The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach — book review

The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson. Bantam Press ‘11.99

Reviewed by Jason E. Rolfe

The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach explores the murderous lives of necromancers Bauchelain and Broach, and their hapless manservant, Emancipor Reese. ‘Blood Follows’, ‘The Lees of Laughter’s End’, and ‘The Healthy Dead’ are dark and deeply twisted tales that take place within Steven Erikson’s Malazan Empire. While they are standalone stories, they are rife with the same madness and the magic of the Malazan Books of the Fallen.

Erikson, whose epic brushstrokes so brilliantly fill a much broader canvass, colours these novellas with an artistry equal to the task. The tales are well told and narrow in scope, seamlessly interweaving their twisted plots and plethoric characters into the vast tapestry of Erikson’s imagined world. The stories possess the same intricate iniquity readers have come to expect from Erikson. The title characters have a morbid appeal that succeeds in drawing readers in. Much like Emancipor Reese, readers are swept along by the two dark sorcerers, unwilling, or perhaps unable, to break the spells they have cast.

Told with the same darkly humorous style Erikson demonstrates so well in ‘Blood Follows’, ‘The Healthy Dead reveals something as yet unseen, or perhaps lost, in Erikson’s previous work ‘ social context. Through the morally devoid, clearly murderous and undoubtedly monstrous necromancers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, Erikson gives voice to the dangers of fundamentalist belief. Erikson continues this trend in more recent works like ‘Crack’d Pot Trail’, but it is in ‘The Healthy Dead’ that he firmly establishes himself as an author of relevance. ‘The Healthy Dead’ is an important work, undeniably laced with the same macabre madness fans of Erikson have grown accustomed to, yet filled with a social purpose that clearly demonstrates the author’s real-world relevance.

The First Collected Tales should be read, both by fans of Steven Erikson and dark fantasy and by those unfamiliar with both.

The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson. Bantam Press ‘11.99

Reviewed by Jason E. Rolfe

The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach explores the murderous lives of necromancers Bauchelain and Broach, and their hapless manservant, Emancipor Reese. ‘Blood Follows’, ‘The Lees of Laughter’s End’, and ‘The Healthy Dead’ are dark and deeply twisted tales that take place within Steven Erikson’s Malazan Empire. While they are standalone stories, they are rife with the same madness and the magic of the Malazan Books of the Fallen.

Erikson, whose epic brushstrokes so brilliantly fill a much broader canvass, colours these novellas with an artistry equal to the task. The tales are well told and narrow in scope, seamlessly interweaving their twisted plots and plethoric characters into the vast tapestry of Erikson’s imagined world. The stories possess the same intricate iniquity readers have come to expect from Erikson. The title characters have a morbid appeal that succeeds in drawing readers in. Much like Emancipor Reese, readers are swept along by the two dark sorcerers, unwilling, or perhaps unable, to break the spells they have cast.

Told with the same darkly humorous style Erikson demonstrates so well in ‘Blood Follows’, ‘The Healthy Dead reveals something as yet unseen, or perhaps lost, in Erikson’s previous work ‘ social context. Through the morally devoid, clearly murderous and undoubtedly monstrous necromancers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, Erikson gives voice to the dangers of fundamentalist belief. Erikson continues this trend in more recent works like ‘Crack’d Pot Trail’, but it is in ‘The Healthy Dead’ that he firmly establishes himself as an author of relevance. ‘The Healthy Dead’ is an important work, undeniably laced with the same macabre madness fans of Erikson have grown accustomed to, yet filled with a social purpose that clearly demonstrates the author’s real-world relevance.

The First Collected Tales should be read, both by fans of Steven Erikson and dark fantasy and by those unfamiliar with both.