Chronicles of The Black Company

Chronicles of the Black Company
Glen Cook, 2007 
(Originally published in three volumes, Copyright 1984, 84, 85)

Premise: Fantasy warfare from a ground-level perspective. The story of the morally questionable mercenaries who make up The Black Company is told by the company physician and historian, known as Croaker.

This volume compiles the first trilogy of Black Company books: The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose. It's a fantastic read. Thank you to all my Seattle friends who recommended this book to me.

It did take me a little bit to get used to the style at the start of the first one. The narrative opens with almost no explanation, just snippets of what's happening as the city The Company is working in begins to collapse around them into rioting factions. They make more than a few hard decisions in order to escape the situation, and take service with a new employer.

And then the story really begins.

This is an outstanding work, especially for its thoroughly compelling villains. I might call it a noir military fantasy, because the world is such that there can be no heroes, no forces for good. “Evil” is relative. Slight Spoiler: It helps that The Black Company is being paid by the Empire to fight the Rebels.
In all the years I have known the Captain I have learned almost nothing about him. Just a hint here and there, fleshed out by speculation. …
We all have our pasts. I suspect we keep them nebulous not because we are hiding from our yesterdays but because we think we will cut more romantic figures if we roll our eyes and dispense delicate hints about beautiful women forever beyond our reaches. Those men whose stories I have uprooted are running from the law, not a tragic love affair.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. I even like the way the book snuck up on me, how I was somewhat ambivalent about the beginning and then liked it more and more as the pages turned. The growth of my enjoyment flowed with the growth of the story completely naturally. I liked all three volumes, but I liked the second better than the first, and the third most of all.

5 Stars – An Amazing Book


  1. I have read (and re-read) all of Cook's Black Company novels, and love them. Things start to get a little odd towards the end of the series, but they're still good.


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