Bauchelain and Korbal Broach: Three Short Novels of the Malazan Empire
Steven Erikson, . . Tor, $14.99 (316pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-2422-1
This collection of edgy and violent narratives tied to Erikson's Malazon Empire series pushes the boundaries of epic fantasy with morally ambiguous protagonists, bloody altercations and gritty world-building. Bauchelain, a cultured necromancer; Korbal Broach, his eunuch companion with an intense desire to procreate; and their luckless manservant, Emancipor Reese, find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery in “Blood Follows,” a shipboard battle against unearthly powers in “The Lees of Laughter's End,” and the politics of a fascist kingdom in “The Healthy Dead.” Through short, clipped chapters, a focus on gore-filled action and an economy of words, Erikson moves the plots quickly. A bit of ironic dark humor adds needed levity to otherwise disturbing, even sordid stories enthralled with the seedy side of human nature.
Reviewed on: 07/27/2009