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Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1)
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Night of Knives (Malazan Empire #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,446 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
Malaz gave a great empire its name, but now this island and its city amount to little more than a sleepy backwater. Until this night. Because this night there is to be a convergence, the once-in-a-generation appearance of a Shadow Moon - an occasion that threatens the good people of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker things.
Also it is prophesied that the Emperor Ke
Mass Market Paperback, 459 pages
Published May 5th 2008 by Bantam (first published 2004)
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Everything could change in just one night...


“He stared out into the lazy wisps of mist and the strangely dull stars, and he remembered that other night. The night close to a year ago when he and Dassem died.”

You know you are deep into the Malazan Book of the Fallen, when you buy all the books before reaching the series half point, add Forge of Darkness (because the new trilogy is sort of a prequel, duh), and then for good measure you make sure you have Esslemont's books too ...(Because, who k
Aug 16, 2015 Emma rated it liked it
The first few times I did a Malazan reread, I stuck with Erikson, thinking that the books by Esslemont were unnecessary. Plus, it felt a bit mean to be picking up a book, that someone has worked hard to produce, and being completely certain that it would be an average read, or worse. Though I suppose the fact that I consider me Erikson to be best there is in fantasy writing means everybody comes worse off in comparison.

It's a relatively short book, and easy to read. It only took me half a day.
May 20, 2011 Terence rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Steven Erikson
Shelves: sf-fantasy
As anyone who's looked at my "Read" bookshelf will be aware, I really, really like Steven Erikson's Malazan series. I've had his collaborator's book on my shelf for a long time unread because I was afraid of disappointment.

I'm happy to say that I wasn't.

I wish we had half-stars or more stars to rate these books because this one is really a 3.5, an 8 on a scale of 10.

Esslemont doesn't write with the easy confidence or skill that Erikson exhibits but he does write well; and (unlike Erikson in his
Jul 09, 2015 Kaitlin rated it it was ok
So this is the first book I've read by Ian Esslemont and it kind of acts as a prequel book for the Malazan book of the Fallen Series by Erikson. There were a few problems I had with the book, but overall I still liked the hints and messages which we were given in terms of adding to the Malazan books and world. This story focuses on two main characters, a young lady called Kiska, and a man called Temper. Both of these characters were just 'okay' characters in my opinion and so even though the boo ...more
Duffy Pratt
Aug 08, 2014 Duffy Pratt rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, shared-world
I came into this book with certain expectations. I thought that the writing would be shoddy and the characterizations poor. I thought the book would mostly be fun because it shed new light on things that were left mysterious in the Erikson series. I thought I was finally going to understand what was going on with Kellanved and Dancer on the night when they became Shadowthrone and Cotillion. But this is a Malazan book, and it thus thumbed its nose at all my expectations.

First, I thought the writi
Sep 20, 2015 Zayne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was just ok. There was nothing special about it. It actually felt more like the Forgotten Realms books I used to read than a Malazan novel. I'm sure Esslemont is tired of being compared to Steven Erikson, but I can't help but say this. After reading Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, This book was pretty plain.

Also, there were two main povs: A man named Temper and a girl named Kiska. Temper was a great pov. His sections (especially the flashbacks of his old life) were fun and
Feb 03, 2013 Nate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Ugh. This was a tough one to review. I really wavered back and forth between mildly disliking it to mildly liking it but I'm gonna give it the three because I just enjoy nerding out in the Malazan world and Esslemont seemed to strike a vein that resonated with me a few times throughout the book. I also took into consideration the fact that this is his first entry in the series and I was probably gonna feel some kind of unfair bias. Also, I just don't think this kind of scope worked in this parti ...more
M Hamed
Jan 09, 2016 M Hamed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2016
The malazan world is in my opinion is the best out there
But my problem with the world can be summarized in the
Capital scene in Toll the Hounds
Let me lay it out for you:
On one hand:
here we have one of our best characters fighting it out .not really wanting to.
And mother dark stepping in after hundreds of thousands of years
and a war against chaos is consuming millions of souls
On the other hand.
We have a mule fight between pust and kruppe

I had hope for Ian .i thought he wouldn't do that .........
Oct 09, 2009 seak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Awesome. So much action in one night. I thought Esslemont's first foray into the Malazan universe was a great time. It took me about halfway into the book to get the real Malazan world feel, but it did happen and I was just as confused as I usually am. Not to say that being confusing is the way one feels at home in this world, it's just an added bonus. :)
TS Chan
Jun 07, 2015 TS Chan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. As much as Kellanved and Dancer intrigue me, this is a prequel that didn't work for me. I was mildly bored throughout the entire book, which thankfully is quite short. It also did not help that one of the two POVs in this book annoyed me. Temper is definitely the more interesting half of the book, especially with his backstory being connected to Dassem Ultor. As for Kiska, the precocious cocky young woman who is determined to prove herself, who then landed herself into trouble time an ...more
Esslemont is no Erikson. However, after a rather unsteady and unimpressive start he does succeed in salvaging this book in my opinion. From Temper's dream sequence of the Sword's battle at Y'Ghatan, the book was much stronger.
Esslemont it seems realizes his limitations and thus limited the book in terms of page count and kept the pace steady. Had he slowed in imitation of Erikson's sometimes ponderous manner, this book could have been a total disaster.
The flaws notwithstanding, I'd say this was
Jul 28, 2015 José rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sagas-leidas
Reseña en español de La noche de los cuchillos en el blog: Click Aquí.

Night of the Knives is the first book written by Esslemont and the first instalment in the Malaz Empire story arc. I read many reviews claiming that Esslemont isn't a good writer and many trashing his series but after finishing this book I can say that these critics are exaggerated, sure his writing is more direct and less elaborate than Erikson's but this isn't by all means a bad thing.

I think that the reason why many people
Nov 23, 2015 Chris rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Malazan fans
This is a good book. It isn't a great book. It sorta falls in the middle.

What I liked: the pace of the action. It's pretty steady throughout the book. I also like how the plot is centered around a single night in Malazan history, a very important night indeed. I liked the main characters (Temper and Kiska) and thought they were explored fairly deeply. The ending was satisfactory on the whole, seeming to wrap everything up nicely. I absolutely loved Temper's backstory, and his relationship to the
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This was an awesome little novel, and a very worthy addition to the Malazan series co-created by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. This is Esslemont's first contribution to the series, and he's done a very respectable and bang-up job with "Night of Knives".

This novel describes the account of one very vicious night of events in Malaz City in the early days of the Malazan Empire. This evening and those events are much alluded to in the first few novels in Erikson's the "Malazan Book of the Fal
Apr 30, 2015 Farès rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than the other Malazan books from Erikson, this one made sense.. No more characters having long inner thaughts, thinking about stock martket or whatever exept what is essential and leaving the outcoming a surprise that makes you feel stupid for not guessing it in advance. No more guessing, here you are guided step by step, all is explained and described, and franckly this is the first time I have a good description of Kellanved. I enjoyed this book, and wish I had read it first before GARDE ...more
Sep 14, 2015 Jeraviz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
La Noche de los Cuchillos abre la saga del Imperio de Malaz, la cual se enmarca dentro del mundo de Malaz creado por Steven Erikson y Ian Esslemont.
Esta saga la considero una especie de ampliación a la saga principal de Erikson donde se nos cuenta más detalles de mitos, personajes y acontecimientos anteriores a los libros de Erikson.
Es por esto que, a pesar de que La Noche de los Cuchillos sea un buen libro, con acción de principio a fin y personajes atractivos, no llega al tono épico y de prof
May 27, 2009 Stefan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the Malazan books by Steven Erikson only
Shelves: fantasy
Two stars on GoodReads are for "it was okay", and that's really appropriate for this novel. There's really nothing wrong with it, but I somehow expected more.
Esslemont designed the Malazan universe with Steven Erikson, whose "Book of the Fallen" series I always admire and usually enjoy. "Night of Knives" is Esslemont's first novel set in the same universe. Aside from some flashbacks, it takes place on one night between the prologue and chapter 1 of Gardens of the Moon, the first Malazan book. P
Sep 25, 2009 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Given that Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series has just released its 9th doorstop of a tome (well, it's been released in the UK, and all real fans already have a copy, even if we haven't all read it yet), it's hard to not to compare Night of Knives to those works. Erikson and Esselmont created the world and its history and characters over the course of many years starting in the early 80s, originally as a world for their roleplaying campaign. As both were aspiring writers, they pl ...more
Nov 11, 2013 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one surprised me. I very much liked the style of storytelling. The author does not believe in gradually easing the reader into the text. Instead he plunges in and lets events unfold before characters who are outsiders. The reader participates in reconstructing the narrative and ends up slowly piecing together the background and the world. No long info dumps, no boring history lessons. And the pace was exciting. It feels as though it were a movie, rushing headlong into the story and hanging ...more
Sep 27, 2014 The rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review at

Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Night of Knives is the first book in his Malazan Empire series. If you’re not familiar with the Malazan books, Esslemont is a joint creator of the Malazan world alongside his friend Steven Erikson who wrote the Malazan Books of the Fallen. As Steven Erikson appropriately dedicated the first book in his series to Ian Cameron Esslemont, Esslemont does the same in his first book for Erikson.

The Malazan Books of the Falle
Много се изписа за Стивън Ериксън и „Малазанския епос“, но почти нищо (за първи път преди няколко дни) се спомена името Иън К. Есълмонт. Всъщност Есълмонт и Ериксън заедно създават Малазанския свят, но Ериксън пръв пише книгите. Есълмонт довършва историята с различни събития, действия и герои останали извън обхвата на епоса.
След като се поинтересувах от книгите на Есълмонт и последователността им в Малазанския епос и установих, че според графиката трябва да започна с „Нощ на ножове“, издание на
Lori (Hellian)
So much joy to return to the Malazan world! Nothing earth shattering here, and nowhere the level of Erikson, but still well done. I've heard he gets better, very much looking forward for the ride. And wow, so THAT'S who the Riders are, huh. At least on the surface, their existence is left a mystery. I can see why these books are so helpful to read in addendum with the Malazan series.
Martin Milhomme
Nov 12, 2015 Martin Milhomme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was really fun to read this chapter in the broad history of the Malazan world.
4 hvězdičky za příběh, 2 hvězdičky za zpracování.
Tahle útlá knížečka sice oficiálně patří do světa Malazské Knihy padlých a rozvíjí příběh, který byl v hlavní sérii jen naznačen, ale... rozhodně to není Erikson. Zdaleka ne.
Asi jsem rozmazlená kvalitou psaní Stevena Eriksona. Většina této knihy se odehrává během jedné chaotické noci plné zabíjení v městě Malaz, a nemohla jsem si to nesrovnávat s podobnou chaotickou nocí plnou zabíjení v městě Malaz, která se odehrála na konci Lovců kostí. A rozdí
Laura Hughes
Night of Knives is the first of Ian C. Esslemont’s six Malazan Empire books, which are designed to be read alongside the ten-book Malazan Book of the Fallen series written by Steven Erikson. Erikson and Esslemont co-created the incredible world of Malaz over thirty years ago, and given that they’re writing about the same world and characters I don’t think it’s at all unfair to directly compare Esslemont with Erikson . . . but, sadly, there is no real comparison here.

The story of Night of Knives
Sep 07, 2014 Lady*M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see how Esslemont's books might pale in comparison to Erikson's for some people, but after five latter's books I found him very, very refreshing. His writing style and narrative are simpler, more straightforward (there are no long philosophical debates or inner musings) and the characters are far less conflicted. The pace is quick and the story holds your attention throughout the novel. Not to mention that Esslemont's book is considerably shorter.

The story happens during a single day that
This book is very (for lack of a better term) side-questy. You know how in a videogame there's some optional bit that could be taken or left? Like that--or maybe like the bonus features on a DVD or album. It's decent but not nearly as good as the rest of the Malazan series.
Or perhaps it's more like reading The Chronicles of Narnia right after reading The Fellowship of the Ring. Night of Knives comes off as quite simple--instead of spanning continents, we're on one island town, instead of coveri
Sarah (Tail-Kinker)
I enjoyed this foray back into the world of the Malazan's. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed this world until I started reading.

While Esselemont doesn't write with quite the same strength as his counterpart I still thought it was well done. Temper especially--I seem to have a soft spot now for any grizzled military veteran characters.

My favorite scene? When Kiska sees Temper for the first time. It was almost comical because what she sees is something different than what Temper actually is,
Mar 14, 2015 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Updated after re-read in 03/2015: Now trying to read the series chronologically. Not much to add to my previous review, except that the way Esslemont sometimes describes the same scene from different perspectives is really clever.

After finishing The Crippled God, I decided to loiter in the world of malazan and started reading this book (Mostly because I fear that if I start reading another series before continuing with Malazan books, I will have forgotten all the characters and will be unable to
This first encounter with Esslemont’s side of the Malazan world has sure been a bumpy ride. For every Temper there was a Kiska, basically *grins*. I don’t think I need to re-emphasise my dislike of the young naive character. She was an effective tool in Esslemont’s hands to help any info-dumping go smoothly and feel realistic, but, by all the Gods, she got annoying damn quickly.

My over-riding impression of the novel is that is was basically a novella to start with, and got padded out to fit a
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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)
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (Malazan Empire, #2)
  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
  • Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire #4)
  • Blood and Bone (Malazan Empire #5)
  • Assail (Malazan Empire, #6)

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