Orb Sceptre Throne is the fourth novel by Canadian author Ian Cameron Esslemont. It is set in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, a ten-volume epic fantasy series by Esslemont's friend and colleague Steven Erikson. Esslemont and Erikson co-created the Malazan world in the 1980s.
Darujhistan, city of dreams, city of blue flames, is peaceful at last; its citizens free to return to politicking, bickering, trading and, above all, enjoying the good things in life. Yet there are those who will not allow the past to remain buried. A scholar digging in the plains stumbles across an ancient sealed vault. The merchant Humble Measure schemes to drive out the remaining Malazan invaders. And the surviving agents of a long-lost power are stirring, for they sense change and so, opportunity. While, as ever at the centre of everything, a thief in a red waistcoat and of rotund proportions walks the streets, juggling in one hand custard pastries, and in the other the fate of the city itself.
Far to the south, fragments of the titanic Moon's Spawn have crashed into the Rivan Sea creating a series of isles... and a fortune hunter's dream. A Malazan veteran calling himself 'Red' ventures out to try his luck — and perhaps say goodbye to old friends. But there he finds far more than he'd bargained for as the rush to claim the Spawn's treasures descends into a mad scramble of chaos and bloodshed. For powers from across the world have gathered here, searching for the legendary Throne of Night. The impact of these events are far reaching, it seems. On an unremarkable island off the coast of Genabackis, a people who had turned their backs upon all such strivings now lift their masked faces towards the mainland and recall the ancient prophesy of a return.
And what about the ex-Claw of the Malazan Empire who now walks the uttermost edge of creation? His mission — the success or failure of which the Queen of Dreams saw long ago — is destined to shape far more than anyone could have ever imagined.
For Steve, once again
As always, my love and gratitude to Gerri and the boys for their support of my writing, which takes me from them more than I would ever wish.
|Orb Sceptre Throne|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9|
|Chapter 10||Chapter 11|
|Chapter 12||Chapter 13|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15|
|Chapter 16||Chapter 17|
|Chapter 18||Chapter 19|
|Chapter 20||Chapter 21|
- The following summaries contain spoilers
Please access individual chapter summaries via the Chapter infobox
- The following summaries contain spoilers
Scholar Ebbin investigates old buriel hills outside Darujhistan and discovers a tunnel, blocked off by a rockfall. Alchemist Baruk and his agent, Kruppe, are concerned about potent signs of impending events. Jeshin Lim is besotted by the dancer Taya Radok who asks him to introduce her to Humble Measure. At a secluded monastery, an old man diverts a visitor who has come to duel the fabled Traveller.
Malazan ambassador Aragan is warned about danger in the hills of Darujhistan and asks for extra men from Malazan Fists in the region. Before long, he is informed that the Moranth have left the city. Despite being put on full alert, Aragan finds his cadre mages assassinated, leaving him no option but to use the Imperial Sceptre to try and establish an emergency communication with headquarters.
Ebbin discovers an underground chamber with a masked corpse on a plinth and visits Humble Measure for further funding of his dig. When he returns to the burial chamber, some of the guards with him inadvertently animate the corpse and are slain in turn until only the last one remains, now bearing the mask himself, who lies back on the plinth. Ebbin is escorted away from the site by Taya Radok and the mysterious Aman, observed by Malazan ex-pats from K'rul's Bar who have been recruited to observe the burial fields. The hidden watchers then see a cloaked and masked figure emerge from the dig site and agree to give it a wide berth as it heads for the city. Once there, they observe how the figure has a terrifying impact on everyone it passes. It soon becomes apparent that most members of the T'orrud Cabal have fallen under the spell of the masked figure who selects Ebbin as its mouthpiece.
Torvald Nom unexpectedly finds himself as the new head of House Nom and member of the council. Visiting Majesty Hill , he witnesses an underhand emergency meeting, called by Jeshin Lim, which sanctifies the position of Legate, into which Lim promptly manoeuvres himself, thus gaining sweeping powers over the running of the council. Governors of the former Free Cities are being asked to swear allegiance to the new Legate by a visiting mage and when they refuse, are killed, only the governor in Pale asks for time to consider. His visitor, Fist K'ess, immediately orders a runner to Aragan in Darujhistan to find out what is going on. Some time after, his garrison falls victim to arson and comes under attack from a mob. K'ess orders a breakout of his troops and leaves the city with them.
Rallick Nom is worried about Vorcan. She asks him to leave the house for the time being and he heads for the Phoenix Inn. Vorcan's house guards are told by her Castellan, Studlock, not to concern themselves with the screams of their mistress which are heard from the house sometime after.
Caladan Brood who has stayed in the area in anticipation of something about to happen, is visited by Baruk. Brood senses that there is something very wrong about his erstwhile friend and warns the alchemist that he will use his power should the presence he senses in Darujhistan go beyond the city limits.
Humble Measure and others in the city, including Barathol Mekhar, are all drafted into a reconstruction project ordered by the new powers in the city.
The Malazan veteran, Red Dog, is trying to arrange to visit the remains of Moon's Spawn. He is joined by Orchid, Corien and Malakai and after some trouble with local thieves, they eventually reach the Spawn, having been given no assurance about how to return. Exploring the fortress, they come under attack by marauders but manage to escape and continue with their journey through the keep. When a dark apparition blocks their way, Orchid is able to communicate with it and ensure safe passage.
Jan, the Seguleh Second successfully repels a leadership challenge. Following omens and a dream shared by all Seguleh, Jan orders for the ships to be made ready. The arrival of the fleet of the Seguleh on the coast of the Meningalle Sea is observed by the local fishing community. Meanwhile, two Seguleh in the Mengal Mountains are looking for an isolated monastery.
Leoman and Kiska are searching for Tayschrenn on the Shores of Creation and meet the being called 'Maker'. They then get cornered by daemons who do eventually allow them to leave. The two decide to observe the natives to see if they might lead them to their target.
The title of this book, Orb Sceptre Throne, is frequently misspelled as Orb, Sceptre, Throne - that is, with commas instead of without. An early draft cover included the commas which may have increased the confusion. Sometimes even the publisher gets the title wrong.
The chapters of Orb Sceptre Throne were all numbered in Roman numerals except for two exceptions: Chapter I V - which was given in the text as Chapter "Four"; and Chapter X I X (i.e., 19) - which was given as Chapter "I X X". This was true in at least the first editions of the US Tor hardcover and the US Tor trade paperback editions - other editions may well have been correct or later corrected.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ http://www.randomhouse.co.nz/books/ian-cameron-esslemont/orb-sceptre-throne-9780553824773.aspx
- ↑ http://us.macmillan.com/books/9780765329998
- ↑ http://www.tor.com/2012/05/22/orb-sceptre-throne-review/