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-> And so, in the clash of these two extreme systems, one is witness to brute stupidity and blood-splashed insensitivity; two belligerent faces glowering at each other across the unfathomed distance, and yet, in deed and in fanatic regard, they are but mirror reflections.
-> This would be amusing if it weren't so pathetically idiotic...
-->-- ''In Defence of Compassion'', '''Denabaris of Letheras''', 4th century

''Reaper's Gale'' is the seventh book of ten in ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', following ''Literature/TheBonehunters''. It concludes the Letherii arc, and dovetails it with the Bonehunters' main storyline.

The newest batch of champions who would challenge Rhulad Sengar, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths, have arrived in Letheras. Among the champions are Icarium Lifestealer and the Teblor warrior Karsa Orlong. Urns have been prepared for these champions well in advance, as no one has ever managed to slay the Emperor with finality. But it seems that the land itself remembers Icarium...

Letur Anict, the Factor in the conquered Letherii territory of Drene, is well under way into conquering the area's native Awl people, and acquiring the tribesmen's herds that are highly sought after. The newly assigned Edur overseer does not like this, but he could not find any means of stopping the war. A masked man named Redmask appears, uniting the remaining Awl, in an attempt to fight back. His trump card -- his inhuman companions.

Seren Pedac guides a party consisting of the eldest Sengar son, Fear Sengar, brother to Rhulad; the former slave, Udinaas; the former undead child Kettle; and the Tiste Edur's ancient enemy Silchas Ruin. Fear's motives are to find his ancestor Scabandari Bloodeye's soul in the hopes of saving his brother and his people. Silchas Ruin's motives, however, are known to no one but himself.

Meanwhile the Bonehunters, led by Adjunct Tavore Paran, after having travelled across the world allegedly in answer to the Tiste Edur's atrocity in the island kingdom of Sepik, land on Lether's shores.

Followed by ''Literature/TollTheHounds''.

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!!''Reaper's Gale'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AndIMustScream: Implied to be the fate of Sirryn Kanar for [[spoiler:knifing Trull Sengar]]. Quick Ben personally calls in a favour Hood owed him to make it happen.
* AnimalEyeSpy: Bottle, Fiddler's squad mage, employs all kinds of wildlife and critters to help him keep his squad hidden, as it allows him to spread his awareness out over a large area.
* BackForTheDead: [[spoiler:Toc Anaster, aka Toc the Younger, returns for this volume, only to bite the grass again in the finale. This time for good, albeit he becomes [[TheUndead Hood's Herald]].]]
* BackFromTheDead:
** [[spoiler:Brys Beddict,]] who is [[UnwantedRevival brought back]] as Saviour of the Empty Hold.
** [[spoiler:Onrack,]] although since he was [[TheUndead undead]] before, it's a special case. The sight of someone experiencing ''life'' for the first time after millennia is something to behold, as everyone agrees InUniverse.
** [[spoiler:Hedge,]] though -- again -- a special case. He spends most of the book [[spoiler:as a ghost]] before becoming all alive again.
* BiggerIsBetterInBed: Discussed and averted with [[HugeGuyTinyGirl Karsa Orlong and Samar Dev]]. The former is, admittedly, from what passes as a race of giants in the series, and the latter a normal human woman, so Karsa is quite aware of the.. impracticalities.
* BurningTheShips: Literally. Adjunct Tavore Paran orders the Malazan ships to be burned after unloading her punitive army on the shores of Lether. Under a morally ambiguous commander of uncertain motivations, being stranded on foreign shores with no way back home certainly serves to fuel speculation among the [[BadassArmy Bonehunters]].
* CallToAgriculture: PlayedForLaughs. The two Kenryll'ah demon princes Rhulad Sengar summoned back in ''Literature/MidnightTides'' set up shop at a Letherii farm looking for a peaceful life. Except all the neighbours run away in terror and they get their own roof brought down on them by the Bonehunters.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Menandore, Sheltatha Lore and Sukul Ankhadu suffer from it due in part to their draconic blood. [[spoiler:Since they cannot keep it down, turning at each other in a crucial moment directly leads to their deaths.]]
* ColdBloodedTorture: The Patriotists, especially Tanal Yathvanar, are not above using this for their purposes.
* ConversationalTroping: [[MetaGuy Udinaas]] is the master of this trope in ''Reaper's Gale'', [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructing]] and [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] various tropes in an effort to rile up Fear Sengar -- with [[{{Anvilicious}} varying]] subtlety. At one point he launches into a lengthy rant about DungeonCrawling, deconstructing the whole thing in great detail, while taking stabs at the [[TheQuest noble quest]] as well. SpeciesLoyalty and ThickerThanWater don't get off easily, either:
--> '''Fear Sengar:''' Your blood is very thin, Udinaas, isn't it?
--> '''Udinaas:''' Like water.
* CoolMask: Redmask's red-scaled mask is made of the hide of a [[LizardFolk K'Chain Che'Malle]] [[HiveQueen Matron's]] throat, implicitly indicating that he killed her to gain her scaled hide.
* CosmicDeadline: ''Reaper's Gale'' continues the tradition of previous Malazan books. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] InUniverse, though. In this setting, power draws power, so the more the shit hits the fan, the more others tend to show up to grab a piece of the cake, and events have a tendency to accelerate.
* CurbStompBattle: This is how many of the encounters between Malazan marines and Letherii and Tiste Edur troops play out, thanks to the Malazans being CrazyPrepared and the Letherii/Tiste Edur never having encountered foes such as the Malazans.
* DeathWail: A very poignant one is delivered by Hedge [[spoiler:while holding Trull Sengar's dead body.]] Considering Hedge is not particularly known for being emotional, this hits home.
* DepravedBisexual: Triban Gnol, who just so happens to be the son of Turudal Brizad, who is also an example, albeit milder -- as in, Triban Gnol's thoughts are directly addressed, while those of his father are only implied. Other than sleeping with his own son, but they were both adults, and [[EvenEvilHasStandards even the Errant recoils]] from what Triban Gnol does.
* DistantPrologue: The prologue of ''Reaper's Gale'' continues where that of ''Literature/MidnightTides'' left off at an unnamed point during TheTimeOfMyths, during the Age of Sundering in the Time of the Elder Gods, and shows the downfall of Scabandari Bloodeye right after the Tiste Edur invasion.
* DumbIsGood: Beak is completely unfamiliar with the concept of nastiness, despite a childhood that would make lesser men cynical. He is also an incredible mage powered by ThePowerOfFriendship.
* EyeScream: The Errant loses an eye [[spoiler:when Feather Witch catches him by surprise.]] She then swallows it.
* EvilChancellor: Triban Gnol, who majorly cares about isolating Rhulad Sengar and furthering his own ambitions.
* TheExile: Redmask is said to have been exiled to the wildlands to the east for speaking out against his tribe's Elders, after they refused to allow him to unite the clans against the invading Letherii.
* FantasyGunControl: The Malazan sappers' crossbow-mounted munitions prove to be more than a match even for [[spoiler:Silchas Ruin in his Eleint Soletaken form]].
* {{Fingore}}: Feather Witch has a pencant for stabbing people [[EyeScream in the eyes]] with fingers she took from dead guardsmen.
* FunetikAksent: Nep Furrow and his nigh unintelligible dialogue.
--> ''Eggit'way fra meen!''
* HelloNurse:
** The Malazans deliberately use Masan Gilani's looks to distract Brullyg and keep him [[{{Lust}} drooling]]. He's even aware of it, [[LOveMakesYouDumb but doesn't care]].
** PlayedForLaughs with Shurq Elalle, who provokes this reaction in pretty much anyone -- until Deadsmell lets slip that she's actually a walking corpse.
* HerHeartWillGoOn: [[spoiler:Seren Pedac]], after the death of [[spoiler:Trull Sengar]]. It shows character development on her part, as instead of just going on as she's always done before, she re-evaluates the situation and decides to settle down.
* HeroWorship: Bruthen Trana basically worships Brys Beddict after having witnessed the latter's swordsmanship in the finale of ''Literature/MidnightTides''.
* HiddenElfVillage: The Andara. [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]]. Being an isolationist UndergroundCity ruled over by ancient wizards who, according to Udinaas, probably can't even agree on the hem length of their robes, the Andara is not a pleasant place to live. There are barely any pure-blooded Andii left, and eventually, [[spoiler:it is dealt with swiftly by Orbyn Truthfinder and his mages.]]
* IdiotSavant: Beak, who just wants to be friends with everyone, has an incredible natural magical ability that would've put him on the fast track to High Mage rank, if not for a combination of AmbiguousDisorder, childhood traumas and a Film/{{Forrest Gump}}ish mental state -- which combine to give him NoSocialSkills and a mental handicap in understanding the world around him unless it has to do with magic. Even that he simplifies to a great degree. While other mages see magic as a complicated net of cause and effect, Beak simply sees differently coloured candles. And while other rmages can use one, maybe two of the [[FunctionalMagic Paths of Magic]], Beak can use ''all of them''. The other mages usually take a whiff of his magical potential, hear him babbling on about something and just give him a hug before they walk away crying.
* InTheBack:
** Sirryn Kanar stabs [[spoiler:Trull Sengar]] in the back while the latter is momentarily distracted, courtesy of [[JerkassGods the Errant]]. He seems to be thinking it's a "TheDogBitesBack"-moment against the the latter's whole people for conquering Lether, except [[spoiler:Trull Sengar]] is the [[TheExile only one]] ''not'' to be blamed.
** Towards the end of the book, there's a CallBack to Scabandari backstabbing Silchas Ruin in the prologue of ''Literature/MidnightTides''. [[spoiler:Fear Sengar]] ''tries'' to stab Silchas Ruin in the back, and he is a descendant of one of Scabandari's followers. He is then however in turn killed from behind with a garotte by [[ProfessionalKiller Clip]], who is a descendant of one of Silchas Ruin's followers from the time the first backstabbing happened.
* KilledOffForReal: [[AnyoneCanDie It's a staple of the series]], but for this book: [[spoiler:Trull Sengar, Fear Sengar, Tomad & Uruth Sengar, Beak, Redmask, Taralack Veed, Feather Witch, Hannan Mosag, Karos Invictad, Triban Gnol, Rautos Hivanar, and (finally) Rhulad Sengar]].
* KillTheCutie: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]]. [[spoiler:Kettle held the seed to a new Azath House within her, and Silchas Ruin had to kill her in order for the seed to take root.]]
* LaughingMad: Quick Ben has a moment where he starts laughing uncontrollably, and higher-pitched than usual, right after [[spoiler:he confronts Menandore, Shaltatha Lore and Sukul Ankhadu head-on, they turn on each other and all hell breaks lose.]] Having been reminded of all the friends he's lost over time, seeing Hedge knocked out by a stray [[spoiler:dragon vertebra]] pushes Quick Ben over the edge for the moment.
* LikeAGodToMe: Cuttle thinks that now he can die in peace when he watches Fiddler [[spoiler:prepare the Drum]]. For Cuttle, Fiddler is the god of sappers.
* LiterallyShatteredLives: An interesting case. Hedge and Emroth, one of the T'lan Imass serving the Crippled God, traverse the icy expanses of the Jaghut realm of Death. Right before they cross into the Refugium, Hedge decides against taking the risk, and chugs a cusser at Emroth. Chunks of her fly over the border and flop down made of flesh and blood instead of skin and bone.
* LockedUpAndLeftBehind: Rhulad Sengar, who is being driven insane by his ArtifactOfDoom sword, orders his parents chained up in the dungeons after they dared speak against him in open court. When he remembers later to let them out, he's told that they drowned when the dungeons flooded, days earlier.
* LukeNounVerber: Orbyn Truthfinder, Section Commander of the Patriotists.
* MonsterIsAMommy: Played straight without the bonus points for cuteness. Onrack tracks an emlava, the story's equivalent of a steroid-using saber-tooth tiger, and kills it, only to realize after the fact that its behavior was not typical of a hunting emlava. It had several cubs and his party takes over stewardship of them. Said cubs are less than cute, requiring that the characters regularly check to ensure no limbs are in range of them.
* NewOldFlame: [[spoiler:Janath Anar]] for Tehol Beddict. She is introduced in this book for the first time, and it turns out Tehol was pining after her when he was a student.
* NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering: The Onyx Wizards of the Andara can't seem to agree on anything, detaining Silchas Ruin's party unneccessarily until he pulls rank and tell them where to stuff it. Decision speed isn't helped by them singing their arguments, in which they can't even agree on the tempo and -- as far as Udinaas is concerned -- they're probably arguing about the length of their robes, anyway.
* NotTooDeadToSaveTheDay: Hedge, who -- together with Quick Ben -- shows up just in time to help convince Silchas Ruin that attacking Letheras is a bad idea. With the help of Cussers, of course.
* OhCrap:
** Yan Tovis's reaction upon seeing the burning Malazan ships, and realizing their meaning:
-->''She swung herself onto her horse and tugged it towards the north trail. ‘We left a debt in blood,’ she said, baring her teeth. ‘Malazan blood. And it seems they will not let that stand.’\\
They are here. On this shore.\\
The Malazans are on our shore.''
* PersecutedIntellectuals: The Patriotists purge a part of Letheras' intellectual elite before and early on in the book. After the academics with influential families protest through their connections, no new arrests are made, but those already imprisoned are never seen again. Though intellectuals generally tend to be anti-authoritarian, and the Patriotists certainly need no special reason to persecute people, we also learn that Karos Invictad, the Invigilator of the Patriotists, is a former (failed) student himself, and it is heavily implied that he is conducting the purge out of revenge.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: This motivates [[spoiler:the squad mage Beak's]] HeroicSacrifice, as he ''finally'' feels accepted -- something he'd been looking for all his life.
* PrecisionFStrike: Right after having several people turn up univited in his dreams, Udinaas -- already plagued by sleeplessness and general misery -- demands the group move on, revealing he knows that the day and night cycle within the realm they're traversing is being controlled by Silchas Ruin's will. Clip can't help himself and inserts a quip about Udinaas being too smart for his own good and gets settled with a PrecisionFStrike for his trouble by Udinaas, who usually never curses.
--> '''Clip:''' 'You understand too much. Did you hear me, Udinaas?'\\
'''Udinaas:''' 'Go fuck yourself.'
* AProtagonistShallLeadThem: [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] with Redmask. He walks out of the Wastelands claiming he's the ChosenOne who once was banished but is now back to unite the tribes of the Awl against the invading and oppressive Letherii. He forcibly takes leadership of the tribes and initially it seems like he was right all along. But, eventually, [[spoiler:he badly miscalculates a battle and is slain by his own K'Chain Che'Malle. Left to their own devices, leaderless and defeated, the Awl never recover. In the end it turns out that Redmask himself was not even an Awl, but a Letherii who was kidnapped by the Awl as a boy and then driven out into the Wastelands for some minor transgression.]]
* ScaledUp:
** The mage Quick Ben uses the ability of the [[PhysicalGod demi-goddesses]] Menandore, Sheltatha Lore and Sukul Ankhadu to [[VoluntaryShapeshifting turn into dragons]] against them. Since all dragons, true or not, have a bad case of the ChronicBackstabbingDisorder, he waits until they all veer in order to attack him, then leads them into turning on each other.
** Also, in a deliberate anticlimax, Silchas Ruin veers into a dragon in order to attack the city of Letheras because he feels like it, only to be driven off by a couple of soldiers with grenades who shout that [[PlayedForLaughs they'd had enough of dragons for the day]].
* SecretPolice: Karos Invictad and his Patriotists, an organisation established to catch dissenters and people working against the Empire's new ruler, although in truth they just do what Karos Invictad pleases and imprison people who might see through their methods, e.g. Janath Anar, an academic.
* SingleTargetSexuality: Badan Gruk, who only has eyes for Sinter, and even followed her when she joined the military.
* SlainInTheirSleep: [[spoiler:Bruthen Trana. Hannan Mosag convinces him to go looking for Brys Beddict via soul travelling, then promptly puts a knife in his heart.]]
* SlaveryIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Udinaas spends the majority of ''Reaper's Gale'' discussing slavery at length. As a baseline, he abhors slavery in all its guises, but also argues that being a slave was the best thing to have happened to him. He starts out as [[HappinessInSlavery reasonably content with his lot]], but then, his 'freedom' prior to being enslaved consisted of indentured servitude on a galley to repay a family debt, while being a slave of the Tiste Edur meant enough food and shelter. Nonetheless, he goes as far as to argue that he hates all forms of inequality and slavery so much that by virtue of his very nature he would've felt compelled to rebel if he had not been kept busy scraping fish all day and that this would have affected way more people negatively than just him. When he finally ends up free and without debt, he reacts very testily to anything reminding him of his former situation and goes as far as comparing Seren Pedac's spying on his dreams to rape, assuming she was only willing to disregard his privacy ''because'' he used to be a slave and remains so in her subconsciousness.
* SmallSecludedWorld: The Refugium is a small chunk of primeval tundra that's been squirreled away from any outside influence hundreds of thousands of years ago. It is populated by the last remnants of living, flesh-and-bone Imass and can be reached from the the outside, but only by knowing where it is or by first traversing the icy Jaghut Realm of Death. Rud Elalle, who grew up among the Imass of the Refugium, is at first eager to see more of the outside world, [[spoiler:but changes his mind quickly when he finds out its existence is at risk and becomes just as eager to die in the Refugium's defense]].
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: [[spoiler:Seren Pedac]] discovers she is pregnant after her love interest [[spoiler:Trull Sengar]] has a particularly random [[DroppedABridgeOnHim bridge dropped on him]] via a random knife InTheBack. It even manages to check all the bonus points: they have sex exactly once, on the night of the book's final, and it's also the latter's first time (technically). At least that last part is gender flipped.
* SpiritAdvisor: Continues what was begun in ''Literature/MidnightTides'', but now deconstructing it. Wither, who has remained with Udinaas after the events of ''Literature/MidnightTides'', keeps hounding the ex-slave and whispering pseudo-arcane revelations until Udinaas points out how anyone with a working brain should be able to come to the same conclusions. Wither is not happy and [[spoiler:tries to kill Udinaas in the finale.]]
--> '''Udinaas:''' Your problem, Wither, is your damned expectations. You hounded me for months and months, and now you feel the need to have made it – me – worth all that attention. So here you are, pushing some kind of sage wisdom on this broken slave, but I told you then what I'll tell you now. I'm nothing, no-one. Understand?
* TakeAThirdOption: When dueling Rhulad Sengar, who comes back into life stronger than before, the options at first seem to be either a) die, or b) keep killing him until you're too tired / he's too strong and he kills you. Karsa figures out how to get around this by [[spoiler: following Rhulad's spirit into the Crippled God's island domain and killing Rhulad there]].
* TrialOfTheMysticalJury: When Silchas Ruin and his companions come upon the Tiste Andii of the Andara, the Onyx Wizards insist on detaining them and stage what looks like a trial, where they argue back and forth with Silchas. Udinaas even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this by saying the wizards and Silchas are probably arguing the manner of Fear Sengar's execution. The trope is defied, however, as Silchas Ruin eventually pulls rank, being the younger brother of Anomander Rake, whom the Tiste Andii of the Andara worship.
* VillainousBreakdown: SecretPolice chief Karos Invictad breaks down when Tehol Beddict continually outwits him, really losing it when Tehol demonstrates his superior intellect by solving a puzzle Karos Invictad deemed impossible -- and which Tehol created, incidentally, in order to distract Karos Invictad.
* WackyWaysideTribe: The Andara for Silchas and the rest of those travelling with him. The only purpose in derailing their journey to the Andara seems to be in picking up Clip.
* YouNoTakeCandle: Used by the Malazans to make themselves seem like harmless foreigners in front of Brullyg and the other islanders of Second Maiden Fort. Even though they speak Letherii quite well, what Shurq Elalle gets to hear is more along the lines of:
--> 'Why, Captain, it is simple. We comes to goes all the ice. So Brullyg he rewards us. Guests. Royal guests. Now we keep him company. He is smiles nice all the time. We nice too.'
* YouShallNotPass: Trull Sengar stands against [[spoiler:both Silchas Ruin and Clip]] in order to protect Scabandari Bloodeye's Finnest. [[spoiler:Neither make it past him.]]
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