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Glen Cooks The Black Company series

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<p>The Dragon Never Sleeps is awesome. If you like it, give Passage at Arms a shot. Hell, read it even if you hate it. Starfishers is some good space opera as well.

Edited by nickg

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aye

i didn't fid many fansites on the black company, do you have any to suggest ?

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Damn, it has been four years to the day since I was last on this site. I only came back on here because I was randomly looking up Glen Cook to see if anything was new and I liked how most viewers of this site actually liked the book as opposed to other websites where they hated it for not being huge or a ripoff of Martin.

It is definately one of my favorite series of books to read, but I was a huge Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter fan before I even read one sentence. The narrative of those two games (classic games that I still play once in a while) drew me in, since they were so dark and oppressive (the music helped with that greatly). I asked the creators, Bungie, where they drew their inspiration from and told me it was the Black Company.

While I love the Black Company (and have never actually finished the series because I always go back to the original trilogy) it is really hard to get into. You miss a sentence and you get lost. I remember a part from the first story, very early in their service with the Lady. Croaker states that 'they were ordered to attack the fortress at Deal (not sure the exact name of the city) and two sentences later it was done with no fanfare. I admit it took several re-reads to figure out what actually happened.

Glen Cook could probably condense the whole ASOIAF series into two-three books and the length of a Robert Jordan description of a woman's dress into one word. The greatest thing about Cook is that he creates huge worlds (he's always addressing new cities, new creatures, and Taken) and downplays them. He is not the historian, Croaker is, and it is up to Croaker to seek out the past and relay it to the reader.

My favorite part of the original series:

Book 3: The White Rose

Page 697 of the omnibus of the first trilogy

Silent's face blackened. For what seemed at eternity he stood there in obvious torment, torn between a vow, a love, a hatred, perhaps the concept of an obligation to a higher duty. Tears began coursing down his cheeks. I got an old wish, and was ready to cry myself when I did.

He spoke."The ritual is closed." He had trouble shaping his words. "I name your true name, _____. I name your true name, _____"

That brings tears to my eyes. The fact that a 40 year old man could cry upon hearing the voice of one of his closest friends, a man who he had known for over 20 years and had never heard speak. A man who has killed, seen thousands of dead men, has seen the evils of the world, and has made peace with an evil woman in order to prevent an even greater evil. Even greater so the fact that Silent is 'the most evil of the wizards of the Black Company' and was in Croaker's terms 'not a nice man' and that Croaker barely knew one percent about his past.

As for those who have read The Swordbearer, I salute anyone who has taken the time to read each page individually without rushing through it. It is a 400 page book with a 1500 page story. I have read it multiple times and the most I've ever gotten to total clarity is about page 300 before the final wars begin and everything rushes at a faster pace.

Cook took the fantasy genre and took the sword and sorcery out of it.

Edited by Slinx

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Yeah just a warning to people that read the thread and think that Glen Cook is the second coming of Tolkien:

Glen Cook is actually a bad writer with unusual settings and weird ambiance. All his fantasy books have a pontual dream-like atmosphere that comes from the pov characters being often zoned-out or unreliable-but-not-on-purpose - these effects are caused by the weird pacing the books often have with large journeys being described in half a page or the switches from third person narrator to pov that has a 'new' perspective in stages of the book.... it's ok as a novelty on most of his shorter books but now in the last series... man that is some fucked up writing. Oh, Garret PI ******. It's one of those 'comic' fantasies with a fucked up setting that depends on zanzsy 'racial' characters and not even a good one like discworld or wiz biz. I've actually read worse though... thraxas ughhh

I have read all of the black company books (twice with some years interval). They're nice to read as unique books that a 'classically trained' writer or editor would make banal because they're weird narratively and have sympathetic villains.

If you like black company, try the darkwar trilogy, that is more of the same but with only one main character and no strong villain (unless you consider the mc one)

Trust me

As qualification for my taste: I don't even like Daniel Abraham unlike apparently 70%+ of the board because the author is a member. Those Dagger and the Coin books were the weakest sauce fantasy of the year with two books as setup and the character narrative calculus not really changing from the first book

*throws down the gauntlet, struts off the thread*

Edited by Serious Callers Only

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Slinx - Yeah, that's a great scene. Read the end of the series. Trust me.

The depth of the friendship between One-Eye and Goblin as revealed by the end was as intense as Lenny and George's...

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The Black Company is great, especially love the names of the Taken, like Bonegnasher, Soulcatcher, Howler etc.

"The little black one beside him would be the wizard called One-Eye. See his hat? That's how you tell." :D

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I started reading this last night, not bad. I am used to reading GRRM and Joe Abercrombie, so this first person narrative style is different. I also like the pacing, we are kind of just thrown into the story of the company's doctor and go along for the ride.

Bad ass cover too.

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Some friendly advice for those wanting to read this digitally.

On the GooglePlay store each individual book in the series is $7.99. The Omnibuses that collect three books are $9.99...so go with those.

I bought the Black Company and didn't see the Omnibus Collections..luckily Google is so awesome they refunded me the $7.99, but just wanted to throw that out there.

So far I am really liking this. The style took a bit of getting used to, but I am really liking the cast. I especially like Raven...I am only on the second part of the first book, but I can already tell this is right up my alley.

I am anxious to see how Cook handles all of these different wizards who are floating out there. I mean we have Ten on one side and Thirteen on the other...and we know there are a few in the Black Company itself who don't seem up to snuff with the rest...but are still cool.

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<= Mister COOK in a conference in France last year and talking about the amazing french covers made by Didier Graffet (see work beside them).

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I started to read the first book two years ago or something like that and had to put it down. I did not read much of it but to me it really did not make sense and I wanted to move on to other stuff. All I hear on the series are positives (not that I look for it much just when someone mentions it on these forums or other forums). Should I pick it up and try it again because after all I only got through like like 30-40 pages if that.

I read that series many years ago and enjoyed it.

Don't really remember much. Just that there were some cool characters and some very dramatic events which were well-described.

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I'm 75% through the first book and doubt that I'll read the rest of the series.

I don't not like it, but it reminds me of someone doing a good job of novelizing a stereotypical video game. Maybe it's partly a matter of desensitization, because it doesn't seem all that gritty to me. I recognize that they're a mercenary group of amorals in the service of (sort-of) evil, and I think that's a great premise, but the violence and descriptions seems cartoony to me - piles of bodies! Stabbed over 100 times! As a result, reading about gruesome deaths and the powers of the Taken don't really draw me in - they'll just be resurrected for the next game, right? Storm bolt +10! It's a little incongruous for me, every now and then I'll be drawn in by Croaker's interactions with the other men, and then the next paragraph back to the video game.

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I'm 75% through the first book and doubt that I'll read the rest of the series.

I don't not like it, but it reminds me of someone doing a good job of novelizing a stereotypical video game. Maybe it's partly a matter of desensitization, because it doesn't seem all that gritty to me. I recognize that they're a mercenary group of amorals in the service of (sort-of) evil, and I think that's a great premise, but the violence and descriptions seems cartoony to me - piles of bodies! Stabbed over 100 times! As a result, reading about gruesome deaths and the powers of the Taken don't really draw me in - they'll just be resurrected for the next game, right? Storm bolt +10! It's a little incongruous for me, every now and then I'll be drawn in by Croaker's interactions with the other men, and then the next paragraph back to the video game.

You realize this was written in the early 80s right?

Which is probably the problem. The premise of the trilogy just doesn't hit as hard today. A prophecy? And a Chosen One? Sorry, it's just too cliche and forced to me now. That was pretty much the main reason I couldn't get through to the third book,that and the reasons above. It's supposed to be gritty...but it's not. And it skips over battles too much for my liking. "We arrived, we fought, somewhere along the way we became the Lady's most feared servants"...okay? You're not even going to say why?

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That fact that someone just called Cook "cliche" makes me want to rush production on my new death star. And what the hell do you people consider gritty? Was there not enough demon rape for you?

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Well he is cliche. Uses all the tropes of military fantasy, like he stole it all from Malizan or something. Of course not as bad as LotR, which reads like a D & D campaign, but still....

**Insert big smiley here**

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Silent's face blackened. For what seemed at eternity he stood there in obvious torment, torn between a vow, a love, a hatred, perhaps the concept of an obligation to a higher duty. Tears began coursing down his cheeks. I got an old wish, and was ready to cry myself when I did.

He spoke."The ritual is closed." He had trouble shaping his words. "I name your true name, _____. I name your true name, _____"

Yeah, that moment got to me as well. Good stuff.

First three books were best though.

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I don't really care about books being something that was original and groundbreaking when I'm reading them for entertainment. There's an extent to which I appreciate the history of something that's now a common theme, but that doesn't mean I'm obliged to find it interesting or enjoyable as a modern reader. Sometimes, IMO, the original holds up and the imitators are just that - I'd probably put LotR in this category, although there are probably modern epic fantasy novels that one could argue surpass it in many aspects. OTOH, many people have the opinion that many old sci-fi "classics" don't hold up particularly well.

In this, however, I think I am judging The Black Company on its own merits as a fantasy, as I have never read Malazan or other modern military fantasy that I can recall. But I have read first person accounts from actual military operations, and most of those were much more interesting to me. And in fact, the parts of TBC that are similar to what a person could experience in reality are the best parts, and the fantastic parts are the worst parts IMO.

A necessary condition of what I consider gritty is something that's either realistic to me on some level or something in which I'm totally drawn into. In short, suspension of disbelief. When Jaime pushed Bran out the window, I was drawn in. Demon rape is something for which I have a much higher threshold of disbelief. There are definitely books with supernatural elements where suspension of disbelief has been possible for me, but this wasn't one of them. Sorry if you're butthurt about that.

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