Epic and involving, Return of the Crimson Guard is an enthralling new chapter in the tumultuous history of the Malazan Empire from fantasy author Ian C. Esslemont
The return of the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard, could not have come at a worse time for a Malazan Empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries. Indeed, there are those who wonder whether the Empress Laseen might not be losing her grip on power as she faces increasing unrest as conquered kingdoms and principalities sense freedom once more.
Into the seething cauldron of Quon Tali--the Empire's heartland--marches the Guard. With their return comes the memory of the Empire--and yet all is not well with the Guard itself. Elements within its elite, the Avowed, have set their sights on far greater power. There are ancient entities who also seek to further their own arcane ends. And what of the swordsman called Traveller who, with his companion Ereko, has gone in search of a confrontation from which none have ever returned?
As the Guard prepares to wage war, so Laseen's own generals and mages, the 'Old Hands', grow impatient at what they see as her mismanagement of the Empire. But could Laseen have outwitted them all? Could she be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors from the days of her illustrious predecesor, Kellanved?
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Nearly 100 years ago, the Crimson Guard vowed they would not die until they destroyed the Malazan Empire. In this riveting sequel to 2009 s Night of Knives, the time has come for that vow to be fulfilled. The empire has been stretched too far, too thin. Empress Laseen is boxed up in Unta, the imperial capital, while the conquered and the conquerors clash on the Seti Plains. At last the call comes for the Crimson Guard to re-form and add their undying forces to the melee. In a long, bloody, explosive-filled battle to end all battles, Esslemont handily outdoes series cocreator Steven Erikson, evoking the gore and grit of the battlefield while cannily expanding the labyrinthine Malazan world and untangling the wickedly intertwined stories just enough to keep readers from feeling lost.
I like it, but ...
This is a good book, a great book if you're a fan of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. But, the editing is atrocious. The book is full of grammatical errors and even conversational errors. For example, Person A will make a statement, then Person A will answer, and Person A will again rebut the response. Unless Mr. Esslemont is fond of creating characters that talk to themselves in the presence of others, he needs a better editor. It's annoying and he loses a star for it. He should lose two; it's that frequent and annoying, but I love the genre so, to me, it's still 4 stars.