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Gardens of the moon
Steven Erikson
Adult Fiction ERIKSON

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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 Mi?ville heights, but he settles comfortably in George R.R. Martin country. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (June 16) FYI: The first four volumes have already been published in the U.K. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The embattled Malazan Empire struggles to hold on to its lands and increase its holdings as the greedy Empress Laseen pushes her Legions to the limits of their endurance. As Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his elite Bridgeburners, along with the combat sorceress Tattersailm, turn toward yet another battle, darker forces gather that promise to involve the gods themselves in the affairs of men and women. First published in England, Erikson's saga of war and empire delivers first-rate military fantasy reminiscent of Glen Cook's "Black Company" novels. Intriguing world-building and well-rounded characters make this a good choice for most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Laseen
Power-hungry; rules with a group of assassin whose function is to further her ambitions.

Former commander of the 2nd Army; leads a squad called Bridgeburners; sent ti undermine the last remaining Free City.

The commander of the 2nd's mage cadre.

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