Port of Shadows

Port of Shadows occupies a strange place in the chronology of the Black Company; it predates almost all of the history we know, picking the story up after the first book and before the second. The author appears to be numbering it 1.5. Thank god for decimals.

This is not a good place to start the series. Read The Black Company (the first book of the series by the same name) for that.

Honestly, I'd almost say this book should be read in publication order, ie, last, despite its appearance early in the official chronology. If you read it immediately after the first book, you'll have no idea what's going on or who half the characters are.

The writing style is noticeably different, which the narrator lampshades, as he does the fact that this period in the company's history is never referenced or referred to again in the "later" (series chronological) books. The writing is more descriptive and less sparse, somewhat more emotional. There's a reason for all of that.

Talking too much about the content of this book would, inevitably, represent a spoiler. Really. I can't even tell you the name of the main character aside from the narrator, because that would be a spoiler, even while it would encourage you to read the book (well, if you're a fan of the series already).

The only thing I can really say about it without spoiling the plot is this: Croaker gets domesticated.

Wed Sep 19 13:56:54 CDT 2018 by Matthew. Comments

Water Sleeps

Disaster. Betrayed by the rulers of Taglios at the very gates of the Glittering Plain, betrayed again as those few surviving members of the Old Company are just beginning to explore the mysteries they have long sought. Only Goblin and One-Eye of the Old Company have escaped the trap, joining with their Taglian brothers to continue the battle. Water Sleeps, the Book of Sleepy, details that struggle as it takes on the quality of a guerilla war. The Black Company are but a few men in hiding, but the Black Company will neither forget their fellow soldiers trapped beneath the Glittering Plain, nor forgive the betrayals that put them there.

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Categories Glen Cook

Sun Jul 03 15:02:28 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

She Is The Darkness

This, the Second Book of Murgen, continues to make use of Smoke's unusual talents to provide a broad perspective to the Annalist's recording of events following the end of the Dejagore siege. With the Black Company reunited with its Captain in Taglios, the time for the invasion of the Shadowlands has come, and preparations are moving rapidly. The intrigue is moving rapidly as well, for the Black Company has a long memory for betrayal, and the rulers of Taglios are beginning to think that their allies may just be worse than their enemies.

She Is The Darkness settles down considerably compared to the somewhat unsteady narrative in Bleak Seasons. As with the rest of the Black Company books, the prose is workmanlike rather than poetic, the narrative voice of a soldier rather than a artist. Yet the strength of the characters and plot shines through clearly, providing an engrossing tale of the infamous mercenary company just one step short of their long quest for Khatovar.

Sun Jul 03 14:21:06 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

Bleak Seasons

After the events in Shadow Games left the Black Company with neither of its commanding officers, with Dreams of Steel covering the consequences of that loss, Bleak Seasons (the Book of Murgen, and the first book of Glittering Stone) picks up the story of the majority of the surviving Company -- those who made it into the walls of Dejagore.

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Thu Jun 30 03:44:44 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

Dreams of Steel

In Shadow Games, the first Book of the South in the Chronicles of the Black Company, we follow the Company on its journey southward towards the near-mythical Khatovar, a city not on any map, yet nevertheless faithfully recorded in the company Annals. Their quest does not lack for opposition, however, for the Shadowmasters are determined to
bar their path, and there are hints that those long thought dead have come south to pursue old enmities as well.

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Thu Jun 23 03:31:49 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

Shadow Games

Shadow Games is the first of the Books of the South, the second part of the Chronicles of the Black Company. Following the events of The White Rose and roughly contemporaneous with The Silver Spike, Shadow Games follows Croaker and the Black Company on the first steps of their quest to return to their origins... the almost-mythical city of Khatovar, across the equator and nearly seven thousand miles of marching from the Lady's tower at Charm.

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Tue Jun 21 03:06:42 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

The Silver Spike

Continuing the Chronicles of the Black Company, The Silver Spike tells the tale of events following the climatic clash in The White Rose. In the aftermath of that battle, the surviving core of the Black Company went one way, and the supports of the White Rose another.. leaving the soul of the Dominator imprisoned in a silver spike, buried deep in the heartwood of a sapling demigod.

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Mon Jun 20 00:07:17 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

The White Rose

The White Rose is the third book in the Chronicles of the Black Company. The Lady's victory over her husband the Dominator at Juniper (Shadows Linger) came with a high price: the loss of the Black Company, long sworn to her service, to follow the White Rose... the prophecied rebel who first imprisoned her and her husband 400 years ago, now reborn to meet the Lady's renewed threat. All unknowing, the Black Company had sheltered the White Rose herself within their ranks, and when the Taken begin to turn on them, chose survival and personal loyalty over the Lady's service.

But if the Black Company is done with the Lady, the Lady is by no means done with them... and the Barrowlands still hold a treasury of ancient horrors seeking their freedom.

Sat Jun 18 02:40:50 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

Shadows Linger

The Black Company opened Glen Cook's dark military fantasy with a flood of smoke and flame. The story continues in Shadows Linger, as the Black Company begins to learn the dirty little secret the Lady left in her grave when an unwitting wizard freed her. If the Lady is a merciless, uncaring tyrant, than the Dominator cares very, very much about the betrayal that left him trapped. And not in a loving, tender sort of way.

And that puts the Black Company between a rock and a hard place... facing an unenviable choice of evils with no way out.

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Wed Jun 15 01:25:55 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

The Black Company

Imagine a hard-bitten mercenary company, the last of the 12 Free Companies of Khatovar, wielding swords, spies, sappers, and seige engines with equal facility in a world where wizards rule the battlefield and the last of the dragons was eaten millenia ago by something even more dangerous.

Imagine ten of the most powerful wizards in the world, all bound to serve one even more powerful than they: the Ten Who Were Taken. 

Imagine a long-prophecied conflict between the Lady, merciless and remote in her power, binder of the Ten Who Were Taken, and the White Rose, who defeated the Lady over four hundred years ago... and who has been reincarnated to contend with the Lady for the rule of the world once more.

Imagine that the mercenaries of the Black Company have just betrayed their employer and signed up... on the wrong side.

The Black Company is military SF at it's finest, making a mockery of epic battles between good and evil by focusing on the epic conflicts between lesser evil and greater evil, and never forgetting that sometimes a mouse could starve on the difference.  Darkly pessimistic and evocative in a way that only the doomed can properly appreciate, Glen Cook invites us into a world that demonstrates why living in interesting times is not always desirable.

Tue Jun 14 20:47:27 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

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