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Forge of Darkness is the first novel of Steven Erikson's Kharkanas Trilogy, a prequel series that takes place hundreds of thousands of years before his Malazan Book of the Fallen series. It was first published in the UK and US in 2012.

Publisher's summary[]

UK edition[]

It is the Age of Darkness and the ancient land called Kurald Galain — home of the Tiste Andii and ruled over by Mother Dark — is in a perilous state. The great warrior hero, Vatha Urusander, is being championed to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such arrogant ambition.

As the impending clash between these two rivals sends fissures rippling across the realm and rumours of civil war flare up, so an ancient power emerges from seas once thought to be long dead. None can fathom its true purpose nor comprehend its potential. And in the middle of this seemingly inevitable conflagration stand the First Sons of Darkness — Anomander, Andarist and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold — and they are about reshape the world...

Here begins an epic tale of bitter family feuds, of jealousies and betrayals, of wild magic and unfettered power...and of the forging of a sword.

US edition[]

Forge of Darkness takes readers to Kurald Galain, the Warren of Darkness, and tells an epic tale of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in the fall of the Malazan Empire. It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the Warren of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power… and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, longs for ascendency and Mother Dark's hand in marriage, but she has taken another Consort, Lord Draconus, from the faraway Dracons Hold. The idea of this union sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold.

Front matter[]


Clare Thomas, with love


Thank you to my advance readers: Aidan Paul Canavan, Sharon Sasaki, Darren Turpin, William and Hazel Hunter and Baria Ahmed.


Tiste Power structure[]


Show other languages

Publisher Format/Edition First published Pages ISBN-10 ISBN-13 Notes
UK and Commonwealth — Forge of Darkness
PS Publishing Hard cover (slipcased, 2 vol) 2012 xxx 1848635257 978-1848635258 Signed by Erikson
Covers (1, 2) by David Gentry
Bantam Hard cover xxx xxx xxx xxx Simultaneous UK & US release
Cover by Steve Stone
Bantam Mass market paperback xxx xxx xxx xxx
United States — Forge of Darkness
Tor Hard cover Sep 2012 663 xxx 978-0765323569 Simultaneous UK & US release
Cover by Steve Stone
Tor E-book Sep 2012 663 xxx 978-1466814189
Tor Mass market paperback xxx xxx xxx xxx

Plot summary[]

Forge of Darkness
Dramatis Personae Prelude
In These Gifts the Shapes of Adoration
Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5
The Solitude of This Fire
Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10
The Proofs of Your Ambition
Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Chapter 15
The Forge of Darkness
Chapter 16 Chapter 17
Chapter 18 Chapter 19
Chapter 20

Spoiler unsafe

The following summaries contain spoilers
Please access individual chapter summaries via the Chapter infobox


In These Gifts the Shapes of Adoration[]

The Solitude of This Fire[]

The Proofs of Your Ambition[]

The Forge of Darkness[]


  • According to Erikson, the writing style of the Kharkanas Trilogy was a nod to Shakespeare and the type of storytelling associated with theater and oral tradition. Forge of Darkness in particular was written so that sentence structure was based on the length of a single breath. Erikson said he was contacted by one of his audio book narrators who absolutely loved reading Forge of Darkness out loud.[1]
  • Erikson guesses he began writing Forge of Darkness only about three days after finishing the ten book Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Looking back, he says that "was crazy. I needed a much longer break."[2]
  • One of Erikson's goals for the book was that it be "well enough written that it could earn a World Fantasy Award nomination...[but] I don't think the judges read it."[2]
  • On 2 September 2019, Erikson posted a page of his notes from the writing of Forge of Darkness.

Forge of Darkness notes

Cover gallery[]

Notes and references[]

External links[]'s Forge of Darkness summary