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Stonewielder: A Novel of the Malazan Empire (Malazan Empire 3) Hardcover – 25 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (25 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593064445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593064443
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A breathtaking addition to the history of Malaz - the new epic fantasy from the co-creator of this extarordinary imagined world...

From the Inside Flap

Greymane believed he'd outrun his past. With his school for swordsmanship in Falar, he was looking forward to a quiet life, although his colleague Kyle wasn't as enamoured with life outside the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. However, it seems it is not so easy for an ex-Fist of the Malazan Empire to disappear, especially one under sentence of death from that same Empire.

For there is a new Emperor on the throne of Malaz, and he is dwelling on the ignominy that is the Empire's failed invasion of the Korel subcontinent. In the vaults beneath Unta, the Imperial capital, lie the answers to that disaster. And out of this buried history surfaces the name Stonewielder.

In Korel, Lord Protector Hiam, commander of the Stormguard, faces the potential annihilation of all that he holds dear. With few remaining men and a crumbling stone wall that has seen better days, he confronts an ancient enemy: the sea-borne Stormriders have returned.

Religious war also threatens these lands. The cult of the Blessed Lady, which had stood firm against the Riders for millennia, now seeks to eradicate its rivals. And as chaos looms, a local magistrate investigating a series of murders suddenly finds himself at the heart of a far more ancient and terrifying crime - one that has tainted an entire land....

Stonewielder is an enthralling new chapter in the epic story of a thrillingly imagined world.

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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thirty years ago the Malazan Empire launched a devastating invasion of the island continent of Korelri. With the north-western approaches denied by the ferocious sea-dwelling creatures known as the Stormriders, the Malazans swung wide to the east and invaded the island of Fist, at the furthest edge of the archipelago. There, under the command of Greymane, a grinding war of attrition was fought across decades to no end, for the islands of Korelri are protected by a goddess known as the Blessed Lady. Her very presence inhibits the operation of Warren magic, the cornerstone of Imperial tactics. Eventually Greymane abandoned his post and the war effort faltered.

Now things are changing. In the wake of a devastating civil war on Quon Tali, a new Emperor sits the throne of Malaz, and he has determined that the time has come to take Korelri once and for all, despite the power of the goddess. A new invasion force is assembled, its task formidable but its soldiers keen. As war erupts once more, the stoic soldiers of the Stormwall keep to their task, holding the alien Riders back from their shores. Amongst them is a new champion, a warrior beyond compare, a soldier who cannot die...but his comrades are coming for him.

Stonewielder is the third novel by Ian Cameron Esslemont, the co-creator (along with Steve Erikson) of the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Stonewielder takes place on that world, slotting into the timeline a few months after the events of Return of the Crimson Guard, roughly around the same time as Toll the Hounds. Familiarity with the Malazan novels is a major asset in reading this book, but only really Return of the Crimson Guard is needed to fully understand what is going on: several character and storylines begun in Return continue directly here.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Duffer10 on 27 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I rather rushed to judge Ian Esslemont's Malazan novels, comparing them unfavourably to Steven Eriksons tales from the same imagined world. I initially considered Esslemont's works a bit shallow by comparison, but they've grown on me and they have improved with each subsequent novel.

Stonewielder is the best of Esslemont's books to date, a touch exposition-heavy given the length of the novel, in my opinion, but his style of prose gives the story a good pace. It definitely helps if you're an Erikson/Malazan Empire fan as a lot of those 'unexplored vistas' from Erikson's books are now being expanded upon in Esslemont's.

I've read enough cr*p fantasy novels over the years to recognise chaff when I see it, but this is another solid entry in an interesting series, with just enough musings on The Meaning Of Things to raise it well above the average.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
With previous offerings, Ian's writing has felt that it hasn't quite matched up to par with Eriksons, not that the word building or the characters have felt less detailed but Ian's pace felt a little lacklustre. Here in this title, his writing has gone from strength to strength. The characters are cracking, the dialogue is also wonderful but it's the way that he brings together the threads from previous titles that clearly demonstrates an understanding of the world as well as the deeper machinations of the desires of the players within that make this an epic in its own right.

Add to this some great sense of timing, solid world building and topped off with a masters touch of creativity and you know that Ian's writing is going to be something that fans will just demand in a similar way to Steven. This is a real gem of a title and one that shows the way in which the author is growing with each successive tale. Great stuff.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ben Thapa on 21 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm a US resident and enough of a Malazan fan to directly order from the UK in order to get the books faster (plus I generally like the UK covers better).

Stonewielder is generally better than Return of the Crimson Guard writing-wise. I still perceive ICE as being one or two beats off in his ability to write multi-layered passages and the subtle stuff (particularly involving Shadow) without resorting to beating the reader over the head with the intended tone or moral we're supposed to take away from it.

There are some great naval battles here (actually a Malazan first), several strong characters introduced or given more screen time and we get to spend enormous amounts of time in Korel, which has been a zone of mystery for so long.

If you're a Malazan fan, you've gotta get the ICE books. This one improves upon the others.

ICE still needs a better editor though. It's not that he's a bad writer or lazy - he just needs to be pushed to trust the reader more and to refine sections here and there.

Four out of five because ICE is still taking chances and innovating in a very complicated setting and mostly doing it well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Norton on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Overall the book is enjoyable and worth the money, however the ending is rather badly rushed and, as now seems inevitable in all Malazan books, there is a horrible tendency to deliberately fail to explain things that should be explained. This isn't about revealing future plot, its about answering the most basic questions of why people are doing things, where they came from and so forth.

Mystery is all very well until it starts to obscure the story, and in this case, as with Erikson more recent books, the story is being detrimentally affected by the fixation with hiding things from the reader.

Many things consequently suffer from lack of detail, especially lack of foundation meaning they become superficial and without proper context. The Storm Riders are the best example leaving the reader clueless as to why they have spent so many years battering themselves against a wall they could go around or over with virtual impunity at any time.
Not too mention who, or what, were they after in any case? Yes, we know some tiny portions of this story, but after reading hundreds of pages it would be nice to know why they were bothering, especially as it appears they had the means to go also go through the wall should they so desire (the stone sword).

All in all the fascination with obscure pasts and secret origins is becoming detrimental to both the world itself and the enjoyment of the books, combined with horridly miss-matched timelines and obviously tacked-on epilogues, disappointment was my strongest feeling.

This could have been so much better with more informative foundations, an un-rushed ending and a little less of an attempt to copy Eriksons' style.
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