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Midnight Tides is the fifth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It was first published in the UK and Canada in March 2004 and in the US in April 2007.

Publisher's summary[]

After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King of the Hiroth. There is peace - but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly.

To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether, eager to fulfil its long-prophesied renaissance as an Empire reborn, has enslaved all its less-civilised neighbours with rapacious hunger. All, that is, save one - the Tiste Edur. And it must be only a matter of time before they too fall - either beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword. Or so Destiny has decreed.

Yet, as the two sides gather for a pivotal treaty neither truly wants, ancient forces are awakening. For the impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle - a confrontation with the still-raw wound of an old betrayal and the craving for vengeance at its seething heart...

Front matter[]


To Christopher Porozny


Deepest appreciation to the old crew, Rick, Chris and Mark, for the advanced comments on this novel. And to Courtney, Cam and David Keck for their friendship. Thanks as always to Clare and Bowen, to Simon Taylor and his compatriots at Transworld; to Steve Donaldson, Ross and Perry; Peter and Nicky Crowther, Patrick Walsh and Howard Morhaim. And to the staff of Tony's Bar Italia for this, the second novel fuelled by their coffee.



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Publisher Format/Edition First published Pages ISBN-10 ISBN-13 Notes
UK and Commonwealth — Midnight Tides
Bantam Hard cover 2004 698 0593046277 xxx First edition
Bantam Trade paperback x 698 0593046285 xxx
Bantam Mass market paperback xxx xxx xxx xxx
United States — Midnight Tides
Tor Hard cover Apr 2007 624 0765310058 978-0765310057 Cover by Todd Lockwood
Tor Trade paperback Apr 2007 624 076531651X 978-0765316516 Cover by Todd Lockwood
Tor Hard cover, Science Fiction Book Club xxx xxx xxx xxx
Tor Mass market paperback Sept 2007 960 xxx 978-0-7653-4882-1
Subterranean Press Hard cover Jun 2015 752 xxx xxx Limited numbered/lettered editions

Illustrated by Lauren St. Onge

List of illustrations
  1. Scabandari Reign (lettered only)
  2. Turning Tide
  3. The Betrayer
  4. Private Collection
  5. The Warlock King

Plot Summary[]

Midnight Tides
Dramatis Personae Prologue
Frozen Blood
Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Prows of the Day
Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 11
All That Lies Unseen
Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15
Chapter 16 Chapter 17
Chapter 18 Chapter 19
Midnight Tides
Chapter 20 Chapter 21
Chapter 22 Chapter 23
Chapter 24 Chapter 25
Epilogue Pagination

Spoiler unsafe

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


Book One: Frozen Blood[]


There is a spear of ice, newly thrust into the heart of the land. The soul within it yearns to kill. He who grasps that spear will know death. Again and again, he shall know death.

Hannan Mosag's Vision

Chapter 1[]

Chapter 2[]

Chapter 3[]

Chapter 4[]

Chapter 5[]

Book Two: Prows of the Day[]


We are seized in the age
of our youth
dragged over this road’s stones
spent and burdened
by your desires.
And unshod hoofs clatter beneath bones
to remind us of every
fateful charge
upon the hills you have sown
with frozen seeds
in this dead earth.
Swallowing ground
and grinding bit
we climb into the sky so alone
in our fretted ways
a heaving of limbs
and the iron stars burst from your heels
baffling urgency
warning us of your savage bite.

Destriers (Sons to Fathers)
Fisher kel Tath

Chapter 6[]

Chapter 7[]

Here, Udinaas travels into another metaphysical realm and Feather Witch makes some foreboding prophecies. One of which tells the listeners to 'beware the three brothers".

Chapter 8[]

Chapter 9[]

Chapter 10[]

Chapter 11[]

Book Three: All That Lies Unseen[]


The man who never smiles
Drags his nets through the deep
And we are gathered
To gape in the drowning air
Beneath the buffeting sound
Of his dreaded voice
Speaking of salvation
In the repast of justice done
And fed well on the laden table
Heaped with noble desires
He tells us all this to hone the edge
Of his eternal mercy
Slicing our bellies open
One by one.

In the Kingdom of Meaning Well
Fisher kel Tath

Chapter 12[]

Chapter 13[]

Chapter 14[]

Chapter 15[]

Chapter 16[]

Chapter 17[]

Chapter 18[]

Chapter 19[]

Book Four: Midnight Tides[]


Kin mourn my passing, all love is dust
The pit is cut from the raw, stones piled to the side
Slabs are set upon the banks, the seamed grey wall rises
Possessions laid out to flank my place of rest
All from the village are drawn, beating hides
Keening their grief with streaks in ash
Clawed down their cheeks, wounds on their flesh
The memory of my life is surrendered
In fans of earth from wooden shovels
And were I ghostly here at the edge of the living
Witness to brothers and sisters unveiled by loss
Haunters of despair upon this rich sward
Where ancestors stand sentinel, wrapped in skins
I might settle motionless, eyes closed to dark’s rush
And embrace the spiral pull into indifference
Contemplating at the last, what it is to be pleased
Yet my flesh is warm, the blood neither still in my veins
Nor cold, my breathing joining this wind
That carries these false cries, I am banished
Alone among the crowd and no more to be seen
The stirrings of my life face their turned backs
The shudders of their will, and all love is dust
Where I now walk, to the pleasure of none
Cut raw, the stones piled, the grey wall rising.

Kellun Adara

Chapter 20[]

Chapter 21[]

Chapter 22[]

Chapter 23[]

Chapter 24[]

Chapter 25[]



  • One of Erikson's goals in writing the novel was to create a self-contained tragedy--a type of story he feels is going extinct as an art form. He says it is the first of the ten original Malazan books that "is definitely a tragedy with fantastic elements, rather than a fantasy with tragic elements", and it set a precedent for the entire series and how he wanted to handle its conclusion in the final book.[1]
  • Erikson says Midnight Tides was partly inspired by a driving vacation from Winnipeg to South Dakota. While stopping at roadside cafes and gas stations, he often saw collections of spear points on display that were the "legacy of...eight or nine thousand years of [human] occupation" in the region. He was already interested in the culture of the Lakota Sioux and picked up books about them at museums on the trip.[2] He describes one of the main drives of Midnight Tides as exploring the question: "What would have happened if the Lakota Sioux were actually successful in defeating the United States Cavalry and marching on Washington."[3][2]
  • Midnight Tides was the most effortless of the Malazan books for Erikson to write. The book "wrote itself, it just came out."[4]
  • According to Erikson, he wrote part of Midnight Tides on a Psion 7 word processor.[5]
  • Erikson enjoys working on his novels in public places. Midnight Tides was written at Bar Italia in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He also wrote House of Chains and The Bonehunters, as well as the final portion of Memories of Ice, at the same location.[6]

Cover gallery[]

External links[]

Notes and references[]