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Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian Cameron Esselmont
Cover Artist: Les Edwards
PS Publishing Ltd Ed Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781906301199
Date: July 2008 /

Uncorrected Proof Copy: The second Malazan novel from Ian Cameron Esslemont, co-creator of this huge and panoramic fantasy world along with Steven Erikson. Esslemont's first novel Night of Knives was published first as a limited edition by PS Publishing and has since been issued here in the UK by Bantam(see above).

This second novel, Return of the Crimson Guard - due as a trade hardcover from Bantam in August - will also appear first from PS Publishing, who will released it in the middle of the year as a two volume hard cover, limited to only 300 copies which will be signed by the author. This release will also feature artwork by Edward Miller. A release aimed very much at collectors, the book will be priced £75.00 and will most likely be sold out on publication. Order now directly from PS Publishing.

"The return of the mercenary company the Crimson Guard could not have come at a worse time for the Malazan Empire. Drained by constant warfare, weakened by betrayal and rivalries, many see the grip of Empress Laseen weakening. Conquered kingdoms and principalities test their old independence. Into this gathering civil war on Quon Tali - the Empire's homeland - comes the Guard. And with their return comes the memory of their hundred year old vow: undying opposition to the existence of the Empire. Yet rivalries and betrayals stalk the Guard as well - elements of its elite, the Avowed, scheme to open paths to even greater power. Ancient potent entities, Ascendants, also lend a hand exploiting all sides to further their own arcane ends.Meanwhile, a swordsman, Traveller, and his companion Ereko, move from one strange encounter to another in a mysterious dance meant ultimately to bring the swordsman to a final confrontation from which none have ever returned. As the Crimson Guard gathers itself from around the globe, Empress Laseen faces more immediate threats. To feed her wars she has bled dry provincial garrisons across Quon Tali and now regional nationalists see their chance.

Behind their insurrections stand the veteran commanders of Laseen's predecessor, Emperor Kellanved. These generals and powerful mages, the "Old Hands," have lost patience with what they see as Laseen's mismanagement and have selected their own replacement. Yet there are hints that Laseen may be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors of her predecessor's rule."

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