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Return of the Crimson Guard

Novels of the Malazan Empire, Book 2
Written by: Ian C. Esslemont
Narrated by: John Banks
Length: 32 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The return of the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard, could not have come at a worse time for a Malazan Empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries. Indeed, there are those who wonder whether the Empress Laseen might not be losing her grip on power as she faces increasing unrest as conquered kingdoms and principalities sense freedom once more.

Into the seething cauldron of Quon Tali - the Empire's heartland - marches the Guard. With their return comes the memory of the Empire - and yet all is not well with the Guard itself. Elements within its elite, the Avowed, have set their sights on far greater power. There are ancient entities who also seek to further their own arcane ends. And what of the swordsman called Traveller who, with his companion Ereko, has gone in search of a confrontation from which none have ever returned?

As the Guard prepares to wage war, so Laseen's own generals and mages, the "Old Hands," grow impatient at what they see as her mismanagement of the Empire. But could Laseen have outwitted them all? Could she be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors from the days of her illustrious predecessor, Kellanved?

©2008 Ian Cameron Esslemont (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kiril
  • 2016-11-30

The book is good but there is a technical problem

Chapter 27 finishes at page 690 in the book, chapter 28 starts at page 729. The missing 39 pages are in chapter 29 of the audiobook. Otherwise a great book especially for those familiar with the malazan universe.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Danny Drysdale
  • 2016-09-21

Great book, one part out of order

Love the book and performance.

However there were 4 minutes way out of order. The last 4 minutes of "chapter 30" are very clearly supposed to be in an earlier chapter, I believe 28 or 29. I was very confused until I checked my hard copy of the book. I can't explain better without spoilers. Still five stars from me though.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • cezarsa
  • 2016-07-30

Great story, uninspired narrator

The story is awesome and ICE really stand up to Erikson in this book. However the narration didn't work for me, at all. This is literally the first audiobook I had to quit listening and ended up reading on kindle exclusively. I simply could not stand Mr Banks performance for some reason. Coming from the Malazan universe, don't expect anything close to Michael Page or Ralph Lister.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-17

what story later line

I purchased the first 2 books because after the first 1 I was completely lost so I figured maybe the next book would make some sense of the first but no luck. the second book return of the crimson guard had nothing to do with the first book at all although I will say I didn't finish even half the book I couldn't I simply could not stand it any longer I wouldn't recommend this series to anyone

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Perpetual Notion
  • 2019-07-14

Poor narration, technical errors, decent story.

This book was better than the last but the narration was incredibly poor. All the characters sound exactly the same which made the dialog-heavy scenes difficult to follow.

So far the ICE books are awful compared to the SE books and if I had listened to these first I don't think I would have finished the series. If I didn't know better I'd think this was fan fiction rather than a genuine collaboration.

The only thing that makes this book worth reading is it's potential relevance later in the series. It does not stand on it's own.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-12-26

Getting better

The narrator is really getting better, I appreciate his voice more than the previous one.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 2018-11-06

Couldn't get through first 15 minutes

Some aspect of the narrator's recording caused massive fluctuations on the volume of the recording. There were times I couldn't hear the narrator's voice at all, and seconds later he'd be shouting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-05-05

Awesome.

This author and his brother partner of the malazan series, are truly legendary. You two have inspired me to develop a vrmmo, hopefully one day reflecting the...stupendous world you guys have made for us. cheers sirs.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • rob johnston
  • 2017-03-28

So different than SE :( and bad narration!

this took me forever to get through yet I've plowed through all of SEs almost twice now... I wouldn't recommend the audio version the narration was horrible hopefully reading would bring a bit more excitement to the book, I'm not giving up on ICE I want to read everything malazan this time thru so here's hoping the next is better.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellen
  • 2016-09-17

magnificent

the pacing and style are distinct from Erickson's but every bit a match in quality.