Return of the Crimson Guard
|Return of the Crimson Guard|
|Author||Ian Cameron Esslemont|
|Cover artist||Steve Stone|
|Series||Malazan Book of the Fallen|
|Publisher||PS Publishing (UK) & Bantam (UK & Canada, forthcoming)|
|May 2008 (PS Publishing Edition) 15 August 2008 (Bantam UK hardcover)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|Pages||743 pp (PS Publishing edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-593-05809-7 (Bantam UK hardcover edition)|
|Preceded by||Night of Knives|
Return of the Crimson Guard is the second fantasy novel by Canadian author Ian Cameron Esslemont set in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, co-created with Esselmont's friend and colleague Steven Erikson. Chronologically, Return of the Crimson Guard takes place after the events in Erikson's sixth Malazan novel, The Bonehunters. Return of the Crimson Guard is the second of five planned novels by Esslemont to take place in the Malazan world, starting with Night of Knives and followed by Stonewielder.
Return of the Crimson Guard was first published in the United Kingdom by PS Publishing in May 2008 as a limited, two-volume hardcover. Bantam UK published Return of the Crimson Guard in hardcover on 15 August 2008. The book was released in North America by Bantam on 16 September 2008.
The novel is set shortly after the events of The Bonehunters. The Malazan Empire is in turmoil following the catastrophic war in Seven Cities and the plague which has devastated the subcontinent and severely disrupted food supplies to Quon Tali, the Empire's home continent. In an attempt to divert the populace's anger elsewhere, the Empress Laseen has pinned the blame for the disaster on the Wickan contingents of the armies in Seven Cities, and a pogrom has been launched into the Wickan homelands. However, this bluff has not succeeded and civil war threatens to tear the Empire apart. Whilst the Malazan Empire teeters on the brink of disaster, the mercenary group known as the Crimson Guard has been summoned back to Quon Tali to take advantage of the chaos and fulfil their century-old vow to liberate their homeland from the occupiers.
Many characters and locations which appear in Return of the Crimson Guard also appear in Erikson's novels as well as Esslemont's Night of Knives.