Sunday, July 10, 2005

Book review: The Black Company series by Glen Cook

These are The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and White Rose.

I have been recommended these books a number of times, and finally I have gotten around to reading them. They are excellent.

These are fantasy novels set around the Black Company, a mercenary outfit with a pretty fearsome reputation. The main character, and sometimes narrator, is the Company physician and Annalist, Croaker. It is through his eyes we see the Company traces its employ to the Lady, a sorceress Empress who would give Palpitine a run for his money.

These are in some respects quite dark books, in that there is no real good/evil divide, just evil/evil or, from the Company's persepective, them/us. Not so long ago I read a book on the English mediaeval mercenary John Hawkwood and I was very remembered of the situation in 14th century Italy in that regard. It is as a result a quite gritty tale, though there are moments of humour that simply better illuminate the darkness.

There is also a fourth book, Silver Spike that is something of an off-shoot from the above series, also good fun, but does not actually follow the ongoing tale of the Company. I don't have the books from that series yet - they don't seem to be published in the UK - but Amazon has once again come to my rescue and they are now winging their way across the Atlantic and scheduled to arrive on my doorstep around my birthday. Convenient that.

Anyway, I highly highly recommend. Go read.

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