Abengoni features a larger cast and number of narrative lines than anything else I've read by Saunders before. There's even a glossary of people, places, and things in the back.
Unlike they typical fantasy doorstopper, A:FC comes in at under 400 pages unlike Erikson's bazillion page long Malazan tomes. Saunders doesn't wast time and wordage, instead keeping things on target.
The sideplots he does include never lose sight of what they're doing; introducing characters and exploring things not readily important but that will be. Too many epics get lost in jungles of extraneous matters that make you pine for the them to get back to telling the main story. A: FC doesn't do that at all.
I was surprised when a commenter over at Black Gate said he had never heard of Saunders. That he isn't a much more well known writer is one of those things that just makes me scratch his head. Imaro was groundbreaking as well as great S&S. It's one of the first times African themes were used as the basis for a fantasy world, eschewing the typical European tropes of Fantasyland.
But I get it. I only became aware of Saunders in 2001. At that point he'd fallen silent for a decade an a half and his novels were long out of print. I tracked them down in used book stores but it wasn't easy. Getting my hands on The Trail of Bohu, the third and final book in the series (At that point. A fourth has, The Naama War, has since been published), was extremely satisfying.
Now the man is on a roll. He's cranking out books, getting them published come Hell or highwater. He's working with Milton Davis editing anthologies. Which is great for me as a reader.
Last week I learned the Muffs, one of my favorite bands, have a new album out. It's their first in ten years. When I wrote this past weekend I listed to all their albums.