In 1982 two young men working together on an archeology dig began a role-playing game. Their educational background and interest in ancient civilizations made it only natural that they would create their own game world instead of buying anything pre-packaged. Just like many young men their age around the world, the more they played, the more elaborate their creation became.
They created characters, histories, continents, and even a system of magic. The characters ranged from human soldiers to gods, and included all sorts of non-human, sentient beings, including demons and other unsavory creatures, scattered about for variety. From this game came the idea of creating a screenplay they could shop around to various studios. They certainly seemed to have all the elements required for a movie already plotted out.
Perhaps their timing was bad and the studios weren't interested in works of fantasy in the mid eighties, or maybe it was because their work was too complex to be worked up into a movie script. Whatever the reason after a few years they decided to change tactics and attempt to find a publisher for a series of novels based on the world they had created.
It's hard enough for a brand new story to find acceptance with publishers, let alone one authored by one person and based on a world created by two. So it was decided that Steven Erikson would publish the initial books set in the world of the Malazan Empire, while Ian C. Esslemont would pick up other threads of the story at a later date.
The best laid plans of mice and writers oft go awry, and it wasn't until 2005 that Ian's first book, Night Of Knives, in their mutually created world received limited release in England through P.S. Publishing. Finally this year it has been picked up for widespread release by Bantam Press, an imprint of Random House Canada and the same imprint that carries Steven Erikson's Malazan Book Of The Fallen sequence.
For those of you who have been reading the series all the way through from book one you'll know there are mysteries surrounding characters from the early days of the Empire. Names have been mentioned in passing and stories have been blurred by shadows and myth. Night Of Knives takes us back to the days before the events of Gardens Of The Moon (book one of the original series), before Lasheen became Emperor, to a night of terror on Malaz Island.