Duiker [doo-ick-er][1] was the Imperial Historian[2] attached to the 7th Army (later known as the Chain of Dogs). Born on the plains of Dal Hon,[3] his dark skin and fluency in Dosii were assets which served him well in Seven Cities.[3]

He was a veteran soldier, capable of impressive swordsmanship when required and skilled with a crossbow.[4][5] While on Seven Cities, he wore the native dress of a cowled Telaba cloak over a tunic with moccasins. Only the Imperial diadem pinned within his cloak betrayed his Malazan origins.[6][7]

Selected worksEdit

  • Life of Dassem Ultor[8]
  • Malazan Campaigns (or Imperial Campaigns) - multiple volumes[9][10]
  • None to Witness (The Lost History of the Bonehunters)[11]

In Deadhouse Gates Edit

Duiker by Matt Smith

Duiker by Matt Smith

Duiker travelled to Hissar by warren where he became attached to Coltaine's staff when the Fist took command of the 7th Army.[12] Duiker's true purpose in Seven Cities was to effect the rescue of a colleague, Heboric Light Touch, imprisoned by the Empire on nearby Otataral Island.[13] He convinced the Malazan cadre mage Kulp to accompany him across the strait by boat to await Heboric's pre-arranged escape.[14][15]

Their plans were interrupted by the eruption of the Whirlwind uprising. Kulp escaped by sea aboard the Ripath to complete the rescue of Heboric. Duiker could no longer participate with the entire continent up in arms, and raced back to the now deserted army headquarters.[16] In order to reach Coltaine, Duiker traveled in disguise with the rebel forces for three months before escaping across the lines to join Coltaine and his army at the River Sekala.[17]

Once he found the army, he was assigned the young Corporal List as escort. Duiker was tasked by Coltaine to keep an official record of events as an official Historian.[18] As the army's numbers dwindled through attrition, he eventually wound up being drafted into regular service in the 7th. In addition to his duties as official historian, he fought at the battles of Gelor Ridge and Vathar Crossing.[19][20] He also took part in an assassination mission against a Tithansi Warleader and the Semk godling.[21]

During this time, he became close to an un-named Marine. A flirtation began between the two that was inhibited by Duiker's embarrassment over their age difference.[22][23] The pair fought side by side at the Battle of Gelor Ridge where the marine forced the issue after their victory and they consummated their affair.[24][25] But the relationship did not last, and Duiker said the decision had been mutual because each had "enough losses to deal with". Captain Lull called them both fools.[26]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Duiker.

After the Battle of Sanimon, the 7th Army was on its last legs. Coltaine tasked Duiker with leading the refugees and the remaining Wickan warlocks, Nil and Nether to Aren. Coltaine and the rest of the army would follow behind to hold off Korbolo Dom's troops and let the refugees escape to safety. Before he departed, his nameless marine gave him a piece of cloth containing a message she instructed him not to read until later.[27]

Duiker by Dejan Delic

Duiker by Dejan Delic

Duiker accomplished his task, and watched from the city's walls as Coltaine and his last remaining soldiers were cut down by Dom's hordes. The frightened High Fist Pormqual refused to allow his ten thousand soldiers assist and Coltaine was crucified in full view of the city.[28] Pormqual listened to the poisoned words of Nethpara and Pullyk Alar, and blamed the 7th's defeat on Coltaine and Duiker's treachery. The next morning he took Mallick Rel's advice to lead his soldiers (including Duiker) against Dom's presumably exhausted hordes. Mallick revealed himself a traitor and the entire army was surrounded and captured. But Duiker had some measure of revenge when he informed the priest that the Aren Guard still manned the city's gates. The city still stood and the traitor's plan had failed. Dom ordered Duiker crucified with the others on Aren Way.[29]

Gesler, Stormy, and Truth went searching for Duiker's body among the dead, finally finding him on the last tree on Aren Way. The older marines pretended not to recognise the disfigured body to spare Truth.[30]

The servants of the High Alchemist Baruk, Irp and Rudd, later collected the body of the historian in the mistaken belief it was Coltaine. They identified the corpse by the glass vial around its neck, originally gifted to Coltaine by Quick Ben to save the Fist's soul in case of disaster. But the Wickan had given up the vial to Duiker instead. Amongst his effects they found a piece of cloth with only "Sa'yless Lorthal" written on it, the name of his marine and never read.[31][32]

In Memories of IceEdit

Duiker's mostly destroyed and dessicated body was brought to Darujhistan. Using the glass vial and stretching his talents to the limits, High Alchemist Baruk was able to resurrect him.[33] Afterwards, at the orders of High Fist Dujek Onearm, the Imperial Historian was placed in the hands of the last surviving Bridgeburners who had secretly retired to Darujhistan after the Battle of Black Coral.[34]

At the grand opening of the Bridgeburner-owned K'rul's Bar, Duiker had not yet spoken since his return, and quietly clutched the rag given him by his nameless marine. When no customers appeared, former Lieutenant Picker suggested they tell a story about the war. But the mage Spindle demanded to know what the value was in "a story to break our hearts all over again." At this Duiker spoke up, saying that there was value in such a tale, and he began to tell the story of the Chain of Dogs and of Coltaine of the Crow Clan.[33]

In House of ChainsEdit

Gesler returned to where Duiker had been crucified only to find the body missing. He assumed it had been stolen as the Aren markets were filled with pieces of withered flesh and other relics for sale from the Chain of Dogs. Gesler told Fiddler that the "crusty, old bastard" had stood on the front lines with his short-sword and shield. He speculated the Coltaine had chosen Duiker to lead the refugees because the High Fist had wanted their story told, and told right.[35]

According to Temul, Nil called the vial that captured Duiker's soul a 'saving stone'.[36] Temul held on to the historian's loyal mare fully expecting him to return once his soul was reunited with his body. The young Wickan was deeply impressed by Duiker because he had fought as part of the Chain of Dogs when no one expected him to.[37]

In The BonehuntersEdit

In addition to Duiker's mare, Temul retained possession of the historian's scrolls, although he would not allow anyone to see the historian's writings.[38]

Adjunct Tavore Paran was well familiar with Duiker's works and could refer to the philosophical ideas within them from memory.[39] When she thought to tweak Mallick Rel, she suggested he consult Duiker's works for suitable references to the Malazan eradication of the Jhistal cult.[40]

Like Coltaine, Bult, and the others, Duiker became a scapegoat for the Malazan failures in Seven Cities. It was said he was a traitor who had connived to betray Pormqual and the Aren Army, and worst of all, the Empress herself. Conveniently his body had disappeared and was never found among the other soldiers in the barrow outside the city.[41][42]

When Fiddler, Gesler, and Stormy met with Braven Tooth in Malaz City to sing of fallen friends, they included Duiker among them.[43]

In Toll the Hounds Edit

Duiker remained in Darujhistan, where he was a regular at K'rul's Bar.[44] He was befriended by Fisher kel Tath, the well-known bard.[45] He also became close friends with Scillara after she and Cutter arrived in Darujhistan.[46] Scillara and Duiker had been at K'rul's Bar on the night of the Assassins' Guild attack, but they left the bar shortly before the assault began.[47] Scillara observed, "His sadness was an absolute thing, and he never came up for air."[48]

In Orb Sceptre ThroneEdit

(Information needed)

Significant plot details end here.


During the time of the Emperor, Duiker was a soldier in his thirties in the Malaz 1st Army serving under Dassem Ultor in the campaigns for Falar and the Wickan Plains.[49][50] For unstated reasons, the Emperor himself sought to reward Duiker by pulling him from the ranks and appointing him his Imperial Historian. Because Duiker could neither read nor write, Kellanved placed him under the tutorship of Toc the Elder for over six months. Duiker's education was eventually completed by Toc the Younger, who was still a boy.[51]

Returning to the ranks, the now literate Duiker chose not to carry a weapon or shield, insisting he could not simultaneously fight and record events for history. During the Wickan Wars against Coltaine, he was severely injured in battle by the then young warrior, Bult, who turned his lance at the last moment when he noticed the historian was unarmed. Duiker was sent to recover in the Emperor's own cot, which was where Coltaine had last seen him prior to Duiker joining his staff.[52]

In later years, Duiker attended battles fully armed and armoured and surrounded by a company of bodyguards.[53] His name could be found amongst those honoured on the 1st Army's column in Unta.[54]

Duiker was considered the last to join Kellanved's family, the group of people who had coalesced around Kellanved and Dancer to form the Malazan Empire.[55]

When fellow historian Heboric was arrested by Empress Laseen for his revised history of the Malazan Empire, Duiker defended him in court. He called Heboric's work a "philosophic divergence of opinions".[56]


A duiker is a species of antelope native to Sub-Saharan Africa. His name is likely a reference to his Dal Honese origins.


"History comforts the dull-witted."
―Duiker's Imperial Campaigns, Volume One[src]

"The streets are crowded with lies these days."
―High Mage Tayschrenn, Empress Laseen’s Coronation. Recorded by Imperial Historian Duiker[src]

"The object of justice is to drain the world of colour."

"The first law of the multitude is conformity. Civilization is the mechanism of controlling and maintaining that multitude. The more civilized a nation, the more conformed its population, until that civilization's last age arrives, when multiplicity wages war with conformity. The former grows ever wilder, ever more dysfunctional in its extremities; whilst the latter seeks to increase its measure of control, until such efforts acquire diabolical tyranny.'"

Emperor Kellanved: "'No-one who's grown up amidst scrolls and books can write of the world, which is why I'm appointing you Imperial Historian, soldier."
Duiker: "Emperor, I cannot read or write."
Emperor Kellanved : "An unsullied mind. Good."
―Emperor Kellanved appointing Duiker as Imperial Historian[src]
"Very well, permit me, if you will, on this night. To break your hearts once more. This is the story of the Chain of Dogs. Of Coltaine of the Crow Clan, newly come Fist to the 7th Army..."

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Ten Very Big Books podcast As pronounced by Steven Erikson at 01:17:04
  2. Deadhouse Gates, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.17
  3. 3.0 3.1 Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.68
  4. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.318
  5. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.152
  6. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.48/52
  7. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.316
  8. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.247
  9. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 3, US HC p.82
  10. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.139
  11. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, Epigraph
  12. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.72/81
  13. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.145
  14. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.58-59
  15. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.150-151
  16. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6
  17. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.247-251
  18. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.256
  19. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13
  20. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16
  21. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.
  22. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.320
  23. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.346
  24. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.357-359
  25. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.444
  26. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.445
  27. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.525-526
  28. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 21
  29. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.888
  30. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 24
  31. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 19, US HC p.507
  32. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.929/930
  33. 33.0 33.1 Memories of Ice, Epilogue, US SFBC p.999-1000
  34. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.991-992
  35. House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.413
  36. House of Chains, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.507
  37. House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.423-424
  38. The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.550
  39. The Bonehunters, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.794-795
  40. The Bonehunters, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.902
  41. The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.680
  42. The Bonehunters, Book Four: The Bonehunters, Epigraph
  43. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.895
  44. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 7
  45. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 7
  46. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 9
  47. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13
  48. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13
  49. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.270
  50. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.344
  51. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.315-316
  52. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.73/74/81
  53. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.54
  54. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.344
  55. House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.247-248
  56. Deadhouse Gates, Prologue, US HC p.26
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