by Steven Erikson
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 dread 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 . . .
The first book in a remarkable series, Erikson is a master world builder supplying plenty of myths and background information. Erikson was a professional anthropologist and archaeologist and brings these talents to his storytelling.
This can make the book a bit of a demanding read at first as you will spend a lot of time keeping track of who's who, who is on what side, and what those strange Gods are up to. It is a book which needs your attention but is well worth the time and effort. One of my favorites.