Like some people. Let me try that again. Like a lot of people I hadn’t heard of George RR Martin and his epic A Song of Ice and Fire before Sky Atlantic started showing Game of Thrones. Straight away I was hooked. Not only into reading all the books in the series but also into the epic fantasy genre. Yes, I had read “Lord of the Rings”. Who hasn’t? That apart though my fantasy reading history was fairly thin. George has probably changed that forever.
After finishing the latest in book in A Song of Ice and Fire, Dance With Dragons I needed more. Well, there will be no more from George for a while. It took him five years to complete Dance with Dragons so even if he speeds up a bit we are still likely to be waiting for another couple of years. I then did what I usually do in this situation. Joined a forum and asked for help. Several authors were mentioned. A few were tried and dismissed. One, Joe Abercrombie, was tried and thoroughly enjoyed to the extent that all five of his books to date have been read. However, I still wanted more. I wanted more epicness. I now think I have it.
Steven Erikson is a Canadian author who I had heard of but ignored as the word was his books were almost unreadable. His masterpiece is the 10 part magnus opus that is The Malazan Book of The Fallen. As I said I had heard of it and been told it was very much a case of like it or loathe it. As it happened I stumbled across a free copy of book one, Gardens of the Moon, and so I had nothing to lose. Straight away I could see why so many people love this work. To be honest I could also see why some hate it. A heady mix of mythology (i.e. gods and things), military campaigns, a vast world of contrasting continents and cultures and more races and forms of humanity, and non humanity, than you could wish to hope for. In short there is a lot going on.
Currently I am about half way through the fifth book, Midnight Tides. Five more to go after this, ten if you include the contributions of fellow author and close friend Ian Esslemont, who co-created the Malazan world. Steven Erikson has actually now begun a new series which is a prequel to the Book of the Fallen. Sounds good but it will be a while before I get there. So to finish. If you want epicness on a truly grand scale. If you want ideas and concepts which at times may baffle you. If you want characters who you are really interested in no matter how good or bad they are. In short if you want a thumping good read then the Malazan Empire awaits.