Let’s start with the cool stuff: There’s a giant undead dragon.
He’s unfortunately only passing by and helping Kulp, Heboric and everyone else stuck on the Silanda get out of that warren. Never mind, there are enough dragons and shapeshifting dragons around in the series.
Unfortunately there’s a horrible fire after they got through the warren and Gesler, Stormy & Truth are lost for now. After Felisin was nasty to Baudin, who actually saved her life and was sent as a bodyguard by her sister Tavore, he leaves the group. Well done, Felisin. Kulp says, what I have been thinking.. Why doesn’t Heboric leave her as well? She’s not making it easy for anyone. Unfortunately he feels bad and stays with her.
Felisin has become almost unbearable at that point. She is mean and nasty to everyone and just wants to hurt people. She only thinks of herself and no one else. Hers could have been a good story of redemption… But it’s another direction.
Kalam’s storyline isn’t so intriguing to me at the moment. Especially since I really am not a big fan of Minala, a very boring character who doesn’t have to be there. We get lots of fighting in his chapters though and see how good an assassin Kalam is, easily taking on 8 people and dropping all of them. In every other book this would have been unrealistic, but not in the Malazan Book of the Fallen 😀 Were Anomander Rake walks the earth and every second person has secret magic powers^^
Fiddler and co. don’t do much in this chapter but uncover serious plans by Iskaral Pust and House Shadow(?). It is to make Apsalar the new Sha’ik! As she was possessed by Cotillion in Book 1, she still has memories and skills from that time and recovers more every day. They think she would be easily influenced by them again but Apsalar is having none of it. She sets off to find her father.
One whole chapter is dedicated to Duiker’s pov. He’s a great choice, because as the imperial historian he witnesses everything important and is always in the middle of the action. As much as I would have liked a Coltaine pov – he’s often just behind the scenes. The atmosphere is pretty desperate – Coltaine’s ‘Chain of Dogs’ has more refugees than soldiers and they are followed by a giant army of the Whirlwind. there’s also a smaller one waiting for them across the river they have to pass and it takes a lot of good ideas to get them past. Fortunately the Wickan soldiers are fierce and even the Malazan soldiers adore and fear Coltaine and are loyal to him. Also, they have sappers who like to blow up things as well as child warlocks who can raise Zombie soldiers.
I do love the sappers
‘I saw a company of Engineers on my way here,’ Lull said. ‘They were weeping, one and all.’
Chenned asked, ‘Why? Is their invisible commander lying on the bottom of the Sekala with a mouthful of mud?’
Lull shook his head. ‘They’re out of cussers now. Just a crate or two of sharpers and burners. You’d think every one of their mothers had just croaked.’
It’s also a running joke in this, that the captain of the sappers never appears to everyone. He never comes to meetings and no one knows who he is or if he exists at all. I don’t remember whether we actually get to know him or not 😀
By the way, this is how I imagine Coltaine to look like, I can’t help myself: