[Reading] ➿ Return of the Crimson Guard ➶ Ian C. Esslemont – Transportjobsite.co.uk

Return of the Crimson Guard summary Return of the Crimson Guard, series Return of the Crimson Guard, book Return of the Crimson Guard, pdf Return of the Crimson Guard, Return of the Crimson Guard 49aa2af0a9 The Returning Mercenary Crimson Guard Are Sworn To Oppose The Empire Some Elite Avowed Scheme To Open Paths To Power Ascendants, Ancient Powerful Entities, Seek To Exploit All Sides For Gain Traveller , A Swordsman, And His Companion Ereko, Confront Successive Enemies Until The Last From Which None Have Returned Old Hands , Generals And Mages From The Previous Emperor, Direct Civil War But Empress Laseen May Draw Out Survivors For Final Elimination


10 thoughts on “Return of the Crimson Guard

  1. says:

    I thought this was a fantastic addition to the Malazan series and proved that Esslemont is a worthy contributor to the series Return of the Crimson Guard might have had a few flaws but I still felt like it was actually better than a few of the lesser instalments of Erikson s Malazan Book of the Fallen series Yeah, I enjoyed it that much I do not really think the books in Esslemont s Novels of the Malazan Empire series work all that well as a standalone series They really are companion novels to Erikson s Malazan books Return of the Crimson Guard appeared to be set between the events of The Bonehunters and Toll the Hounds, I m not sure exactly where it fits in the timeline of Reaper s Gale and not sure it matters that much The action, mostly, takes place on Quon Tali after the departure of Tavore s fleet It is a time of civil unrest in the Malazan Empire Empress Laseen finds her position under threat as wars, and rebellions, on multiple continents have left the army spread too thin and just low on numbers in general The nations of Quon Tali see it as the perfect time to start some independence uprisings To make matters worse Laseen faces an internal power struggle for control as her allies have been whittling away over the course of the series and a few of her less trustworthy underlings see a chance to lead themselves Throw in a few meddling Gods and Ascendants and the untimely return of the legendary Crimson Guard to finally fulfil the terms of their Vow and it made for interesting times in the heart of the Empire The story was fantastic I loved the whole return of the Crimson Guard and the Quon Tali civil uprisings story arcs They were both compelling and exciting from start to finish Might be one of my favourite Malazan storylines yet Just like Erikson s Malazan books this had a giant cast and plenty of POV s that all offered interesting glimpses into different people on all sides of the various conflicts as well as a few who just had their own stuff going on Just like any Malazan instalment we got a fun mix of fantasy action blended with a few social musings I felt like Esslemont did a great job with both the characters familiar to us Malazan readers and with the new ones he introduced If I had to pick out two familiar characters I felt like he struggled a bit with I d pick Shadowthrone and Cotillion Two I felt like he did a really fantastic job with were Mallick Rell and Traveller Stand out new characters were Silk, Rillish, Rel, and Shimmer Outside of the awesome Quon Tali stuff I loved learning a bit about the continent of Assail and enjoyed the glimpse this instalment of the series gave us into Traveller s nature and issues Esselmont s writing style is a bit different to Erikson s but, importantly, his story did retain the feel of a Malazan book The plot was suitably entertaining and complex and Esselmont just has a really engaging writing style in his own right So how does Esslemont compare to Erikson He is not quite so talented a writer Big areas I feel like Erikson is better are He lacks Erikson s ability to smoothly slip clues and foreshadowing into bits of description Esslemont does do it just not quite as well or smoothly He also lacks Erikson s ability to engage me emotionally with the same degree of depth and regularity It was ever a talent of Erikson that he could have me totally sucked into the story of tiny side character all within a few pages Esslemont never quite managed that same level of emotional engagement Erikson s dialogue and banter between the characters tends to be a tiny bit engaging and fun Mostly because his dialogue contains a lot humour There is a little less humour in Esslemont s books and it tends to be a bit low key and subtle for the most part The other big thing Erikson gets better in the Malazan books is the idea of gender neutrality It is one of my absolute favourite things about the Malazan series The Malazans as a society just completely lack any gender bias Well, they seemed to in Erikson s Malazan instalments Esslemont seemed to struggle a bit with the idea of envisioning a society free of the sort of gender biases that plague our own The difference between Erikson and Esslemont in this regard is not big but it does make all the difference Both guys show the Malazan world as one where woman are in positions of equal authority and prominence to the men and both guys write stories that are packed full of strong and prominent female characters The difference is that in Esslemont s stories he seems to feel the need to mention gender as a factor The fact that it was never a consideration, even in the mind of his characters, is the subtle way that Erikson s Malazan world achieved its fun sense of gender balance At least that is how it seems to me I ll pay attention in the next Erikson Malazan book I m reading in case I m doing Esslemont a disservice here So if Esslemont lags behind Erikson in all those areas then why did I still end up loving RotCG than a few of Erikson s Malazan books I hear you asking Well, while Esslemont lacks a bit of Erikson s talent in writing it by no way means he is a poor writer He is pretty talented in his own regard and I find his direct approach to be quite engaging and compelling While Esslemont lags behind Erikson in a few key areas he also manages to avoid a few of the flaws that are present in some of Erikson s Malazan books The main ones being An overly gloomy and depressing tone A few of Erikson s books and story arcs just lack the right amount of balance between the hope and despair for my liking Prime examples being the likes of Deadhouse Gates and Toll the Hounds Return of the Crimson Guard just lacked that same air or doom and gloom despite some fairly dark happenings Philosophical musings and character voices These can be a real strength for Erikson when he gets them right The pinnacle of Erikson achieving the perfect balance between characters, story, and social commentary came in Midnight Tides and The Bonehunters Sadly, it can be an issue when Erikson overindulges to the point where it feels like minor characters all speak with the one voice and that whole story arcs are completely throwaway outside of their value in providing a vehicle to discuss a few social messages and musings This was most noticeable in Reaper s Gale I feel like Esslemont managed to provide a bunch of interesting social musings perhaps a bit less than we are used to from Erikson but that he got the balance better than Erikson at his most flawed This one is not really a flaw on Erikson s part but I do quite enjoy seeing Esslemont s take on a few of the familiar characters in the series They are sometimes subtly different to Erikson s and can cast the characters in a new light I enjoy characters like Traveller, Tayschren, and Laseen a lot for having read Esslemont s take on them Reading a Malazan book by Esslemont sort of reminds me of reading the Sanderson Wheel of Time books It is a little different but the spirit and feel of a Malazan book remains All in all I really loved this instalment of the Malazan series It had some suitably epic Malazan moments and was just a fun read from start to finish I felt like Night of Knives was not really essential reading for Malazan fans but I d not say the same for Return of the Crimson Guard as some big stuff happens in the story that I d definitely not have wanted to miss reading about Rating 5 stars An easy rating to give despite a few flaws in the story Audio Note John Banks did a great job with the audio He is the third Malazan narrator I ve encountered and luckily all of them have been great so far


  2. says:

    3.5 stars rounded up because LEGENDARY Esslemont definitely writes in a direct manner than Erikson and that makes his books easier to read, even though the introduction of new characters had my head spinning again for the first one third of the book Notwithstanding, I really liked some of these new characters Kyle, Ereko, Rillish Rell after a time.The timeline of Return of the Crimson Guard seems to run parallel to Reaper s Gale, i.e post events in The Bonehunters, with focus on the happenings in the Malazan Empire Throughout the past 7 Erikson books, we ve come across mention of The Crimson Guards of Prince K azz D Avore and the Old Guard of the Malazan Empire, and the legendary characters of these two groups They finally make an appearance in this book and that in itself made it pretty awesome There are also a few revelations peppered throughout the book which were quite game changing The mystery of Traveller for one as well as a discovery about Empress Laseen that gained newfound respect from me view spoiler I especially love that we finally get to meet Coltaine reborn hide spoiler


  3. says:

    Unlike first novel of The Malazan Empire series, which is Night of Knives, Return of the Crimson Guard unfortunately cannot work as a standalone novel It is presumed that you have already traveled along and amassed a considerate amount of knowledge, worth of at least six books in Malazan Book of the Fallen series, written by Steven Erikson Which, again, sadly, cripples the capability and overall reach of this, pretty much, average novel even For almost half of the book you ll rely solely on your already peaked interest in certain characters, characters that were briefly mentioned or had an appearance in main series, and simply in it left you wanting for .Also, after six books, perhaps you are interested in finding out of this world, so probably one of the main driving forces that keeps you going on and on, turning those pages, will be a promise of expansion of worldbuilding and your voyage of discovery in it.But, even though you have in front of you all these amazing characters and this wonderful world to explore, you are bereft of enjoying them.This novel simply lacks that one of the most important pillars you need to support characters and world you are visiting And that one shaky pillar that crumbles your experience is a compelling story.Now, I m not inventing hot water when I say that you need a compelling story that will connect all these threads into a single narrative structure That s a basic knowledge.There are far too many events, and even characters, in this book which stories don t lead anywhere significant Too often we re flipping those pages and by the end, there s no payoff for the reader.Also, it doesn t help that book feels disjointed in one point we re leaving characters and their stories for such a long time that even within this book itself, when we get back to them, your memory is a bit hazy and you need a reminder In other cases, in really long chapters, there s just too many changes in point of views And this is obviously a problem, because you don t have enough of time to connect with those characters.Now that I ve mentioned long chapters, in review for previous book that I have read, The Bonehunters, I praised Erikson for writing a 150 pages novella inside a novel within a single chapter The story in Erikson s 150 pages long chapter is structured in a way that, yes, you may feel overwhelmed while reading that, but you will turn those pages, the story itself will make you turn them.Here, however, Ian decided to put us through one of his own versions of that 150 pages long chapters, but the problem here was, not just that the story wasn t compelling, but that a behemoth of a chapter begun not even 30 pages into a book.The story, obviously, suffered because he had to introduce the characters and develop the story, but given his inexperience in telling the story, while shifting between myriad of characters, he left me, not just confused that I had to go back and forth multiple times and still felt uncertain of some things, but to the point that I simply lost will to further read the novel.But, enough of the doom and gloom.I have spoken already about importance of reading prequels when it comes to this series Prequels in which you ll get far bigger picture of the events that happen in the main series, as well as in this parallel one, where Return of the Crimson Guard belongs to But importantly, in those prequels, you ll get to know some of the characters that have never been explored by Steven Erikson And by getting to know them, their history and their philosophy, you ll understand them, and by understanding them it s possible that you ll have your perspective changed.It s possible that, like in my case now, instead of gleefully enjoying certain character s demise because portrayal of that certain character in the main series deserves that glee in those characters final moments , I m sitting here and sulking how that certain character hadn t been explored nearly enough to its full potential.Of course, due to avoiding spoilers, I m not going to tell you who the character is Death of that character left me sad and upset.For some reason I was always being intrigued by her him before I have read the prequels and then in prequels I got to know quite a bit of his hers history I guess that I liked that characters philosophy.There are certain things that needs to be done, and she he is prepared to do it Now the question of competence in doing those things is another matter.There s quite a lot of other characters that I liked Sappers will always get an approval from me in these series, so having to read about formation of a company and their leadership under Sergeant Jumpy is nothing but enjoyment.Also, Traveler and Ereko Which, in my opinion, have too much of resemblance to Icarium and Mappo and their relationship But, nothing is the same in this world, and it was worthwhile following them and by doing so, learning about the world.Book is filled with many great action scenes, which is Ian s trademark by now.Overall, I have read books that Ian wrote later in his career, and the progress he made in things I have complained about here, is staggering I can only hope that I ll be able to notice that progress in each next book I pick up 2 5 Kharkanas TrilogyForge of DarknessFall of LightPath to Ascendancy seriesDancer s LamentDeadhouse LandingMalazan Empire seriesNight Of KnivesMalazan Book of the Fallen seriesGardens of the MoonDeadhouse GatesMemories of IceMidnight TidesHouse of ChainsThe BonehuntersUltimate Malazan Chronological Reading Order


  4. says:

    Battle is for an army to win or lose war is for a civilisation to win or lose As you have probably known, Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont are co creators of the Malazan universe Firstly, Mr Erikson and his Malazan Book of the Fallen took the fantasy readership by storm remember, go for the throat , and then Mr Esslemont joined him, somewhat benefiting from the success of his friend Novels of the Malazan Empire complement or elaborate on the events and individuals mentioned and alluded to in the Malazan Book of the Fallen The Return of the Crimson Guard is a prime example of how these two series intertwine.If you wonder whether or not it is worth to invest your reading time here, my answer is yes, but skip the absolutely atrocious first instalment I pretend I did not read it at all You will lose nothing as the two main protagonists don t even have their POVs in this novel, and to fully appreciate the complexity of events and all the innuendos, knowledge of Malazan proper will be beneficial The Return of the Crimson Guard takes us roughly to a point in time not long after the Bonehunters and so among the main cast you will see a lot of familiar faces, including Laseen, Mallick Rel and Korbolo Dom The biggest advantage of this novel lies in the fact that Mr Esselmont picks up the threads, which were only briefly flagged up in the Malazan Book of the Fallen Nonetheless, this is where the plot veers of, so to speak and diverges into many parallel stories Among those the most important are the return of the Crimson Guard the Guard consists of four companies stationed on four different continents, and we observe the struggles of every one of those And excuse me, for this little intermission here, but can we have Iron Bars, please Mallick Rel s plotting to take over imperial throne some deaths are long overdue treason and divisions within the Crimson Guard wanderings of the Traveller and Ereko, joined by a young and naive yes how could you have a book without a dash of YA Kyle, a renegade from the Guard and a wielder of an interesting wand just kidding, sword formation of the Talian league against the Malazan rule of Laseen meet Ghelel, your second YA element, female to keep the balance a birth of insurrection on the continent of Quon Tali, orchestrated and led by the members of the Old Guard, all those former companions of Emperor Kellanved we have heard so much about we have the chance to meet Urko Crust, Toc the Elder, Amaron, Choss and others fighting on the borders of the Wiccan plain, featuring d ivers Ryllandaras and the unconquerable city of Li Heng, various squads of the Malazan soldiers of whom some are loyal to the throne and some are not and some just do not care.The tale unfolds not from the vantage point of the VIPs, but from the perspective of ordinary soldiers From the very beginning, we are accompanying them, and this places us at the very center of events It also affords us a wonderfully multifocal view, we see those who defend the throne and those who want to overcame it We cheer for both sides and if somebody would ask us who are the good guys, the answer would not be an easy one to give if possible at all In this respect, the book reminds me a lot of Glen Cook s Black Company.Generally, when it comes to the storyline Malazan fans have nothing to complain about Events and the protagonists are as rich as in Malazan proper and this novel is an important complement to the motifs knowns from Mr Erikson s series I must admit that Mr Esslemont has considerably improved conceptually and in terms of plot design he created a truly epic work that does not have to pretend to be an impoverished relative of Mr Erikson s books Admittedly, all is still on an intermediate level, but the basic plot line makes sense from the beginning to an end and is nicely construed At the same time, apologies but this comparison with Mr Erikson is simply unavoidable, a better writer would be able to change this not too bad book into a real masterpiece The heroes, the action scenes, the transition between the places, protagonists and dimensions, the personal reflections all of this is dry and while infused with a modicum of imagination, remains wooden Different sub plots lack a defining characteristic feature that would make them constantly recognisable, there is not enough depth, the reader is not able to identify individual heroes after two or three sentences, the frisson of reading is still not there There are a couple of potentially amazing things scattered across the many hundreds of pages These include Ereko, a research academy in a concentration camp, and Surely not moment But as a reader, I had the impression that Mr Erikson would be able to do with these My greatest relief, nonetheless, is the fact hat writing is better Soldiery conversations are particularly good, only when Mr Esselmont is trying to be enigmatic or foreboding it still does not work that well and such dialogues read as if two different conversations were just mashed up for effect Also, for no reason I can understand, half of the cast has clawed fingers, hands and feet, and I find this a weird writing fetish In general thus, what you can expect from the Return of the Crimson Guard is extension and continuation of collective and individual stories known from the Malazan proper And while you can read this series without the knowledge of the other, this is not something, I d recommend doing.Also in the series 1 Night of Knives 3 Stonewielder 4 Orb Sceptre Throne5 Blood and Bone6 Assail


  5. says:

    Re read Even than the first time around the first two parts of this book were informative but a little bit slow and boring The last part however was perhaps even better on re read That last part is the best section of any of the Empire books in my opinion and we see the promise later fulfilled in Path to Ascendancy as ICE grows as a writer His brilliant imagery really made a few of the scenes I found myself comparing him to SE less but I still have to wonder how much better it would have been had SE written this series The first half of this books was mediocre at best and has me wishing SE was telling the tale not ICE There were a few moments in particular where SE would have had us weeping but ICE left me wanting It is so hard not to compare the two Then the second half of the book there was almost complete redemption Over 200 pages were an epic convergence to rival SE There were two head scratching almost anti climatic moments though view spoiler Laseen s death and Tayschrenn being sucked into the warren of chaos hide spoiler


  6. says:

    Ian C Esslemont s Novels of the Malazan Empire provide excellent little breaks from the events of Steven Erikson s main Malazan series, when one wants a look at what is actually happening in the very heart of the Malazan Empire itself They are usually themed around palace intrigue and skirmishes on the central continent of Quon Tali, and as such are quite different from their counterparts on Genabackis, Lether and Seven Cities.While Night of Knives was not really up to the standards set by Erikson, in Return of the Crimson Guard, Esslemont truly delivers The conspiracies surrounding the Malazan throne, the interventions of various ascendants, the civil wars on Quon Tali and the return of the Crimson Guard itself all provide some memorable scenes.There are some negative qualities, like the fact that the central conspiracy is not always very well developed, but overall, I am very much excited to read of Esslemont s work after this.


  7. says:

    Reading this the second time through and not during or immediately reading MbotF has me appreciative of ICE s writing In all honestly I hardly remembered any of this book and give the epic battle at the end it makes me wonder just how much i was paying attention.ICE isn t SE and that needs to be remembered His delivery is direct, but still has great chaacrter interaction I have enjoyed seeing a different approach to characters like Tayschrenn and I know there is of this in later books which I look forward to.Overall a good solid read and I loved being back in this world.


  8. says:

    This one was a really hard one to rate for me The first half was about 2 stars and I really had to force myself to read, but the second half was a solid 4 stars with some 5 star moments.It s really hard to look at Malazan without comparing ICE and Erikson a little bit Don t get me wrong, I love ICE, but he just isn t able to twist my emotions so much or create in depth characters the way Erikson does I loved Night of Knives and I think ICE is just much better suited to fewer narratives in one novel Return of the Crimson Guard lacked the witty banter so often found in MBOTF and I felt no emotion, even during world changing events such as view spoiler the deaths of Laseen and Tayschrenn hide spoiler


  9. says:

    I have to warn you that I m a huge Malazan fan, so take this review as you will The Malazan world fulfills all of my childhood wishes to become Spider man mixed with Wolverine s claws, Donatello s brain and ninja skills, and throw in Silver Surfer s surfboard too.I realize some of those are moot with the inclusion of the othersbut I was a kid This world is filled with the knarliest people doing the craziest things and I love it Everyone main characters that is is either the best at what they do or completely insane or both.And Esslemont fills Return of the Crimson Guard with all of the above.Even impressive is Esslemont s ability to capture the feel, almost 100%, that Erikson has created in the main line of the series I say almost because most notably the humor element is missing Not to say that the typical cynically dark humor isn t present, it just didn t have me laughing out loud and quoting scenes to everyone in my direct vicinity.Make sure to read up to The Bonehunters before embarking on Return there will be spoilers of anything up to this point.In Return of the Crimson Guard, the continent of Quon Tali is in political upheaval and the timing couldn t be worse Empress Laseen s grip on the Malazan empire is crumbling or is it and she s lost the majority of her Claw assassins, not to mention members of the Old Guard are doing all they can to upset the already tenuous grip she has on her rule while leading the Talians against herOh, and the Crimson Guard, the elite band of mercenaries who ve vowed to see the destruction of the Malazan empire, have decided to make this the time for their return.Centering in Quon Tali, the majority of the action takes place in Li Heng, Unta, Cawl, and some plains areas There are, however, plenty of other places visited even some continents for the first time , these are just some of the focal points We especially get some good history on Li Heng and it s relation to Ryllandaras Heng , as it s often referred to, is a city that s mentioned here and there, but never really a focus until now.This book is filled with great information and incites on the world that Erikson and Esslemont co created and that s one of the things that make Esslemont s series so worthwhile As of this point we ve only gotten a few glimpses of the capabilities of the Avowed, those who made the original vow against the Malazan empire,who play a critical role as leaders of the Crimson Guard.Among the Crimson Guard, we follow a young and newly initiated Kyle not of the Avowed , who doesn t really know his place in the Crimson Guard As you can tell, he s the perfect character to let us in on some of the workings of this mercenary company, but he s got a few tricks up his sleeve as well.Along with following members of the Crimson Guard, we re introduced to Traveller and Ereko a couple of wanderers somewhat reminiscent of Mappo and Icarium Their purpose is mysterious, they are awesomely powerful, and they have quite the history.While I mentioned that Esslemont catches the feel of the Malazan world, he also has the tendency in this volume to match the meandering found most notably in later volumes of Erikson s series It was by no means a deal breaker, but it does make the middle of the book a little slower to get through.The ending, like all books in the Malazan universe, blew my mind and made everything well worth it, not that there really was any part you have to suffer through.Minor spoiler alert although if you re still on the cusp of reading this and want a little push you should read this The Segulah, quite possibly my favorite part of Memories of Ice among many favorite parts , make a few appearances and continue to be awesome.I fully admit that I didn t even get close to covering all that happens in RotCG This book is massive, epic, filled with action, and everything we ve come to expect when we hear the name Malazan.When Should You Read Return of the Crimson Guard This question actually fits quite well with this book because I thought Return of the Crimson Guard would have worked a bit better being read just after The Bonehunters Book 6 inMBotF Events in The Bonehunters are referred to a number of times and I have to admit it s a bit rusty in my mind after having read the 1200 page Reaper s Gale.Also, I ve heard that s it s important to read Return of the Crimson Guard before Toll the Hounds so as not to spoil certain things found in Return I ll let you know for sure once I finish Toll.EDIT Yes, it is good to read Return before Toll And a warning do not look at the Deck of Dragons listings found after the glossary at the end of the book until you ve finished the book I made this mistake and it spoiled some things for me.


  10. says:

    The eruption had wounded the world The second addition to the Ian C Esslemont collection of Malazan novels and it s a massive improvement on Night of Knives Where as its predecessor was a bit of a nothing book with a limited amount of plot Return of the Crimson Guard is epic, dense and complex everything i want from a Malazan book.Taking place after The Bonehunters book 6 of the Steven Erikson series the focus is Quon Tali, where a rebellion is slowly taking shape against Empress Laseen The Crimson Guard are also looking to fulfill their ancient Vow of crushing the Malazan Empire As is the way with Malazan books there are several subplots, all heading toward an inevitable convergence.The writing styles of the two authors are very different Erikson writes challenging prose with philosophical undercurrents whilst Esslemonts writing is a step down on the difficulty level It s still challenging but he s no Erikson.It s a slow burner as the plot takes around 350 pages to advance but i didn t mind Getting back into the Malazan world a few months after finishing The Crippled God was such a pleasure that i was than willing to be in for the long haul The unique characters, the vastly different continents and worlds and the in depth history reaffirmed this as my favourite fantasy world.The Crimson Guard appear for the first time proper after brief mentions in previous books and they re as expected brutal and war weathered Although this is their book they re not overly used and have an equal share of the chapters Laseen also appears for longer than ever before but i still wanted from her She s the much feared Malazan Empress and needs airtime to cement her status as ruler New character Kyle is likable and there s plenty of involvement from characters alluded to in the Book of the Fallen.I would suggest reading books 1 6 of the Erikson series before tackling this book Without prior knowledge of characters and how the world works you ll get no pleasure from reading Return of the Crimson For seasoned veterans of this brilliant series then this is a must read and it sets it up nicely for Stonewielder, which I ve already ordered


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