Reaper's Gale is the seventh novel the Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series. It was published in the UK May 7, 2007, in Canada June 5, 2007, and in the US on March 4, 2008.
In this bloody and dour seventh entry in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (after 2006's The Bonehunters), the Letherii Empire is under siege from within and without. The Tiste Edur uneasily rule the Empire of Lether, against the will of the Letherii people. Several factions in Lether seek to overthrow Rhulad, the emperor of a Thousand Deaths, who is quite probably insane and sinks further into madness every time he dies in combat and his sword resurrects him. Two forces also threaten Lether from the outside: the tribal Awl, led by the brutal warrior Redmask, force a confrontation, while a flotilla from the Malazan Empire sails toward the Letherii capital. The plethora of characters, attacks and counterattacks, hidden schemes and battling gods will mostly appeal to serious fans of brutal and complex epics, at least those who have fortified themselves by reading the earlier books.
All is not well in the Letherii Empire. Rhulad Sengar, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths, spirals into madness, surrounded by sycophants and agents of his Machiavellian chancellor. Meanwhile, the Letherii secret police conduct a campaign of terror against their own people. The Errant, once a farseeing god, is suddenly blind to the future. Conspiracies seethe throughout the palace, as the empire - driven by the corrupt and self-interested - edges ever-closer to all-out war with the neighboring kingdoms.
The great Edur fleet - its warriors selected from countless numbers of people - draws closer. Amongst the warriors are Karsa Orlong and Icarium Lifestealer - each destined to cross blades with the emperor himself. That yet more blood is to be spilled is inevitable... Against this backdrop, a band of fugitives seek a way out of the empire, but one of them, Fear Sengar, must find the soul of Scabandari Bloodeye. It is his hope that the soul might help halt the Tiste Edur, and so save his brother, the emperor. Yet, traveling with them is Scabandari's most ancient foe: Silchas Ruin, brother of Anomander Rake. And his motives are anything but certain - for the wounds he carries on his back, made by the blades of Scabandari, are still fresh.
Fate decrees that there is to be a reckoning, for such bloodshed cannot go unanswered--and it will be a reckoning on an unimaginable scale. This is a brutal, harrowing novel of war, intrigue and dark, uncontrollable magic; this is epic fantasy at its most imaginative, storytelling at its most thrilling.
To Glen Cook
Thank you to my advance readers: Rick, Chris, Mark, Bill, Hazel and Bowen. Thanks also to the folks at Black Stilt Cafe, Ambiente Cafe and Cafe Teatro in Victoria for the table, the coffees and AC access. And for all the other support that keeps me afloat, thanks to Clare, Simon at Transworld, Howard and Patrick, the scary mob at Malazanempire.com, David and Anne, Peter and Nicky Crowther.
|The Emperor in Gold|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Layers of the Dead|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8|
|Chapter 9||Chapter 10|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Knuckles of the Soul|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14|
|Chapter 15||Chapter 16|
|Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20|
|Chapter 21||Chapter 22|
|Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
The prologue consists of 4 vignettes, introduced by place and time.
The Elder Warren of Kurald Emurlahn
The Age of Sundering
The Elder Goddess Kilmandaros is introduced, leaving the disintegrating Warren through a rent torn through to another realm. On her way through she passes the corpses of six slain dragons. Their blood pooled around them attracts and traps wraiths. As the pooled blood hardens it begins to 'sink' through the realm and it is revealed that the Warren of Starvald Demelain is channeled through draconic blood.
The ruined K'Chain Che'Malle demesne
after the fall of Silchas Ruin
Gothos the Jaghut has nearly completed the Ritual sealing under ice the battlefield where the K'Chain Che'Malle were defeated by Tiste Edur and Tiste Andii. It is some time after this battle, and Gothos comes upon Scabandari Bloodeye (the Tiste Edur leader who was involved in the Sundering) who has been caught by the Elder Gods Mael and Kilmandaros and is near death. Gothos points out to Mael and Kilmandaros that if Scabandari is killed now, the Ritual around them will preserve Scabandari's soul and much of his power. Gothos instead offers to trap Scabandari's soul in a Finnest. After Kilmandaros shatters Scabandari's skull to kill him, Gothos claims the Finnest itself in payment for the service. He then departs, pleased that he has outwitted the Elder Gods.
Kilmandaros then returns to the rent to Kurald Emerlahn, to find Anomandaris Purake of the Tiste Andii. Rake offers to help Kilmandaros driving the 'pretenders' from the dying realm, and ensuring that the Throne of Shadow remains unoccupied. Kilmandaros agrees, they re-enter the realm, closing the rent behind them, and set about 'cleansing' it.
The Awl'dan, in the last days of King Diskanar
Preda Bivatt, a captain in the Drene Garrison, comes across hundreds of beached war canoes on the shores of the Bluerose Sea, northeast of Drene City. The number of boats indicate that half a million warriors had come ashore, and the captain wonders why there has been no sighting or rumors of such a large unknown force.
The Awl'dan, following the Edur conquest
A rider with a crimson-scaled mask (later revealed to be Redmask) comes across a fresh battlefield on the top of a hill on the Awl'dan plain south-east of Drene. The victors, the legions of Drene, have gone, The fallen army are not from any of the local tribes or peoples bounding the Awl'dan, and bear a device of two wolf-heads. Further, wolves have fed on the bodies, but have only taken the hearts.