For the house in the Deck of Dragons see, see High House Chains.

House of Chains is the fourth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It was released in the UK and Canada in January 2002 and in the US August 2006 by Tor.

According to Erikson, he wrote House of Chains on a Psion 7.[1]

It is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Coltaine is dead. And now the untried new Adjunct, Tavore, must urgently raise an army able to withstand the forces of the Sha'ik's Whirlwind that are massing in Raraku. The few remaining veterans from Coltaine's march are her only hope.

Publisher's summaryEdit

In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flat lands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove an extraordinary destiny.

Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Tavore, the new Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold on Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand soldiers, mostly raw recruits but for a handful of veterans of Coltaine's legendary march, into a force capable of challenging the massed hordes of Sha'ik's Whirlwind who lie in wait at the heart of the Holy Desert.

But waiting is never easy. The seer's warlords are locked in a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself suffers, haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis: her own sister, Tavore.

And so begins this awesome new chapter in Steven Erikson's acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen...

Front matterEdit


For Mark Paxton MacRae, for the KO
punch. This one's all yours, my friend.


The author wishes to thank his cadre of readers, Chris Porozny,
Richard Jones, David Keck and Mark Paxton MacRae. Clare and
Bowen as always. Simon Taylor and the crew at Transworld.
And the terrific (and patient) staff at Tony's Bar Italia: Erica,
Steve, Jesse, Dan, Ron, Orville, Rhimpy, Rhea, Cam, James,
Konrad, Darren, Rusty, Phil, Todd, Marnie, Chris, Leah, Ada,
Kevin, Jake, Jamie, Graeme and the two Doms. Thanks also to
Darren Nash (for the yeast always rises) and Peter Crowther.


Plot Summary Edit

House of Chains
Dramatis Personae Prologue
Faces in the Rock
Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Cold Iron
Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Something Breathes
Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18
House of Chains
Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22
Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26
Epilogue Pagination


The following summaries contain spoilers
Please access individual chapter summaries via the Chapter infobox

Prologue Edit

The book opens with Trull Sengar being dragged to the wall in the Nascent by his kin the Tiste Edur. He is chained to the wall, ritually shorn and his forehead scarred by a circle with a slash through it. He is cast out, as if he had never existed at all. The Tiste Edur speak of how Trull has betrayed one of them. Trull refutes this by telling them his accomplishments: the southlands are aflame, the enemies armies have fled and kneel before them and beg to be their slaves. He tells them they must continue to search and when they ‘find what must be sought’, they should deliver it to him. They agree that Trull has only spoken against the Tiste Edur leader and has defended their enemies by calling them Pure kin and that they should not kill them. The leader says that Trull betrayed them all, and they relunctantly agree to this. He says that the wall at the Nascent holds back the sea, but only for now and the flood will not be denied.

Book One: Faces in the Rock Edit


The slower the river, the redder it runs.

Nathii saying

Karsa Orlong swears that he will lead his people back to their old ways by raiding Silver Lake with his two friends Delum Thord and Bairoth Gild, like this grandfather did in his youth. He vows before his gods, particularly Urugal (his own clan’s god) to slaughter the inhabitants of Silver Lake and bring pride back to his clan the Teblor.

After Karsa leaves the glade of the gods, seven T'lan Imass including Urual, Haran'alle, Thek, Emroth, and Sin'b'alle rise from the ground, they say that they had been sentenced to inhabit a sealed cavern for centuries, left behind as was the custom. They say they will soon break free of the chains, as service to the new master promised travel. They say that if Karsa fails, they will be able to use Dayliss’s baby (Karsas love interest), and that they are already influencing it, saying they make neither a boy or a girl, nor a child.

Karsa’s father Synyg gives him his horse Havok for the raid and tells him Dayliss gave Bairoth her blessing. The three depart overlooked 23 silent witnesses, blood-kin of the three friends, who had been sacrificed in the glade to Siballe, who called them her Found. Each of have been scarred along the left side of the face by Siballe. They prophetise that only one will return.

The three comes across a group of nine Rathyd, another Teblor clan. Karsa singled handedly leads and kills all but one youth, who runs away. Karsa then attacks the Rathyd village, where their warriors are out hunting for them. The village is filled only with elders, women, and youth. They attack and kill many and then round up the women, who they rape, including the chiefs wife and daughter, who are impregrated. After riding away from the village, they find a pack of Rathyd dogs, who submit to them when Delum kills one.

In a cave they find strange glyphs in the Teblor language, but strangely ornate. The inscription talks of the T’lan Imass who were inclined to their indiscriminate slaughter and Icarium, who they had once sheltered. As they move towards Silver Lake, they come across a slab of stone with a hand protruding from under it, which Delum names a Forkassal, the ones who sought peace. They lift the slab and free the creature, who attacks Karsa, after knocking him down it says she is Forkrul Assail and is named Calm. She tells them that if they knew Karsas ultimate purpose, they would seek to kill him but there would be no value in that, for the ones using him would simply select another. Delum’s skull is cracked and is leaking brain fluid.

Bairoth tells him how Bairoth and Dayliss had been lovers for a long time but he believes only Karsa will return to their village and when he does so he will wed Dayliss. They see lowlanders come to where Calm the Forkrul Assail had been imprisoned. Karsa attacks and kills the soldiers, then to the shock of the four mages in the group, he walks through their magical fire attack and kills them as well, though one guard manages to escape.

They trail the escaped guard and find a staircase of bones leading down the mountain. After making camp for the night, the following day they attack Silver Lake, which is much bigger than they expected. An alarm bell begins to ring and Karsa and Bairoth charge, killing a few lowlanders on the way to the town. They wreak havok throughout the town. Karsa makes his way to a raised platform in a warehouse, then after jumping down to kill a lowlander, his impact collapses the floor and he falls into the cellar and is impaled by a spike of wood The guard who escaped earlier from Calms buriel site, speaks to him and says they know all about the Uryd from the Sunyd slaves, and that while they haven’t reached Karsa’s tribe yet, they will, and there will be no more Teblor. Karsa is bound and brought up and they wonder if he is the one the priests spoke of, who stalked their dreams like Hood’s own Knight. They say it was bad luck for Karsa that his attack was while a Malazan company was staying there. He is brought to a slave pit in a warehouse and chained to a tree trunk.

A slave speaks to Karsa and and introduces himself as Torvald Nom and the two agree the Malazans are their shared enemy. Karsa and Torvald escape the pit and find a shack, where Karsa destroys a statue of Fener by knocking it on the floor. After finding a bloodwood sword, he kills more lowlanders. When he leaves the shack, he is captured by a Malazan squad including Sergeant Cord, Limp, Shard, and Ebron, other malazans arrive including Captain Kindly, who arrests Silgar for trying to bribe the malazans, and says to put him in a cell away from the bandit leader they just captured Torvald.

Three days later Karsa is lowered onto a wagon with Torvald Nom, Silgar and Damisk. Karsa tries to break free, but is knocked out and wakes up six days later wrapped in heavy chains, still on the waggon. On a ferry, on the way to the Otataral mines, Torvald saves Karsa multiple times by feeding him and talking to him. They pull into the city of Malyntaeas and Torvald explains how the Nathii, Genabarii, and Korhivi were so busy fighting amongst themselves they didn’t even notice the Malazans arrive in the form of Dujek, the Bridgeburners, three legions, and two High Mages, who sunk the Nathii fleet attacking Malyntaeas, killed the Genabari royal family, and force the surrender of the Korhivi fortress. Torvald says it was an enforced peace, but now the city’s Fist is losing soldiers. The first mate tells him that the Crimson Guard are in the city stirring up the Korhivi and with the loss of Malazan soldiers things are going to get bad.

Karsa has been unconscious for weeks, when he awakes a strange storm arrives and the sailors think he is responsible. Suddenly chains snap down and destroy the ship, with Karsa falling into the water, still on the platform and in chains. Silgar and his men escape in a dory. Torvold tells Karsa that they are no longer in the ocean and had entered a warren. They find a box of Moranth munitions.

They come across a group of ships which look like they have been involved in a battle. Torvold manages to free Karsa from his chains using some tools he has found. They leave on a dory, with Karsa strengthening, but Torvald weakening and finally they land on a beach, with a large wall running the coastline. Torvald looks at all the wreckage washing ashore and says the sea and the ships don’t belong there. A large ship (the Silanda) pulls alongside the beach, they climb aboard and find a pile of severed heads. Karsa kills the Tiste Edur warriors on the ship. Once they’ve left the ship, the seven Faces in the Rock rise, worrying about Karsa slipping their knots. They say the failure belonged to the Tiste Edur and that they should be punished. They add that the shattered warren stirs once more and that the broken heart of the first empire begins to bleed and that they need only set their chosen warrior on the right path. The leader orders Ber’ok to scatter Otataral dust and says the Tiste Edur’s warren remains open and will quickly become a wound, and that they need to move fast as they are being hunted by their kin.

Karsa and Torvald make it to the coast and a breach in the large wall is causing a current which is pulling them in toward it. They spot Silgar and his men, their boat wrecked in the breach. They land near them and as Karsa moves toward Silgar to kill him, the slave master says he can save them by opening a portal. Torvald convinces Karsa they should let Silgar try, so they take Silgar and his men into the dory. He guides them toward the breach where the water seemed to vanish, and they go over the edge into the portal.

Karsa and Torvald leave Silgar and Damisk on the beach and walk on, spotting a tower, made of fossils with a path leading to it. A huge man, with a Malazan accent leads them into the tower. He introduces himself as Keeper, who says they can have food and lodgings in return for helping him dismantle the roof. When they prepare to leave, Keeper gives them money, telling them that when a man arranges his own death, he needs to plan ahead and that he emptied half of Aren’s treasury a day before his drowning. Karsa says he will be back to pay keeper back one day.

After a few days of travel, Torvald and Karsa enter a village and Torvald purchases a sword. As they walk through the village, they realize they are walking into an ambush. They are caught between two groups of Arak tribesmen. They surrender and are shackled and chained. Silgar appears and knocks them out. They awake amidst the Arak camp and Torvald stuffs their clothes with grass and sets them alight on the camp fire. Most of the Arak run away scared. One of the Arak puts a knife to Torvalds neck, then a group of Gral suddenly attack, Torvald is killed. Damisk and Silgar escape using magic with Karsa, leaving the writhing Torvald behind. They arrive in a city and Silgar orders Karsa unshackled as the city is under Malazan control and they don’t allow slavery. Silgar tries to hit Karsa with magic, but a group of Malazan soldiers confront him, demanding to see Karsa’s brand.

Some days later a stranger tells him Silgar and Damisk have been arrested and are in the stocks, but tells them Karsa was en route to the Otataral mines. A group of soldiers tell Karsa he’s been tattooed as an escaped prisoner. That night, Torvald Nom appears with some Gral and trading agents of the House of Nom. He frees Karsa. Torvald tells Karsa the Gral saved him to try and ransom him. He adds his kin have offered him a place, but the Gral won’t take Karsa, as he is too noticeable. The stranger offers Karsa a place of safety and Karsa agrees to go with him. As the alarm rings out, Torvald gives Karsa his bloodsword that he’d saved from before and tells Karsa to come to Darujhistan in a few years to visit. The next day Karsa and the stranger are pursued by horsemen; the stranger suspects Mebra betrayed him. When they can’t lose them, the stranger concludes they have a mage. Karsa decides he will attack them at dark. Karsa and the stranger spy on the pursuers, which include Silgar and Damisk. Karsa attacks and kills most, drives the rest off and cuts off Silgards hands and feet, but binds them so he doesn’t die.

Eight days later they arrive at the Raraku desert. The stranger tells Karsa that his kind walked this earth when the T’lan Imass were still flesh and from the Toblakai came the Barghast and the Trell. The stranger names himself Leoman and says he serves Sha'ik.

Book Two: Cold Iron Edit


There are folds in this shadow… hiding entire worlds.

Call to Shadow

Back in Aren, Commander Blistig has been ordered by Fist Gamet (head of Adjunct Tavore's newly landed army) to find Squint, the archer who killed Coltaine. Blistig says that the surviving soldiers from the Chain of Dogs were too broken to be used as soldiers. He disparages Gamet, mocking that Tavore turned her House Guard captain into a Fist. Gamet replies that he is a 23-year veteran of the Fourth Army and of the Wickan Wars and was retired after a wound that should have killed him.

Strings arrives in Aren on the last transport, he is joined by nobleborn Lieutenant Ranal, who remarks that Fiddler/Strings is old enough to be most recruits father. Another soldier, a half-Seti named Koryk, tells him that Ranal has it in for Strings.

Lostara Yil, who is Tene Baraltas aide (Baralta commands the Red Blades) awaits Pearl in a bar. He informs her of a meeting tonight, organised by Adjunct Tavore and that he has gotten permission to have her as his aide. Gamet awaits Tavore’s arrival at the meeting and believes his promotion was nothing to do with merit. Nok, Blistig and Baralta are also present. Tavore enters, wearing her otataral sword. She divides up command assignments for the Fourteenth Army, with Gamet, Blistig, and Baralta each commanding one legion. The Chain of Dogs survivors and other unattached units are broken up and dispersed among the larger army. Nil, Nether, and Temul enter, with Nil and Nether looking disinterested. Tavore informs the two that they are now Mages in the Fourteenth Army and when they say no, she says they have no choice. She attaches the Wickans to her personal entourage as bodyguards, saying she doesn’t have the forces to use cavalry. Pearl and Lostara enter. Tavore asks Pearl about the Talon, he says they no longer exist and when Tavore challenges his honesty, he admits they do. Tavore asks them to find her sister.

Gamet flashes back to Unta, he is at the Gatehouse of the Paroes household, when Baudin arrives to take Felisin. Baudin tells Gamet that Felisin will face Judgment’s Round. To the chains. He goes to wake Felisin.

Pearl and Lostara are studying the information given to them by Lavore. Lostara wants nothing to do with the job, but Pearl says he’ll have to kill her if that’s the case. Pearl explains the swift return of the nobles to power has been linked in rumor to the Talons, but none of those who confessed to being a Talon weren’t even close to the real things. Tavore has told Pearl that the Talons exist and have been making use of the nobles, and that they placed sympathetic agents in the military and administration. Now that Tavore has shifted from being a noble to being Adjunct, her old loyalties must be severed, that she has given them the Talons and that they will find Baudin Younger, and force him to unravel the entire organization.

Tavore and Gamet meet with Nok. Nok says he heard the transport ship she asked about had sank in Malaz harbor, with Pormqual’s treasure aboard, while none of the crew seemed to have survived. Tavore expresses some skepticism that sharks ate everyone and left no remains. Another example is mentioned, a ship called the Twisted which was Kellanved’s flagship that mysteriously slipped its moorings the night after the assassinations, then promptly plummeted into the sea, taking its resident demon with it, and that Nok and three others are the only ones left. Gamet thinks of Tayschrenn, Dujek, and Whiskeyjack, listing those that have died: Tattersail, Bellurdan, Nightchill, Duiker. Nok explains that Kellanved began with just one companion Dancer. The two then hired a handful of locals himself, Ameron, Dujek, and Hawl (his wife) and that their residency in the Deadhouse rewarded then all with certain gifts: longevity, immunity to most diseases, and other things. Dancer was later recruited among the refugee Napans who’d fled the conquest: Cartheron Crust and his brother, Urko, and Surly (Laseen), plus three more Toc the Elder, Dassem Ultor and a renegade High Septarch of the D’rek Cult, Tayschrenn. And finally, Duiker. Kellanved already possessed imperial ambitions, and of the two major rivals on the mainland, Unta was by far the fiercest.

Tavore says it seems clear that Surly’s killing of Kellanved and Dancer wrecked the family irrevocably, and that is where her understanding falters. Surly had taken the cause to its penultimate conclusion. Yet it was not Nok, Tayschrenn, Duiker, Dassem Ultor, or Toc the Elder who disappeared. It was Napans. When Gamet points out Ameron was the exception, Nok tells them Ameron was half Napan. When Gamet wonders why only Napans deserted the new Empress, who was of the royal Napan line, Nok tells them that shame is a fierce, vigorous poison. Curst, Urko, and Ameron were not party to the betrayal, but who would believe them? He says Laseen hadn't included any of them in her scheme and just used the Claw. Gamet asks where the Talons were, and Nok says he has no idea, as he wasn’t in Malaz City; he just knows they disappeared and it was thought the Claw got rid of them. Tavore dismisses him and Gamet, after asking Gamet where T'amber was.

Strings enters the stables where the other recruits are. He introduces himself to the 4th squad as their sergeant and tells them their commander (of the 9th Company) is Captain Keneb while the entire 8th Legion is commanded by Fist Gamet. The squad introduce themselves as Tarr (who strings makes corporal), Smiles, and Bottle. Six more soldiers appear, the 5th squad led by Gesler and Stormy. Strings notes the strange, burnished cast to their skin, as well as on a younger soldier (Truth). Strings names them Adjutant Stormy and Captain Gesler but Gesler interrupts and says those titles aren't theirs anymore; he's a sergeant and Stormy his Corporal. He introduces the others: Truth, Tavos Pond, Sands, and Pella, mentioning that Pella was a guard at the otataral mines. Gesler says Tavore confiscated the Silanda. He wonders about how she hasn't ever commanded anything other than her noble house and yet she’s been given an army and told to reconquer a continent. Strings admits he's Fiddler.

Apsalar, her father Rellock, and Crokus have returned to Sorry’s home, Itko Kan, to find it empty of people. The night before Rellock died in his sleep and Hood himself or one of his minions appeared to have come to collect Rellock’s soul. Crokus thinks how he has come to know Apsalar less and less and feels what lies at her core is not fully human. He thinks about Cotillion moving towards ascendancy, and that to ascend was also to surrender. Crokus wondered how far Apsalar has gone down the path of Ascendancy and wonders if she wants him to ascend with her. He recalls how Shadowthrone had sent him, Apsalar, and Rellock to an alley in Kan to kill men who had been extorting a bookmaker in the alley. Crokus acquires a new name, Cutter. He decides he would walk the path of ascendancy with Apsalar, as she needs a companion like the Emperor had Dancer.

Kalam rides through Shadow and wonders what is going on with Quick Ben (he hasn’t heard anything from him) or Fiddler, whom he knows reenlisted. He envies that at least they were doing something more than babysitting 1300 children, and besides, he thinks Minala and Apt had it in hand without his help, teaching them skills such as stealth, tracking and weapon skills, and says they are an army in the making for Shadowthrone. Cotillion and two hounds appear and then he asks if Kalam is seeking to leave. Kalam tells him he’s bored and Minala has banished him, then asks what Cotillion wants. Cotillion says he’s going to be very busy but he needs other things taken care of and it’s been hard to find someone of practical use. Kalam asks Cotillion if he thinks his realm is being contested and Cotillion asks him to find out more about his potential enemy.

Crokus/Cutter is on the beach trying to figure out what he and Apsalar are gong to do, he feels a stranger in the Malazan Empire and but doesn’t think the same is true for Apsalar. Cotillion appears with the hound Blind to speak to Apsalar (whos gone for a walk). Cutter tells him of Rellock and Cotillion says it is unfortunate then, looking at Cutter, asks if Cotillion is now his patron. Cutter says he thinks so. Cotillion asks to bless Cutter’s knives and Cutter answers only if he can do it without magic. Cutter agrees to work for Cotillion and says in payment then, he wants answers to why Cotillion and Shadowthrone plotted against Laseen and the Empire; and why they did what they did to Apsalar. Cotillion replies enigmatically that’s gates are played, and what may appear precipitous might be a feint. Cutter also asks to be able to call on Blind if in trouble. When Apsalar returns she senses that Cotillion had been there and Cutter replies saying they are to explore an island and the two set sail.

Onrack the T'lan Imass wanders through the Nascent, and thinks that this is the largest fragment of the Tiste Edur that he has come across, even larger than the one surrounding the Azath house Tremorlor. He reaches Trull, who bargains for his freedom by telling Onrack of his enemies (speaking of the Tiste Edur). Trull tells him that their encounters with the T’lan Imass were few and far between, and only after the ritual, before that they fled from them at first sight, except for those that travelled the oceans with the Thelomen Toblakai. Onrack says the Tiste Edur were in his world, just after the coming of the Tiste Andii, they were once numerous and are now far fewer, after the shattering of this warren, when they fled again to Onracks world where they thrived until enemies found them. They battled against the Tiste Andii and won initially but were broken themselves and retreated. Trull says that the floodwaters must have brough chaos to the Nascent and destroyed the civilisation there and says it was the descendents of the T’lan Imass (intimating humans). Onrack notes a strange regularity to the 7 hills, which look like dogs. When Trull tells Onrack there should be a gate beyond, Onrack replies that 2 of the statues/hills are alive.

Back at Sha'ik's camp in Raraku, Heboric is climbing up a rise to collect Hen'bara flowers on it, which can be dried and steeped to make a soothing tea. He complains that his vision has been failing and that hes trapped in the desert with the whirlwind wall impassable in all directions. He is joined by Felisin the Younger (Felisins adopted daughter), who tells his that Korbolo Dom (the malazan traitor) has named is army ‘dogslayers’, and that Korbolo is afraid of Leoman (Sha’iks bodyguard), Toblakai (Karsa), Bidithal, L'oric and Febryl (Sha’iks high mages) and tells him that Felisin has banished Mallick Rel and Pullyk Alar, who were Korbolos allies.

Heboric says that Seven cities, was built upon the ruins of he First Empire of the T’lan Imass. Felisin says Sha’ik can no longer trust Leoman and put his as second to her general Mathok. Heboric climbs down to Leomans temple, who tells his that Bidithal is back to his old ways with children. He continues that Felisin has caught Bidithals eye and that he needs to break her, as mother was broken.

Heboric says Sha’ik should be told, but Leoman says she has been, but because she needs Bidithal to balance out Febryl and L’oric (the other High Mages), she won’t do anything outright, but has told Leoman, Karsa, and Heboric to be watchful. Heboric worries that all of Sha’iks command structure might be compromised.

Heboric, outside of Bidithals temple recalls how Bidithal had not always been a High Mage and he had once been the archpriest of the Cult of Rashan, a cult which long pre-dated Kellanved’s claiming of the Throne of Shadow. The cult hadn’t liked his ascension and tore itself apart. Heboric believes the fact that the Rashan cult exiles found refuge with the Whirlwind is confirmation of his theory that the Whirlwind is a fragment of the shattered Shadow warren, which makes him wonder who Bidithal is loyal to.

Silgar is sat outside Bidithal’s tent, using one of his stumps to draw patterns in the dust. Inside the tent, it appears Bidithal is talking in gestures with his shadow. Bidithal wants to see if Heboric’s ghost hands have shadows, he refuses and brings up Bidithals appetites and that he will kill him if he harms Felisin. Bidithal warns Heboric that he has resanctified the temple. Heboric asks if Sha’ik will allow him to have a temple to Shadowthrone, but says its not him and that the roots of Meanas are found in an elder warren, but wont say who its ruled by. Silgar has left a pattern of a figure, surrounded by chains, with feet but no hands (signifying Heboric).

It is revealed that Toblakai (from Deadhouse Gates) is in fact Karsa, who vows vengeance on those who deceived his people, and then begins carving 7 figures. Meanwhile Heboric is having nightmares about the Otataral Giant, wondering if Fener abandoned him, or the other way round and thinks he will have to return to the giant one day.

Sha’ik calls a counsel which includes all the leaders except for Leoman and Karsa. Felisin tells them that recent events have rocked the Malazan Empire and that the warrens have been shaken. L’oric then announces that Fener has been ousted as the god of war and in his place, the once First Hero Treach. He continues telling them that the Beast Throne was taken by Togg and Fanderay and that Soletaken and D'ivers should be wary of them. Dom tells everyone what happened in Memories of Ice. After ordering everyone else out, Felisin cries to Heboric about Paran still living.

Tavore is reviewing an assembly of the 14th Army, which isn’t going well. Cuttle arrives and tells Gamet he can get the legion under control. They use Moranth Munitions to scare the Army into cooperating. Gamet’s toddler son Grub appears and raises his arm, holding a human bone. The Army believe it to be an omen.

Fiddler calls a meeting of veterans, including Stormy, Gesler, and Cuttle. They believe that the omen is that a child leads us to them to their deaths, and a leg bone to signify the march, under the curse of the desert sun Fiddley says that you don’t destroy an omen by fighting it, you do the opposite. You swallow it whole.

Tavore addresses a meeting of commanders and tells them they march in two days. Blistig pulls Gamet and Baralta aside and tells Gamet that Tavore is crazy and that they cannot march.

Lostara Yil reveals she was cast out by her family and was rounded up at seven by the Rashan Cult, where she was selected to be taught Shadow Dancing. She says that Rashan in the manifestation of shadow, the drawing of darkness to light. She says that the Malazan Empire came and purged many Seven Cities cults, but not Rashan, for it was a recognized religion. She remembers the night the cult was destroyed: a high priest from another city visited Master Bidithal and that there would be a dance, Lostara was attracted to the high priest and didn’t dance well. It is revealed that the high priest was in fact Quick Ben, who had come to destroy Rashan. Lostara believed she was the only one spared, until she found out that Bidithal did also, she then joined the red blades. Cotillion appears in her room and he tells her he was there that night in Ehrlitan that he was witness to her dancing and that Quick Ben would have taken her as a bridgeburner. He then reveals that Kellenvid was a practitioner of Rashan’s sister warren, Meanas and that Laseen is welcome to the throne, but could do with some help. When Lostara asks if Laseen had Dancer and Kellenved assassinated, he replies that everyone had their appointed tasks, and that the game being played is far larger than any mortal empire, however the success of the empire of crucial to what they seek, and that the Empress sits on a tottering throne. Lostara then asks if he betrayed Shadowthrone, that he did, but sometimes he sees further than his companion, who remains obsessed with his desire to see Laseen suffer.

Pearl and Lostara go to question Gesler, Stormy, and Pella. Pella tells Lostara that he helped Felisin, Heboric and Baudin escape the night of the Uprising. Truth tells her Kulp, sent by Duiker, was involved in order to help Heboric. At the Silanda, Pearl tells her most of the wood is from Drift Avalii, a drifting island filled not with demons and spectres as Lostara says is rumored, but with hardly anything so frightening. He uncovers a pile of severed heads, mostly Tiste Andii, and tells Lostara the ship is filled with layers and layers of magic: Kurald Galain, Tellann, Kurald Emurlahn, Rashan. Inside he finds the Tiste Edur killed by Karsa and otataral dust on the floor. He tells her Felisin was there and wonders who killed the Edur and what happened to the whistle that animates the rowers.

The army forms for Tavore’s review, everyone is wearing bones and Tavore introduces them as part of the uniform, to turn the omen on its head. 300 Wickans, with horses and dogs arrive as volunteers, to which the Army cries Clan of the Crow, Coltains own!

Book Three: Something Breathes Edit


    The art of Rashan is found in the tension that binds the games of light, yet its aspect is one of dissipation—the creation of shadow and of dark, although in this case the dark is not absolute, such as is the aspect of the ancient warren, Kurald Galain. No, this dark is particular, for it exists, not through an absence of light, but by virtue of being seen.

The Mysteries of Rashan--A Madman's Discourse
Untural of Lato Revae

Book Four: House of Chains Edit


You have barred the doors
caged the windows
every portal sealed
to the outside world,
and now you find
what you feared most--
there are killers,
and they are in the House.


Epilogue Edit


  • One of Erikson's stated reasons for devoting the entire first portion of the novel to Karsa Orlong was to respond to critics who complained that he was unable to focus on a single character's point of view for any length of time.[2]
  • Erikson enjoys working on his novels in public places. House of Chains was written at Bar Italia in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He also wrote Midnight Tides and The Bonehunters, as well as the final portion of Memories of Ice, at the same location.[3]

Cover galleryEdit

Notes and referencesEdit