Deadhouse Gates

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Deadhouse Gates
Deadhouse Gates.jpg
Author Steven Erikson
Cover artist Steve Stone
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Malazan Book of the Fallen
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Bantam Books (UK & Canada) & Tor Books (USA)
Publication date
1 September 2000
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 943 pp (UK paperback edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-553-81311-0 (UK paperback edition)
OCLC 47062853
Preceded by Gardens of the Moon
Followed by Memories of Ice

Deadhouse Gates is the second novel in Steven Erikson's epic fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Deadhouse Gates follows on from the first novel, Gardens of the Moon and takes place simultaneously with events in the third novel Memories of Ice. The novel was first published in the United Kingdom as a trade paperback on 1 September 2000, with a mass-market paperback edition followed on 1 October 2001. The first United States edition was published in hardback by Tor Books on 28 February 2005 with a mass-market paperback edition following on 7 February 2006. This is the only novel in the series where the UK and US editions share the same cover; the other US books use a different cover artist and style.

Plot introduction[edit]

Deadhouse Gates opens a few months after the events of Gardens of the Moon. Unlike the previous book, which followed different groups of characters in close proximity to one another, the character threads in Deadhouse Gates are frequently separated by hundreds or thousands of miles at a time.

The Malazan Empire is rocked by a cull of the nobility, many being sent to the mines of Otataral Island off the coast of the subcontinent of Seven Cities. However, Seven Cities is being consumed by a rebellion known as the Whirlwind, led by the prophetess Sha'ik from the Holy Desert of Raraku. With the cities being overrun, the Malazan forces in the city of Hissar plot a daring evacuation overland to the Malazan continental capital of Aren. The Malazan 7th Army, under the command of the legendary Coltaine of the Crow Clan of the Wickans, is tasked with escorting 50,000 refugees some 1,500 miles to safety. This legendary march becomes known as the Chain of Dogs and will become part of the legends of Seven Cities. Meanwhile, the assassin Kalam embarks on a dangerous mission and a group of travellers from Genabackis arrive in Seven Cities on their own mysterious errands...

Plot summary[edit]

There's a convergence in the Seven Cities. Rebellion, assassins, Ascendants and those nearing it or desiring it all converge on the region. Slaves escape to rule, the once rebellious fight rebellion, a god falls to the mortal realm and heroes are made on a Chain of Dogs.


In the city of Unta, capital of the Malazan Empire, a cull of the nobility has been ordered by Empress Laseen to rip the heart out of what is seen as a growing corruption. The young Felisin Paran (youngest sister of Ganoes Paran, Captain of the Bridgeburners) is among those sent into slavery in the mines of Otataral Island off the north-eastern coast of Seven Cities, excavating the magic-resisting mineral of the island. Along the way she meets Heboric, an excommunicated priest of Fener who has had his hands severed, and Baudin, a strong warrior. Unbeknown to her, her sister Tavore, the Empress' Adjunct, has appointed the latter as her guardian to help her survive the horrors of the mines. On Otataral Island, Felisin finds herself only able to survive by offering her body in exchange for the protection of a trusted senior slave, Beneth. Eventually she comes to crave his attention, to the disgust of Heboric and Baudin.

Seven Cities[edit]

Meanwhile, on the subcontinent of Seven Cities, the prophecy of Dryjhna the Apocalyptic is believed to be at hand. The native tribes are preparing to overthrow the Malazan occupiers in an uprising known as the Whirlwind, which will be led by the seer Sha'ik from her camp in the heart of the Holy Desert Raraku. Simultaneously, the Path of Hands has been activated. The Path leads to Ascendancy - godhood - and is attracting Soletaken and D'ivers, shape-shifters of immense power. Soletaken can veer into one other form whilst D'ivers can split their consciousness among many beasts, potentially hundreds, or even thousands. In the wastes of the Pan'potsun Odhan, Mappo Trell and Icarium encounter a friendly Soletaken named Messremb and then encounter a man named Iskaral Pust and his minion, Servant. Pust, a High Priest of Shadow, offers them shelter in his nearby temple and they accept. Although Pust acts in a highly eccentric manner, Mappo and Icarium realize he is powerful and likely highly intelligent.

In the city of Hissar, the Malazan garrison and the encamped 7th Army are preparing to fend off the rebellion, and are joined by a large contingent of Wickans, skilled horse-warriors from Quon Tali. The Wickan commander, Coltaine, assumes command of the 7th and has them running unusual exercises. His orders are to escort all Malazan civilians from the east coast cities and march them to Aren, the Imperial Capital on the continent, a march of over 500 leagues. High Fist Pormqual has refused to evacuate the civilians by sea, recalling Admiral Nok's fleet to defend Aren Harbour instead. Duiker, the Imperial Historian, has been attached to the 7th to witness its withdrawal to Aren. He also plans to effect the rescue of a colleague, Heboric, and manages to convince a Malazan mage named Kulp to go to the coast of Otataral Island to await Heboric's pre-arranged escape. Duiker becomes separated from Malazan forces and soon learns that the largest of the Whirlwind armies is gathering in strength near Hissar, preparing to pounce on the 7th once it gets underway.

A ship arrives at Ehrlitan on the north coast of Seven Cities. On board are travelers from Genabackis: Crokus, a thief of Darujhistan; a fisher-girl named Apsalar; Fiddler, a sapper in the Bridgeburners; and Kalam, the Bridgeburners' resident assassin. Kalam has his own mission to undertake and soon slips into the desert as he has acquired the Book of the Apocalypse which must be delivered to Sha'ik. Kalam sets out for Raraku, unaware he is being trailed by a Red Blade (Malazan loyalists from Seven Cities), Captain Lostara Yil, and her squad who have orders to kill Sha'ik.

Beginning of the Rebellion[edit]

Fiddler, Crokus and Apsalar reach the city of G'danisban to find it in the hands of the Army of the Apocalypse, who have not bothered to wait for the official start of the Whirlwind. Taking the appearance of a Gral warrior, Fiddler is able to bluff their way through the city and continue into the wastelands.

Kalam reaches the borders of Raraku and is immediately apprehended by two warriors, Leoman of the Flails and a Toblakai, of the Laederon Plateau of Genabackis. They escort him to Sha'ik herself and he hands over the Book of the Apocalypse. In gratitude, Sha'ik gives him an aptorian demon she ensnared earlier as bodyguard (An aptorian demon has 3 legs, one compound eye and is intelligent). Kalam and the aptorian depart and Sha'ik prepares for the ritual opening of the book. She is then killed by a crossbow bolt to the skull when the Red Blades attack, Lostara Yil's forces bolstered by reinforcements led by Commander Tene Baralta. In the melee that ensues, Leoman and Toblakai wipe out a number of the attacking Red Blades, forcing them to withdraw, but oddly they are not pursued. Baralta rides for the city of Pan'potsun, leaving Lostara Yil to pursue Kalam.

The rebellion is unleashed in Skullcup, the mining town on Otataral Island. Baudin and Heboric take Felisin to safety by fleeing into the desert to the west. The three of them cross the Otataral Desert but along the way find a huge statue: a jade hand jutting out of the earth. Heboric touches the statue and there is a massive exchange of power. Heboric acquires a pair of spiritual hands, while a backwash of energy goes through Heboric into his god, Fener, who is torn from his realm and pulled down to the mortal world (Fener materializes not far from the jade statue but then flees in terror, as in the material world gods are mortal once more). Heboric is left reeling from this event. They reach the coast of the island and are rescued by Kulp, who has won the support of a group of Malazan marines: Gesler, Stormy and Truth. Out at sea is a mage who has been driven mad by the magic-deadening otataral and lost control of his warren which now wreaks havoc around him. Kulp and the escapees run the gauntlet of the sea to avoid the mage's random spells, but in the process they are transported into a warren.

They find a lone ship in the still waters of the warren. They board it to find that it is manned by headless corpses animated by a magical whistle (their heads eerily lie on deck, still alive and seeing). They also find several more recent corpses belonging to grey-skinned tall beings reminiscent of Tiste Andii; Heboric identifies them as Tiste Edur, the shadow-aspected cousins of the Andii. Heboric also finds charts suggesting the Tiste Edur originated from a landmass on their world unknown to the Malazan Empire.

Hissar has been 'liberated' by the Army of the Apocalypse and Duiker rides hard to reunite with Coltaine's army. Nearly 50,000 civilians are being escorted westwards towards Aren, harried by an army several times their own size. However, Coltaine is achieving the impossible by keeping them at bay.

The Whirlwind[edit]

Crokus, Fiddler and Apsalar behold an awesome sight: a solid circular wall of sand has arisen around the Holy Desert of Raraku, a literal Whirlwind to announce the beginning of the true rebellion. They press on and learn Fiddler's plan: to find Tremorlor, the Azath House in the heart of Raraku, and use it to transport themselves to the Deadhouse in Malaz City, which will put them near their intended destination, Apsalar's home of Itko Kan and more specifically the Empress Laseen whom Kalam and Fiddler intend to kill. In the chaos of the Whirlwind they are attacked by Soletaken and D'ivers, but are saved by Mappo and Icarium, who take them to Pust's nearby temple to recuperate. There they tell Mappo, Icarium and Pust of their plans to find Tremorlor and the former two agree to help them find it.


On the Path Of Hands

  1. Icarium, a mixed-blood Jaghut wanderer
  2. Mappo, his Trell companion
  3. Iskaral Pust, a High Priest of Shadow
  4. Ryllandaras, the White Jackal, a D'ivers
  5. Messremb, a Soletaken
  6. Gryllen, a D'ivers
  7. Mogora, a D'ivers


  1. Felisin, youngest daughter of House Paran
  2. Heboric Light Touch, exiled historian and ex-priest of Fener
  3. Baudin, companion to Felisin and Heboric
  4. Fiddler, 9th Squad, Bridgeburners
  5. Crokus, a visitor from Darujhistan
  6. Apsalar, 9th Squad, Bridgeburners
  7. Kalam, a corporal in the 9th Squad, Bridgeburners
  8. Duiker, Imperial Historian
  9. Kulp, cadre mage, 7th Army
  10. Mallick Rell, chief adviser to the High Fist of the Seven Cities
  11. Sawark, commander of the guard in the Otataral mining camp, Skullcup
  12. Pella, a soldier stationed at Skullcup
  13. Pormqual, High Fist of the Seven Cities, in Aren
  14. Blistig, Commander of the Aren Guard
  15. Topper, Commander of the Claw
  16. Lull, a captain in the Sialk Marines
  17. Chenned, a captain in the 7th Army
  18. Sulmar, a captain in the 7th Army
  19. List, a corporal in the 7th Army
  20. Mincer, a sapper
  21. Cuttle, a sapper
  22. Gesler, a corporal in the Coastal Guard
  23. Stormy, a soldier in the Coastal Guard
  24. Truth, a recruit in the Coastal Guard
  25. Squint, a bowman
  26. Pearl, a Claw
  27. Captain Keneb, a refugee
  28. Selv, Keneb's wife
  29. Minala, Selv's sister
  30. Kesen, Keneb and Selv's first-born son
  31. Vaneb, Keneb and Selv's second-born son
  32. Captain, owner and commander of the trader craft Ragstopper


  1. Coltaine, Fist, 7th Army
  2. Temul, a young lancer
  3. Sormo E'nath, a warlock
  4. Nil, a warlock
  5. Nether, a warlock
  6. Bult, a veteran commander and Coltaine's uncle
  7. Bent, a Wickan cattle dog
  8. Roach, a Hengese lapdog

The Red Blades

  1. Baria Setral (Dosin Pali)
  2. Mesker Setral, his brother (Dosin Pali)
  3. Tene Beralta (Ehrlitan)
  4. Aralt Arpat (Ehrlitan)
  5. Lostara Yil (Ehrlitan)

Nobles on the Chain Of Dogs

  1. Nethpara
  2. Lenestro
  3. Pullyk Alar
  4. Tumlit

Followers of the Whirlwind

  1. Sha'ik, leader of the rebellion
  2. Leoman, captain in the Raraku Apocalypse
  3. Toblakai, a bodyguard and warrior in the Raraku Apocalypse
  4. Febryl, a mage and elder adviser to Sha'ik
  5. Korbolo Dom, renegade Fist leading the Odhan Army
  6. Kamist Reloe, High Mage with the Odhan Army
  7. L'oric, a mage with the Raraku Apocalypse
  8. Bidithal, a mage with the Raraku Apocalypse
  9. Mebra, a spy in Ehrlitan

Further Players

  1. Salk Elan, a traveler on the seas
  2. Shan, a Hound of Shadow
  3. Gear, a Hound of Shadow
  4. Blind, a Hound of Shadow
  5. Baran, a Hound of Shadow
  6. Rood, a Hound of Shadow
  7. Moby, a familiar
  8. Hentos Ilm, a T'lan Imass Bonecaster
  9. Olar Ethil, a T'lan Imass Bonecaster
  10. Legana Breed, a T'lan Imass
  11. Kimloc, a Tano Spiritwalker
  12. Beneth, a crime lord
  13. Irp, a small servant
  14. Rudd, an equally small servant
  15. Apt', an aptorian demon
  16. Panek, a child
  17. Karpolan Demesand, a merchant
  18. Bula, an innkeeper
  19. Cotillion, patron god of assassins
  20. Shadowthrone, Ruler of High House Shadow
  21. Rellock, a servant