Dreams of Steel (Chronicle of the Black Company) Mass Market Paperback – 24 Jan 1997
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Sheer page-turning fun--indeed, sometimes I turned the pages so quickly in the heat of adventure that I had to turn back again to see what actually happened! Robin McKinley, author of The Hero and the Crown" "Sheer page-turning fun--indeed, sometimes I turned the pages so quickly in the heat of adventure that I had to turn back again to see what actually happened!"--Robin McKinley, author of "The Hero and the Crown"
After the Company's defeat at Dejagore, Lady, one of the few survivors, sets out to avenge herself and the Company against the Shadowmasters, and she joins forces with an ancient and mysterious murder cult.See all Product description
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Dreams of Steel marks a notable change in the Black Company books. For the first time, Croaker is dropped as the primary POV in favour of Lady, who now serves as the main POV character, narrator and 'annalist', recording events for posterity. This shift in structure and approach is successful, with Cook employing a character who is far less prone to moralising than Croaker (it serves to remember that Lady was, more or less, the main bad guy in the original trilogy, and has only repented up to a point) and is still fully capable of using incredibly ruthless and bloody means to achieve her goals.
The book adopts a multi-pronged approach to the plot, with Cook alternating between Lady's endeavours, the situation with the Shadowmasters (who are, refreshingly, a foe of limited resources who themselves are in a bady way following the events of the previous novel), political events in the Taglian capital and the emergence of a third faction who delights in playing everyone off against each other whilst they sneak around in the background. This approach is successful in getting across the full weight of the story but also serves to slow the pace down. Compared to the first four books, which covered thousands of miles, numerous battles and some interesting character and plot developments in relatively modest page counts, not a huge amount actually happens in this book. For the first time, it feels that Cook is falling prey to the curse of the long epic fantasy series, namely the slowing of the pace and the easing off the throttle for more introspective books that may be interesting, but not as energetic as earlier books in the series.
Cook is enough of a good writer to overcome this problem with some solid battle scenes, an amusingly straightforward answer to politicking and some interesting characterisation, particularly of Lady as she realises how she has been changed by her time with the Black Company. However, returning readers may start to feel a little wearied when, once again, an old enemy assumed dead books ago unexpectedly returns to play a role in events.
Dreams of Steel (***½) is an enjoyable novel, but the shine of the Black Company series is starting to wear off at this point, with the first signs of it falling prey to some of the limitations of the subgenre. The novel is available now in the UK and USA as part of the Books of the South omnibus.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is that book for me. I have been working on how to talk about it for a week without giving everything away and I’m pretty sure that is practically impossible.
Here is what you need to know:
• Your favorite characters are probably alive….at least for the moment.
• There is a new chronicler for the Black Company And she is AMAZING
• There is a new god Kina and I’m pretty sure that she and The Lady are not going to get along long term.
• That person that showed up at the end of Shadow Games….has a plan and it totally worries me.
• Rule #1 of this series has been….DO NOT CROSS THE LADY. Characters still do it and they pay dearly. Some are probably already dead they just don’t know it yet.
• I caught on to one of the twists pretty early but that little gem is going to lead to some great things going forward I can already tell. It also didn’t quite go like I’d imagined.
• The down time of the last book is over. We know where we are. We know who the players are so most of the time the book is just getting down to business.
• There is a smidgen of a love story….It’s Glen Cook so please there isn’t much time for romance but I still hold out hope for the only Ship worth having in the series….you know who they are
Everything else is spoiler this and spoiler that so I can’t say more. But Kina…I’m pretty sure that you are going down and it will be brutal.
The Lady is the new Annalist and the new captain of The Black Company, and she is out for blood and revenge.
We are missing a few from the company, One-Eye, Goblin, Croaker and we met new people, Narayan and the Goddess Kina. I'm scared of where that is going to go. She has some crazy psychotic followers and all that s*** going on in the temple. We have some characters show up that I thought long gone, and I feel like this one is leading to a long fight ahead.
Oh man, how I love this series. Read it if you want dark and gritty and super trippy. I feel like I'm on acid while reading this series, even though I have never tried it! The Black Company is like no other band of bad boys I have ever come upon.