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Orb Sceptre Throne: A Novel of the Malazan Empire (Malazan Empire #4)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,210 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
The epic new chapter in the history of Malaz--the new epic fantasy from Steven Erikson's friend and co-creator of this extraordinary and exciting imagined world.

Darujhistan, city of dreams, city of blue flames, is peaceful at last; its citizens free to return to politicking, bickering, trading and, above all, enjoying the good things in life. Yet there are those who will n
Paperback, 608 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Tor Books (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Sven
Jul 18, 2012 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dark-fantasy
This is definitely my favourite book out of Ian Esslemont's 4 Malazan books. The first book Night of Knives being my second. The two middle books I think he tried too hard to emulate Steven Erikson's convoluted style from the main series and though I still enjoyed them, they were hard going at times. But in this last book I think his own style comes through a bit more and for the better. The story is tight. The pacing is consistently good. At no point did I think (as is common in the Malazan ser ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have read Erikson but do not worship him as the One True God
Shelves: fantasy
This is a terrific addition to the Malazan series. It's action packed, full of information fans have been waiting for for years, and Kruppe!
In this book more than any of his previous ones, Esslemont is writing directly on the heels of Erikson. This is, essentially, a sequel to Erikson's Toll the Hounds, and it has been pined for almost as much as that novel about *hushed whisper*Assail*hushed whisper*. Fans ought not to be disappointed, but fantasy fans are like metal fans. They're a bunch of ar
May 25, 2014 Bcvs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Finally, Ian! Finally!
I really enjoyed this Malazan novel. It took me back to some of my favorite characters and their colorful language, not to mention, humor throughout the entire book.
Scorch, Leff, Studlock, Spindle, Antsy, Raest, Raest's cat, and more and more - you are the best!
And friend Kruppe, how would that city manage without you?
May 09, 2016 elpida_la_blue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great work. You've got to read it for the jaw-dropping last page!
Ranting Dragon
Mar 02, 2013 Ranting Dragon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dan

Orb Sceptre Throne is the fourth novel by Canadian archaeologist and writer Ian C. Esslemont. It is set in the world of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, a setting co-created by Esslemont and fellow Canadian Steven Erikson as a backdrop for role-playing games. Orb Sceptre Throne takes place in the city of Darujhistan after the events of The Malazan Book of the Fallen have concluded.

The world that keeps on giving
Say what you will about other fantasy epics; Er
...I think that for the die hard Malazan fan there is still a lot to enjoy in this novel but I don't think the novel ever overcomes the problems Esslemont has building on the foundation of Erikson's work. Part of the reason why Stonewielder works so much better than Orb Sceptre Throne might be that Esslemont strikes out on his own in that novel. A continent not seen before with a cast that is largely unfamiliar to the reader. Orb Sceptre Throne has links to just about everything published before ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is plenty here to give Malazan fans the drug to tide them over before they begin their next epic reread (or something). Esslemont writes a tight story and in proper Malazan fashion there is plenty going on below the surface. There are enough plots and side plots to make your head spin. While I keenly missed the quotable passages with deep meanings that I find liberally drizzled throughout Erikson’s works, and the characters lacked a little something I couldn’t manage to put my finger on, E ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
C2012: As normal with the Malazan novels (no matter which author) I was well prepared to be confused but entertained. Eureka! I managed to understand quite a bit of this one and enjoyed all the POVs which has not always been the case previously. So much so, that I am actually prepared to say that this is the best yet. Kruppe (“Kruppe sat to pull on his thin rat-tail beard. ‘Kruppe admits to some trepidation. He believed himself free of mysterious lurkers at fires. To what does he owe this visita ...more
Nov 04, 2015 Javir11 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primero de todo comentar que lo que nos ha hecho La factoría de ideas con este libro es una PUTADA. El spoiler con el que nos encontramos debe de ser parecido a que te golpeen con un gran mazo en el pecho...

Hablando ya del libro en sí, diré que no es ni de lejos el mejor libro sobre Malaz, pero tampoco es el peor.

Tanto la trama principal como las secundarias, sin ser aburridas, tampoco creo que sean nada especial como para recordarlas días después de que te hayas leído el libro.

Además que sea t
May 26, 2015 Farès rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was something special about this book. Maybe it was the sense of humour that was lacking in the others (Scorch, Leff and Studlock made me laugh) Or maybe it was that sense of familiarity, since we find old characters (Blend, Picker,Spindle, Antsy and Kruppe, but not so much Scillara: Hate the b**ch she became).
ICE didn't have to describe some of the characters because we know theme, and he knew that we know, so he marched right on! I loved that, made me feel like that childhood friend th
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Well, I know that some folks didn't find Orb Sceptre Throne all that satisfying, but I sure as hell did! This book slots right into the Malazan world and more than holds its own. Esslemont's writing just continues to improve with each offering, and this one is a dandy. Esslemont returns us to one of my favorite stages in the whole series--Darujhistan. There's just something about this city and its denizens that I love. We get to rub elbows again with Picker, Blend, Duiker, Rallick and Torvald No ...more
Mar 04, 2012 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orb, Sceptre, Throne is a bit of a departure for Esslemont from his three previous books in the Malazan setting. Those had all been a bit tangential to the events in Steven Erikson's ten-book Malazan series, exploring themes such as the Emperor's assassination, the Crimson Guard and the Korelri Stormwall that formed an important part of the series' backstory but were slightly peripheral to Erikson's main plot. However, this novel follows directly on from Erikson's eighth book, "Toll The Hounds" ...more
Chris King Elfland's 2nd Cousin
May 22, 2012 Chris King Elfland's 2nd Cousin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont

NOTE: This review first appeared on May 22, 2012 over at The King of Elfland's 2nd Cousin. If you enjoy it, please stop by!

As I've written about before (here, and here) I'm a big fan of the Malazan universe created by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. Yes, the books are complex, the plots byzantine, and the cast of characters massive. But the universe is compelling, not to mention just plain fun. And after swimming through over eight thousand pages of text in this universe, I'm always eager t

Lynne Cantwell
I got sucked into reading this book because of the setting (Darujhistan!) and the fact that Kruppe was in it. But about a third of the way in, I nearly threw it across the room. There were *way* too many typos for a traditionally-published, professionally-edited novel. Far too many commas were left out. I even spotted a misplaced modifier. (Page 202: "'More like wolves,' the oldest of the squad had warned, a hairy and very dirty fellow in tattered leathers everyone called Bone." Okay, the guy's ...more
Jan 10, 2013 Razmatus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
a bow of amazement here... Night of Knives was like a nibble, RotCG was already a damn good meal and Stonewielder a feast... this one, if it turned into a meal, would leave even Kruppe, the conqueror of pastries and all foods imaginable, gasping for more wine :D

seriously, awesome, and after a day or two of break I am eager to start Blood and Bone :)
Jan 01, 2016 Johny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book, full of action, humour and no boring scenes.
Oct 04, 2014 Lady*M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+ stars

Oh, fair Darujhistan! You are always getting into trouble!

Esslemont's novel exposes a big chunk of Genabackis' history. It ties together Seguleh, Moranth, Darujhistan and even Rhivi when Tyrant of Darujhistan rises again. The undersupplied remnants of Malazan army find themselves in the middle of the conflict. Our old friends from the city, including the retired Bridgeburners, are all here, except Antsy who goes treasure hunting on the islands created by fallen Moon's Spawn. Adventure a
Apr 26, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose this is something anyone who is asked to do reviews will have experienced at some point, getting a book that is part of a massive ongoing series that you have never read and have little knowledge of.
I’d heard of the Malazan books by Steven Erikson, but so far have not taken the leap into that world. Ian C Esslemont is the co-creator of the Malazan world; he has written three other books that featured characters outside the main series, but with this fourth book characters already esta
Robert Beveridge
Nov 16, 2012 Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: established Malazan fans
Recommended to Robert by: already a fan of the author
Shelves: finished, cle-pub-lib
Ian C. Esslemont, Orb Sceptre Throne (Tor, 2012)

Ian Esslemont, the co-creator of the world where Steven Erikson set his massive, wonderful Malazan Book of the Fallen series, returns with his fourth novel set in that world. It's a bit of a step back from Steonwielder, but not much of one. (And I will admit: after fifty pages I thought I was going to be getting the book I've wanted since day one, the Book of Kruppe, and I was more than a little disappointed this ended up not being it, which probab
Jan 24, 2013 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to rate this book higher than I did, but at the end of the day this was the most disappointing book I have read of the whole Malazan series, and Esslemont's least inspiring book to date.

Ever since discovering Steven Erikson over a decade ago, he has been one of my favourite authors. Naturally, when someone else swims in the same pool it very hard not to draw comparisons, and differences in writing styles are particularly evident, and sometimes not flattering. However, Esslemont h
Aug 10, 2012 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Malazan fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I'll have a proper review up later but I just wanted to mention the atrocious editing of this edition. It should be a crime that anything so poorly edited ever saw the light of day. The examples are too numerous to list but here are three:

"Bride" instead of "bridge."

Chapter nineteen's heading was "IXX."

At one point, the character Blend is identified as "Blood."

And then there are dropped words, fragments and sentences that make no sense.

Night of Knives continues to
Silvio Curtis
Dec 19, 2014 Silvio Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By Ian C. Esslemont, co-creator with Steven Erikson of the Malazan universe. It ties up one or two of the many loose ends from the Malazan Book of the Fallen. In tone, it's like the Malazan Book of the Fallen with everything diluted out in the direction of a typical fantasy novel, but not all the way. The setting is Darujhistan, where a scholar working for Humble Measure (from the Book of the Fallen) disturbs an old monster from the legendary days of the Tyrants. In the process we get some more ...more
Alex Bradshaw
Jul 14, 2014 Alex Bradshaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all of Esslemont's books that I have read so far, this one has felt far and away the best of them. I'm not sure if it was the plot, the pacing, the characters or the writing alone that made it feel like that but I suspect it was rather the collection of all of them.

Rather than starting the book in the typical Malazan fashion which is to say plopped down and left to figure out who's who, rather like a party-goer who decided to use the skylight instead of the door, we already know most of the p
Aug 24, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The dividing up of novels between Erikson and Esslemont is occasionally odd. Erikson clearly has his own story going with the Bridgeburners, Seven Cities, Letheras, the Bonehunters, and the Crippled God, and his series can be read completely on its own, although there would be some dangling threads without reading Esslemont. Esslemont, on the other hand, really can’t be read on his own as his books rely on the knowledge from Erikson’s books to make much sense. That said, Esslemont’s books tend t ...more
Charles Coyle
Dec 15, 2014 Charles Coyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some Internet Random once told me that Darujhistan was one of the most vivid settings he'd ever encountered in fantasy. At the time I didn't agree, but after tearing through the ten Erikson Malazan books Orb, Sceptre, Throne was a refreshing return to the blue-lit City of Dreams.

Esslemont handles the familiar names quite well, and seems to have a knack for writing likable characters with emotionally satisfying arcs. Characters as a whole were, I think, the book's greatest strength. There were so
Bogdan Nicolae Capitanoiu

The eternal Question: Is Ian better than Steve?
Taking in consideration the 'rewarding' factor and the 'enjoyable' coefficient ... there is no diff
If you wanna analyse the writing style, storyboard, characterization ... you... do that.
(I decided not to, at least after the 4th Ian's book, as it !might! make me enjoy the aftertaste less and honestly it beats the point of reading/consuming)

So what's this all about?

When should I read this
wiki advice seems good, as for the books that seem to happen i
Shannon Appelcline
Apr 25, 2016 Shannon Appelcline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It's tough writing in someone else's style, and that's also been the biggest issue with ICE's Malazan writing: he matches the dense, threaded, multi-character style of Steven Erikson. The good news is that ICE seems to be getting better about it: Orb Sceptre Throne is his most successful book to date.

Here, ICE creates a couple of very intriguing epic plotlines, including the investigation of the ruins of Moon's Spawn and the rise of (yet another) tyrant in Darujhistan. There are also some intere
May 13, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tough one to rate. I loved the Seguleh storyline, adored the character and arc of Jan, and found Spindle/Antsy to be incredibly effective Malazan characters brought to the fore here. But there was a lot of the novel that ended up feeling redundant come the end.
Eduardo Schimitt
Nov 25, 2014 Eduardo Schimitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Simplesmente o melhor do Ian, termina a história dos Bridgeburners e de Darujhistan. Se você gostou de Malazan é um dever ler esse livro.
Rohan Goplakrishnan

Honestly, I haven't had this much fun reading a book since Toll the Hounds.
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IAN CAMERON ESSLEMONT was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada. He has a degree in Creative Writing, studied and worked as an archaeologist, travelled extensively in South East Asia, and lived in Thailand and Japan for several years. He now lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, with his wife and children and is currently working on his PhD in English Literature.

Ian C. Esslemont and Steven Erikson co-created the
More about Ian C. Esslemont...

Other Books in the Series

Malazan Empire (6 books)
  • Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1)
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (Malazan Empire, #2)
  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
  • Blood and Bone (Malazan Empire #5)
  • Assail (Malazan Empire, #6)

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“The problem with paths is that once you have chosen one, You cannot choose the others. Attributed to Gothos” 1 likes
“Kruppe wonders now, in the presentsight, as it were – or is it is? – what pedestrian activities or seemingly innocuous events will, in the hindsight of the future, be seen to be foreshadowings of the grievous event which may, or may not, come to pass, and which, by the forewarning, may thusly be headed off.” 1 likes
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