Tor, Feb 2008, $27.95
The brutal Tiste Edur tribe of the north rules the Letherii Empire that they only recently conquered, but their control is weak and shaky as most people oppose them and Chancellor Gnol still runs the government. The Emperor of a Thousand Deaths Rhulad Senger symbolizes all that is wrong with the monarchy as everyone believes he is insane even his own people yet he sits on the throne. As the Edur purists fear Letherii economic assimilation, opposition from within grows as each time Rhulad dies, he returns to life less lucid and coherent.
That inside threat is still jelling but the external assaults are greater to the stability of the tottering empire. Redmask leads the belligerent Awl’dan tribes of the east against the Letherii and the powerful rival Malazan Empire sees an opportunity has sent its armada to take the capital by sea. Others also seek to usurp the Edur.
REAPER’S GALE, tale seven of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, is an extremely complex fantasy and fans of the series will marvel at the epic scope; newcomers need to start at the beginning (see GARDENS OF THE MOON). The myriad of subplots are much more convoluted and complicated than the simplicity described above, but for the most part the often vividly brutal events tie to the beleaguered Edur and its rule over the Letherii Empire. The threads left dangling forebode quite a future in this saga as Steven Erickson provides his strongest entry in a deep series in quite awhile.