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THE CHRONICLES OF THE BLACK COMPANY: Book 1: The Black Company; Book 2: Shadows Linger; Book 3: The White Rose; Book 4: Book of the South 1: Shadow Games; Book 5: Book of the South 2: Dreams of Steel; Book 6: The Silver Spike

4.1 out of 5 stars 295 customer reviews
Book 1 of 9 in the Black Company Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Tor Books; paperback / softback edition (1984)
  • ISBN-10: 0812533704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812533705
  • ASIN: B000NRVGZI
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,199,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some may have a problem with the fact that THE BLACK COMPANY is told from the viewpoint of characters with a somewhat evil background, but I found it to be totally refreshing. After so many fantasy novels with trite "goody goody" characters that rot your teeth, Glen Cook, creates a very unique group of mercenaries that have their own code of honor and rich history.
Admittedly, at first, I was confused by the strange feeling of being in the trenches with the soldiers, instead of the royal gardens with the king, but soon after I really enjoyed Cook's realistic characters. Think of how many soldiers fight in the epic wars almost all fantasy novels include. How many authors actually describe the soldiers feelings and reasons for their choice of joining the ranks of good or evil?
All in all, this book and the whole series, is a fun and gritty read with tons of battle scenes. It is a definite needed break from some of the recent attacks of gigantic fantasy sagas. One of the most amazing things about the book was that I felt that I knew the characters without being told all that much, instead I was able to pull from the characters' actions all I ever needed to know. To me that is the mark of wonderful storytelling.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first installment of a series of Black Company novels and it also happens to be the best. Cook easily conveys a 'you are there' sense of first-person realism that eludes so many of today's fantasy authors. He is content to weave a masterful, fast-paced, and addictive plot--one driven by deep character developement and rich, flavorfull dialogue--and leaves mundane descriptions of the local flora and fauna to the readers imagination. Afterall, once you've seen one 'Boars Head Inn,' you really have seen them all. The bottom line? If you are looking for a Tolken-esk experience, forget it. Cook's Black Company is all about plot and action. It's a hard-boiled, pan-fried look at life in a brotherhood of mercenaries as the men strive to meet the obligations of their duty, their employers, and their stomachs, and still get out of town alive. Cook's primary villains have vast reserves of magical power at their command, but don't expect any high-brow, mumbo-jumbo approach to magic in THIS book. The mages found in 'The Black Company' are frighteningly powerful, and they wield that power with a casual brutality that underscores their no-nonsense approach to world domination. Yes, THIS IS IT fantasy fans! This is the breath of fresh air we have all been looking for! 'The Black Company' is a raw and invigorating departure from classic fantasy. It's hard, it's gritty, and once you start reading, you WILL NOT be able to stop until you have completed the entire series! Buy it now, worry about the addiction later.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read The Black Company about two years ago. I loved it from the start and have convinced a number of my friends to give it a try. What surprised me was the divided responses I received from them after they'd finished it. About half of them loved it, the others ranged from ambivalence to disgust.
I don't get it!
Perhaps it is because the book lacks the epic scope that has, for some reason, become almost synonymous with the fantasy genre. The Black Company is NOT epic, the purpose of the book is not to flesh out and then explore a complex fantasy world. Rather it is a dirty closeup of a mercenary group and of the means by which they survive. The main draw is in its gritty intelligence. These are characters that use subterfuge and wit rather than brawn. Cook manages to convince the reader that these truly *are* experienced proffesionals.
Also, the hackneyed premise behind so many other fantasy novels (that of the naive group, chased by evil) is discarded. Glen Cook describes a world where the characters must navigate in shades of grey, where they must make the best choices they can. I appreciate the lack of rigid good versus evil conflicts.
It is a quick and enjoyable read which rejueventates a stagnating genre
Comment 34 of 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's hard not to enjoy this book. A quick read that begins immediately with action that rarely comes to a pause or dithers, this book episodically speeds along from one conflict to another, battles and sorcerous conflicts mounting, following the exploits of an readily likeable if amoral bunch of mercenaries. Despite the inherent grimness and cruelty of their profession, Cook invests his characters with a great amount of humor, reminiscent of the assassin Vlad Taltos in Steven Brust's ongoing series, and a suspicion of underlying compassion and camaraderie. These are men who through circumstance have found themselves engaged in a disreputable occupation, more often than not serving less than noble ends, but who can nonetheless rise on occasion to altruistic acts inconsistent with their brutish environment or hardened demeanor. Sheer fantasy, but it leavens their characters from an otherwise ignoble and immoral cast.
It is difficult not to chuckle at the feigned combative antics of Goblin and One-Eye, or the self-deprecating humor of the narrator, Croaker. While these are not men you would want to associate with in real life---their activities would likely quickly shorten your life expectancy or land you in goal---they nonetheless will inevitably appeal to male romantic notions exemplified by any number of anti-hero figures, most typified in Hollywood by the film roles of Clint Eastwood, and, if not too closely examined, certain to provide unadulterated masculine entertainment. The boy in you will be delighted.
Glen Cook invests his writing with assured skill and a tone completely complimentary to the task at hand.
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