Ian Cameron Esslemont (born 1962) is a Canadian writer. He was trained and has worked as an archaeologist. He is best-known for his series Novels of the Malazan Empire, which is set in the same world as the Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series popularised by his friend and collaborator, Steven Erikson. Esslemont is the co-creator of the Malazan world.

Ian Cameron Esslemont was born in Winnipeg, Canada. He earned an archaeology degree from the University of Manitoba[1] and met Erikson at an archeological dig at the site of Mud Portage, Ontario, Canada.[2]

Later, Esslemont pursued a creative writing degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia.[1] In 1989, he continued his creative writing study at the University of Alaska.[1] He has lived and worked in South-East Asia, including four years spent in Thailand and Japan. He pursued a Ph.D in Literature from the University of Minnesota and now lives in Alaska with his wife, novelist Gerri Brightwell, and their three sons.[1]


I C Esslemont

Ian C. Esslemont

Esslemont and Erikson co-created the Malazan world in 1982 as a backdrop for role-playing games. In 1991 they collaborated on a feature film script set in the same world, entitled Gardens of the Moon. When the script did not sell, Erikson greatly expanded the story and turned it into a novel. The two writers agreed to both write books set in the same world. However, it took a further eight years before Gardens of the Moon was published by Bantam UK and Erikson agreed to write a further nine novels set in the same world.

Life and work commitments delayed Esslemont's own entries to the series until 2004, when his first novel, Night of Knives, was published as a limited edition by PS Publishing (a mass-market release by Bantam UK followed in 2007). This book was a prequel to the main Malazan sequence. His second novel, Return of the Crimson Guard, takes place within the main Malazan sequence, shortly after the events of the sixth book, The Bonehunters. It was published by PS Publishing in May 2008 and by Bantam UK later that year. Both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard were bought by Tor for publication in the United States. His third novel, Stonewielder, was published by Bantam UK in 2010 and Tor in the US. Esslemont published three more novels by 2014 to complete the Novels of the Malazan Empire series.

ICE and SE

Ian C. Esslemont (left) and Steven Erikson (right), Mud Portage, NW Ontario in about 1983. This was the archeological dig they first met on

In 2016, Esslemont began a new prequel trilogy, called the Path to Ascendancy, detailing the origins of the Malazan Empire.


Novels of the Malazan Empire series

Path to Ascendancy series



  • Erikson and Esslemont usually meet once a year at the International Conference on the Fantastic Arts in Orlando, Florida to coordinate details in their books. According to Erikson, the two authors "hang out by the pool, and get drunk, and talk about what we're working on. So we work through some stories there...Often I don't see [Esslemont's] manuscript until the book's been published."[3]

External links


The Tor re-read

Public appearances

Notes and references

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