"The Lees of Laughter's End" is a novella by Malazan Series author Steven Erikson. The book is 120 pages in length.
The seaworthy vessel, 'Suncurl' has left the seedy coastal town of Lamentable Moll (gotta love the name) on a run through the treacherous waters known as the Lees of Laughter's End. This is a trip fraught with dangers at the best of time but one in which the well seasoned captain and skanky crew would normally prevail. However this time, not only are they being pursued, but they've taken on some mysterious cargo and three suspicious travelers; those being the necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach and their manservant Emancipor Reese...the result might be best described by a line from a Gordon Lightfoot song 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'..."does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours".
This is the third short volume involving the dynamic duo of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach and once again Steven Erikson has produced a minor masterpiece. Anyone familiar with Erikson's nine (soon to be ten) books of "The Malazan Book of the Fallen" series, will be somewhat accustomed to the strange names and place.
I've almost begun to believe that Erikson's true strength in writing is in these short stories that simply rivet the reader from beginning to end. The action is non-stop and unpredictable; at one moment horrific...the next slapstick funny. The characters are reprobates of the worst sort who'd sell their own mother (or your mother for that matter) without batting an eye. Where backstabbing and clandestine plotting are not only a way of life but almost an art form. Only this time, the captain and crew of the good ship Suncurl, they find themselves just a tad over-matched.
Erikson is at his best. I suspect there will be those who will bristle at the price of this small hardcover book, but I won't be one of them...it's worth every penny. 5 Stars.
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