Publication Order of The Black Company Books
|The Black Company||(1984)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Shadows Linger||(1984)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The White Rose||(1985)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Silver Spike||(1989)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Shadow Games||(1989)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dreams of Steel||(1990)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Bleak Seasons||(1996)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|She is the Darkness||(1997)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Water Sleeps||(1999)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Soldiers Live||(2000)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
The Black Company simply refers to a series of black novels by renowned author Glen Cook. This series is slightly different from those by other authors in the sense that it closely follows an elite mercenary unit dubbed “the black company” through a mere forty years of its approximated four hundred year history.
The series follows the operations of an elite mercenary unit which is last of the free companies of Khatovar all through forty years of its estimated four hundred year history. The author, Cook does a very impressive job in mixing the fantasy alongside military fiction in gritty and down to earth portrayals of the company’s chief personalities including its own struggles.
The series chronology of events spans over nine distinct novels. These can be grouped into three sections:
a. The Books of North recount which are focused on the Company’s dealings with the Empire of Lady
b. The Books of South follow centered around the Company on its journey back to its roots in Khatovar
c. Glittering Stone which unravel Company achievements and victory over its employer’s enemies, and its move towards its destiny.
It is equally worth noting that in addition to the above, there is one spin off novel dubbed the sliver spike which is mainly focused on events concerning former members of the company including one of its adversaries.
On a more personal level, I consider the black company series to be the type of novel which has not been touched by any other reviewers yet it should have been. I can say this with utmost confidence because after having the opportunity to read this series through to its end, I must admit that it has single handedly changed the face of fantasy completely.
More specifically, the first book in the series just as the name suggests tells quite a story about the last of the free black company’s of khatovar (it places emphasis on the scrutiny of the last of the twelve true companies). These last companies are brought out as serving as an elite mercenary force with the author almost immediately drawing reading into an action filled scene which is characterized by death scene that seems miraculously nonexistent.
It is interesting how the author drags the company from one conflict into another. One thing which is vey striking is the uncertainty as to whether the company is on the side of good or side of evil. The fact that the author did a good job in leaving readers to speculate through is very impressive and makes reading of the novel very interesting.
Interesting thing as your continue reading the book is that all is not what it seems. This is because the machinations between the ten taken stand to bring absolutely everything to ruin in the event that the company cannot help as soon as possible. Narrated in first person view of the Croker who happens to be the company’s physician and also doubles up as the historian, readers are taken deep into the folds of the company with emphasis on what exactly makes them tick, the honor that they hold close to their hearts and the strength which helps make them a force to reckon with so to say the least
Cook is seen to make the most from his tenure serving in the US navy, his tour into Vietnam using both of these to bring readers a story characterized by a realistic fight and expected reactions. While reading, it is also hard to miss the fact that characters are easily lost very early in this novel, the reactions to those losses extremely disappointing in my own point of view.
One thing that really captivated me was the fast paced story telling adopted by the author. More specifically it was the perspective from which the story was being told. The section in which the company’s analyst was engaged in the recording of the history of the company really caught me by surprise I must admit. This is mainly because it gives you the impression that you are reading the accounts of croaker even if they are times obviously not the one. In short, the black company is an extremely interesting book which is presently available in omnibus form hence making it a perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with the black company story/history.
First published in 1984 and responsible for taking the fantasy genre and turning it on its head with his amazing introduction of realistic characters and complete disregard for fantasy and stereotypes in which the old age battle of good and evil clearly plays out. It is safe to draw the conclusion that the black company forms the remnants of a once great mercenary army led by annalist croaker who takes the company through a civil war torn world in quest for the last hope – the white rose.
Overall, the entire series is an arresting story that is full of black humor that is told from the first person perspective of croaker. The world for which it is set in is absolutely fantasy medieval plus the first thing that readers should expect to notice is the non existence of the fantasy stereotypes all the way to the habitually grace (haunt) through the pages of this fantasy literature. The best thing about the series is the fact that the Author, glen cook opted to take full advantage of his life experiences I the military to excellently effect the creation of a realistic and believable existence in which his characters in the series could operate within to the fun and amazement of the readers.
That said, in case you set out to read the series and you find yourself having trouble trying to establish why the author is throwing you into an action scene right off the back try as much as you can to exercise perseverance since the story plot would shortly start falling right into space as expected. Simply put, once the initial confusion is over, expect the book to be extremely addictive. Everything taken into consideration, Glen’s writing might not be the best so far yet he is honest and straight down to the finer details.Book Series In Order » Characters » Black Company