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|Series||Malazan Book of the Fallen|
|Publisher||Bantam (UK & Canada) & Tor Books (USA)|
|7 May 2007|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||1,280 pp (UK paperback edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-593-04631-5 (UK hardcover edition)|
|Preceded by||The Bonehunters|
|Followed by||Toll the Hounds|
Reaper's Gale is the seventh volume of Canadian author Steven Erikson's epic fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Reaper's Gale is a direct sequel to both the fifth and sixth volumes, Midnight Tides and The Bonehunters.
Champions from various cultures return with the Tiste Edur fleet to challenge Rhulad Sengar, emperor of Letheras. Among them are Icarium with Taralack Veed, Karsa Orlong with Samar Dev, a Seguleh girl found unconscious near MoI, and a monk from Cabal. Icarium begins acting strangely, and Taralack Veed starts doubting that Icarium can beat Rhulad. Samar Dev believes Karsa will die, but Karsa is confident. Eventually all the challengers die except Karsa and Icarium. Karsa fights Rhulad and severs Rhulad's sword arm, then uses all his ghosts and the ones in Samar's knife to manipulate the sword's power and travel to the Crippled God's island. There he flips the Crippled God's tent, slays Rhulad with finality, slaps Withal and enters a portal aimed vaguely at his home after refusing to take the sword for himself (which was apparently the Crippled God's plan ever since Karsa left Laederon). Withal and the Nachts destroy the sword.
Varat Taun warns Twilight of what Icarium can do, so she flees up the coast. We learn she is a princess of the Shake. At Maiden Island she confronts Brullyg who declared himself king and makes herself Queen. Deadsmell makes some comments about the Shake being descended from the original Tiste Andii guardians of the Shore (but also having Tiste Edur blood).
The Awl war
Redmask unites the Awl and initially defeats the Letherii army he encounters, but before long the Letherii begin to make progress against him. There is a large clash and Redmask's two K'chain Che'Malle guardians, deciding that Redmask is not suitable for the K'chain Che'Malle, execute him mid-battle. The Letherii win and the Awl are slaughtered. Toc the Younger sacrifices himself to save a dozen or so Awl children, witnessed by Tool. The Barghast, who had been watching the battle, slaughter the Letherii forces in response to Toc's death.
In the Refugium
The Refugium is dying. Menandore teams up with Sheltatha Lore and Sukul Ankhadu to try and take Scabandari's finnest, but Quick Ben defeats them and Hedge slays Sheltatha and Menandore. Sukul gets away but is then killed by the three T'lan Imass who and had wanted to usurp Ulshun Pral but chose to sacrifice themselve to help their clan escape. Onrack the Broken and Trull Sengar defend the portal entrance. Silchas Ruin, Clip, Wither, Kettle, Udinaas, Seren and Fear come through. Silchas, Clip and Wither try kill the rest. In the resulting fight Fear is slain by Clip, Wither is destroyed by Seren, Clip is defeated by Trull and retreats, the rest are wounded except Silchas who takes the Finnest but commits no more injury for fear of Kilava Onass, except for stabbing Kettle and making a new Azath, Kettle being revealed to be a seed of the Azath. Scabandari's soul is imprisoned inside the new Azath. The survivors recover and Quick Ben, Hedge, Trull and Seren teleport to Letheras.
The marines arrive outside the capital only to be met by a large Letherri army. Beak dies to save them from a giant wave of magic. The Tiste Edur, realizing they were about to be sacrificed, decide to return to their ancestral home. The main Malazan army arrives by sea and clashes with the main Letherii army, allowing the marines to enter the city and head for the citadel. Fiddler's group make it to the coliseum, where Trull has found his dead brother and is promptly stabbed and killed by Sirryn Kanar.
Brys Beddict returns from the undead. Feather Witch tries to make him the mortal sword of her new Errant cult, but the Errant drowns her. Brys gives Pinosel and Urkel the name of the sea-god so they can restrain it. The Huntress kills Hannan Mosag. Brys kills Karos Invictad. The Rat Catchers' Guild pays people to shout Tehol's name. Tehol is pronounced Emperor by the will of the people and marries Janath.
Icarium tries to replicate K'rul's forging of the warrens by slitting his wrists and walking into one of his magic constructions. It is broken and explodes outwards in a big white wave which kills people directly and indirectly (i.e. by debris). The ones killed directly appear to have their spirits sucked out of them. Among the affected are Taralack Veed and Rautos Havanar. Triban Gnol and Senior Assessor also die, and Varat Taun surrenders.
Greg L. Johnson of SF Site states that "the complexity and mystery is a large part of what makes this series so compelling..." and that a reader newly introduced to the series is not truly capable of jumping into the series at Reaper's Gale and suggests that new readers start at the beginning of the series. Publishers Weekly states that "the plethora of characters, attacks and counterattacks, hidden schemes and battling gods will mostly appeal to serious fans of brutal and complex epics," and calls the book "bloody and dour."