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The Black Company by Glen Cook
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The Black Company (1984)

by Glen Cook

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chronicles of the Black Company (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,737454,076 (3.86)89
  1. 20
    The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (romula)
  2. 10
    Le Trône de fer, tome 07: L'épée de feu by George R. R. Martin (yagarek)
  3. 10
    The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (Rouge2507)
    Rouge2507: fantasy battles told from the point of view of soldiers
  4. 10
    The Founding (a Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus) by Dan Abnett (NickBlasta)
    NickBlasta: While existing in a different genre, the story of a company of fighting men is quite similar.
  5. 00
    The Deepest Sea by Charles Barnitz (Dragget)
    Dragget: Good dialogue and realistic combat. The humor is similar also.
  6. 00
    Angles of Attack (Frontlines #3) by Marko Kloos (Dragget)
    Dragget: Military fiction from the viewpoint of the individual soldier.
  7. 01
    Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another fantasy tale told from the typically opposing side.
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» See also 89 mentions

English (41)  French (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
The Black Company is a fresh perspective on a typical fantasy story. Like most fantasy, there are evil villains and rebel forces that are trying to overthrow an evil sorceress that is ruling the land as a tyrant. What makes this book different is that it is told from the point of view of a member of a group of mercenaries that is working for the evil sorceress. The story takes place in the trenches and the reader does not know any more about what is going on than the main character knows (the story is told in first person). I found the new (to me) point of view interesting. I liked many of the characters in the black company and I found myself rooting for them, even though they were on the bad guy's side. The book was a slow read for me. I think this is because it was written from this perspective. At times it was frustrating that there were holes in the story, but that is because the character telling the story did not know what was going on either. Overall I am glad I read the book and I will be picking up the next book in the series soon. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
I'm not in a great state to be reviewing this, but I did enjoy it. A band of hard-bitten mercenaries fighting for the side of evil in a grand manichean conflict - except the rebels aren't really all that great, either. Lots of magic and action and hard-bitten attitudes. The language veers a bit into vaguely Vietnam War-ishness without really using it to make a point other than the universality of manly bonding over casual atrocities, but it's quite clever and keeps it at grunt-level albeit awesome fighting mercs-with-a-shred-of-honour grunts while everyone else gets ground up and slaughtered by the thousands. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
err... probably I shouldn't have gotten this in audio format - in paper format I could have skimmed the pages and pages of descriptive babble. Actually, I shouldn't have gotten it in paper format either. It should have stayed on the bookshelf.

There is no real plot - it's just a bunch of blah-blah about some mercenaries and the battles they get into. The author is very descriptive and explains every detail, for example, about swinging a sword in battle and how it impacts and what happens after it impacts, and so on. It is not graphic though, just overly detailed. It's kinda like Cook wanted to copy Joe Abercrombie's work in its wordiness and focus on the steps involved in completing a task, but written for a YA audience, so there is no blood or guts or bad words. Oh, and there is no sense that justice is being sought, and no vigilante action... it's a straight up "group of men with various magical powers go to A and kill people, then go to B and are attacked, then go to C and have a battle"... ad nauseam. We don't know why they are doing this (other than it's their job), and we don't care since they aren't trying to right any wrongs, or solve any problems.

So, essentially, it is long and boring and who really cares what happens to these wordily-described characters? Although there are pages and pages devoted to describing what they look like and their actions (i.e. they play cards a lot... yes, he describes their card games... "Goblin played card A, Bob played card B")....they are all cutouts, except maybe the main character, and he's only fleshed out because he talks incessantly. Literally - talks incessantly - about everything: "person A did this and person B did that and person C laughed"... and so on. Too bad we don't care.

If you like the premise of dark/violent fantasy, try anything by Abercrombie (extremely dark) , or Brett's Warded Man (less violent than Abercrombie), or even Weeks' Way of Shadows... All of them are what this book seems to be trying to be.

I won't be reading any more in the series since I need there to be some plot or goal, and, if there is violence, I need it to be to the point, not half-hidden in descriptive babble that goes on for 15 minutes at a time. ( )
  crazybatcow | May 4, 2015 |
So many things is what I thought. First and foremost, whilst the Kindle edition is not strictly what the author intended, it would be wise for them to check the spelling and grammar of the edition anyway, just so they can make sure it's not as bad as this was. I don't know if the books are like that, but this was terrible. Commas all over the place, words missing, entire sentences annexed and glued on to other ones.

For the novel itself, it just didn't grab me. The names are pathetic. I realise fantasy names are all in vogue, especially (obviously) for fantasy novels, but these ones were just stupid. I'm surprised there wasn't a character called Stupid. He and Silent could have brooded together. The dialogue was shaky and there was absolutely no world-building whatsoever. No description, just names and weird thoughts from the first-person POV narrator, who was dodgy at best. The premise seemed good and I quite like the situation they were in, but not with this writing. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Enjoyable despite the amateurish prose.
  wissamktb | Feb 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Glen Cookprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berdak, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hiltunen, PetriCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
This one is for the people of the St. Louis Science Fiction Society. Love you all.
First words
There were prodigies and portents enough, One-Eye says. We must blame ourselves for misinterpreting them. One-Eye’s handicap in no way impairs his marvelous hindsight.
Quotations
No one will sing songs in our memory. We are the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar. Our traditions and memories live only in these Annals. We are our only mourners.
"Evil is relative, Annalist. You can't hang a sign on it. You can't touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812521390, Mass Market Paperback)

Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead.
 
Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her...
 
So begins one of the greatest fantasy epics of our age—Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:19 -0400)

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