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The Chronicles of the Black Company #1-3

Chronicles of the Black Company

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Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.

Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose―the first three novels in Glen Cook's bestselling fantasy series.

704 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1986

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About the author

Glen Cook

199 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 806 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,461 reviews9,617 followers
March 31, 2019
Buddy Read With Fantasy Group 😊

There are 3 books in this book collection.

*The Black Company

A dagger nicked Mercy. He lost patience. "Silent"
Silent was on the job already, but he was Silent. That meant no sound, and very little flash or fury.

Mole patrons began slapping their faces and pawing the air, forsaking us. They hopped and danced, grabbed their backs and behinds, squealed and howled piteously. Several collapsed.

"What the hell did you do?" I asked

Silent grinned, exposing sharp teeth. He passed a dusky paw across my eyes. I saw Mole from a slightly altered perspective.

The bag he had lugged in from out of town proved to be one of those hornets’ nests you can, if you’re unlucky, run into in the woods south of Beryl. It’s tenants were the bumblebee-looking monsters peasants called bald-faced hornets. They have a foul temper unrivaled anywhere in Nature. The cowed the Mole crowd fast, without bothering our lads.

"Fine work, Silent, "Mercy said, after having vented his own fury on several hapless patrons. He herded the survivors into the street.

*Shadows Linger

Madle blanched, stared at the coin. It was a kiss of death. His patrons would think he had helped set the ambush. "Gotcha," I whispered. "Want to get out of this alive?"

He looked at me in fear and hatred. "Who the hell are you guys?" he demanded in a harsh whisper.

"The Black Company, Madle. The Black Company."

I don’t know how he managed, but he went even whiter.

I really love Croaker, One-Eye, Silent abd Goblin!

*The White Rose

So far this first book is fantastic! If it changes I will take note!

I was not expecting this book. The hilarity among grim dark and crazy characters was refreshing and fun!! I look forward to the rest of the books in this series!!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Petrik.
674 reviews42.8k followers
August 3, 2019
3.5/5 stars

The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook is a series that Steven Erikson has praised intensely for a long time now, it’s even considered to be his inspiration for Malazan Book of the Fallen and after reading this omnibus, I can certainly see why.

There were many aspects that displayed them; similarities between the Bridgeburners and the Black Company, a storytelling style that drops readers into the midst of the plot without any clear explanation, just to name a few without spoilers. The differences between Erikson and Cook would be that Erikson’s series is gigantically more massive in scope and difficulty. Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus comprises of the first three books in the series: The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose. These three made up for the first story arc in the series: Books of the North story arc. Same as my review for Riyria Revelations omnibuses, I won’t be writing a full review for each book but I’ll write a mini-review for each book in this volume instead.

The Black Company: 3/5 stars

The first book in the omnibus and series, The Black Company was a good start and introduction to the series but not an easy one to get into for me. The immediate and noticeable element of my first entry into this series was Cook’s super minimalistic writing. Important events happened in one sentence, sometimes even only a few words. In this book, Cook didn’t paint any of his scenes vividly; actions, world-building, pretty much everything were done in short sentences. This style of prose combined with the fact the story in the first book was told exclusively from the annalist of the Black Company, Croaker’s, made the first half quite a struggle for me to read through. It did get better in later installments, but his first-person perspective in this one really made the book felt almost devoid of emotion. It took a long time for me to get used to the prose, thankfully by the last quarter I’ve started to get used to the writing and felt more attached to the characters.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”

Shadows Linger: 4/5 stars

Shadows Linger, the second book in the series, was a significant improvement over the first book. Although it’s true that I’ve started to get used to Cook’s prose at this point, it’s highly probable that Cook’s writing on its own has improved immensely in this installment. Croaker’s narration has gotten better to read, but more importantly, what made Shadows Linger so engrossing was the addition of a new character’s perspective: Shed’s. Shed’s perspective was gripping, unputdownable, and it adds varieties to the overall narrative. In my opinion, Shed’s storyline was even better than Croaker’s side. I found Cook’s third-person narration in Shed’s POV to excels over his first-person narration. Also, Shed’s development was believable and realistic, Cook truly brings out some of the worst parts of humanity within his story brilliantly; money, greed, lust, blind love, deceit, and fatigue of war filled the plot of the second book. The sections where the Black Company contemplated the purpose of their group and war helped a lot in showcasing the character’s emotion that felt largely missing in the first book.

“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.”

The White Rose: 3.5/5 stars

This is the third and the last book in this omnibus; it also closes the Book of the North story arc of the series. I enjoyed this one more than the first book but I personally think the second book was better. The story was told in three perspectives of three—at first—different timelines that eventually converged. Seeing that this is the third book already, I feel like I’ve gotten to know the main characters even more than before. The personalities and banter between the characters were enjoyable to read; sometimes funny, sometimes sad. But I must say that although it has a strong and memorable closing section, I feel like it took a bit too long to get there. Overall though, this was certainly a great conclusion to the first story arc.

“I do not want to die, Croaker. All that I am shrieks against the unrighteousness of death. All that I am, was, and probably will be, is shaped by my passion to evade the end of me.”

Chronicles of the Black Company was a great kick-off to the series and reading these three gave me insight on why “the grandfather of grimdark” title was given to Glen Cook. Darkness battles darkness, morally grey characters, good or evil are decided by which side they stand; despite a rough start, I had a good time with the first story arc of the series and I will definitely continue.

“There are no self-proclaimed villains, only regiments of self-proclaimed saints. Victorious historians rule where good or evil lies. We abjure labels. We fight for money and an indefinable pride. The politics, the ethics, the moralities, are irrelevant.”

Chronicles of the Black Company: 10.5/15 stars

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Markus.
472 reviews1,523 followers
April 27, 2020
“No one will sing songs in our memory. We are the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar. Our traditions and memories live only in these Annals. We are our own mourners.”

The Chronicles of the Black Company tell the tales and legends of a renowned mercenary company with centuries of histories and tradition, told through the lens of its own preserved annals. Throughout this three-book omnibus edition, first of many, the reader is brought along on a journey from the rich, southern cities of the south to the dark, feared catacombs of the Barrowland in the far north. And some journey that is.

Our story begins in the city of Beryl on the southern shore of the Sea of Torments, where the Black Company sits around and does nothing while it is hired to the service of the local ruler, the Syndic. But the war-hardened mercenaries of the company are never able to rest easy for long. While the city of Beryl is boiling with riots and public unrest, a mysterious black ship carrying an equally enigmatic sorcerer sails into the harbour.

After terminating the agreement with Beryl by letting the Syndic die and slaughtering his Urban Cohorts, the company escapes a city virtually in a state of war. They are left with only one option: to join up with the sorcerer and travel wherever he decides. Their mysterious new employer soon reveals himself to be a representative of the Lady, the dark ruler of a vast empire in the north, who attempts to crush the last great rebellion against her absolute rule. Thus begins the epic tale of the Black Company...

"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."

The viewpoint of the Black Company is that of common soldiers fighting a war for an evil mistress whose desire is to rule everyone and everything. They live in a world where darkness is fighting against darkness and they have adapted to reality instead of playing heroes. They follow orders without questioning and take their pay, going wherever they have to and fighting whoever they must.

The narrator of the story is Croaker, company physician and annalist. This guy is more or less a brilliant choice for the role, as he sees all the action while also being indispensable enough to stay far enough behind the lines to survive and report everything that happens in his annals, whose pages are filled with centuries of history. The narrative of the trilogy is really well written, and to me it did really feel like reading Croaker's writings most of the time, as opposed to those of a present-day writer. In the last book, the story actually takes place in three different periods of time with three different protagonists, but even there the author easily weaves everything into Croaker's narrative by having the annalist receive letters containing the other parts of the story.

The many different supporting characters all add to the quality of the story in their way, and Croaker's descriptions of them are usually both fascinating and beautiful. Among the soldiers of the company there is the Captain, calm and experienced; Goblin and One-Eye, the constantly quarreling wizards; the loyal and honourable Elmo and the Lieutenant; and the enigmatic Raven, who is a mystery to his fellow mercenaries.

"An old, tired man. That is what I am. What became of the old fire, drive, ambition? There were dreams once upon a time, dreams now all but forgotten. On sad days I dust them off and fondle them nostalgically, with a patronizing wonder at the naivete of the youth who dreamed them.

The Chronicles of the Black Company, the tale of their many years of wars and struggles, of victories and defeats, is an amazingly beautiful one. It's filled with amazing descriptions of places and people, of journeys to the end of the world and of battles against the darkness.

Glen Cook really manages to shape the legend of the Black Company into a great work that any fantasy fan should find the time to read. Through the experiences and musings of Croaker, the reader experiences a haunting story of war and death, love and loss, and even regrets and nostalgia, as the annalist recounts memories from earlier, happier days.

“With the Black Company series Glen Cook single-handedly changed the face of fantasy—something a lot of people didn’t notice and maybe still don’t. He brought the story down to a human level, dispensing with the cliché archetypes of princes, kings, and evil sorcerers. Reading his stuff was like reading Vietnam War fiction on peyote.”
- Steven Erikson

The Chronicles of the Black Company is a trilogy of fantasy novels. But mostly it's a collection of war stories. Of completely normal men fighting a war to earn their pay. This was unlike any other work of fantasy I've ever read, not in a positive or negative way; just different.

In the end though, this was in my eyes a great trilogy and a wonderful reading experience. While this is not normally the kind of fantasy I normally read, I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent reading it and I would not hesitate to recommend it to everyone. And not only fantasy fans, but everyone who loves fiction in general. It is now a series spanning four omnibus editions, and is still being written, with a recently published prequel, and a final book still to come.

(Updated 13/11/15)
(Updated 27/04/20)
This is one of two reviews I have done for this series. This is an introductory one. The other can be found here, and is a look back on the series after having finished.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,644 reviews5,094 followers
July 16, 2012
"Oh, 'twould be marvelous 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."

war is hell. hell is other people. other people are other people. other people have their problems. i have my own problems. my people are my people. their goals are my goals. we do what we can. we fight in a war. war is a business. war is our business.

The Black Company is a mercenary outfit. they are from the South; they currently work in the North. they fight for the Lady. they fight against the Rebel. they fight against the Lady. they fight for the White Rose. they fight for the Lady again. they fight for evil, they fight for good. they fight for who pays them. they fight against those who are against them. they do terrible things. they do some good things too.

Glen Cook was in the military. he understands what could be called the military mindset, i suppose. his characters feel completely real. they feel like real soldiers. they are cynical; they follow orders; their first loyalty is to each other. Cook writes in choppy, abrupt, stripped down prose, like a journalist writing on-the-spot field reports. his prose is not rich or lyrical, it does not glow, it does not leap off of the page. his characters have names like "Croaker" and "Darling" and "Shed" and "One-Eye". his cities have names like "Rust" and "Oar" and "Opal" and "Roses". there is a crude poetry to his prose. it is perfectly suited to what this series is trying to accomplish.

i read some reviews of this series before writing this review. a regular complaint is the lack of beauty in Cook's naming of people and places; a certain lack of fantastickal whimsy or majesty in the writing itself. SWOOSH, you are missing the point. The Black Company series is indeed pure fantasy - it contains magic and monsters and wizards and epic battles involving magic, monsters, and wizards. and yet its goal appears to be to reduce all the lavish world-building and all of the lustrous magic within those fantasy elements in service of making something that actually feels real. something that feels dark and dirty, and yet because of that dark dirtiness, something that also feels alive and warm. Cook does not write with a flair for microscopic detail; he does not envision his characters as having larger-than-life personalities or operatically tragic narrative trajectories. he is not George RR Martin. nor does Cook write with snarky, sizzling wit or an eye for the cinematic action sequence or a need to surprise the reader with various malevolent sucker punches. he is not Joe Abercrombie. he writes from a ground-eye view, from a working man's perspective, through the eyes of people who are neither all good nor all bad, but who are just trying to do what they can with what they have been given. they want to get paid, they do not hunger for danger, they want to make their lives a little better. so when the realization dawns that these disreputable, shady, completely fallible characters are trying to accomplish some good with what little they have available... well, it is a beautiful thing. if shades of grey can be considered a beautiful thing.

and he doesn't just do this for his soldiers. the third book portrays a powerful god-tree as a being who is just trying to do a job that needs to be done. he's grumpy about it. he is not particularly sympathetic to other people's problems. he's a good guy, apparently - but a disinterested one. after all, he has to focus on his own work. the series also features a rather loathsome innkeeper and various malevolent sorcerers and tyrants. they get the same treatment... after all, who is a villain in their own mind? the eventual realization that a loathsome innkeeper and a terrible sorceress-tyrant are also trying to do what little good they can accomplish comes slowly and is mapped out carefully, hints dropped nonchalantly, an accumulation of evidence. Cook does not push this revelation on the reader... it just is what it is. and so characters like Shed the Innkeeper and the tyrant known as the Lady - much like soldiers with names like Elmo and Croaker and the Captain and the Lieutenant - become real in a way that i have seldom seen accomplished in other works of fantasy.

great job, Cook. no wonder your series is such a cult classic.

although i think the first novel in the series is clearly the strongest, the entire trilogy is certainly a worthy experience. if you are in the right mindset, if military fantasy doesn't bother your more progressive sentiments, if you actually don't need things like sentiment in your fantasy.

review for the first book here.
Profile Image for Athena Shardbearer.
355 reviews205 followers
December 3, 2015

OH...The Black Company, how you have won my heart!

Reasons you should read this series

1. Bad-ass Mercenaries
2. Band of Misfits
3. Magic and Creepy Ass Wizards(Goblin)<---Still love him!
4. Croaker as a narrator, hilarious and sometimes a weenie!
5. The Lady *shivers*
6. The Dominator <---Ok, I will admit, every time I read this my mind went into the gutter.
8. World Building AH-mazing!
9. The Characters, they're original and you really connect with them.

I love high/epic fantasy, and this was my first try into dark fantasy and I have to say that I'm a new fan. I just can't get enough of these guys. They make you feel ok with the wrong they do!

I recommend this to anyone that is ok with characters DYING!!! Ugh, my heart still hurts for those that perished.



Profile Image for Sade.
312 reviews218 followers
June 15, 2017

Book 1 Review: 2stars
It just hit me that i should have picked the single edition and not omnibus one, now i'm reading three books for one. ugh pot of beans life. That aside, I DID NOT ENJOY THIS BOOK!! yeah there were some parts which were sort of enjoyable, where i had a glimmer of what was going on but for the most part you're just going in blind. Imagine someone opens up a door and slams it shut before you get your bearings, that's how you get to view this book. You get a rough understanding of what is going on, but mainly, you're just stumbling through wondering why the hell you picked up the book in the first place (which was how i felt for the most part of this book)

Also i absolutely detested the first person narrative in the book. We had the pleasure of reading this book from Croaker's narrative, who happens to be the Annalist of the Black Company's POV. While i no longer blacklist books (yes, i was that finicky) simply for being in first person narrative, i absolutely do not understand why every single thing has to be from Croaker and there's a shit load of characters in the book. why on earth am i subjected to one person's narrative for over 300 pages??? Don't get me wrong, Croaker isn't a bad character but it would have been great to get some other character's perspective on things.
All in all, not a good start to this series.

Book 2 Review: 3 Stars
Ok, im going to be honest, i still don't see what the "epicness" of this book is.. Anyways i definitely enjoyed this way more than i did book 1 mainly because i wasn't just getting Croaker's views on everybody..I don't know about you guys but it's kind of hard to fall in love with characters that you don't know... Kinda excited to know how book 3 ends though.. so i'm definitely going to pick that up soon.

Book 3 Review: 4 Stars
Yeah i actually really enjoyed the 3rd book of this series. I know a lot of people just can't seem to get into this book and it's really not their fault. So here's basically my negatives on this book:

Croaker's POV: Reason with me people: Why on earth would you name a book Chronicles of the Black Company, if we don't get to meet the Black Company. Is Croaker the whole black company?? How is it that only about a handful of the Black Company get names? Are you telling me just One Eye, Goblin, Silent, Otto (i only remembered this name cos it was mentioned in book 3 again), Elmo?? Eldo?? The Captain and the lieutenant were the only people worth mentioning? and it's not like you actually get to meet them.. No seriously how do you have characters of such scope and get the PoV of ONE PERSON. ONE PERSON!!! for the whole gaddamn black company.
That's not even the most annoying part, whatever doesn't interest Croaker he doesn't take time describe. Dude is a terrible narrator. He leaves the good stuff out and his descriptions are basically lacking flair. Case in point, his description of the battle in Rusts
"Weapons Clanged. Arrows flew. Horses Shrieked"
The end.. that was the battle!!
I'm not sure why Glen Cook made a central character who for all intents and purposes didn't care enough to give us the facts on the matter. Reading Croaker's perspective it's easy to think the author's writing is shit, which it is for the most part but in Book 2 and 3, the writer introduces not sure if it's 2nd or 3rd Person Pov for other characters not in the Black Company and it's brilliant. There's also the additional negative of not knowing what happens if Croaker doesn't witness an event. Case in point in book 1 at the battle of Charms.

"I wakened less frightened but hardly confident...One-Eye appeared almost immediately. 'You allright?'
'Yeah i'm fine'
'You missed a hell of a show'
I raised an eyebrow.
'The circle and the Taken went at it after your lights went out. Only stopped a while ago..'


Time Line: Frankly the time line was a mess.Croaker mentions in passing, in certain parts how much time has gone in parts but lord almighty. You'd be reading the book thinking everone was on the same timeline and croaker's part would pop up and he'd go, oh it's been months or years and you're just like..what?? how?? when??

How did Darling have time to organise a well formed rebel group: So basically you're told almost through out the start of book 3 that the black company has been on the run, hiding and shit. They make it to the plain of fear where Croaker says they've been for years and are basically outside communication is bordering on sparse to non-existent but somehow, no explanation, nothing. Darling somehow manages to assemble a well organised network of rebels. Yeeeeeeeeeeah, i get Glen Cook.

Seriuosly Underwhelming Descriptions/ Underwhelming shock value: Let's start with the Dominator. This supposedly "bad ass, will crush the world and darkness will forever reign" baddy. We've been regaled with tales of his supposed evilness from book 1. Then finally we get to meet this evil personified and this is what we get:
"The other boasted a sleeping man. A big man and handsome but with the mark of the beast upon him even in repose. A face full of hot hatred, of the anger of defeat"

Like seriously. that's it? Let's circle back to this "mark of the beast thing" which i'm not even sure what it's supposed to be. Was Cook talking about the mark of the beast in the bible? is there some sort of universal mark of the beast we're all supposed to know about?
- Another underwhelming part was the Lady killing off some of the Taken
"The Lady called upon that power she held over them and they ceased to be Taken"

Cook is unable to present shock value, like he'd just drop a bomb in the book that would ordinarily make you go HOLY SHIT!! in other books, but for him the presentation would be bland. Leading to disappointment and it's so frustrating because you as the reader actually recognise these parts as important moments.

So probably wondering why book 3 is 4Stars. Well despite Cook's best attempts (and believe me he went hard) to sabotage himself, brilliant story telling does manage to shine through especially when Croaker wasn't narrating everything.
That being said, Croaker wasn't all shit guys. Somehow he managed to present another view of The Lady that absolutely made me fall in love with her. Seriously that woman was bad ass and a genius.Not sure why the 3rd book is named "The White Rose" because quite frankly this book was all about the lady.

All in all i actually think this book isn't unreadable and i'll definitely continue with the series
Overall stars for all 3 books - 3 Stars

Profile Image for Eric.
871 reviews77 followers
July 8, 2013
I read about the first 75 pages of the first book, The Black Company, and I just can't get over the feeling that something is fundamentally missing from the story. I can't get a handle on who exactly the Black Company is, how many of them their are, their history, or any specifics on the individuals who make it up, past vague generalizations. More time is spent detailing the one new addition to the group, Raven, than on the narrator, Croaker, the few important magicians, or the seldom mentioned chain of command. Without being invested in this group of mercenaries, it is hard to care about whatever it is exactly that they are invested in.
Profile Image for Adrienne.
235 reviews31 followers
November 15, 2018
Any book that makes me want to drop my relatively comfortable life to join a mercenary company with at best a fluid sense of morality is doing something right. I'd be signing up for long marches through snow and mud, for following orders (no questions asked), and for the occasional massacre, and frankly, that's not normally me. Huh.

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! I was pleasantly surprised. I accidentally began reading the second compilation of books in this series (The Books of the South) before this one, but I quickly realized that it seemed that I was missing a lot of information. So I did a quick google search, learned that it was the second in the series, and trekked over to my local independent bookstore to buy a copy of the Chronicles of the Black Company. And I am glad that I did!

Unfortunately, this meant that I had some little snippets of information about the outcome of the first compilation. That wasn't really too much of a problem, as the first book in The Chronicles of the Black Company (The Black Company) is quite confusing in the beginning since you're thrown into the action without any explanation. The book really only got interesting for me once the Lady showed up, and maybe 50 pages or so after that I was sold. The next two books - Shadows Linger and The White Rose - only got better. So enjoyable, in fact, that I missed my bus stop once while reading a very suspenseful part and that I found myself scheming about how to make time to to curl up with a warm blanket and keep reading.

The characters and their interactions in this book are really its selling point. Yes, there are sorcerers and magic and powerful hero/villain types - but they aren't narrating. Instead, we follow Croaker, the physician and Annalist for the Black Company (and a bit of a tongue-tied romantic with a dry sense of humor), an infamous group of mercenary soldiers who hire themselves out to the highest bidder. Of course, that sometimes means that they're working for the wrong side. It also means that most of the characters we encounter in the Black Company are morally ambiguous, which is exactly one of the things I like in a fantasy novel. From time to time we see how they come to terms with their not-always-respectable actions. On the other hand, most of the time they're real people (okay, well, feared mercenaries) doing what real people do (okay, except for the times that they do things I could never picture myself doing and, you know, all those battles). All in all it's a very different perspective for a fantasy story.

I would have preferred more description about the world in the collection as a whole, as I certainly couldn't picture the settings at all from the writing. Occasionally we'll hear about a beautiful sunset, but nothing about what the cities or surrounding areas actually look like. But I was okay with that; I could chalk it up to Croaker - it just isn't what he wanted to talk about.

I wasn't always sure of the Lady's motives throughout the story, especially concerning Croaker, but hey. That was okay. There were also a few standard fantasy-type cliches, but not as many as in most epic fantasy stories. For example, we had an all-seeing eye (cough, eye of Sauron, cough?) and names hold power over people, but I was willing to overlook those things (unlike the flying carpets.. ugh!).

In any case, I plowed through this book in about a week and then immediately jumped right in to The Books of the South. I imagine I will definitely be rereading The Chronicles of the Black Company in the future.
Profile Image for Kevin Xu.
273 reviews96 followers
August 30, 2020
He is one of the first if not first one to write dark fantasy and bring it on a personal level that is now all the rage like the works of the George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson, where fantasy during his time were still Tolkien copycats with a band of heroes going on a quest.

Basically he wanted to write fantasy based on his experience during the Vietnam War.
Profile Image for Zachary.
68 reviews8 followers
June 9, 2012
I love and hate this trilogy. Glen Cook drew me in, led me to fall in love with characters, and then let me down. This was a common theme as I read. The story would hook and reel me in, then suddenly I would lose interest or feel like the story was incomplete at parts and stop reading for a week or two. I had to push myself to get through this book.

I love the characters. Croaker, One-Eye, Goblin, Raven, The Lady, Darling, Silent, and Tracker. They are all unforgettable. Very complex, very detailed. One-Eye and Goblin's battles were hilarious and many a time I found myself laughing out loud in my living room, on the bus, or waiting around school.

I really thought the Taken were a very well constructed enemy, even if they were very similar to Tolkien's Nazgul. I liked how each of them had their own personality and feeling to them (something the Nazgul lacked). I didn't really like how they flew on carpets though...

The books lost my attention when Glen Cook would choose to skip important details about events by not including Croaker and just skipping to the result of the event that we never got to read about.

I could never get a real grasp of the world. It really irritated me that there was no map to refer too. I couldn't see how far the Lady's control stretched. What the whole "North" looked like. Where the Jewel Cities lie. Or imagine what the Barrowlands really looked like. I got a few details tossed my way here and there but not a true description of the landscape.

I was also "turned off" when I saw that the names were named Oar, Roses, Juniper, Charm and so forth. I just wished the names were more creative and therefore (in my mind) more believable.

My final complaint is the lack of detail for the majority of the supporting characters. We never really get to know the Lieutenant, The Captain, Elmo, and many others.

At the end of it all, I overcame the irritants and enjoyed the book. Maybe it's not completely my style but I did find some aspects that held my attention.
Profile Image for Milda Page Runner.
300 reviews234 followers
December 1, 2015
G.Cook's writing style takes some time getting used to. He often drops you in a middle of things without much explanation and it feels like you've missed something. Don't worry - all gets explained as you go along.
But if you like grim-darks, grey cynical characters, sly humour; if you like your fantasy full of action and character interaction with none of the boring food, scenery and clothes descriptions - it's totally worth it. :D

The Black Company 3.5 * review
Shadows Linger 4*
The White Rose 5*
Profile Image for Gary .
200 reviews184 followers
January 13, 2019
First of all, this series is becoming one of my favorites of all time. Maybe the favorite. Typically, I can read two books by the same author, and then I need to read someone else for at least one book and then come back to the author. This is not the case with Glen Cook. I waited until I finished the first three books to write this. Technically, each book stands alone as an individual story, but I wanted to write one review that would serve as an overview of the compiled trilogy.
This series is one of those rare stories that make me want to read it when I wake up. I find myself opening this on my Kindle every chance I get. The characters are engaging and while they are surrealistic, they are taking on a life of their own with a verisimilitude that doesn’t seem possible considering the nature and scope of the setting. It is a rare talent that can take something as improbable as a fantasy world like this and make it feel like it is a real place, populated by people I like (some of them anyway), and people I would interact with if I could. I can tell already this is going to be a read for the long haul.
The first book in this compilation was a little confusing to me at first. I hadn’t yet learned to slow down with this author, and his tendency to drop the reader right in the middle of the action and use terms and people as if they were already familiar takes some getting used to. I learned to slow down, sometimes rereading if I had to, and eventually everything became clear. Character names, which seem bewildering in their number at the outset, become like old friends. Places crop up repeatedly, and I Googled a map of this world to get my bearings, but soon it became unnecessary.
By the end of the first book I was aware I had discovered something unique. This series strikes me like this because I tend to like dark stories with a dark sense of humor, and that is definitely present in The Black Company. This is genre defining to say the least. The interaction between the characters and the ruthlessness of their world is exactly the type of thing I like to read. Not everyone has this dark sense of entertainment, no doubt, so not everyone would react to this series the way I have.
The second book introduced a new set of characters. At first, I was a bit put off by this. I wanted to rush through their sections to get back to the Black Company and the people I wanted to follow. I was left with this sense of wondering what was going to happen next to the original characters, which I get with skilled character driven stores and solid plot development. I understood why the new characters were introduced, and while it always felt like a subplot to me, once it integrated with the main story line, the pace quickened and I found the book even more compelling than the first.
The third book continued to build on the momentum created in the second and Black Company continued to develop. Characters die without warning in a George RR Martin like manner, which left me feeling unsure about what was coming next. The plot was intricate but not convoluted. It was clever and built nicely to a crescendo- this author knows how to end books well. There is no sense of being rushed, or sudden sloppy endings. Everything is solid, well written, and satisfying while leaving room for the plot to slide to the next book.
To put things into perspective, my previous favorite author was Robert E. Howard, and probably still is. Glen Cook, however, is now at the top of the list.
I rarely rate books five stars, but with this series I have no choice.
Profile Image for Michelle Feist.
127 reviews3 followers
May 16, 2012
Couldn't keep reading...This book got such good reviews in the places I checked and I had had my eye on it for some time, so I was looking forward to enjoying a great fantasy story. Maybe the story will get better, but it's the writing style that I can't get past! It's so choppy and lacks detail or smooth transitions from scene to scene. I felt like I was reading something my grade 6's would write! I could get NO feeling for any of the characters so far, not even the narrator - they all felt flat and contrived and empty. And the context and developing situations were not desribed or narrated in a way that gave any sense of urgency or danger...everything was matter-of-fact and expressed in the same "monotone" voice. Supposedly some evil creature had been unleashed from an ancient tomb, and was causing mayhem and terror in the city, which you think would be a tense and suspenseful situation, but you'd never know it from the flat dialogue and the lame reaction of the characters. So I abandoned this book...life is too short and there are too many other good books to read to waste time on one that doesn't pull me in and keep me hooked.
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,149 reviews1,118 followers
April 4, 2019
The Black Company was my second grimdark series. Read it six years ago, right after ASOIAF, since it is apparently considered as a grimdark classic. Or is it classic grimdark? :)

I enjoyed the reread of this three-in-one edition. The things I liked from my first time, I still liked them. Croaker is a compelling and fun POV character, despite his morbid streak (which was also enjoyable). Military fiction and nonfiction is my comfort space, so I absolutely adore the interaction among the Black Company members. The book, despite being a military fantasy, does not actually has lots of military actions - most were told after they happen or from a far. So, if you are looking for those things, amazing sword fights and the likes, better go find other books. But, if you want to read about the lives of brothers in arms, mostly outside the battles, playing cards, bickering and messing with each other, caring for the wounded, planning SNAFU missions, then this series is for you. War is often being described as "days of boredom punctuated by moments of terror" but for this I'd add long treks and miserable weather conditions, and voila, you have the complete package.

The magical parts are not bad, I like the evil sorcerer team - The Taken - who had their own personalities and some were quite menacing. The supposed evil characters, such as The Lady, came in many shades so it is great to read about their motivations. Plus, it's not as if The Black Company themselves were angels.

Real rating is 3.5 rounded down. I might have given four stars if it were not because of some boring POVs (not Croaker) and the overlengthy parts between Croaker and The Lady.

Now, I am ready to continue to an uncharted territory in the tale. Onward to The Silver Spike!
129 reviews189 followers
August 28, 2009
Ok, since I don’t have Mr. Greg’s reviewing skills I’ma keep it short and simple! This is like somebody gave the guy who wrote this book a fucking Minigun and loaded with bullets of awesomeness and told him to aim directly in to my brainand then the mother fucker went trigger happy! This is good shit! I read it twice in a fucking row!

It got it all! Awesome wizards, kick ass villains, drama, action, more action and more drama! And the hottest villain ever!!! EVER!!! I have a crush with The Lady now! I love this mother fucking book!
Profile Image for Eric.
404 reviews73 followers
July 2, 2017
Our orders were to report to Nightcrawler at Lords. Soulcatcher thought Lords would be the target of the next Rebel thrust. Tired as we were, we expected to see more bitter fighting before winter slowed the war's pace.

"Croaker! Lookee here!" Whitey came charging toward where I sat with the Captain and Silent and one or two others. He had a naked woman draped over his shoulder. She might have been attractive had she not been so thoroughly abused.

"Not bad, Whitey. Not bad," I said, and went back to my journal. Behind Whitey the whooping and screaming continued. The men were harvesting the fruits of victory.

"They're barbarians," the Captain observed without rancor.

"Got to let them cut loose sometimes," I reminded him. "Better here than with the people of Lords."

The Captain agreed reluctantly. He just does not have much stomach for plunder and rape, much as they are part of our business. I think he is a secret romantic, at least when females are involved.

I tried to soften his mood. "They asked for it, taking up arms."

Bleakly, he asked me, "How long has this been going on, Croaker? Seems like forever, doesn't it? Can you even remember a time when you weren't a soldier? What's the point? Why are we even here? We keep winning battles, but the Lady is losing the war. Why don't they just call the whole thing off and go home?"

He was partially right. Since Forsberg it has been one retreat after another, though we have done well. The Salient had been secure till Shapeshifter and the Limper got into the act.

Our latest retreat had brought us stumbling into this Rebel base camp. We presumed it was the main training and staging center for the campaign against Nightcrawler. Luckily, we spotted the Rebel before he spotted us. We surrounded the place and roared in before dawn. We were badly outnumbered, but the Rebel did not put up much of a fight. Most were green volunteers. The startling aspect was the presence of an amazon regiment.

We had heard of them, of course. There were several in the east, around Rust, where the fighting is more bitter and sustained than here. This was our first encounter. It left the men disdainful of women warriors, despite their having fought better than their male compatriots.

Smoke began drifting our way. The men were firing the barracks and headquarters buildings. The Captain muttered, "Croaker, go make sure those fools don't fire the forest."

I rose, picked up my bag, ambled down into the din.

There were bodies everywhere. The fools must have felt completely safe. They hadn't put up a stockade or trenched around the encampment. Stupid. That is the first thing you do, even when you know there is no enemy within a hundred miles. You put a roof over your head later. Wet is better than dead.

I should be used to this. I have been with the Company a long time. And it does bother me less than it used to. I have hung armor plate over my moral soft spots. But I still try to avoid looking at the worst.

You who come after me, scribbling these Annals, by now realize that I shy off portraying the whole truth about our band of blackguards. You know they are vicious, violent, and ignorant. They are complete barbarians, living out their cruelest fantasies, their behavior tempered only by the presence of a few decent men. I do not often show that side because these men are my brethren, my family, and I was taught young not to speak ill of kin. The old lessons die hardest.

Raven laughs when he reads my accounts. "Sugar and spice," he calls them, and threatens to take the Annals away and write the stories the way he sees them happen.

Hardass Raven. Mocking me. And who was that out there roaming around the camp, breaking it up wherever the men were amusing themselves with a little torture? Who had a ten-year-old girl trailing him on an old jack mule? Not Croaker, brothers. Not Croaker. Croaker isn't no romantic.

The Black Company: 4 1/2 stars

Shadows Linger: 4 1/4 stars

The White Rose: 4 3/4 stars

5 stars
Profile Image for Joseph.
682 reviews86 followers
October 5, 2018
The story of the Black Company, last of the Free Companies of Khatovar, and what happened when they sailed north across the Sea of Torments to take service with the Lady.

I first read these in the summer of 1990 (at which point there were actually six books published -- the three collected here, the first two Books of the South, and The Silver Spike; then came the long, long wait for Glittering Plain; but that's another story), and they were, well, unlike pretty much any other fantasy books I'd read up until then. Fantasy at that point (at least, in my personal reading experience) was largely divided between post-Tolkien, often D&D-inspired epic fantasy, and dude(s)-having-adventures-style sword & sorcery, a la Conan or Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser, with Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion stuff sitting kind of nebulously between. (And urban fantasy wasn't really a thing at that point -- well, Emma Bull and Charles de Lint had begun publishing, but weren't really on my radar yet.)

And here comes Cook with a series, written in a very consciously conversational and often ungrammatical first-person voice, about a morally-ambiguous but highly competent mercenary unit who, when we first meet them, leave their current employers by killing barracksful of sleeping militia and sailing across the sea to take up service with the Lady, previously-imprisoned wife to the still-imprisoned Dominator, a fairly Sauron-like Dark Lord defeated & buried centuries ago.

But of course that's just where things begin ...

There's just so much I love about these books -- the solid use of small-unit tactics (including a certain amount of magic, although the Company's spell-slingers tend more towards illusion than, say, fireballs), the mostly grunt's-eye view of a vast conflict, the characters -- not just the members of the Company (One-Eye, Goblin, Elmo, the Captain, the Lieutenant), but their various allies & adversaries, most especially the Ten Who Were Taken (powerful sorcerers enslaved by the Lady & the Dominator back in the day -- Soulcatcher, Howler, Limper and a bunch of other right villains), Raven (a recent recruit to the Company with his own agenda) and his ward Darling ... but most of all, for me, it's all about Croaker, Company physician and annalist, whose words (for the most part) are what we're reading -- Croaker, possibly more of a romantic than he'd like to admit, and every bit as hard-bitten and cynical as he appears.

(Also, once you get into the rhythm of things, I do really like the names. For the most part, Cook eschews made-up words -- everybody in the Company goes by nicknames, and most of the cities are named things like Deal, Juniper, Oar, etc.)
14 reviews180 followers
January 17, 2013
"The Black Company" is quite simply the best fantasy series I have ever read. For too long, the genre was caught between the kind of adolescent irony propagated by authors such as Piers Anthony (for whom I still carry a teenage love) and the romanticized sword & sorcery worlds of authors such as Robert Jordan. Fortunately, Mr. Cook arrived in time to provide a much-needed dose of realism, internal conflict and morally questionable heroes and villains alike.

When asked for the elevator pitch for "The Black Company" I usually say that it is "Band of Brothers" set in a fantasy realm. Usually, eyebrows go up and even those who have never read fantasy are suddenly interested.

The title refers to the band of mercenaries at the center of the story. The first person narration is provided by "Croaker" (the reader soon finds that all Black Company members are given a pseudonym, having cast off the names of their families). He is both the company physician and annalist. Following a fierce, proud tradition of selling their services to the highest bidder, the company takes pride in their work to an almost obsessive degree. Every night, for instance, Croaker is obliged to read selected passages from earlier annalists.

The Company has been around so long that the earliest books have been lost and so the Company has no idea how or why they were formed in the first place. This question, however, soon becomes the driving force of the series as the men, fluctuating between their darker aims and their brighter consciences, begin to question their own raison d'être.

Do yourself a favor. Whether you like fantasy or not, check out the first book. If you like it, keep reading. If you don't, no great loss. But I have a feeling that, for the more adventurous readers, this will be a great discovery.
Profile Image for Lightreads.
641 reviews524 followers
August 27, 2011
Well, that was . . . testicular. Military fantasy about a company of mercenaries, with one of those completely flat, non-ideological conflicts where we’re told X and Y persons are evil, but we have no context for any of it. So what you have left is a bunch of battle summaries (boring) and some local color (all men, don’t ask about the women. Just don’t’).

I think my real problem is that this is told by the company doctor writing the history. He freely admits that he is eliding and prettying things up. Fine, that’s how stories work. But what he actually does is say, “okay, yeah, all my friends are rapists and torturers and killers, but that makes me uncomfortable so we’re not going to mention those parts and instead, I’ll tell you about our cutesy little magical duels okay?” (Seriously, he has a whole page on this exact explanation). And then the book is cutesey magical duels and non-ideological battle summaries.

And I’m pretty sure if you want to swallow that down, you need to actually like the 98% elided bland military fantasy Cook wanted to write. And I didn’t.
Profile Image for Tamara.
972 reviews30 followers
Want to read
September 24, 2018
I've read the first two books in Serbian, but the translation was discontinued over a decade ago.
Looking forward to reading it again, this time in English.
Profile Image for Matthew.
381 reviews137 followers
March 13, 2016
A great read... Cook is arguably the father of all the gritty fantasy that has followed. Can't wait to read more in the series.
Profile Image for Alissa.
615 reviews85 followers
August 10, 2015
"Oh, ‘twould be marvelous 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."
Profile Image for laurenpie.
404 reviews11 followers
March 21, 2013
A masterpiece: my all-time favorite series

This series is a masterpiece, perfectly written. In fact, my all-time very favorite series. I identify so much with The Black Company characters that I actually start to miss them, and end up re-reading the entire series again every few years. Must be on my fourth or fifth time through now. Every time, I somehow feel as though I'm coming home.

I absolutely love Glen Cook's writing style. I see that several reviewers complain about it being overly choppy and abrupt, and not laying enough background framework. I personally never felt any of that. The level of background, the timing and the pace seem just right to me and definitely add to the realistic feel of the narrative. Glen Cook isn't aiming for "The Comprehensive History and Analysis of the Black Company," but rather, the daily/monthly annals from ground-level perspective, hastily scratched out if there's time between missions. Our annalist is not privy to the big picture, and lacks the benefit of time's distance and omniscience--I say all the better! Ergo, narration suffused with real-time agony and sweat, and even here and there an irrepressible sense of wonder that will not be extinguished.

One last thought on the writing style: I love how Glen Cook can so finely-tune his nuance with just the right descriptor, without ever becoming wordy or pretentious. (Yes, I admit to resorting to my dictionary repeatedly while reading this series.) My heart races every single time I read that first chapter set in Beryl. And don't get me started on the end of Book 3!!! I think my heart actually stops!

Finally, to the best part of the series: the wonderful characters. They're amazing! They're so real, always evolving (fascinating), yet always true-to-character. Croaker: sweet, funny, thoughtful but tough, unprepossessing and unselfconsciously courageous. One-Eye, Silent, Raven, the Captain, Elmo, Murgen... my old friends. The only character I never appreciated was Sleepy, too smug for me. But that's okay, because all the better (after that draught) when I get to the next book!

I must disagree with my sister Puppitypup's assessment (for identical twins we sure do have very different tastes): the entire series is wonderful.

And lastly...

Please, Glen, I need more Black Company!!!

Profile Image for Heather Elroy.
72 reviews4 followers
September 5, 2010
I really liked these books.

Thinking back on it, I can't remember much of the first book but I do remember that I wasn't really that interested in the story until the Second book.

What really got me interested was the parts that included the Lady.

When reading this book I went into it thinking that it was going to be like most books I've read. Maybe one character's point of view in a sort of memoir style about what happened in their life with detailed accounts. This wasn't it.

The books are written from the point of view of Croaker, the Company Annalist and the Physician. Its done in a sort of Diary-like way. He writes it as he sees it and writes down what he heard from other people. Which meant some really big gaps in our knowledge of what happened as well as his.

I loved the characters in this story. Croaker was my favorite as he was the storyteller. Raven was fun just because he seemed like such a badass. Darling was interesting because she had been through some crap but still managed to be so energetic in her fondness for Croaker and the others. One-Eye and Goblin were easily some of my favorite characters because they were always pulling crazy stuff. Soul Catcher was one of the most interesting for me because she talked in the voices of others. She always had this rivalry with the Limper throughout the books and they were constantly going after each other.

The Lady was and is my All-time Favorite character in this series. Especially during the Books of the South later on down the line. She was intriguing because she was the Lady of the Empire. As much as Croaker wanted to find out about her past, so did I.

I liked the way the books were written. The tone they took, that things weren't overly detailed. They gave off general impressions but he didn't go into some flowery explanation of how everything was detailed. It was easy to read. I was easily drawn into the world that the Black Company was in. I really wish there was a map of the area because I was lost as to WHERE they were half the time. I like the naming convention, too. That the Sorcerer's and Sorceress's were tied to their True Names and that it could be used to strip them of their powers. It was different but it was awesome.

What I didn't like about the series was that there were some pretty sharp gaps in our knowledge. Even now I don't know much about the other side of the war. There was mention of a Circle of Eighteen. I don't know much about them. Whisper was part of that. You didn't know much about the enemies of the Empire and there were several of the Taken who you never met and didn't know anything about. But that was the nature of this book. If you were writing a diary like as not there'd be plenty of things you'd forget to put in, too.

Other than that, I really recommend this book. Its a great start to a great series. Follow it up with the Books of the South and then The Return of the Black Company after that. The story just gets more and more interesting as you go along.
Profile Image for Mel.
105 reviews3 followers
March 4, 2016
I really enjoyed this classic grimdark series.

First, I really liked the Black Company as a group of people. In my opinion, some of the best moments in the books were the scenes where people were playing cards and doing nothing much. It was where the relationships and bonding of the mercenaries shone through and it was some of my favorite parts. And of course, the bickering of One-Eye and Goblin.

I also liked the Croaker as a narrator. He was flawed, but smart and quick on his feet, dependable, and bookish. The rest of the characters were great too. Surprisingly enough, my least favorite character was Raven, despite him being pretty dark, strong, and mysterious. But compared to Silent, Goblin, One-Eye, or the Captain, he was a little one-dimensional. (Or much more similar to other characters in other grimdark series. I realize that he was probably written first, but I just read about him now, so he now sounds like a repetition). I also enjoyed the strong female characters (the Lady, Darling, even Whisper). They are in positions of authority, unapologetically, and without too much fuss about their gender.

The world building and climax to the big battle was great too. The villains (the Lady and the Dominator) were always present, many times one step ahead, and pretty awesome.

Profile Image for Czilla.
48 reviews13 followers
March 6, 2021
This series has the responsibility of re-kindling my love for reading and for the fantasy genre. For that, Glen Cook has my absolute gratitude.

I absolutely love 'The Black Company'. Croaker, Lady, Silent, Toadkiller Dog, Raven, Shed, Murgen, Darling...these are characters that I will never forget.

While Cook's writing and storytelling is certainly unorthodox, it is quite the pleasure to read once accustomed to.
Profile Image for Zedsdead.
1,091 reviews64 followers
November 4, 2021
Contains the first three books of the series.

Book One: The Black Company finished Sep 3 2021
The Black Company is a 400yo mercenary outfit. Book One sees them hired by an evil, terrifyingly powerful sorceress-empress to quell a massive rebellion. Brotherhood and tradition are core values to the men of the company, who have nowhere else to go and no viable alternatives. Unlike capricious Joe Abercrombie mercs, who betray employers readily and frequently, the Company values its history and honor. How do they extricate themselves without pissing off beings with godlike powers? How do they terminate their contract honorably? Should they even do so?

The book is especially interesting for presenting a Chosen One narrative (Prophecy foretells the rebirth of a Joan-of-Arc like figure who will depose the empress) from the perspective of some random soldiers in the antagonist's forces. It's like reading LOTR entirely from the POV of a band of Easterlings. Or Star Wars from the perspective of a random stormtrooper. What's more, evil seems to be subjective. The narrator (the company's annalist and physician) doesn't believe in evil, particularly as stacked against honor and legacy. But he also doesn't entirely NOT believe in it. A moral quandary, it is.

(Except for the officers' shrug-what-ya-gonna-do attitude toward the rank-and-file's mass rape of deposed enemies. That was just disturbing.)
Book Two: Shadows Linger finished Oct 7 2021
Picks up six years after the events of Book One. The Company is sent to Juniper, a frozen backwater at the edge of the world where The Dominator's creatures advance his return...and coincidentally is where Raven and Darling washed up.

Shed's redemption arc. It's muddy, incremental, and incomplete, and because it's such a mess it feels all the more real.

Raven's absurd death. The most dangerous man in the Black Company slips, cracks his head, drowns. Offscreen. Decades of narrative training tell me that he'll reappear at the most dramatic moment possible...but Cook has proven entirely willing to subvert storytelling conventions, and the uncertainty this provides is a delight.

The virtual destruction of the Company. The battle between the forces of the Dominator and those of the Lady decimate its ranks. The Captain sacrifices himself to stall the Lady so that his surviving men can leave and begin anew in the south. Led by Croaker and the Lieutenant, these remnants reconnect with Darling (who, it turns out, is a magical null), and take up the cause of the White Rose.

Book Three: The White Rose
Date started: Oct 14 2021
Six years after the events of Book 2, the Company's remnants are hiding in the Plain of Fear, surrounded by unstable magic. Talking stones, walking trees, flying whales. Darling is a genius administrator. The Lady hunts them. When they realize the Dominator is on the verge of breaking free from his imprisonment in the Barrowlands, difficult choices have to be made.

This is a magnificent conclusion to the first trilogy and does it justice. It's more sophisticated than the typical high fantasy epic. The lines between good and evil are usually blurry (see The Lady, an immortal, power-hungry warlord, occasionally described as "tainted by the Light"). Alliances shift, for valid reasons. One's loyalties can be pitted against each other in agonizing ways. Research is made sexy when the fate of the world hangs on the hunt for a name in ancient documents of dubious provenance.

What a marvelous series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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