Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chronicles of The Black Company by Glen Cook (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 11:00 PM | 8 Comments so far
Chronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3 by Glen CookThe Books of the South: Books 3-6 by Glen Cook

Chronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3Chronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3 - The Books of the South: Books 3-6

The Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8 by Glen CookThe Many Deaths of the Black Company: Books 9 and 10 by Glen Cook

The Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8 - The Many Deaths of the Black Company: Books 9 and 10Many Deaths of the Black Company: Books 9 and 10

Note: This series of reviews only covers books 1-3. I have included Amazon Affiliate links to all 4 Omnibus editions (10 books in all) for your convenience. Well, that and because I love the covers.

♥ Mini Review ♥
My best description of the Black Company series is unique. Absent are gritty assassins, bold princes, beautiful maidens and hapless orphans who grow up to be powerful mages. Instead, you will find common foot soldiers, feuding wizards (who just do it for fun), paid mercenaries, and lots of war between bad people and worse people. Sound interesting so far? How about a story told from the viewpoint of the company medic who is also the keeper of the history of the Black Company. Croaker is the official Annalist for the company and he relates only the parts of the tale he intends to include in the official history. Still sound interesting? Well read on!

Fantasy Series Review by Mulluane

♦ Summary: Glen Cook took most of the fantasy tropes and threw them right out the window when he created this series. Most mind you, but not all. You still have the fight of good (White Rose) against evil (the Dominator) but in addition you have every shade of gray imaginable. In true mercenary form, the Black Company does not fight for a cause, they do not even care which side is right - or wrong. No, they fight for only two reasons, money, and loyalty to their oaths. Once you have contracted the Black Company you not only control the best troops in the land, but you know that they will fight and die for you down to the very last man. That is what they take pride in, being the best, and staying true to their oaths.

Now this style of storytelling may not be for everybody. You will need to have a love for military fantasy and an appreciation for dark worlds. If you do, you will find plenty to enjoy. By reading the story from a grunt's point of view, you get to experience the brotherhood of a tightly knit group of soldiers. You will experience the horror of war, the difficulty in following orders that you probably should question, but you will not because you are not being paid to ask questions. You will see good people do bad things and bad people do good things, all depending on the situation. You will see hard soldiers show compassion, and then watch those same men brutally kill. Before it is over you will question the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, cruelty and justice and come up with no right answers. It is good stuff.

♦ Conclusion. There are fantastic creatures, a vivid world, incredibly real characters, many forms of magic, both humorous and evil, and an exploration into every form of emotion there is from love to hate, loyalty to betrayal, apathy to empathy, and fear to bravery. You will discover yourself involved in a fast-paced story that jumps rapidly from one event to the other, no fluff, no info dumps; you get all your information straight from the hip. Like I said a truly unique style, viewpoint, and delivery. While this series is adult in tone, none of it is offensive; it all flows very naturally and true to what I would imagine a mercenary group at war would be like. If you are in the mood for a change of pace from typical heroes, royal families and a clear division between right and wrong, I highly suggest this series. For more information, I think you would enjoy reading the individual reviews.

Read My Book Reviews of: The Black Company - Shadows Linger - The White Rose

(Additional Resources, Affiliate Links)
Author: Glen Cook

Cover Art Omnibus Versions:  Raymond Swanland

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery.

Content: Adult, Military

Series Reviewed: The Black Company: Books 1-3

Publisher: Tor Fantasy

Source: Personal Copies

Read first chapter of book 1: Excerpt
Kindle: Omnibus OneChronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3 - Omnibus TwoThe Books of the South: Books 3-6 - Omnibus ThreeThe Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8 - Omnibus FourThe Many Deaths of the Black Company

Read an Interview with Glen Cook
Similar Reads from LibraryThing

No direct web presence.
Facebook Fan Page - Fan Blog

Available in Kindle in both omnibus editions and some individual books. Best bet for individual books is Abebooks.

Also available in Audible
See individual reviews for more information.

More Great Epic Fantasy
Already read the series? Please add your own rating!

Epic Fantasy Series Review of The Chronicles of The Black Company by Glen Cook - Reviewed by Mulluane - on February 12, 2009 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. By the way, I just remembered that the book you noticed is out of print mayhave just become that way. I've noticed that several books seem to be "falling out of print" now. I think it's more than usual, and I'm not entirely sure why.

    Alternately, it could be "between printings," meaning it's coming back as soon as they can manage. That would be nice, but I wouldn't count on it. {lop-sided smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. This sounds very interesting series and I'd really like it to come out in ebook form.

  3. this does sound like a great series! thanks for the honest review.

  4. Thanks Naida! I am glad you liked the review.

    Anne, I doubt it since it has also "disappeared" off the publisher's site :>(

    Mervi, ebook may come out in the omnibus version now that Kindle has put their version of it up for Amazon. I read somewhere (an author's website, forget which one) that part of Kindle's publishing deal is they get to publish their version first, before the publisher is allowed to sell ebook rights to anybody else.

    Not sure if that is true or not. We will have to see!

  5. Then it's fallen out of print. I'm afraid it's not the only book that's done that recently. I think I've missed being able to order a couple of books new thru a local bookstore by weeks this winter. {lop-sided smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  6. G,day I read a novel called the Black Company a few years back, it was a great fantasy world. I loved its use of magic, and the witch Circle and her portrayal. The heroes were cool and played a card game called Tunk.

  7. Definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy! Great review :)

  8. I'm just getting started on this one, I really enjoy it so far. Good review!


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