For me, this is the first of two big leaps that get us into what I view as the truly elite Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels on my list. Gardens of the Moon was a great start to Malazan Book of the Fallen and threw readers into the series with no handholding, forcing readers to trust Erikson to get them somewhere special. It was entertaining and a worthy start but didn’t make my top 100. Deadhouse Gates is where Erikson’s greatness starts to become undeniable.
It’s a sequel, but it could be frustrating in that he leaves the continent and most of the characters of Gardens of the Moon behind. Instead, he takes us to an entirely new setting, with seven cities on the brink of war, awaiting a prophesized uprising called “The Whirlwind”. Against this backdrop, a great military leader must lead a group of refugees across the continent, protecting them the entire way. This group, known as the Chain of Dogs, and their journey create one of the most unique stories in fantasy literature. I can’t say enough about this novel and from here on this series continues to leap off the page in new and exciting ways.