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Chronicles of the Black Company Paperback – November 13, 2007
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About the Author
Glen Cook lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Top Customer Reviews
This edition collects the first three novels of the Black Company, what the stories refer to as the Books of the North. All three are told from the perspective Croaker, the physician/narrator whose selective storytelling shows us the realism of a mystical war. He admits to -- and glosses over -- the shortcomings of his brethren, and shows us his own limitations as a narrator. It feels as though Croaker is a war correspondent, intent on telling the truth, but unable and unwilling to share everything he sees and feels. The limitations Cook places on Croaker can frustrate; at times, plot twists appear out of nowhere, due to events that took place outside of Croaker's presence. But by sticking to this narrative form, Cook provides the reader with an easy way in. Before you know it, you'll have accepted Croaker's world, and you'll want more.
Despite the size of this edition, the Black Company novels are a quick read. Cook doesn't waste words with frilly descriptions, and he pares his sentences down to their most basic elements. The spare writing style keeps the story moving along at a rapid clip. There isn't a phrase or sentence you can get away with skipping.Read more ›
Those similarities are pretty evident: both write in a rather clipped style and much attention is paid to military conflict. There are also some pretty big differences. Cook seems not at all interested in world building--city and town names are given with little detail given to where they are in relationship to each other and there is no map included with the book. In a lot of fantasy, a lot of the story is the journey; here, much of the journey is simply summarized. In the world of the Black Company, these details are not as important as the people who undertake them.
I also found the characters in Cook's world to be much more three-dimensional. This isn't a knock on Erickson, since he is juggling many more characters, but there are certain archetypes that show up in Malazan that serve the same function but in different portions/time periods of the world (comic relief, mysterious old god, etc.).
There was also a romantic thread that ran through all of these three books that started out as coloring and then blossomed into a major plot strand that I particularly liked, as it allowed the hard men and women who inhabit these books a chance to be more human.
I think both Erickson and Cook's works are worthy reads for anyone who enjoys fantasy: both write conflict-heavy page-turners that you'll being racing through to see what happens next. If you're looking for something epic and complicated, then Erickson is your man; if you're prefer something more straightforward and self-contained, then this omnibus is for you. Fans of one author who have never read the other are hereby encouraged to do so.
This contains the first three novels of the ~10 novel series and comprises the first major plot arc involving the introduction of the mercenary group "The Black Company", their rise to power, and their near destruction. Cook's writing style comes off as concise and to the point with dry humour and classic characters. Throughout these books you will see the characters grow in power and wisdom, changing roles within the Company as they mature. The primary character, Croaker, at times seems like a witty "every mans hero" and at others is truly inspired by greatness and heroism. The story follows him and the other black hearted criminals, wizards and odds and ends that comprise the company. Fantasy elements are at times very light making it seem very real world and dangerous, characters die, get stabbed, get sick and get crippled. At other times wizards conjure deadly magics and physics and reality are tossed out the window for massive battles of magical powers.
All in all every single moment of these books is very satisfying and will leave you wanting more. Upon reading the final sentence of the final book I felt a real sense of completion, though I wished for more stories I was not unhappy with where things ended.
Only complaints: Bring a hardcover! Write another book! We want to know what happens to the soldiers that lived!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for any fantasy reader, that has stood the test of time.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
At first I was skeptical but this book surprised me and made me excited about reading again. The writer pulls the reader in by using actual stories rather than tween jargon which... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Jodi D.
I absolutely love the simplicity of the writing, the unspoken backstories of the characters, the mysterious nature of the magic and the grittiness of the action. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Joe Henderson
Keep reading. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the writing. But by the end I could not put it down. It was very good. At the end. I wanted more.Published 24 days ago by bknickle
This is an fantastic book by a great author, Glen Cook. I would highly recommend that you read the whole series, as they are all good. His Garrett Files series is also great. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nonume
Horrible writing. Anyone who appreciates character development will NOT enjoy this book. Nothing is explained. Terms and organizations are mentioned without any type of backstory. Read morePublished 2 months ago by SAB
Great storyline. Likable...if flawed...characters. nice world and character development. I ended up buying the entire series!Published 2 months ago by Laurence
I read the first 3 Black Company books every 2 years or so. They remain as fresh now as they were when I first read them in the late 1980s.Published 2 months ago by D. Agle