Night of Knives - Ian Cameron Esslemont
So, Esslemont is Steven Erikson's mate and co-creator of the Malazan world; as he insists in the introduction, this isn't fan fiction... but it certainly reads like it. There's a lot of clumsy name-dropping of places, gods and species, almost as if he is trying to show off his extensive knowledge of the world and its geography; the characters are annoying and the dialogue is absolutely appalling (much of it sounds like a bad radio play written by a 15-year-old goth - sample phrase: "Should they succeed, this realm where we stand, Shadow Realm, will be theirs!" Can you really imagine anyone actually saying that?). It may be just the teething problems of a first-time writer, but I suspect there's a good reason why Erikson got the 10-book publishing deal and Esslemont had to go to a teeny independent publisher and charge £35 per book. For completists only.