Malazan Read: Deadhouse Gates, Part 1

Spoilers for book 1 and Deadhouse Gates to Chapter 1| More info and previous posts  |Please no spoilers for future books/events

In my plan to read The Malazan Book of The Fallen, I’m now on book 2, Deadhouse Gates. This post covers chapter 1.


I expected to be in like 2000 BS (Before Sleep), so it’s pretty nice to see we’re still in the “present”. Not nice to see is this guy:

Honoring his god on this day, the servant of Hood, Lord of Death, had joined his companions in stripping naked and smearing himself in the blood of executed murderers, blood that was stored in giant amphorae lining the walls of the temple’s nave. The brothers had then moved in procession out onto the streets of Unta to greet the god’s sprites, enjoining the mortal dance that marked the Season of Rot’s last day.

Ew. Ew. Ewww. Is Hood the god of death or of Ew?

Watching this monstrosity come her way is Felisin, who I remember is Paran’s sis. I’m a bit surprised by this since she didn’t have much of a role in the last book, I guess it’s just a memorable name. She’s in a bad way, no doubt part of the Malazan anti-nobles thing.

The priest ends up coming to the priest of Fener beside her, and the flies proceed to talk and suddenly, the flies fly off, and it turns out there’s no man underneath. Cue my first WTF of the book.

Felisin chats a bit with another noble lady, and we find out that her sis Tavore is the new Adjunct (RIP Lorn). Sucks for Felisin, but it does make a brutal sort of sense to renounce your noble house when it’s clear that it’s only going to get one into trouble. She also makes sort-of friends with a thug Baudin and a priest/historian called Heboric. Then it’s time for them to go get bloodied an angry mob of peasants. And it is pretty brutal even though we’ve been warned it’s coming. Baudin though is not cowed, he fights right back, killing people left and right. I’m surprised the guards don’t interfere, don’t try to stop him. Finally he kills the noble woman, sawing her head off and throwing it to the crowd to scare/appease them. And then they’re put on a slave ship.

Well. That was quite the gory prologue.

Chapter One

Icarium and Mappo, last heard of giving weird clocks to Darujhistan, are hanging out in the Pan’potsun Odhan desert. You know how Erikson comes up with some totally rad made up names? Yeah, “Pan’potsun Odhan” is not one of those.

They chat about some inscrutable stuff regarding an upcoming Convergence, as people do in the series. How do they know about a convergence months in advance? Do all gods etc. set up a schedule in advance? Then something Mappo says catches my eye.

Shy as a hare is Mappo Trell.

I’m probably way off the mark, but this reminds me of the way Kruppe speaks and now I have this weird theory that Kruppe is part Trell. Probably wrong, but better put this here in case I turn out to be right.

Apparently others are also seeking what they seek, and Mappo is worried. Icarium is not, he just wants his memories back. Amnesia? Really? Is this a ’90s soap opera?

A pack of wolves approach them, it seems they are all controlled by the same consciousness, which they call a D’ivers. Parallel computing FTW! I’m mentally prepping for a fight, but the two parties just chat a bit, and part amicably enough.

Next up is a brand new POV character, Duiker, the imperial historian, with an evil priest, waiting to meet up with the new Fist of the Seventh, Coltaine. Being a historian, Duiker obligingly gives us a backstory of the guy. Basically he’s a local who once led the Wickans against the Empire before Kellanved stopped him, and now they’ve recruited him to quell the brewing rebellion. I can’t quite decide whether this is a genius move or a stupid one. Time will tell.

Fiddler and Friends are in a boat, bound for Ehrlitan, which is also on the Seven Cities continent. Fiddler is pretty grumpy, since he’s seasick. Can anyone who’s actually been seasick tell me, is it really so bad? Every book with a seasick character makes it sound like the worst thing ever, 24×7 puking and aches and stuff. They mention flying fish, who jump on whales and eat them up. I fail to see why they have to be flying fish to do this though. But before I can get creeped out by murderous flying fish, Fiddler drops this:

“Think of a centipede eighty paces long,” Fiddler answered. “Wraps up whales and ships alike, blows out all the air under its armored skin and sinks like a stone, taking its prey with it.”

What is with this book and horror movie-esque imagery? Did Erikson spend the time between GoTM and DG thinking up scary/creepy wildlife for the Malazan world? BTW, What do you even call this world, since Malazan is just a part of it?

They’re just saying how these Dhenrabi don’t occur around here, when one breaks the surface. And not just a normal one, a Soletaken/Shapeshifter. Why do they call Shapeshifters Soletaken? Does one have to sacrifice their soul or something to gain this ability? Anyway, the monster is kind enough to telepathically inform them that the only reason he must kill them is they saw him. Um, what? Dude if you’d just stayed underwater they wouldn’t have seen you.

Without missing a beat, Fiddler loads up his crossbow and fires at the thing, and blows its head to bits. That was… easy. I expected a desperate escape or unexpected help or something, but Fiddler just took it out like it was a regular centipede.  I guess this was supposed to make us feel that Fiddler is badass, but all I can think is, too easy.

Then they get right back to chatting. Crokus has realised that Fiddler and Kalam are not just there to escort Apsalar home, but have their own agenda, and demands to know what. The answer? Kalam is out to take out Laseen. Holy shit I am immediately hyped for 1v1 Kalam vs. Laseen, because she was the Claw commander in her time too, wasn’t she? And Quick Ben is their ace in the hole, he’s not here now but can come help Kalam anytime anywhere. Cool.  Although I don’t see why Fiddler is with them for that. Same goes for Apsalar and Crokus.

Well, that’s probably the tiniest post I’ve ever posted, and simultaneously the one that took the most days to write. I normally wouldn’t publish it, but a few people have been making noises about how damnably late I am already, and this is a peace offering of sorts.

You see, real life has, rather rudely, interrupted my leisure days with a new job. And so I find out, like numberless college kids before me, that a full time doesn’t really leave much time for reading, much less posting about said reading. I way looking forward to finishing this post off last weekend, but a touch of fever and cold put those plans to bed, along with me.

But I’ve got my schedule figured out a bit better now, and so the next post will hopefully be earlier than (OMG it’s been three weeks since the last one WTF) three weeks.

Now to talk about the actual reading. Not much to talk about since it’s just the prologue and chapter one, but I’ll say that I’m finding DG way more to my liking, so far. (And I’ve read upto the end of part one, Raraku). The Icarium business, as it involves weird supernatural stuff, is still damn mysterious, but the rest of the plot I almost have a handle on. Looking forward to see how Laseen deals with these multiple rebellions – though we did get a hint, with the cull. Still no sight of Whiskeyjack and co., which sucks since I was pretty eager to find out more about the Pannion Seer.


10 thoughts on “Malazan Read: Deadhouse Gates, Part 1

  1. Thanks for the post! I’ve actually tried reading this series before, but had to start over on it because I got too confused the last time I tried to read it. I’d just refinished the first book when you started this adventure, and I figured I’d better get started on Deadhouse Gates to keep up with your pace and read it alongside you. Now I’m suddenly two thirds through it, but I’m looking forward to your insightful posts. You’re catching a lot of stuff that went over my head the first time I read the series, but I’m finding it a lot easier to read the second time through. It might have to do with the fact that I spent way too long reading it last time, and forgetting all the names and locations.


  2. Glad, there’s a new post again!

    Re: Coltaine, you called him “a local who once led the Wickans” and I think it’s important to note here that the Wickans don’t live on the Seven Cities continent but on Quon Tali.
    So while they once fought against the empire, they don’t have any connection to the Seven Cities natives so it’s not that risky to install one of them to quell the upcoming rebellion.


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