As I wrote on Twitter I got this sexy, awesomely crafted book (three illustration and at 181 pages almost twice the length of the three previous novellas), and proceed to reading with insanely high expectations since I believe the previous three novellas are above everything else Erikson wrote.
The book starts with elegant writing, in a tone that is somewhere between the famous Blade Runner’s ending monologue in reverse (meaning that here it starts the story) and the Greek poets that used to begin their works with formulaic flourishes where they invoked the muse to favor their art and inspire. All within the sub-text typical of Erikson of men against gods. He does not beg their help, but almost commands them to stay back, and witness.
Written as himself (Erikson) while disguised as one of the characters.
I’ve read that in this book Bauchelain and Korbal Broach barely appear, I’ve read that this book may disappoint Erikson’s fans. Ken writes: “a book that is all about fandom, author intent, artistic integrity, criticism, contemplative self-doubt and cannibalism.” I always love Erikson’s audacity and recklessness. I admire courage and ambition. I don’t get the novel to expect and pretend a certain story. I want to be brought to places. I just want to read something that gives feelings and thoughts. And something that is true deep down.
I was actually worried about the way Erikson would deal with this fourth novella because the relationship between the two necromancers and their manservant Emancipor Reese needed to be renovated to not fall into repetitiousness and predictability. Erikson was able to do this wonderfully in the third novella (The Healthy Dead) where the dissertations of Bauchelain on the nature of society were a masterpiece on their own. A great satire, incisive and funny. But where to go from there? It seems Erikson surprises once again telling a completely different story that takes place around the central characters instead of having them right on the scene. And Erikson here writes about themes that I want to know all about.
Great things await me, I’m sure.
Here’s the quote for you:
Even the gods must wait spellbound.
Feed then, or perish.