Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson is the first book of The Kharkanas Trilogy, a prequel to his The Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
Mother Darkness has been given the power of gods and it is the Age of Darkness in Kuruld Galain. But the land is in a perilous situation and things only get worse as ancient powers awake and new powers are found. The Tiste Andii find themselves on the brink of civil war and no one knows what is going on. Mother Dark’s Consort, Lord Draconus is reviled by many of the high-born lords and ladies, and they fling hate upon what they think is naked ambition. But they are all of them wrong. The world is about to change and there is nothing anyone can do about that.
I must say that I didn’t quite know what to expect; it had been a while since I read his first series. All I knew that it was going to be about the Tiste Andii. Well, was I surprised. It was about the Tiste people, not yet really divided into different ‘races’. I’m pretty sure in the two other books yet to come out, we’ll get more information about the Tiste Andii, Tiste Endur and the Tiste Liossan. I’m also very interested to see more of the interactions between the three brothers, the three Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist and Silchas.
Anomander was my favourite Tiste Andii in The Malazan Book of the Fallen series, because of his honourable nature and the mystery surrounding him and his relationship to the Eleint. To see him, without the weight of the fate of the entire Andii people on his shoulders – yet – was very refreshing. He sure was a lot more stubborn in this book than I remember.
Besides the three brothers, there were a lot of other familiar names and characters that popped up ( Spinnock, Sandalath, Orfantal and Osserc) and there were a lot of characters in this book. There were a few characters in here that I didn’t actually see as Tiste when I met them first in The Malazan Book of the Fallen series (Spinnock), and there is one whom I suspect might be Andii who has not yet entered the scene. But I’m quite sure he will. After all, his last name has already sort of popped up.
The Azathanai, apparently those who built the Azath houses encountered in his previous series, actually carry names that I recognize from the other books, though they were never called Azathanai. But I can’t really say too much about that, because I will spoil it for other people.
Overall, there are many horrible things happening and horrible things happening to a lot of good people in this book, which I really should have expected. After all, this is a battle. A battle between Dark and Light – and I for one actually want Dark to win.
I can hardly wait for the next one.