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Night of Knives: A Novel of the Malazan Empire [Paperback]

Ian C. Esslemont
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 May 2009
It gave the Empire its name, but the tiny island and city of Malaz is now a sleepy, seedy back-water port. However this night things are a little different. This night its residents are bustling about, barring doors and shuttering windows. Because this night a once-in-a-generation Shadow Moon is due and threatens the good citizens of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker, beings... And it was also prophesied that on this night the Emperor Kellanved, missing for all these years, will return. As factions within the greater Empire battle over the imperial throne, the Shadow Moon summons a far more alien and ancient presence for an all-out assault upon the island. Indeed the cataclysmic events that happen this night will determine the fate of the Malaz and of the entire world beyond.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (12 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765323710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765323712
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 15 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,702,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Visceral power... telling a story set largely over just one terrifying night, it pulverises you with an economy that's rare in fantasy" (SFX)

"Fast paced storytelling... an enjoyable balance" (SFFworld)

"Hugely promising... a pleasing, entertaining romp" (DeathRay)

"I had a blast reading Night of Knives... I highly recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed the Steven Erikson novels" (

"Esslemont handles action and brooding atmosphere equally well" (Starburst) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Book Description

The debut fantasy novel from the co-creator of the Steven Erikson's extraordinary Malazan Empire --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but 12 Dec 2006
The good news is that this is definitely a book of the Malaz. Esslemont and Erikson are doing a good job of sharing their world. And we do get new pieces in the puzzle :)

The bad news is that Esslemont, while close to Erikson in style and narrative, does not have the same touch with his characters. Wry humour, witty exchanges or character motivation are lacking. I get the feeling that Esslemont should try and develop a bit of his own style, which does shine through in the passages at sea. Perhaps a collection of Malaz short stories?

It's not bad, trouble is that it is too close to Erikson while not being Erikson.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addon for the Malazan series 13 May 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read all Erikson's Malazans book's so far, and find them to be among the best fantasy books out there at the moment.
The only drawback is keeping up with the complexity and scope of it all. Keeping places,time and people(especially people) apart is a chore if it's a long time between reading the book's, and that's a problem in this book aswell.
Although short in comparison to other Malazan books, and also somewhat confined in terms of places and people, Esslemont's Night of knives does expect you to be familiar with the Malazan universe. I would at least have read the first book of the series to get some understanding of things.

Other than that, this is an interesting sidestory to Eriksons main plot, also including characters we have met before. Fast paced and well written,
it kept me guessing at the outcome,(couldn't remember how things turned out from Erikson's books). An entertaining read, if not epic like the Malazan novels.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid debut, but lacking Erikson's humour 3 Sep 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Malazan Empire is expanding in all directions, consolidating its control of the Seven Cities subcontinent whilst its armies fight a grinding war of attrition on Genabackis against the Crimson Guard and their allies and an ugly stalemate develops on the continent of Korelri. The Empire's expansion has carried the glory and centre of attention away from the place where it was founded, the island of Malaz located off the coast of the Quon Tali continent. The empire was born on Malaz Island, but the empire has grown up and moved out of home. Yet, on the night of a mysterious convergence known as the Shadow Moon, this backwater city once again becomes the centre of attention...

Night of Knives is set in the same world as Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, which now encompasses seven novels and three novellas with at least three more novels to come. Ian Cameron Esslemont and Steven Erikson created the world jointly in 1982 and expanded it over many years of gaming and storytelling. Whilst Erikson was published first - his Gardens of the Moon first appeared in 1999 - the plan all along was for Esslemont to expand on the universe with at least five of his own novels. As Erikson himself says, this isn't fan-fiction but a new chapter in the same world created by the person who created such characters as Caladan Brood and Anomander Rake, who have already achieved iconic status in Erikson's hands.

To start with, Night of Knives shows every sign of being a more viable place to start reading the overall Malazan series than Gardens of the Moon. Esslemont's style is more traditional and the plot is much slighter than in any of Erikson's books.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book that could have been really great 10 Jun 2007
Was this book just a copied idea sanctioned by the originator? Not at all! It turns out that the entire pantheon of the Malaz universe is a joint creation between two writers, Erikson and Esselmont.

So it's a book of which I expected much, but which unfortunately delivers something less. I wonder whether I would feel as disappointed if I have not read Eriksons books first. They are all superb! This inevitably colours any comparison between the two writers. But I agree with the other reviews. The pace is fast and furious and it's a lively read. I enjoyed it enough to know I'll read it again at a later date. But I'll reserve judgement on Esselmont as a writer until after another book in the series.

So why the disappointment? For a start, its far too short. It might only portray the events of a single night, but that is no excuse for lack of depth. Eriksons writing contains lots of interwoven threads; there are only really two in this creation, where there could have been several more. I cannot be more specific because that might spoil the read.

There are plot errors. The best example is in the way a character arrives and departs the novel: by sea, and with some Imperial clout. This is a device to introduce the reader, and some of the books characters, to the fact that something is happening at an Imperial level in the relative backwater of Malaz Island. This then drives the principle players forward. However, some of the other personae clearly arrive by magic, and when the seafarers identity is resolved, it's obvious that this individual has more than sufficient authority to have done the same. Then there is the matter of why Kellanved did not use the T'lan Imass for protection!

Finally. Should either author ever read this review (unlikely as it is!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Malazan World
Having read all of the Steven Erikson books about the Malazan Book of the Fallen I was interested to see that another author was writing about this shared world. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I didn't think another writer could capture the Malazan world quite like Eriksson. Seriously impressed! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lews Therin
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising start
As a fan of the malazan book of the fallen series I was left in a rut once I finished the crippled god, I was happy to come across these sets of books by ice. Read more
Published 12 months ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars as good as ever
The book further extends the in depth world of the Malazan empire. Fast paced and a compelling read, I,ve already purchased the second book in the series.
Published 13 months ago by Anthony Easton
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I read the Malazan book of the fallen series first. But this did not detract from the enjoyment of the first in the books that preceded. Read more
Published 16 months ago by David G. Clayton
4.0 out of 5 stars decent start to ICE's Malazan adventure
The Malazan novels by Steven Erikson are without doubt the greatest fantasy series to date, the pure scope and intricate storylines are unparalleled. Ian C. Read more
Published 18 months ago by paul nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Erikson, but is that a bad thing?
I've had this book for about a year, finally got round to reading it, having read the whole of Erikson's Malazan decalogy first. Is it the same? Read more
Published 22 months ago by Adam Saunders
5.0 out of 5 stars Good first Novel with a great sequel
In the beginning I was a bit baffled at the number of the main characters because although I was used to the dozends of main characters from Steven Erikson, Erikson introduced them... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by hallo-leute
4.0 out of 5 stars Having never read Erikson....
Well...I'd claim to be a prolific fantasy book reader...yet I am one who, for some reason, has never read Steven Erikson. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2012 by travelswithadiplomat
2.0 out of 5 stars It isn't fan fiction, is it?
Steven Erikson tells us in the Introduction that it is not fan fiction. Alas, it reads like one.
The atmosphere is similar to Erikson's Malazan world and it encourages. Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2012 by _astra_
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