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Mercenary soldiers in the service of the Lady, the Black Company stands against the rebels of the White Rose. They are tough men, proud of honoring their contracts. The Lady is evil, but so, too, are those who falsely profess to follow the White Rose, reincarnation of a centuries-dead heroine. Yet now some of the Company have discovered that the mute girl they rescued and sheltered is truly the White Rose reborn. Now there may be a path to the light, even for such as they. If they can survive it.

319 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 1, 1984

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About the author

Glen Cook

206 books3,286 followers
Glen Cook was born in New York City, lived in southern Indiana as a small child, then grew up in Northern California. After high school he served in the U.S. Navy and attended the University of Missouri. He worked for General Motors for 33 years, retiring some years ago. He started writing short stories in 7th grade, had several published in a high school literary magazine. He began writing with malicious intent to publish in 1968, eventually producing 51 books and a number of short fiction pieces.
He met his wife of 43 years while attending the Clarion Writer's Workshop in 1970. He has three sons (army officer, architect, orchestral musician) and numerous grandchildren, all of whom but one are female. He is best known for his Black Company series, which has appeared in 20+ languages worldwide. His other series include Dread Empire and and the Garrett, P.I. series. His latest work is Working God’s Mischief, fourth in the Instrumentalities of the Night series.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 685 reviews
May 9, 2022
💀 The Black Company is Recruiting Again Buddy Rereread (TBCiRABR™) with the MacHalos and stuff 💀

And the moral of this rereread is: One-Eye + Goblin = a romance for the ages.

Exactly. If this isn't 💕lurve💕, I don't know what is.

P.S: ♫ Croakie has a girlfriend, Croakie has a girlfriend ♫

👋 To be continued and stuff.

[February 2018]

💀 Buddy reread with the clueless new mercenary recruits Elena and Maria over at BB&B. Under the wicked supervision of our Ever-Stalking Black Company Overlord (ESBCO™), of course 💀

And the moral of this reread is : this series is a neverending source of inspiration for people who are in the nefarious business like me. Take this installment for example: it features the best recycling advice ever, and offers lots of wonderfully handy, practical ideas on using, um, waste, as building material. Actually, I was so impressed with Raven and Shed's, um, reprocessing endeavor, that I sent Fleet Admiral DaShrimp to steal try and buy this very innovative patent from them. He was, I am much delightful to report, successful . I am therefore proud to announce the imminent construction of the Black Castle, Marianas Trench style! Needless to say, my murderous children are slightly ecstatic and just cannot wait to start collecting, um, fresh supplies for the building site!

Awwwwww, look at that cutie! How anxious he is to contribute to Subaquatic Environmental Sustainability (SES) by using recycled, um, goods! It makes my exoskeleton glow with grim pride and my pincers click with grisly happiness and stuff! And it warms my black, withered, decapodic heart, too. Obviously.

[Original review]

· Buddy read with the BBB mercenaries ·

Introducing…The Lame-A-Saurus review! Because this book is so awesome I have nothing to say about it! Because my grey cells just got fried to oblivion after being submitted to two ultra-super-extra craptastic books in a row! Because I'd rather be reading book 3 than be here, trying to find something remotely interesting to say about this piece of awesomeness! And because

Hey! No need to get so violent! Did you really have to interrupt me so rudely? Whatever happened to good manners?! *shakes head in desperation* Lucky for you I'm the lenient type, and won't hold this shameful behavior against you .

Sooooooooo, let's get to it, shall we? Here goes nothing.

The first chapter of this book is the most shocking thing I've ever read. Yep. You know why? It's only a page long. That's right. One single page. Anyone who has read book 1 in this series will tell you Cook doesn't do 1-page chapters. Cook does 600-pages chapters (considering book 1 is 323 pages long, this might be a very slight exaggeration on my part. Might. Terribly slight). As I turned the first page and realized I was already reading chapter 2, I thought I'd made a mistake and picked up Noddy and The Aeroplane instead of Shadows Linger. Aeroplanes, flying carpets…easy mistake to make, right? Rightyou have no idea what I'm talking about? That's okay, I'm not sure I do, neither.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, first chapter = 1 page. I had barely recovered from my initial shock when I realized I was actually understanding what was going on. I nearly fainted. Anyone who has read book 1 will tell you that chapter 1 is not only 600-pages long, but also confusing as hell. And makes you feel like your grey cells just pulled a "poof! Gone!" on you. So the fact that the first chapters in this book are not only short, but also perfectly understandable is almost as confusing as book 1 chapter 1 is. So, anyway you look at it, you're confused. Glorious, isn't it?Is any of this making any sense to you? It's not really making any sense to me right now, so I thought I'd check how you were doing. The cool thing is, I'm really sticking to the theme here. You know, utter confusion and all that.

Oh, I know what you're thinking in your little heads: "bloody hell, can't she get on with it?! Is there a point to all this nonsense?" Well, as a matter of fact, yes there is! I just needed a little time to warm up and stuff. So. My awesome point is: as hard as getting into the first book was, I fell in love with Cook's writing and was initially disappointed in the dramatic change of style for this installment. In The Black Company, Cook's magnificently awesome writing really added to the epically epic atmosphere. Here? It felt just…I don't know, too normal and ordinary, I guess. And I didn't understand why Cook would do such a thing at first. And then something amazing happened! Holy eureka moment, Batman!

I realized this was yet another proof of Cook's absolute brilliance! Yes! Do you know why? Because while The Black Company was about deliciously immoral mercenaries (aka the bad guys who work for the bad guys) and Wickedly, Epically Evil, Larger than Life Villains (WEELLV™), Shadows Linger focuses more on ordinary, everyday evil. It's about basic greed, ugly jealousy, and petty revenge. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cook is an equal opportunity kind of guy. Everyone one gets a chance to be wickedly evil in his books! Even your ordinary, everyday crooks! Yay! And what does ordinary evil call for? A simpler, less epic writing style of course. QED, people, QED. Cook is, indeed, a genius. Well, that's my theory anyway. I'm probably reading more into it than Cook intended while writing the book. Or maybe I just had too much to drink. Yeah, that's probably it. Oh well. It doesn't really matter. Because, any way you look at it, you always come to the same conclusion: no one does wickedness and evil as Cook does. He is the undisputed master of immoral, nefarious, malevolent characters.

So. As I have just very cleverly established, there is a delightful bunch of viciously unscrupulous, everyday rascals here. But that's not to say there are no deliciously immoral mercenaries to be had here. Or that the WEELLV™ League has gone on strike. Oh no. Worry not, dear friends, for all members of our beloved evil clique are in attendance, and in rare form. No acts are too vile or demeaning for them! They are cunning! They are merciless! They stop at nothing! It's absolutely delish! Saying the end justifies the means wouldn't even begin to cover it! Oh my wicked lovelies, daddy Machiavelli would be so proud of you! You are so resourceful! And always come up with the most entertaining activities! Who knew you could have such fun things with corpses and, better yet, with almost-dead bodies?! You Black Castle people really know how to have a good time!

Yes, I know I haven't said a thing about the story. That's fully intentional. Because 1-I'm lazy as hell, and 2-you've either read this book, know just how awesomely fascinastic it is, and don't need a story recap, or you haven't read this book, have no clue what I've been rambling on about and wouldn't understand a story recap if you read one. See? There's no point in my telling you anything about the book. Come to think of it, this whole non-review is completely and utterly meaningless (just pointing it out in case you hadn't noticed). And ultimately, there is only one thing to be said about this book/series:

Bye now.

Private message to Glen Cook: please stop killing off my favorite characters. Thank you.

PS: to my fellow BBB mercenaries who have been threatening with selling my not-so-dead body to the friendly Black Castle creatures: I love you, too. Sometimes.

· Book 1: The Black Company ★★★★★
· Book 1.5: Port of ShadowsI have no idea where this book came from, or what it's about. Pretty sure I never read it.
Book 2.2 (short story): Shaggy Dog Bridge ★★★★★
Book 2.3 (short story): Bone Eaters ★★★★★
· Book 2.4 (short story): Letha of the Thousand Sorrows ★★★
· Book 3: The White Rose ★★★★★
· Book 3.5: The Silver Spike ★★★★
· Book 4: Shadow Games ★★★★★
· Book 5: Dreams of Steel ★★★★★
· Book 6: Bleak Seasons ★★★★★
· Book 7: She Is The Darkness ★★★★★
· Book 8: Water Sleeps ★★★★★
· Book 9: Soldiers Live ★★★★★
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
235 reviews3,113 followers
April 3, 2022
Did not enjoy as much as the first entry

Man, I really wanted to like this book more than I did, but I just did appreciate this book as compared to the first in the series and ultimately feel like I'm the only person who feels this way reading other reviews. The multiple POVs was not an improvement for me, especially the "Shed" character who I did not enjoy reading about. I went into this book wanting more of the classic mercenary company adventures, and left wanting.

I am not willing to give up the series just yet, and will give the next book a try.

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews830 followers
August 7, 2022
“You try your damnest, but something always goes wrong. that’s life. If you’re smart, you plan for it.”

The second Chronicle of the Black Company does not seem to be better than the first one, but I think that it is rather an impression caused by subjective factors than hard facts. In the second volume, we continue to follow the fate of the Company as it is written down by Croaker, and the good news is that it reads easier than its predecessor mainly due to the fact that we already know the main characters, the setting, and the plot. We can greet them like old friends, walking into the world like it was our own come common room.

This time, together with a handful of Company members, we find ourselves in Juniper where the Dominator tries to enter the game, and where, coincidentally, a mysterious individual called Raven resides. In the previous volume, we learned more than one interesting thing about the world, but these snippets were served modestly, once in a while. The reader had to carefully assemble them in order to understand all the dependencies in which the Black Company became entangled. Now the setting ground is much more fertile, various facts are invoked without restraint, also the whole quagmire of individual arcs is explained and understandable from the very beginning.

This allows Mr Cook to focus a bit more on the protagonists. And we have a whole galaxy here. You will be happy to see not only Croaker and One-Eye, Elmo and Goblin, Silent and the Captain; also those who ‘vanished’ so mysteriously in the previous volume make an appearance. While you might suspect where the tropes lead us, rest assured that Mr Cook has a few surprises in store and I would advise to expect the unexpected.

There are two main themes: Firstly, something is wrong with the Black Company. Maybe they are getting older, more tired and consequently in a dire need of a cause they can believe in. They are, after all, victims of their own competence, professional minions of the evil Lady who still pales when compared with the looming threat of the Dominator. The opening chapters clearly show that all the Company has is a prescription for the symptoms but no remedy for the cause of this low-grade depression.

“Oh, ‘twould be marvellous if the world and its moral questions were like some game board, with plain black players and white, and fixed rules, and nary a shade of grey.”

Secondly, there is a motif of escaping the relative gains of moral neutrality and making a stand; being either hot or cold but never lukewarm. There are two key figures here: the Dominator and one Marron Shed. The former is “an absolute demanding absolutes in a world with a preference for relatives”. The latter, a lousy innkeeper. Also, a pathological coward.

Croaker loses his monopoly on being the narrator. Many chapters are voiced by Marron Shed whose internal transformation (or even transmutation) is shown with finesse touching upon the deepest and ugliest secrets of the human psyche. Marron, caught between the hammer of the need and the anvil of the desire, battles his own fears and his own conscience entering into cooperation with Raven. At the same time, Raven is slipping further and further into darkness with “a pragmatic amorality of a prince of Hell.” The only thing that keeps me from falling for Raven this instant is his perpetual habit of cleaning nails with his knife. I keep thinking that his fingertips must be perpetually scabbed and that puts me off!

The biggest surprise for me was the fact that while the main plot develops somewhere in the background, it remains a little bit boring, whereas the side story that does not contribute anything to the central tale, basically saves the book. Of course, there are several developments relevant to the future of the Black Company, but those were rushed and did not manage to reverberate properly.

I can not say in any way that this is an outstanding book, at best it is good. Still, way better than many contemporaries, and hence, sincerely recommended.

The other Chronicles:

1. The Black Company ★★★★☆
3. The White Rose ★★★★☆
3.5 Silver Spike ★★☆☆☆
4. Shadow Games ★★★★☆
5. Dreams of Steel ★★★☆☆
6. Black Seasons ★★★☆☆
7. She is the Darkness ★★★★☆
8. Water Sleeps RTC
9. Soldiers Live RTC
10. A Pitiless Rain RTC
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
December 3, 2015
Did you make it through The Black Company? I feel like you deserve a merit badge if you were able to pull it off without anyone else to help you with the sticky parts. It was a good book but Glen Cook doesn’t do any info-dumping so it is definitely a ‘learn as you go’ kind of book and I needed a little help along the way.


The good news is that Shadow’s Linger flows much much better. It was so much easier to follow because: One, the chapters are shorter and so they didn’t feel so jumpy. Two, it is split so that some of the story is told from the annals of the Black Company and Croaker while the other half is mostly from a cowardly inn keeper named Marron Shed.

I liked Shadow’s Linger more than The Black Company for a few reasons. The first being the change of writing style, the second being Marron Shed and finally the dark craziness that is the Black Castle. That place is so creepy.
Dark, glassy, jointless stone slid past.
“My god!” He could see into the wall. He saw bones, fragments of bones, bodies, pieces of bodies, all suspended as if floating in the night. As Raven turned toward the gate, he saw a staring face.
“What kind of place is this?”
“I don’t know, Shed. I don’t want to know. All I care is, they pay good money. I need it. I have a long way to go.”


Set six years after the events in The Black Company this follows the company in their continued service to The Lady. Let’s just say that even though she never misses a payment to the company after years of being her go to guys they are feeling a bit downtrodden. It is hard to be on team evil for an extended period of time. These were the least interesting chapters to me in the beginning of the book because everyone is pretty unhappy. You feel that when you are reading and it sours the mood.
“Suddenly everything was too much. This ambush tonight. Same old thing. There’s always another province, always more Rebels. They breed like maggots in a cowpie. I’m getting older and older, and I haven’t done anything to make a better world. In fact, if you backed off to look at it, we’ve all made it worse.”
He shook his head. “That isn’t right. Not what I want to say. But I don’t know how to say it any better.”
“What we need,” Goblin said in a voice so soft it almost vanished in the crackle of the flames, “is a cause we can believe in.”
“Yeah,” I said. “That, too.”

The chapters set in the North though are exciting by comparison. There is the innkeeper in financial straits who has a mysterious guest named Raven and a deaf mute serving girl working in the establishment named Darling. SEE already you’re interested too. The best thing about this storyline though for all you Grimdark lovers out there is traveling with Shed as he goes from a completely cowardly man into a manipulator and a killer as the things in his life spiral out of control. I was completely amazed at how far he was willing to go in the end.

Things totally blew up in the end and WOW it was phenomenal the betrayals, reunions and sacrifices that the men of the company made. In the end though there was really only one side to be on and they had to choose.
Some lived, many died and others, well let’s just say I’m not counting them out yet.

No more time to dwell though as I need to get moving on The White Rose to see where this story leads.
Profile Image for HaMiT.
166 reviews29 followers
October 7, 2019
حس‌ می‌کنم باید برگردم برم به کتاب اول نمره‌ی پایین‌تری بدم ولی حسش نیست
خیلی بهتر از جلد اول بود و اون نامفهوم بودن کتاب قبل رو نداشت
Profile Image for Zahra.
140 reviews49 followers
January 12, 2022
صادقانه بگم کتاب قبلی رو خیلی بیشتر از این یکی دوست داشتم. اونقدر که دارم وسوسه میشم برم بهش پنج ستاره بدم
نحوه روایت داستان و سبک نویسنده تو این کتاب با کتاب قبلی فرق داره و به جای یه خط داستانی با دوتا زاویه دید طرفیم و یه فاصله زمانی شیش تا ده ساله با کتاب اول داره و داستان کلا یه جای دیگه اتفاق میفته. در هر صورت این کتاب هم به اندازه کافی خوبه و خوشبختانه برعکس خیلی مجموعه های دیگه از سندرم معلق بودن بین زمین و هوای کتاب های وسط مجموعه (سه گانه شمال نه کل مجموعه) رنج نمیبره و به خودی خود و مستقل از کتاب قبلی و بدون نیاز به جمع بندی کتاب بعدی، خیلی خوب و راضی کنندس.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
November 29, 2017
Shadows Linger (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #2), Glen Cook
The Black Company is a series of dark fantasy book written by American author Glen Cook. The series combines elements of epic fantasy and dark fantasy as it follows an elite mercenary unit, The Black Company, through roughly forty years of its approximately four hundred-year history.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پنجم ماه می سال 2016 میلادی
عنوان: سرگذشت گروهان سیاه‏‫؛ کتاب دوم - سایه های ابدی؛ نویسنده: گلن کوک؛ مترجم: آیدا کشوری؛ ویراستار: گودرز پایکوب؛ تهران، کتابسرای تندیس، 1394؛ در 472 ص؛ شابک: 9786001821578؛؛
گروهان سیاه، سربازانی مزدور در خدمت بانو هستند که در برابر شورشیانِ «رز سپید» می‌ایستند. آنها مردانی سرسخت و مفتخر به محترم شمردنِ پیمان‌هاشان هستند. بانو شرور است اما کسانی هم که به دروغ ادعا می‌کنند از پیروان رز سپید (تجسمی تازه از قهرمانی که قرن‌ها پیش نابود شده) هستند، همانا به شروری بانویند. با این حال اکنون برخی از افراد گروهان دریافته ‌اند دختر کر و لالی که نجات و پناهش داده ‌اند، تولد دوباره ‌و حقیقی رز سپید است. ا��نون شاید راهی به سوی نور باشد، حتی برای کسانی همچون آنان... اگر بتوانند جان سالم به در ببرند. ... ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Elena Rodríguez.
586 reviews266 followers
November 22, 2021

“Por los veintinueve años”.


“No puedes permanecer neutral. Nunca has podido. Debes estar conmigo o contra mí. No hay término medio”.

Esta saga tiene algo que me gusta mucho y no sé que es. No es lo mejor que he leído ni por asomo, hay libros que se merecen más mi respeto, pero tiene una chispa que hace que lo ame.

“No somos ni buenos ni malos. Somos simplemente soldados que alquilan sus espadas. Pero estoy cansado de que nuestro trabajo revierta a fines retorcidos”.

Es cierto la escritura mejora bastante en comparación con el primer libro, ya no es el caos continuo que me encontré en el primer libro. Matasanos, los años te pasan factura pero para bien escribiendo los Anales.

La historia no es nada del otro mundo, apenas pasan muchas cosas, pero el trasfondo que hay detrás de todo me pudo.

Lo que más me gusta es como habla constantemente del tema de la moralidad y como casi todos los personajes son grises o tirando a negros. No hay nadie que se salve. En este libro no hay nadie que tu digas es buena persona.

“No creo en el mal absoluto. He hablado de esa filosofía en otro lugar en los Anales, y afecta todas mis observaciones a través de mi oficio de Analista. Creo en nuestro lado y en el suyo, con el bien y el mal decididos tras el hecho por aquellos que sobreviven”

Gracias compañía por hacer esta chica un poco más feliz con sus lecturas últimamente.

“No quiero ser tu enemigo. Seré tu enemigo tan solo si no me dejas otra opción”.
Profile Image for carol..
1,537 reviews7,880 followers
June 30, 2011
Something about Cook--he just has a way of weaving a story that keeps me interested, even when I'm not altogether enjoying it. It can be difficult to read about desperate innkeepers, snitches needing to make a buck and a mercenary company, because none of the protagonists truly seem likeable. Cook builds both action and suspense, however, and I can't help but keep going to see how it turns out. Easier to follow than it's predecessor, it does still have parts that are hard to follow, especially when talking geography and battle strategy. A faceplate map would have been nice when we are talking about plains, mountains and thousand-mile treks. In the end, I gloss over those bits, which in this story, at least, seemed relatively harmless. This time the company heads to the ends of the continent, which, coincidentally, is where Raven and Darling are hiding out. Croaker is still the narrator for the company chapters. The company is sent there to deal with a mysterious black castle at the Lady's behest. Meanwhile, actions on the part of Raven and the innkeeper are making events progress rapidly at the castle. Croaker starts to play a dangerous game, concealing Raven's actions from the Lady while otherwise working for her interests there. There are notes of redemption in the end, which makes it feel like it was worth reading.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
423 reviews467 followers
December 3, 2015
3.75 Stars

I loved The Black Company. Shadows Linger was still very good, but it is a different beast entirely. Fans of the series should not be disappointed though. Glen Cook delivers another winner and sets up the last book in the series beautifully.

The book has two main story-lines.

In one we follow some ex Black Company members as they while away their days in Juniper and a couple of local inhabitants who are mostly up to no good.

In the other we follow The Black Company on their never-ending conquest for The Lady. Every day is a struggle for them. Something is wrong. Something is missing.

In the middle of it all, we have the Black Castle.

It started out as a little black rock lying beside a dead man. The man who found them tried to pick the rock up. He died. And the rock started growing. It’s been growing ever since. Our ancestors experimented on it. They attacked it. Nothing harmed it. Anybody who touched it died. For the sake of their sanity, they decided to ignore it.

And then these different paths meet, and things start to get hairy resulting in fight, flight and a fatality or four.

And so the Company comes to the crossroads and makes choices that will either make or break the future of the world. One thing is for certain, they have time on their side ;)


Profile Image for Daniel.
91 reviews14 followers
October 17, 2022
به قدری به نسبت کتاب قبلی بهتر بود که اصلا انگاری یه نویسنده دیگه این کتاب رو نوشته

برخلاق کتاب قبلی سرعت پیشروی داستان به شدت ملموس و خوب شده بود و یک روایت رو با دقت دنبال کرد تا به پایان رسوند.

از شخصیت پردازی گروهان سیاه هرچی بگم کم گفتم، شاید تمامی شخصیت هایی که باهاشون سر و کار داریم پرداخت خوبی نداشته باشه ولی اون تعدادی که نویسنده روشون تمرکز داره خیلی تمیزه

شخصیتی توی این کتاب معرفی شد که سیر شخصیتیش به قدری عالی بود که فکر نمیکنم هرگز از یادم بره.

نویسنده از کشتن شخصیت ها ترسی نداره و نکته بسیار مثبتیه

داستان این جلد حدودا ۸-۹ سال بعد جلد اول اتفاق میوفته، کلیت داستان خیلی خوبه و توی این جلد بنظرم داستان اصلی که قراره در ادامه مجموعه دنبال کنه شکل گرفت

Profile Image for Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷.
100 reviews10 followers
March 15, 2017
This review contains spoilers for the first book in the series.

Way, way back, when the Domination was aborning, centuries before the foundation of the Lady’s empire, the Dominator overpowered his greatest rivals and compelled them into his service. He accumulated ten villains that way, soon known as the Ten Who Were Taken. When the White Rose raised the world against the Dominator’s wickedness, the Ten were buried with him. She could destroy none of them outright. Centuries of peace sapped the will of the world to guard itself. A curious wizard tried to contact the Lady. The Lady manipulated him, effected her release. The Ten rose with her.
Within a generation she and they forged a new dark empire. Within two they were embattled with the Rebel, whose prophets agreed the White Rose would be reincarnated to lead them to a final victory. For a while it looked like they would win. Our armies collapsed. Provinces fell. Taken feuded and destroyed one another. Nine of the Ten perished.
The Lady managed to Take three Rebel chieftains to replace a portion of her losses: Feather, Journey, and Whisper— likely the best general since the White Rose. She gave us a terrible time before her Taking. The Rebel prophets were correct in their prophecies, except about the last battle. They expected a reincarnated White Rose to lead them. She did not. They did not find her in time. She was alive then. But she was living on our side of the battleline, unaware of what she was. I learned who she was. It is that knowledge which makes my life worthless should I be put to the question.

After reading the first book I would have expected this to be another military fantasy, but it was actually more of a thriller. A pretty well written one, at that, and the writing here is more approachable than in the first book.

It is six years after the events of the first book and the Company's morale is low.

Some of the Company, Croaker among other people, are sent from the nethermost east to the farthest west, to Juniper to investigate a magical connection between the Barrowland and Juniper, where a mysterious black castle is growing.

Shadows Linger adds a second perspective to Croaker's as we accompany Marron Shed, a cowardly innkeeper and inhabitant of Juniper, who is not absolutely evil at heart, but circumstances drive him to commit horrible villainies.

Soon the two plotlines connect, the fun begins, and the book becomes unputdownable.

One of the really interesting things about Cook's books is in my opinion the insights it gives into human nature and its degrees of evilness, when characters who are not plain evil commit some of the most terrible crimes that one can think of and Cook lays their reasons out for you.

Another thing I really enjoy about these books is the character writing. It's fantastic and...

What are you still doing here? Go read this series.

"I believe in our side and theirs, with the good and evil decided after the fact, by those who survive."
"It is an absolute demanding absolutes in a world with a preference for relatives."
Profile Image for Reza Qalandari.
172 reviews6 followers
July 29, 2020
جلد اول از این مجموعه‌ی بی‌نهایت زیبا، حدود 15 سال پیش منتشر شد. جایزه‌ای دریافت نکرد، ولی شروع‌کننده‌ی چیزی بود، چیزی نو.

رابرت جردن فقید اینطور گفته که: «فانتزی منطقه ‌ی است که می توان با بی طرفی در آن از صحیح و غلط، خوبی و شرارت صحبت کرد. در ادبیات داستانی و حتی در داستانی پر رمز و راز، این مسائل به وضوح دو سوی سکه پدیدار می شود. هیچ اهمیت ندارد در کجای داستان قرار گرفته باشید. »

داستان گروهان دقیقا بر همین مبنا شکل گرفته. داستان، نهایتاً داستانِ تقابل خیر با خیر یا شر با شر است. شخصیت‌های داستان وارد گروه‌هایی می‌شوند. گاهی دوست هم هستند، گاهی در مقابل هم. ولی نویسنده مطلقا حرفی از خوبی و شرارت نمی‌زند و به این خواننده این امکان را می‌دهد که خود، تصمیمش را بگیرد. گاهی هم او را سر دوراهی‌هایی قرار می‌دهد که از انتخاب کردن یا نکردن هر یک، پشیمانش کند.

این اتفاق بارها برای من افتاده. گاهی از دست دادن بعضی از این شخصیت‌ها چنان آزارم داده که به‌معنای واقعی کلمه می‌خواستم سرم را بکوبم به دیوار. شخصیت‌هایی که تا لحظه‌ی مرگ‌شان اصلا نمی‌دانستم برایم مهم‌اند.

برخلاف گفته‌ی اکثریت، من می‌گویم که شخصیت‌پردازی کتاب به‌غایت قوی‌ است و رفته‌رفته بهتر هم می‌شود. متوجهش نمی‌شویم، ولی بعد، درست در همان لحظه‌هایی که بالاتر اشاره کردم، می‌بینید که نویسنده چه‌قدر ماهرانه شخصیت را به ما شناسانده و با وجودش اخت‌مان کرده.

این حرف و حدیث‌ها به کنار، وضعیت چاپ این کتاب وحشتناک هست. کتابی که جلد‌های اولش با چاپِ حداقل هزار عددی همراه بود، رفته رفته در جلد‌های بعدی ابتدا به 700 و سپس به 500 نسخه در هر چاپ تغییر یافت. البته می‌گویم در هر چاپ، ولی به‌گمانم جز جلد‌های اول، باقی کتاب‌های مجموعه هنوز تجدید چاپ نشده‌اند.

این کم لطفی تقصیر کیست؟ بله، من و تویِ خواننده است. می‌بینم افرادی را که هی این‌جا و آن‌جا می‌آیند می‌پرسند: فلان کتاب چاپ شده؟ قراره جایی چاپ بشه؟ چرا چاپ نمی‌شه؟ و هزارتا از این موارد که نمونه‌ی بارزش مجموعه‌ی مالازان است. مجموعه‌ای که خود به‌وضوح از گروهانِ سیاهِ گلن کوک الهام گرفته.

پس دوست من، به یاد داشته باش وقتی چیزی را می‌طلبی، باید دقت کنی که در قبال خواسته‌هایت مسئولیت داری، نمی‌شود چیزی را بخواهی، ولی فقط بخواهی! وقتی که کس یا کسانی زحمتی کشیده و خواسته‌ات را به انجام رساندند، تو هم در قبال آن‌ها وظیفه داری حمایتت را نشان دهی.

این مجموعه را به دوست‌هایت معرفی کن. برای عاشقان و دوست‌داران فانتزی. بگذار آن‌ها هم با طبیبِ تاریخ‌نگار، کلاغِ مرموز، سایلنتِ ساکت و الموی دوست‌داشتنی همراه شوند. آن‌ها را با جادوگرهای دمدمی‌مزاج و شوخ‌طبع‌مان، گابلین و تک‌چشم همراه کن و اگر شانسی باشد، اگر افراد مورد نظر اقبال یابند که با بانو آشنا شوند، امید است مثل من مثل من عاشق و شیفته‌ی او شوند!

تا الان، شش جلد اصلی و یک جلد فرعی از این مجموعه توسط انتشارات کتابسرای تندیس و با ترجمه‌ی زیبا و دقیق خانم آیدا کشوری ترجمه و انتشار یافته است.

خلاصه‌‌ی جلد اول در این لینک: https://t.me/tandisbooks/944

با حمایتت مترجم و عوامل دیگر این انتشارات را برای چاپ ادامه‌ی مجموعه دلگرم کن 💜💛

درمورد این جلد:

چقدر طولش دادم!
وای چقدر خوب بود
به‌‌خصوص 130 صفحه آخر بود که باعث شد 5 بدم بهش.
شخصیت‌پردازی خیلی خیلی بهتر شده بود
البته مرگ چنتا از شخصیتا واقعا بد ناراحتم کرد...

ولی بالاخره تصمیم گرفتم که طرف کی باشم!
مسلما بانو، حتی اگر گروهان سیاه ضدم باشن!

اگر کسی خونده کتابارو، پس لطفا:

Profile Image for Gavin.
863 reviews393 followers
May 11, 2014
Shadows Linger was even better than the first book in The Black Company series. It had all the positives of the first book and successfully replaced the slow campaign marches with some exciting intrigue. I worried about the split POV's for a while, but it worked out well in the end as Maron Shed turned out to be as fascinating a character to read about as Croaker.

After the way this book ended I'm looking forward to reading The White Rose.

Rating: 4 stars.
Profile Image for Kyle Erickson.
377 reviews163 followers
April 29, 2023
This book is an improvement on book one in every way, and I think a very impressive book. It becomes multi-POV and the second POV really enhanced things. Croaker's annuls POV managed to be more emotional, philosophical and thought provoking despite keeping the matter-of-fact, sparse style of a soldier. The last third of the book was really good and has me excited to pick up the next one.

I also wouldn't really classify this book as military fantasy, and it's very different from book one, so I would recommend people who were meh on book one to try this one atleast. I'd say Shadows Linger has a fair amount of spy, crime, mystery, and horror elements and is only military insofar as it is following a group of people who are soldiers.

My only negative for this series so far is the writing style. I like Cook's prose. He is very effective, and I think people meme the short sentences thing a bit too much (although he does like short sentences). But something about it sets my brain on fire after a few chapters. I had to read this short book in 20ish page bursts because after around that much, I just had to do something else. Maybe I will get more into the flow of it for book 3, but I could see that being the chief barrier to this becoming an all time favorite, because otherwise I think this book was gasoline.
Profile Image for José.
461 reviews225 followers
February 4, 2019
Pueden encontrar esta y otras reseñas en mi blog: clic aquí

Sombras fluctuantes es la segunda entrega de Las crónicas de la Compañía Negra, una enorme saga de fantasía oscura que inspiró a muchos autores contemporáneos y que marcó un cambio drástico en la forma de concebir la fantasía épica.

Los eventos de Sombras fluctuantes transcurren muchos años después de la gran batalla narrada en el final de La primera crónica. Matasanos y los demás veteranos de la Compañía comienzan a cuestionar la autoridad de la Dama, la semidiosa que emplea a los mercenarios para destruir a quienes se oponen a ella.

Esta vez, la Dama envía a la Compañía a Enebro, una pequeña y lejana ciudad en la que se están reportando eventos perturbadores: alguien está intentando revivir al Dominador, el terrible ser ancestral que gobernaba el mundo antes de la llegada de la Dama. La Compañía deberá investigar quiénes (o qué) está detrás de la resurrección del Dominador para impedir una nueva era de oscuridad.

«No creo en el mal absoluto. Lo he registrado en los anales de la Compañía, y esta forma de pensar influye en mi relato como cronista. Creo en nuestro bando y el otro bando, y dejo que la bondad o la maldad sea decidida por quienes sobreviven».

Al igual que en el libro anterior, los eventos son narrados por Matasanos, el cronista y médico de la Compañía Negra. Sin embargo, Sombras fluctuantes demuestra una gran mejoría en la forma de escribir de Glen Cook. A pesar de que los capítulos narrados por Matasanos mantienen el estilo narrativo del primer libro, esta vez el autor introduce el punto de vista de Marron Shed, un tabernero mezquino y cobarde que vive en Enebro.

El libro alterna los capítulos narrados por ambos personajes y sus tramas convergen eventualmente.

Mientras que los capítulos de Matasanos tienen una perspectiva más militar, los capítulos de Shed tienen un tono de novela de misterio y terror. A través de la perspectiva del tabernero conocemos una serie de hechos siniestros que tienen como objetivo revivir al Dominador y el mismo Shed termina involucrándose en el plan de unos seres siniestros.

Considero que esta doble perspectiva enriquece muchísimo la narrativa de esta novela, no solo porque los personajes narran la historia de forma diferente, sino que también permiten una visión más completa de lo que ocurre. Una de las mayores críticas que recibe el primer libro es que la crónica de Matasanos es muy escueta y no se limita únicamente a hechos que ya ocurrieron, lo cual le quita la incertidumbre de si los protagonistas sobreviven a las batallas o no.

Por suerte en Sombras fluctuantes el autor mejora la voz de Matasanos y le da mayor profundidad a su relato y a los demás veteranos de la Compañía Negra.

La estructura de la historia no difiere demasiado del anterior. A pesar de introducir un nuevo punto de vista, la novela sigue un patrón similar al de la anterior, es decir, todo conduce a una última gran batalla en la que la Compañía se ve enfrentada a un enemigo aparentemente invencible.

En lo personal me encanta cómo están escritos estos libros. Cada capítulo añade algún elemento nuevo que se van acumulando y terminan estallando en un final lleno de acción, pero advierto que en este libro no van a encontrar la misma cantidad de batallas épicas que en el anterior.

Sombras fluctuantes es un gran paso adelante, tanto en cuanto al contenido de la historia como en la forma de escribir de Glen Cook; es con este libro que el autor encuentra la voz ideal para narrar las aventuras de la Compañía Negra. Disfruté muchísimo los capítulos narrados por el nuevo personaje pues es muy diferente a la perspectiva de Matasanos: ambos son personajes muy grises, pero mientras el soldado veterano demuestra tener algo de decencia, Shed es un personaje muy ruin que va cambiando a lo largo de todo el libro.

Recomiendo esta saga para todos los fanáticos de la fantasía oscura y mala onda. No en vano Glen Cook es considerado como uno de los padres de la fantasía grimdark que hoy en día está de moda gracias a Game of Thrones.

Profile Image for Maria Dimitrova.
744 reviews139 followers
March 2, 2018
Buddy read with the Mercenaries of BB&B.

The second book of the Chronicles of the Black Company picks up years after the end of the first. While at first I was a bit annoyed at that I soon realized that it just doesn't make sense to show the intervening years. It's been battles and expansion with no real resistance. But now a new (or rather old) threat is rising to destroy the Lady and Croaker and some of our favourite mercenaries are sent to the middle of nowhere to assist in dealing with what eventually proves something horrific. We get to meet some old "friends" and some new low-life scum, that somehow manage to grow on me despite the start. And in the end the Company ends at a very different place (and no I'm not speaking geography here) from where they started.

The pace of this book is different and this is reflected in the shorter, rather choppy chapters that make you feel the same hectic tension Croaker experience when he learns of presence and the potential ramifications of it. This change in the length of chapters really works wonders in getting the reader to fully immerse herself in the action without excessive descriptions. This minimalistic writing is one of the things I like most about Glen Cook. It's refreshing, especially considering what's the norm for this genre. I know this is an old series and I feel ashamed that I've ignored it for so long.

A few words about the audio version - the narrator Marc Vietor does a decent job when narrating the chapters from Croaker's POV but fails a bit when it comes to the rest of the POVs. Still it's not something that detracts too much from the story so if you're short on time the audio version is a good alternative.
Profile Image for Markus.
473 reviews1,526 followers
November 21, 2015
"I believe in our side and theirs, with the good and evil decided after the fact, by those who survive. Among men you seldom find the good with one standard and the shadow with another."

3,5 stars

Not as good as the first one, though it does keep most of the elements that made The Black Company so good. The most disappointing part was that all the interesting characters from the first book (the Lady, the Taken, Raven and Darling) are barely present in the second. They appear, of course, but they all play a significantly lesser role.
The story is also quite different in Shadows Linger, and here we see more of undercover action and infiltration than battles and power struggles, but Cook manages to keep advancing the plot within this new frame, and the ending builds the excitement for the conclusion of the trilogy.

Series review from the beginning
Series review from the ending
Profile Image for Choko.
1,203 reviews2,583 followers
November 26, 2015
A buddy read with BBB and loving it!

*** 4 ***

A different type of storytelling and a different type of story. And I am talking about the good type of different, not the " ooo my, this was very uncomfortable and chaotic " type. Actually, I think this story was easier going since we had some background and were comfortable in this world full of darkness and dissolution. It was also more linear and the action picked up quite a bit toward the end. I couldn't put it down and have barely started cooking for Thanksgiving tomorrow!!! Haven't slept in couple of days either, so relatives, beware!!!
Thanks to my buddies at BBB for getting me started on the series and sharing the experience!!!
Profile Image for Gary .
200 reviews184 followers
January 3, 2019
I finished this section of the three book set of these Chronicles. I plan to write a full review when I finish the full set, but I am posting this since this book is actually book two. I don't remember the last time I gave a five star rating. I don't give them out often- this series is amazing. I researched it a bit and found out soldiers really like it. I am not a soldier, but I can see why.
Excellent characterization, great plotting, and a pace that moves steadily. Normally I skim at least some part of a book somewhere, but I actually reread a few parts of this because I didn't want to miss anything. Zero skimming.
Five stars.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,864 reviews371 followers
August 20, 2015
The continuing saga of the Black Company, a group of mercenaries who will have been hired by The Lady, an undead ruler whose evil is possibly preferential to that of her trapped-in-his-grave husband, The Dominator.

Shadows Linger explores the everyday evil of human existence, through the person of Shed Marron, an innkeeper in a remote city where the Company finds itself stationed. Shed is a miserable coward, scared of physical harm, poverty, and the judgment of his neighbours. When he gets money, he foolishly squanders it on fine clothes, women, and booze. I don’t know about you, but I know people like Shed—I’ve wasted a few dollars in my day, which would have been much better used if I’d saved them for emergencies. However, we all learn from our poor judgment—experience, it’s called. Shed ends up in debt to a money-lender and embarks on a dark side-business to dig himself out of the hole.

In many ways, it is by following the story of every-man, Shed, that this novel shines. I, as reader, couldn’t help but empathize with him, when he starts out with small deeds and gets sucked into a much larger situation, which he has far less control of. Isn’t this how many people end up involved in criminal activities? One seemingly safe action may lead you in unanticipated directions; if you have stood up and said ‘yes’ once, you may end up not being able to say ‘no’ later. This is the way that good people end up doing despicable things.

Mirroring Shed’s struggle, the Black Company must decide whether they can stay in The Lady’s employ, or if they also have reached the limits of their capacity to endure evil. Have they also waited too long to get free?

Second books are rarely better that the first of a series—they are often transitional. But Shadows Linger was much more engaging for me that the first book.

Book number 185 in my science fiction & fantasy reading project.
Profile Image for Greg.
1,109 reviews1,844 followers
March 24, 2010
Forget the book for a minute and look at this cover!!

I think I have a rough idea what is going on in this picture, but it nothing like the book. I don't know if I would ever read a book with this cover, fortunately the book is in a collection (or omnibus (what a dumb word)) with two other novels. And the collection cover is pretty bad ass, or at least what I would picture members of the black company to look like (I'm not so sure about the chick, she sort of looks like descriptions of The Lady, but with the pure glowing and blondness of The White Rose, but The White Rose isn't described as looking like that, oh well. Nerd time over talking about what female characters in a fantasy series look like).

Now the book.

I wish I had written a review of the first novel in the series. I meant to, but then I didn't know what to say. I liked the idea but something in the execution kind of faltered, like there was too much being done, but also not enough at the same time. Like it needed to be bigger in spots, but leaned down at other times.

In this book though Cook seems to have settled into getting a fairly good rhythm going for the book's development and pacing.

Never being much of a fantasy fan I find this book to be a lot of fun, and I think it is because it eschews much of the black and white elements that I normally think of when I think fantasy. There is no good and evil really in this book, well there is actually, but it's sort of muddled into two definite shades of gray, one significantly darker than the other. But as opposed to say a Narnia or LOTR story there is a definite mixing of morality going on here that isn't just I'm pure good and you are pure evil, lets rumble... with magic shit and names that will piss off Greg (I once played a MUD for like three weeks straight, see Alfonso I did have gamer tendencies at one point, and then I went home for christmas vacation, and when I got back to school and tried to log onto the the MUD again I found out my character had been deleted because the name had been to 'normal' and not in the spirit of the Gamer World... that was my one foray into playing a MUD).

If I was a fantasy reader I think I might not like this book. Fantasy implies that there is something beyond one's own life going on, a level of wish fulfillment or something like that happening in the book on the readers part. I'm guessing most of us would like to be the poor little orphan who is secretly a king or scion of this or that or AKA the hero of the story we call our individual lives. We'd all like to think that we will eventually be not just worthy of life, but really fucking important and that our lives aren't just some day to day banal chore, but fucking EPIC with all the shit one thinks something EPIC should have in it, including the flopping around dying gold-fish, if you are like me and relate anything you possibly can about your life to Faith No More.

Most of us don't want to see ourselves as part of a dirty, individually unexceptional group of losers who lug shit around really good and are really good fighters, but really only because they care so little about anything that they will do the most despicable and underhanded things to win. The characters here are too much like just slightly cooler version of ourselves, ourselves but with a sword who could kill someone in their sleep if we had to (as opposed to ourselves without swords, but who knew a kid freshman year of college who stuck his penis in a sleeping girls mouth and then jerked off on her, which now that I'm thinking of it I think is so much worse than killing someone in their sleep....)

Once again I have lost myself in the review. But I hope that I have created a review that Alfonso will find enjoyable.

Profile Image for Krell75.
287 reviews16 followers
September 23, 2022
Secondo romanzo.
Cerusico riprende a narrare le vicende della Compagnia Nera e ci racconta una nuova avventura a distanza di dieci anni dalla prima.

Una narrazione coinvolgente e stratificata, passando dalla prima persona di Cerusico con un tema investigativo, alla terza persona per raccontare le strane avventure che coinvolgono il tetro figuro di Corvo e il timoroso locandiere Pel, con i loro intrighi da malviventi che sfiorano quasi il tema horror nelle scene dedicate alla Torre di Ossidiana. Le vicende prendono luogo prevalentemente nei bassifondi di una cittadina nel freddo nord in cui i cittadini hanno l'inconsueta (per loro) e folle abitudine di seppellire i loro morti nelle catacombe...

Alcune particolarità dello stile narrativo e alcuni temi di Cook sono stati ripresi da Steven Erikson per "Malazan: il libro dei Caduti", come ad esempio la descrizione indiretta dei personaggi o il modo in cui l'ambientazione è poco descritta e sempre vista attraverso gli occhi dei personaggi e mai da un narratore ad uso del lettore. Poi scavi di gallerie, necromanti e bombe esplosive...si, mi ricorda qualcosa...

Molto buono il lavoro fatto sui personaggi, hanno spessore e rimangono impressi, almeno i tre principali ma anche i secondari non sono da meno, ottima su tutte la caratterizzazione di Pel il locandiere.
Un romanzo che intrattiene e diverte, migliore del primo, anche se scritto da quasi quattro decadi ancora oggi fa una gran bella figura ed era ora che arrivasse in Italia.
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,972 reviews850 followers
October 7, 2018
Pues este segundo de la saga muy bien, oye. Mientras que no tenga nada nuevo de Joe Abercrombie me apunto al Sr. Cook como "fantasía de fondo de armario" en lo que a esta saga, la Compañía Negra, se refiere.

Hay que tener en cuenta que Cook sacó su libro en el 1984 y Abercrombie en el 2006. Así que supongo que algo influiría uno en otro. Prefiero al segundo, es mas bestia, pero los hombres de la Compañía Negra no están nada mal para haber salido más de 20 años antes a la palestra.

En resumen ; que este es un segundo libro pero que si os gusta Mr. Joe le deis una oportunidad a Mr. Cook. Y leed al menos dos, que ya he dicho que el primero (La Primera Crónica) no me gustó demasiado pero ahora creo que es porque me pilló mal.
Profile Image for Hossein.
86 reviews
April 5, 2019
این کتاب نسبت به قبلی خیلی بهتر بود
شخصیت پردازی ها به خصوص شِد درجه یک بود و لحظات هیجان انگیز داستان هم واقعا سنگ تموم گذاشت
Profile Image for Lisa.
400 reviews16 followers
April 26, 2021
I actually knew who everyone was and what was actually going on.

Go me!

A lot less of the world-ending battle sequences, none of the backstabbing characteristic of the Taken, or the revival of the White Rose long prophecized to defeat The Lady.

What we did get was the Black Company finally taking a hard look at themselves and seeing doom. We get Shed, an innkeeper in a do-nothing town pushed to the brink of desperation, debt, and morality. The Dominator, the OG evil has concocted a plot using Black Castles, silver pendants, and corpses to bring about his revival. Raven and Darling, the mute and deaf re-borned White Rose are on the run but are smack dab in the middle of all the chaos.

Crocker, the annalist of the Black Company, a band of mercenaries hijacked to fight a pointless war between good and evil, and this series' narrator seems to have gone to a leadership seminar and is now strategizing the defeat of foes. He is still the fearful, brotherly, ashamed and loyal Black Company-member but is now taking ownership of their future.

I was confused about the addition of Shed's POV. Was it to make the deeds of the Black Company more honorable or moral in comparison to simple greed? IDK. The first half was a little slow going but the last half has the typical edge of disaster phenomena that makes for an intense and exciting read.

Alot more hopeful for the next book.....
Profile Image for Lundos.
286 reviews9 followers
June 9, 2018
"I guess we were a rough-looking lot. Those who did not show tough looked nasty."

Oh yes, they are a bad bunch, but underneath al that manly roughness are the skill and willpower to do whatever they have to do to survive. And in this one the Black Company are really up against it.

The book is split between following Croaker and the Company and a new person, Shed, where we can see quiet a lot of development. It's very well done, and while I don't fell it's necesaary for other than a few chapters (as in chapters in this one and not The Black Company) with other perspectives as I rather like the Black ones, we get the bigger picture before the Company and towards the end it sort of makes sense.

Lots happen so if you like the first one, there is absolutely no reason not to continue. Though, you might see some of your favorite characters die.

"All men are born condemned, so the wise say. All suckle the breast of Death."
Profile Image for Tammy.
76 reviews35 followers
October 31, 2016
I'm a huge fan of Glen Cook's unique writing style. I enjoyed Shadows Linger more than the first book(which I loved). The characters in this series are so realistic and I just loved spending time with the Company. Marron Shed was a stand out in this book and hats off to Glen Cook for his character development.
The greater threats are explored, more secrets revealed, The Company stumbles but doesn't fall...and the story moves on.
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