For the house in the Deck of Dragons 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 Tiste Edur, Trull Sengar, is brought in chains to the flooded Nascent in Shadow by his brothers. Charged with betraying the Emperor and his kin, Trull is Shorn. He is bound to the wall, his hair is removed, and a symbol is carved into his forehead. Trull is then left to the mercy of the slowly rising waters and the crabs which feed nearby on the Warren's many drowned dead. Alone, Trull notes that his brother, the Emperor, has shattered the balance, and he senses the waters will come for his people soon enough.

Book One: Faces in the Rock Edit


The slower the river, the redder it runs.

Nathii saying

This book introduces the series to Karsa Orlong, a young teblor warrior who has lived his life secluded from the outside world.

Book Two: Cold Iron Edit


There are folds in this shadow… hiding entire worlds.

Call to Shadow

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]

Cover galleryEdit

Notes and referencesEdit