Ok, here’s the quick and dirty.
Capustan is under siege and last for all of 2-3 days. The Grey Swords are destroyed. From a force of 8000 to a mere 300 and most of those 300 are Capustan recruits. They acknowledge that Fenner has fallen and become followers of Tog and Fanderay, ancient wolf beings.
The allied army reaches Capustan and destroys what is left of the Pannion forces. They all then decide to continue on to Coral, where the Pannion Domin has fled. It is revealed that the Domin is either a Jaghut or a man being controlled by one.
Gruntle, former drunk and caravan guard, has become Trake’s Mortal Sword. With Fenner’s fall into the mortal world, Trake has ascended into godhood and is now the defacto god of War. Trake is a soultaken tiger. Gruntle, in protecting Stonny Menackis during the siege, accepted that burden. He must now begin to gather his own group of followers and name them to sacred positions. He, and Stonny, are the characters shown on the cover.
Silverfox, in a fit of pique, does not allow the Imass to give up their vow of war against all jaghut. Silverfox and Paran have moved on their separate ways and are no longer seeking each other as lost lovers.
Paran has accepted his role as Lord of the Deck of Houses. His major decision is whether or not to allow the broken god to become a house within the deck, with all the powers that go with it, AND all the bindings.
Everyone is now heading for Coral for the big showdown, which I thought was supposed to happen at Capustan. Thus adding another 200+ pages to this book.
I have realized that while lots of characters talk about sacrifice and heartbreak and angst and all the sad emotions and they always claim it is for others, not one character has truly shown love yet. Nobody talks to somebody else and even when they do, it is more of a pronouncement and a set in stone “This is what I am going to do. Nobody can change my mind” kind of thing. Everyone thinks that only THEY can understand pain, grief, etc. Only THEY can bear Burden X and woe betide anyone who tries to help. They spurn, they turn away from, they despise anyone who tries to help. Love is humble enough to know when you can’t do it alone. But this is ALL about doing it on your own.
I am having serious thoughts about whether I am going to be able to actually finish this series re-read.
A T’lan Imass killing someone. Imagine an army, 100,000 strong, of these undead horrors. And imagine that they are tired and want oblivion. Now imagine the one who can give them that surcease refusing it to them. Imagine the depth of despair. Thus you have encapsulated the Malazan Books.
Here are the posts of this reading along by me and by DZ: