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Ian C. Esslemont Books In Order

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Publication Order of Malazan Empire Books

Night of Knives (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Return of the Crimson Guard (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stonewielder (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orb Sceptre Throne (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood and Bone (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assail (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Forge of the High Mage (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Path to Ascendancy Books

Dancer's Lament (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deadhouse Landing (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kellanved's Reach (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Forge of the High Mage (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Writing Fantasy Heroes(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Imaginarium 3: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Canadian author Ian C. Esslemont, or Ian Cameron Esslemont if full, is a fantasy writer who focuses mainly on high-fantasy novels, as he is largely known for his Malazan Book of the Fallen and Malazan Empire series, which he has been writing for quite some time now for an ever increasing world-wide audience. Previously working as an archaeologist, a field he was initially trained in, he then went on to become a full-time writer, as he collaborated with his friend Steven Erikson. Branching out on his own now, he has also just started on the ‘Path to Ascendancy’ series, a prequel to the initial franchise, providing further back-story of his own.

Early and Personal Life

Born in Winnipeg in Canada in 1962, he was brought up in the area as he begun to foster a keen interest in both reading and writing from an early age, focusing on his primary passion which was fantasy. Whilst he would train in various other skills over the years, it would be this primary love of literature and storytelling that he would come back to time and time again. Growing up in Canada as well, he’d take in inspiration from his surrounding environment and feed it back into his work, as he nurtured his imagination over the years, building it stronger and stronger.

First training in archaeology he has an extensive background in academia, something which has heavily influenced him and his work, providing it with the foundations necessary to function. This is a practice he continues to this day as he completes a PhD in English Literature, whilst continuing to work on his ever popular Malazan series of novels. Giving his work the accuracy and depth it needs, he provides an insight into this world unlike many other writers of his kind, providing it with a real sense of history and grounding, creating a fully fleshed out and three-dimensional world for his characters to inhabit.

Traveling extensively in the past as well, Esslemont has traveled all over Southeast Asia, along with living in Japan and Thailand for quite some time too. This has enabled him to gain a deeper insight that he wouldn’t have otherwise have had, giving his books more depth to both the characters along with the world which they inhabit. Working in a variety of different locations as well, he has been able to craft and hone his voice into a more distinctive and articulate style over the many years he has been writing, which he has then been able to convey his work and novels with.

Now living in Alaska with his wife and their three sons, he continues to write to this present day as he expands upon the world of Malazan and its inhabitants within. Not only that, but he also continues to study with his PhD in English Literature and his constant pursuit of academia and education building upon his material. As more books are set to be released in the near future as well, it doesn’t look like he’s stopping anytime soon, as his career goes on growing from strength-to-strength.

Writing Career

Starting the Malazan franchise together with Steven Erikson in 1999, it wasn’t until 2004 that Ian C. Esslemont debuted with his own novel Knight of Knives, also set in the same world. Whilst he has focused largely on the world of Mazalan for most of his writing career with little else outside of it, it is this franchise where he has really flourished as a writer. Although both him and Erikson attempted to sell a feature film script called ‘Gardens of the Moon’ in 1991, it wasn’t until eight years later that they got their first novel published together under the same name.

Over time the series has grown in popularity with Bantam books now commissioning for future installments ahead of him writing them, as more are expected to follow. Not only that, but he has also achieved world-wide success as well, with scores of readers from across the globe continually turning to his work day-by-day. With more expected to be released in the near future there’s plenty more titles planned on the horizon, as it looks like he’s set to carry on into the foreseeable future.


Initially published on the 25th of November in 2010, this was a solo novel from Ian C. Esslemont, although it wasn’t the first set in the world of Malazan. Making up the third in the Malazan Empire series, continues this prequel franchise from Esslemont as it carries on in the same vein as the previous titles. Brought out through Bantam Books in the United Kingdom, and Tor Books in the United States, it delivers more of what the readers have now come to expect from the series as a whole.

Telling the story from the perspective of Greymane this time, it follows him as he attempts to escape his past, something which he has been unable to do despite his best efforts. Now a new emperor has come to the fore and it appears he must continue in his service of the Crimson Guard, especially with the one known as the Stonewielder surfacing. Then there’s Korel where Lord Protector Hiam defends the lands from almost certain destruction, as he leads the Stormguard against the Stormriders who have returned once more. Will Greymane ever be able to leave and live the simple life? Will the Stormguard defend the lands against the Stormriders? What is the truth behind the Stonewielder?

Dancer’s Lament

The first in the most recent series from Ian C. Esslemont, this sets up a new trilogy titled Path to Ascendancy set within the world of Malazan once again. Originally published on the 25th of February 2016 in the United Kingdom and the 21st of April 2016 in the United States, it seeks to carry on the story of this world. Continuing in much the same vein as before, it manages to recapture a lot of the style and tone of the previous novels, whilst also setting up much of the backstory in the form of a prequel to what’s come before.

Amidst all the turmoil and warfare that has stricken the continent for ages two youths, Dorin the assassin and Dal Hon the mage enter into the city of Li Heng, as Dorin hunts Dal Hon. Meanwhile the city itself is ruled over by the Protectress, a most powerful sorceress who runs a cabal of mages who threaten to stifle the youths progress under their rule. To add to that, King Chulalorn the Third has sent out his own assassins called the Nightblades to bring the city under his rule, all the while leaving Dal Hon to make the most of the opportunity. Will Dorin finally catch up with Dal Hon? Can they break out from the cabal of mages grasp? What new opportunity comes to Dal Hon as he comes up against the dancer’s lament?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ian C. Esslemont

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