I love the Malazan world, and all it's twisties and turnies...it take me by surprise, it brings up things I had forgotten and re-uses them, it adds some humor to the mix, and always gives you an AH-HA moment, and there is ALWAYS manipulation upon manipulation. Free will is as solid as a snowflake.
Blood and Bone is no exception. There were parts where I was confused, and parts where I was scrambling through my Malazan collection trying to verify some memory I had.
Right off the bat, the timeline. This novel is in a parallel timeline to [b:Stonewielder|8432418|Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)|Ian C. Esslemont|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320434092s/8432418.jpg|13295834]. There is even one lovely intersection scene that puts it all into perspective.
So, this novel takes place on Jacuruku, the land where Kallor's original kingdom was, and long thought to be wasteland. It is not. It is a long narrow country, roughly divied down the middle by a mountain range (complete with a bandit troop). The eastern half is jungle, the land of Himatan. There are some poor primitive jungle villages in here, and some ancient ruins, the most notable rumored to been once paved with gold.
The western side is home of the Thaumaturgs(The Mage society we have met before) in the northern half, and a desert in the south half, home to a horse-centered tribe.
At the very northern tip of the island are the dolmens, where we previously saw K'azz imprisoned.
okay, so in this novel the thaumaturgs have hired Skinner and his crew to aid them in a march upon Himatan. Now, Skinner can be antagonistic at the best of times, but Himatan seems to have a special dislike of him.
The priesthood of the Crippled God decides to take advantage of the absence of the majority of the Thaumaturg troops, and hire Kallor to incite the Horse Tribes to attack, which apparently is pretty easy. Of course, Kallor, thinking those who had cursed him are all now dead, sees this as a road to past glory (he never learns) and has grandiose plans not just beyond the horse tribes but beyond the priests as well.
Himatan is not beyond making it's own plans, and Ardata the Witch Queen, and revered of the jungle people, entice K'azz and company to come to it's aid with the lure of Skinner.
Of course, nothing happens in Malazan without the pantheon butting in, and Sister Spite hires her own Malazan mercenaries to make a lnading at the dolmens and then head South. Osserc is also pondering all that is happening. Is it finally time for him to make a move?
Everything comes together in a torrent of action and intrigue. Gods are brought down, but which ones? Kingdoms are inherited, but by who? and really, will Kallor ever, ever learn?