As most of the recent stories have been, this is another sequel. In this case it’s the sequel to The Sun of the Morning, and unlike Rooftop Lovers or The Price of Salt it follows very closely on. The explots of Captain Mornen and his company are intended to form something almost like a novella (and I suppose I am following on from Glen Cook’s Black Company to a certain extent, another story of soldiers which had an episodic quality, and which effectively established a little sub-genre perhaps best described as Band of Brothers fantasy (1), a baton that Erikson has since taken and run with magnificently.
One thing that is, to a certain extent, unavoidable, is that telling a story through individual stories results in compromise, and The Chains of Helleron isn’t quite as self-contained and satisfactory as I’d like, for there is a certain proportion of it that only makes sense as a segment of a sequence – notably characters that are introduced but do not get much of the action. In the end I’ve settled for this, on the basis that there should be a third story along eventually that will help everything along. Working on the later books of the actual Shadows of the Apt series, I’ve discovered something similar in macrocosm. As the series grows, I am put to greater foreshadowing of future events in order to maintain the series structure. Each book will have its own story arc, its beginning and its end, but a certain amount of material will be unable to resolve, pending developments in later books.
You can find The Sun of the Morning here and, if you’ve not read it, do get it under your belt before attempting the new one.
After that, you can find The Chains of Helleron here.
(1) Yes, I know Black Company predates Band of Brothers (the book and the miniseries, albeit not the wartime experiences on which they are based).