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Chronicles of the Black Company: The Black Company - Shadows Linger - The White Rose Paperback – 18 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (18 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575084170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575084179
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 5.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The series that brought grittiness to Fantasy and became a bestseller in the US finally comes to the UK

About the Author

Glen Cook served in Vietnam. His Black Company books are bestsellers in the US.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Betts on 10 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I bought this as a recommendation from Amazon having followed the Malazan series very closely (which I love). It is a collection of the first 3 books in the series: The Black Company, Shadows Linger and White Rose.

Despite being written over 20 years ago it brings a refreshing look to the genre. Its principle character is Croaker, the Company physician and annalist/historian, and the story is mostly told from his viewpoint. The Black Company are a particularly dark bunch, a mercenary outfit usually hired by the villains of the piece who then add a sense of morality to their actions.

Glen Cook doesn't demark black and white, good and bad, heroes and villains. It is more of a sliding scale that is dependant on situation from scene to scene. A bit more gritty, a little more realistic. The standard is anti-heroes and darkness these days, and The Chronicles definitely has these themes in abundance.

The books themselves are good reads, The Black Company served as a good intro with nefarious beginnings and excellent battle sequences. Shadows Linger builds up to a tragic crescendo and ties a lot of threads together toward the end. White Rose is a spectacle in itself, although you feel the Company are all getting on a bit age wise at this point, and that new blood is needed soon.

A good series, and I will pursue the rest. If you like Thomas Covenant (especially Second Chronicles) and the Malazan Book of the Fallen, you will enjoy Glen Cook. Try to get them and read them before they drop off the face of the planet altogether
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AAA on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
As Steve Erikson amongst others cheerfully admit, this is the archetypal military-fantasy SF.

But Dark. The heroes are not always heroic. The victories are anything but absolute. Good is never entirely good . The defeats never as total as they seem. The Black Company itself has a history and personality which overtakes any of the individual characters.

The Black Company is loosely based on Sir John Hawkwood's 'The White Company' a group of English archers loose from the 100 Years War in France which terrorized early Renaissance Italy, and were unbeatable, and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 2 novels about them (the White Company, and Sir Nigel).

Cook was a Vietnam vet (see 'A Matter of Time') and widely read in military history, and it shows. The battles and the strategems, and the human cost, feel almost real. The magic is seldom used as 'deus ex machina' but integral to the plots and the behaviours of the participants a la helicopters and missile launchers in modern warfare.

He also introduces concepts like the Unreliable Narrator: in successive novels of the Black Company, the Chronicler changes from Croaker (company doctor) onwards. What's really interesting is when subsequent commentators comment on Croaker's commentaries.

The 'Taking of Harden' could be almost a military textbook example of guerilla war. You could teach counterinsurgency from that chapter.

Just about every cliche of fantasy novels comes out, and gets destroyed. Always with Cook's wry, dry sense of humour and perspective.

The characters are also utterly memorable. The Wizard Silent. Croaker himself. The Captain. The Dark Lady, and Croaker's obsession with her. Bomanz the Sorcerer. Maron Shed. The Dominator.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Jensen on 12 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok, so considering how these stories were created back in the 1980's its almost embaressing that I never knew about them untill this year. I got the compilation about a month ago and after finishing the first book, I realise how much Steven Erikson owes Glen Cook. He ofcourse acknowledges this with the review from him, but for someone completely in love with the Malazan books of the dead, The Black Company was a much needed companion while waiting for the next installment from Erikson.
I dont know why The Black Company has gone under the radar for 2 decades, because although many people have read them, they were never promiment or even brought up as recommendations here on Amazon even after I purchased all the Malazan, and song of Ice and fire books.. very strange.

I heartify recommend The Black Company books, in fact, I dont think you can find better if you like the gritty fantasy type stories. It reads like a Band of Brothers set against a fantasy backdrop, and the characters are as strong and engaging as the Soldiers in Chain of dogs. Please do yourself a favor and get the compilation because it is such a great piece of work. Written back in the early 80s it is an example of great fantasy that is current and orginal today and for the well read it will also show you just how much of an inspiration it has been to other more current writers of today.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Lindley VINE VOICE on 12 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a fantasy fan for many years, I can only hang my head in shame that I had missed the Black Company books when they were originally released.

The series tells the tale of the Black Company, "last of the free companies of Khatovar" - a mercenary group with a long history and a proud tradition of working for whoever pays - good or bad. With a few notable expections, the heroes of the Black Company are nothing but, and many of the members have very dark pasts.

When a job protecting a city ruler goes sour, the Company betrays their commission and enters the service of the Lady - the immortal and evil ruler of a reborn empire.

In a refreshing change to the usual fantasy epic, the Company is therefore fighting for the dark side, which creates some wonderful dilemmas for the few men serving who retain a sense of morality.

The strength of the Black Company books are the interesting dilemmas this situation creates, and the excellent action scenes. The writing style is minimalist, which gives the plot an edgy pace and avoids the tedious meandering that sabotages the Lond of the Rings, but sometimes it goes too far - especially in the earlier books, when I found myself wishing for some description to go along with the dialogue. As such, the main characters initially seem flat, because we have no real idea what they look like, or what the world they inhabit is truly like.

Luckily these criticisms (hence the four stars) fade as the series progresses and Glen Cook matures as a writer. It is easy to see here the seeds that would appear to have taken root in the mind of Steven Erikson in the Malazan saga, and in retrospect the recent rennaisance of low fantasy owes a lot to the Black Company.

In summary: if, like me, you missed out before, do not do so again!
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