|Gardens of the Moon is the first novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series. It was written by Steven Erikson in 1992–1993 and first released on April 1, 1999 in Great Britain and Canada. It was later released in the United States on December 28, 2004, and has been re-released in multiple editions and in many countries.
Like all of Erikson's Malazan books it has multiple layered storylines that usually weave together. At the lower level is an eclectic group of Darujhistanies who are just trying to solve their own problems. Then there is the expansionist Malazan Empire whose armies and their allies the Moranth are trying to conquer the last remaining Free Cities of Genabackis; Pale and Darujhistan. Pale falls quickly to a massive sorcerous enfilade, but at the cost of many of Empire's best. The Malazans then turn to Darujhistan which proves much harder to take. At a higher level there is a power-struggle in the top ranks of the Empire as the Empress tries to consolidate her reign. Above that still; the Gods and Ascendants with their own machinations.
The book features a large cast of characters. Major focus characters on the Imperial 'side' are: Ganoes Paran, a young nobleman turned army officer; Whiskeyjack and his elite soldiers the Bridgeburners; Tattersail, a military sorceress and divinator and Adjunct Lorn, the Empress's personal agent. Opposite them are those of Darujhistan: Kruppe, Crokus and the rest of the Phoenix Inn Regulars and Baruk, the High Alchemist with the other members of the T'orrud Cabal. Meanwhile Anomander Rake in his floating mountain fortress: Moon's Spawn; Shadowthrone, the possibly insane ruler of Warren of Shadow and Oponn, the Twin Jesters of Chance are the major featuring Ascendants who each have their own motives.