Wickan Wars against Coltaine, he was severely injured in battle by the then young warrior, Bult, who turned his lance at the last moment when he noticed the historian was unarmed. Duiker was sent to recover in the Emperor's own cot, which was where Coltaine had last seen him prior to Duiker joining his staff.[38]

In later years, Duiker attended battles fully armed and armoured and surrounded by a company of bodyguards.[39] His name could be found amongst those honoured on the 1st Army's column in Unta.[40]

When fellow historian Heboric was arrested by Empress Laseen for his revised history of the Malazan Empire, Duiker defended him in court. He called Heboric's work a "philosophic divergence of opinions".[41]


A duiker is a species of antelope native to Sub-Saharan Africa. His name is likely a reference to his Dal Honese origins.


"History comforts the dull-witted."
―Duiker's Imperial Campaigns, Volume One[src]

"The streets are crowded with lies these days."
―High Mage Tayschrenn, Empress Laseen’s Coronation. Recorded by Imperial Historian Duiker[src]

"The object of justice is to drain the world of colour."

"The first law of the multitude is conformity. Civilization is the mechanism of controlling and maintaining that multitude. The more civilized a nation, the more conformed its population, until that civilization's last age arrives, when multiplicity wages war with conformity. The former grows ever wilder, ever more dysfunctional in its extremities; whilst the latter seeks to increase its measure of control, until such efforts acquire diabolical tyranny.'"

Emperor Kellanved: "'No-one who's grown up amidst scrolls and books can write of the world, which is why I'm appointing you Imperial Historian, soldier."
Duiker: "Emperor, I cannot read or write."
Emperor Kellanved : "An unsullied mind. Good."
―Emperor Kellanved appointing Duiker as Imperial Historian[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Deadhouse Gates, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.17
  2. 2.0 2.1 Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.68
  3. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.318
  4. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.152
  5. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.48/52
  6. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.316
  7. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.247
  8. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 3, US HC p.82
  9. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.139
  10. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.72/81
  11. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.145
  12. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.58-59
  13. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.150-151
  14. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6
  15. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.247-251
  16. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.256
  17. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13
  18. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16
  19. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.
  20. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.320
  21. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.346
  22. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.357-359
  23. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.444
  24. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.445
  25. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.525-526
  26. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 21
  27. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.888
  28. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.929/930
  29. House of Chains, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.507
  30. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 7
  31. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 7
  32. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 9
  33. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13
  34. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13
  35. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.270
  36. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.344
  37. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.315-316
  38. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.73/74/81
  39. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.54
  40. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.344
  41. Deadhouse Gates, Prologue, US HC p.26
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