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Blood Follows: A Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach

Steven Erikson
Night Shade (128p)
$25. ISBN: 1-597800-04-X

book cover The only fault of this playfully brutal novella lies in its brevity, but that may be an asset as well. Erikson's Malazan Books of the Fallen are a truly epic series already closing in on two million words (third volume, Memories of Ice, just out in US; sixth book [The Bonecutters came out in the UK in March 2006]). Ingenious and intricate, the series is immensely rewarding for those with the stamina (and, dare it be said, intelligence?) to appreciate them and this simpler, short tale gives a small, but addictive, taste. Set in the port city of Lamentable Moll, the story follows the luckless Emancipor Reese whose most-recent employer is a victim of a killer whose gruesome nightly murders have panicked Moll's citizens both high and low. Even the City Watch's Sergeant Guld's esteemed detecting skills are stymied as he tries to find the monstrous murderer who takes souls as well as lives. 'Mancy finds employment as a manservant with a foreign necromancer, Bauchelain and his never-present necromantic comrade the eunuch Korbal Broach and Guld eventually solves the crimes, but the novella is also packed with eccentric Eriksonian secondary characters and subplots along with considerable mayhem and black humor. Although barely glimpsed here, the malevolent Bauchelain and Broach resemble Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser gone very, very bad. They and their hapless manservant could easily support a series of adventure. (Indeed, Night Shade [publisheda second Bauchelain and Broach novella, The Healthy Dead, in January 2006. It, too, was] previously published by PS in the UK.) -- (from Fantasy #1)