The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach is a collection of three short novels – novellas – by Steven Erikson, revolving around the three mysterious men we first met around the time of the Pannion War in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Bauchelain, summoner of demons, soletaken and necromancer, Korbal Broach, eunuch, soletaken and necromancer and Emancipor Reese, their reluctant manservant.
The collection consists of the following short novels:
- Blood Follows
- The Lees of Laughter’s End
- The Healthy Dead
It also contains the introductions by three other Fantasy authors, among them James Barclay (I love it when my Fantasy fandoms collide!), praising the way Erikson imbues his shorter works with the same amount of detail and love he does his longer works.
Emancipor Reese finds himself desperately in need of a job when his previous employer is killed and his children are down with the worms and his wife keeps nagging at him, even though he’d been steadily employed only a few hours ago. When he reads the notice looking for a manservant, the spell on it doesn’t seem to light a spark of suspicion, but then: Emanicpor is drunk out of his mind. Suddenly, he’s in the employ of necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach and his life becomes a flurry of doom, danger and adventure; the three things he hates.
Man, I had no idea how much I’d love these short novels when I first bought them! I only bought them because they were a part of the Malazan world – as with Esslemont’s books – but the characters really bring these to life.
What really surprised me about these books is that I actually liked Bauchelain – still reserving my opinion on Korbal. Even though you could say he’s evil and all, Bauchelain kind of strikes me as a stand-up kinda guy, if you turn a blind eye to his more….’murky’ endeavours. I still can’t get a read on Korbal though.
And poor, poor Emancipor. Mancy the Luckless, what an apt nickname! He really has a very large dose of bad luck, even with all the upsides to being their manservant, he’s still in the employ of two men who are masters of the dark arts. He’s never going to have a peaceful time ever again. And all he ever wished for was a bit of peace.
9/10 (Because I wish they were longer, so I could stay in Wu longer)