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

Steven Erikson , Michael Komarck
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 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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Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hook-start to the best fantasy series written July 10 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I won't attempt to cover for this novel's flaws; it has many. It throws alot at you, very quickly, just like many other "epic" fantasy novels/series/trilogies. The writing is a bit rough at times, but never bad. The characters are indeed half-assedly hashed out, mostly because they're only followed to further the plot, in fact, many of the characters you meet in this novel die before the end. That's the idea... why waste time to hash out a character that's going to die?
And that's what people don't seem to get about this series in general. They're all written as glimpses of history, showing you pieces of this magnificent world's past. This first book is (brilliantly) designed not only as a hook, but to change the way you think about a fantasy world in general.
The gods in these books aren't singular or all-powerful, there are dozens, and all capable of killing each other. An average human could kill a god in these novels, given the right circumstances.
This entire series is written to blur the black and whites of fantasy into grey. Everyone that is "good" is not entirely "good", and vice-versa. There are alot of new ideas in these novels that as you read on you will become more and more accustomed to, and learn to love. Those with a good imagination will undoubtedly appreciate the images conjured of (spoiler) an entire floating city crashing into an ocean, or of a god raising his soul-devouring sword in the middle of a crowded city street and telling everyone to get the hell out of the way.
Forgive me, I can't collect my thoughts. I have not read the almighty Martin, as many have raved about, but after reading all 5 books in this series, Erikson is my favourite author, hands down.
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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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic!!!
Just simply an amazing book. Can't wait to continue with the rest of the series. Such an amazing read, very highly recommended
Published 2 months ago by Shandman
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better the second time through
The first time I read this book was a few years ago now, and I eventually read the whole series. I decided to buy the series again for kindle because it is so good. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Heather
5.0 out of 5 stars An Experiment in Reader Tolerance that Rewards Dogged Determination
The consensus opinion is that Erickson began writing this series as an experiment designed to test the threshold of reader tolerance, and I can't argue; he takes us into 'warrens'... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Corey Lidster
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 8 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 14 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 15 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 18 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 24 months ago by Rob the Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, great finish!
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2012 by Stephen Henry
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
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