As most of you know, I wasn't enamored with Steven Erikson's last Malazan novella, Crack'd Pot Trail. I felt that it was too weird and experimental in style and tone, and I could never truly get into it. Well, I'm pleased to report that The Wurms of Blearmouth is akin to Blood Follows, The Healthy Dead, and The Lees of Laughter's End in every aspect.
As far as the timeline is concerned, the action takes place directly following The Lees of Laughter's End. In many ways, this novella is sort of the aftermath of everything which occurred in the third Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novella. And once again, it's hilarious! Considering the doorstopper size of Erikson's Malazan installments, his short fiction continues, for the most part, to be immensely entertaining reading experiences.
Here's the blurb:
Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants will thrive in palaces and one room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct, and all propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.
But we’ll leave all that behind as we plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter’s End, our most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village above the strand and lying at the foot of a majestic castle, and therein make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.
Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle’s memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, and the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord –
Ah, but there lies this tale, and so endeth this blurb, with one last observation: when tyrants collide, they have dinner.
And a good time is had by all.
At the beginning of this new novella, our favorite necromancers and their down-on-his-luck manservant survive the destruction of the Suncurl and end up on a wrecker's coast located in West Elingarth's Forgotten Holding. Nearby lies the welcoming community of Spendrugle, which is ruled by the diabolical tyrant known as Lord Fangatooth Claw the Render. As Bauchelain and Korbal Broach and poor Emancipor Reese have no choice but to accept the tyrant's hospitality, little do they know that several parties are in hot pursuit, what with the way The Lees of Laughter's End came to a close.
What follows are the tribulations of our unlikely trio and the repercussions their arrival generates among the inhabitants of the lovely locale known as Spendrugle.The back-and-forth between Bauchelain and Emancipor Reese continues to produce highlights to be savored. Still, the conversations between Lord Fangatooth and his scribe Coingood make for some extremely funny moments as well. And once you've read this tale, you'll certainly agree that the folks of Spendrugle are an endearing bunch. . .
As fun and entertaining as the first three Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas, The Wurms of Blearmouth is a page-turner. And as the proverbial shit in about to hit the fan, there is no way to put this book down. This could well be Steven Erikson's best novella yet.
As much as I'm enjoying my early read of Erikson's forthcoming Forge of Darkness, The Wurms of Blearmouth offered a welcome and fun-filled interlude featuring a trio of protagonists that I can't get enough of!