Forge of Darkness is Steven Erikson's first book in the Kharkanas Trilogy, which is a prelude to his 10-book, Malazan Book of the Fallen series. This novel can easily be read without having to first read the Malazan series, as it is filled with tension and questions making for a perfect step into a well fleshed out world. Readers beware: a few scenes are extremely brutal and may be upsetting to some. Thankfully, most have some form of instant karma or promise of karma attached to them. The book feels like one big uphill climb and the characters are memorable. Overall, it can easily stand on its own from the Malazan series and with the promise of only being a trilogy, this makes it easier to bite off and I am excited to read the second book.
A first installment of a new trilogy set millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen introduces Kurald Galain, a Darkness leader whose fate is tied to the shaping of the Malazan Empire and a challenge between a consort and a commoner hero for the hand of Mother Dark.