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Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book One [Hardcover]

Steven Erikson , Michael Komarck
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 2008 The Malazan Book of the Fallen
The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze. However, the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand. . . . Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order — an enthralling adventure by an outstanding voice. “I stand slack-jawed in awe of The Malazan Book of the Fallen. This masterwork of imagination may be the high-water mark of epic fantasy. This marathon of ambition has a depth and breadth and sense of vast reaches of inimical time unlike anything else available today. The Black Company, Zelazny’s Amber, Vance’s Dying Earth, and other mighty drumbeats are but foreshadowings of this dark dragon’s hoard.” - Glen Cook
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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Sometimes books are big because the author doesn't know how to stop, and writes right over that line where more becomes less. Other books, though, are big because they have to be, because the story, the drama, and the characters are just too large to fit into a compact volume. Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon is that kind of big book. Gardens of the Moon, first volume in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, is an epic fantasy story of war, sorcery, politics, and revenge. There is an Empire that must be thwarted, as well as gods desperate to prove they still count for something in the world of human beings. The main story concerns intrigue surrounding the Malazan Empire's coming assault on the city of Darujhistan. Characters include Whiskeyjack, leader of a military band pushed to the edge; Baruk, an alchemist and leader of the mages of Darujhistan; and Sorry, a young woman possessed by a vicious killer.

Erikson brings a gritty realism to his fantasy that sets it apart from most others. Magic is difficult and dangerous, often harming its practitioners. Erikson's world has a long history of violence and struggle: people get dirty and tired, and there are not many lives without suffering. The realism makes the characters that much more sympathetic and their successes and failures more meaningful. Gardens of the Moon amply fulfills the main requirement of a big fantasy novel: the world it creates is so compelling that it pulls you right in and leaves you wanting more. --Greg L. Johnson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this sprawling fantasy epic of the Malazan empire at war with its enemies and itself, the first of a projected 10-volume series, Canadian newcomer Erikson offers many larger-than-life scenes and ideas, but his characters seem to shrink to fit the story. Perhaps they need to stay small enough for the reader to keep them all in mind. Jumping often between plot lines, the novel follows Ganoes Stabro Paran from his boyhood dreaming of soldiers to his escape from imperial service. Paran travels on journeys of body and soul, going from innocent to hardened rebel against gods and empire without losing his moral core. Other characters may go further, to death and back even, but none is as sharply portrayed. The book features a plethora of princes and paupers, powers and principalities, with much inventive detail to dazzle and impart a patina of mystery and ages past. The fast-moving plot, with sieges, duels (of sword and of spell), rebellions, intrigue and revenge, unearthed monsters and earth-striding gods, doesn't leave much room for real depth. Heroes win, villains lose, fairness reigns, tragedy is averted. Erikson may aspire to China Miéville heights, but he settles comfortably in George R.R. Martin country.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Prod and pull," the old woman was saying, "'tis the way of the Empress, as like the gods themselves." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Mane of Chaos...Anomander Rake. Lord of the black-skinned Tiste Andii...who has looked down on a hundred thousand winters, Who has tasted the blood of dragons, who leads the last of his kind, seated in the Throne of Sorrow and a kingdom tragic and fey...a kingdom with no land to call its own." - Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon
So Steven Erikson introduces one of his major characters. This series is quite simply outstanding, grandiose, magnificent - the word epic is often used as a cliche but if ever a series is worthy of being called that, this is it. It's staggering in its scope.
Erikson's narrative style is to throw you in the thick of the action with minimal background information. This can be quite disconcerting when starting this book - you just don't, and won't, know what the hell's going on. You won't understand how magic works, what a Warren is, where the Malazan empire actually is and what the hell is a Tiste Andii anyway??
It'll be like that for the first hundred pages or so. Keep up or be left behind. You'll find yourself rereading various passages, trying to glean some tiny seed of understanding. It can be pretty frustrating, not knowing a damn thing about anything. But Erikson gives you enough teasing glimpses of quality under the survace for you to feel that understanding is just around the corner if you keep perservering with it, even if you don't initially understand what's going on - Erikson's world is incredibly rich in detail and history, and this is slowly revealed as you get further into the book.
And the more this world - and the storyline set in this world - is revealed the more and more impossible it gets to put the book down. The originality is quite amazing, and it's a MAJOR rush when you start to piece things together.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly intriguing and well conceived. April 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you like intrigue and complicated, interweaving storylines then "Gardens of the Moon" is the next book you should read.
Set in a land torn apart by an invading empire, "Gardens..." follows a variety of characters, from various groups, who would eventually collide through the interferance of gods, elder races and politics.
Erikson has an excellent grasp of character development (often sorely lacking in Fantasy) as events alter the perspectives of each character. This enables the reader to empathise with these believable characters.
I found the most intriguing aspect of "Gardens..." was the ambiguity of the characters. Never had I read a Fantasy novel which blurred the lines between good and evil so well - the characters are not your typical good guy battling the typical bad guy. Erikson writes from all persectives: the invading army soldiers who are ordered to complete their missions without question. For example, the officers in the invading force not neccessarily agreeing with the job they had to do, but completing it nonetheless. We read the perspectives of various political factions in the targeted land; both for and against the conquest, and also the persectives of civilians caught up in the struggle to save their city. What makes this book interesting is that I can now really envision war through similar perspectives.
I had been told a number of times that if I like George RR Martin, then I would also enjoy Steven Erikson as their style and subject matter are similar. This is true. They both have an excellent technical grasp of the English language; not poetic, like Kay or Wolfe, but like Donaldson, they always seem to write the correct word when needed every time. For this reason, you need to read "Gardens of the Moon", and the whole series for that matter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, great finish! Jan. 28 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are new to the fantasy genre, this is probably not a book for you. This is the most complex fantasy novel I have ever read. There are dozens of characters, 3 or 4 major plot lines, intricate politics, an unconventional magic system, and a highly involved pantheon of gods. It took me about 200 pages to figure out what was happening, but once I did the book instantly became one of the best I've read. Erikson does not spoon-feed information, but respects the intellect of the reader and allows him or her to make their own deductions. This can be frustrating at times, so if you just can't seem to work something out I recommend visiting the Malazan Wiki online, or consulting the glossary at the end of the book (which I didn't realize was there until after I finished the book). Once you begin to grasp the fictional world, Gardens of the Moon is not a book you'll want to put down in a hurry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the start of an incredible series March 11 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Seeing some of the other reviews, it very apparent that it takes a certain type of person to appreciate the Malazan Book of the Fallen. This is not at all an easy series, and to truly understand and enjoy it, you will have to do some work. This can be simply referring to the glossary or looking back at other chapters. Erikson's style, especially in the first book (Gardens of the Moon), is to release bits of information about a topic, like the magic, and keep us wondering and on our toes. I find this half the fun - because it makes me curious. Some may find this frustrating because they don't understand right now, but I just keep reading until I come to a moment when it all makes sense. This is when it is really useful to do some re-reading, because it will reveal so many little secrets. So it really comes down to if you are willing to put some time into reading this book and this series - if you do, it will be one of the best you've ever read.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I struggled to get drawn into this world.
This world is very interesting, complex and well developed. But, damn you need to pay attention and the energy it took to try to understand what was happening took much of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Even better the second time
The first time I read gardens of the moon was like being lost in a strange city. But if you stick it out you're rewarded with one of the best fantasy series around. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jean Paul Fredette
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing start to an astounding series
The first half of the novel is a bit hard to understand, bordering on frustrating at times. Stick with it! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joey
2.0 out of 5 stars I want my February back!!!
I will NOT be giving away any spoilers in this review. 
I gave this book a 2 out of 5 star rating because the first 450 pages (or so) were awful and deserved 1 star while the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by John Antoine
1.0 out of 5 stars Erikson's reach exceeds his grasp
The author embarks on some truly ambitious world-building. He's probably a hell of a DM. But the prose itself is just awful. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Rob the Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars malazan book one of the fallen
i have read book one and it is very good read,i have since ordered books 2 to 5 so far and i am currently reading book 2,the series seems to be along the line as popular on line... Read more
Published on June 28 2011 by R. K. Griffith
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get past the style
I read a Game of Thrones, then moved to this book by Erikson. I tried... really tried to get in to the book, but the writing was just convoluted. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2011 by Luke
5.0 out of 5 stars Complexe story, great read
This book (and the whole serie) turn around a complexe story. Not for the faint of hearth.
Published on June 25 2010 by Sebastien Brodeur
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult Fantasy for the Active Reader; not for the Passive Reader
This is outstanding epic fantasy. I was so impressed that when I was half way through Gardens of the Moon, I ordered volumes 2-7 from Amazon. Read more
Published on April 4 2010 by BEEKS
5.0 out of 5 stars For the military minded
I really liked this book. Mind you, I read the first 70-80 pages at least four times to understand what the heck was going on and who was who. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2008 by i_read_therefore_i_am
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