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Glen Cooks The Black Company series

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I liked Silver Spike quite a lot, it was cool to see the Empire as its falling apart. Plus I remember the finale being pretty good and there was that graverobber (Old Fish or something?" who could for some reason batter almost everyone else in the story


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I don't remember The Silver Spike having any connection to the rest of the books, so not sure why it would matter. Also I always found water sleeps to be the weakest entry, but that seems to be a minority opinion.





No way, dude. The Silver Spike has everything to do with the first three books.



The Silver Spike picks up in the North right after The White Rose. The Silver Spike is the true coda to the Books of the North. It puts it all to bed. Both old and new faces are featured.



The Silver Spike actually takes place at the same time as Shadow Games, especially at the beginning of each book.



I highly recommend finishing The Silver Spike and then traveling south with Shadow Games. You're going to have a lot more Southern lore to keep track of, you'll want to have the North behind you for it.






I liked Silver Spike quite a lot, it was cool to see the Empire as its falling apart. Plus I remember the finale being pretty good and there was that graverobber (Old Fish or something?" who could for some reason batter almost everyone else in the story






Yeah Oldman Fish, he was a real bad ass. One of my favorite characters. Deadly in mind and body.


Edited by IronEmperor

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Oh I misspoke.i meant that the silver spike and the books of the south are, as least as I can remember, unrelated. So the way they are presented in the omnibus should not prevent any issues, although I am always in favor of publication order.

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Oh I misspoke.i meant that the silver spike and the books of the south are, as least as I can remember, unrelated. So the way they are presented in the omnibus should not prevent any issues, although I am always in favor of publication order.

Ah, gotcha. Yeah besides the beginning of Shadow Games and The Silver Spike having some references to each other, The Silver Spike doesn't have anything to do with the Books of the South.

And yeah, if you're going by publication order, definitely read The Silver Spike after Books of the North. You could read Shadow Games then The Silver Spike to maintain publication order, but for a fluid transition, I'd recommend reading The Silver Spike first.

I think it's really weird that they put The Silver Spike last in the Books of the South Omnibus...when The Silver Spike takes place in the North and wraps that up. Really a weird decision, but what can you do? They couldn't have put The Silver Spike in the first one with the other three Northern books, would have been too big physically I guess.

Also, on the Black Company front. I was searching for Glen Cook interviews on YouTube and came across this channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvH7KtVzyD4WEr3z-uswCcA

How in the hell have these been up for a month and not taken down?

Edited by IronEmperor

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No way, dude. The Silver Spike has everything to do with the first three books.

The Silver Spike picks up in the North right after The White Rose. The Silver Spike is the true coda to the Books of the North. It puts it all to bed. Both old and new faces are featured.

The Silver Spike actually takes place at the same time as Shadow Games, especially at the beginning of each book.

I highly recommend finishing The Silver Spike and then traveling south with Shadow Games. You're going to have a lot more Southern lore to keep track of, you'll want to have the North behind you for it.

Yeah Oldman Fish, he was a real bad ass. One of my favorite characters. Deadly in mind and body.

It's a pity that Smeds got a happy ending.

I was puzzled by the way the White Rose rebellion just sort of petered out. Who was actually left in charge in the Empire?

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It's a pity that Smeds got a happy ending.

I was puzzled by the way the White Rose rebellion just sort of petered out. Who was actually left in charge in the Empire?

From what I can recall the Lady left the empire in the hands of her followers. I believe Croaker or some member of the company even rode back North on their way South to get some information and they were cooperative when he got there.

During the finale of the Silver Speak, I seem to recall a black wizard arriving at the town. His name started with an X I think.

I believe it became a bit chaotic, though after Lady left with Croaker, ultimately.

I believe the North was mentioned once again during Soldier's Live, but I'm not sure. I believe at that point there was a new power.

Edited by IronEmperor

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This thread inspired me to purchase The Black Company last night. I started reading it to see what kind of vibe I got. I couldn't put it down. I love the way he writes. He doesn't seem to add much filler and just gets to the point. And the characters are awesome. I'm intrigued with Raven, and I love the idea of the Lady and the Taken. I'm hooked, should of started this awhile ago.

Edited by Michael Seswatha Jordan

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This thread inspired me to purchase The Black Company last night. I started reading it to see what kind of vibe I got. I couldn't put it down. I love the way he writes. He doesn't seem to add much filler and just gets to the point. And the characters are awesome. I'm intrigued with Raven, and I love the idea of the Lady and the Taken. I'm hooked, should of started this awhile ago.

Awesome! If you've gotten to Raven, you've already been through the opening chapter.

Remember the feeling that Croaker had about the were-panther and not telling One-Eye about his suspicions regarding it.... That will come into play many books later.

Edited by IronEmperor

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Currently at the last 1/3 of the penultimate book. Sleepy is awesome, a far better narrator than the boring Murgen.

The book is definitely an upgrade on the last two books.

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No way, dude. The Silver Spike has everything to do with the first three books.

The Silver Spike picks up in the North right after The White Rose. The Silver Spike is the true coda to the Books of the North. It puts it all to bed. Both old and new faces are featured.

The Silver Spike actually takes place at the same time as Shadow Games, especially at the beginning of each book.

I highly recommend finishing The Silver Spike and then traveling south with Shadow Games. You're going to have a lot more Southern lore to keep track of, you'll want to have the North behind you for it.

Yeah Oldman Fish, he was a real bad ass. One of my favorite characters. Deadly in mind and body.

Agree with all of this. I read it after finished books of the south, instead of doing the right thing and reading it before starting books of the south.

Saying that, I didn't like it that much. It has Raven, Darling and Silent but Raven had already became boring. Books of the south were far more interesting than that spin off.

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Soldiers Live - the final book in The Black Company, and a match for the final book of the North and final book of the South. I liked it a lot.


The book starts 4 years after the events of the previous one, with Croaker returning to his old position as annalist, and leaving the new generation lead the company. Sleepy was quite excellent, in this serie you see her transforming from a child to a teen, to a very gofted strategist and finally to a great Captain.


One thing that has to be noted in these books is the number of deaths. It makes GRRM look into a different prespective. It is even worse when some very important characters die and they just get mentioned and you don't hear from them. Like:


Both the deaths of Murgen and Sleepy. They were narrators in three books, both of them being Annalists and leaders of Company before. Or One-Eye who died within a page. Or Mogaba and the prince who died in some cruel ways. Or Tobo's mother. Otto and Hagop. Howler. Goblin in the end, again!

Heck, One-Eye and Goblin were the most important characters in the saga after Croaker and Lady. And Murgen/Sleepy were in top 10.



While killing a lot of characters was a formula used from the very beginning, on this book it looked like the author was just taking the piss. But then it is a war book, so that is to be expected.


I liked the ending, it was the only ending which makes sense bar:


Croaker and Lady dying. This ending is even better that they dying IMO. Croaker pretty much a god, and Lady getting her powers back. With Booboo still 'alive' and Soulcatcher still trapped but with a chance of getting resurrected from Croaker in order to balance Lady if she goes full Lady. And with the possibility of more books (although now I doubt that considering that Cook is 70+ and haven't written a Black Company book in 15 years).



It would be intersting to see how the Black Company will evolve now, having different goals and different leadership. And more powerful wizards than ever.


A good - while not emotional - saga. Happy that I read it.

Edited by TheRevanchist

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He's been writing book 11 slowly in parts. I think there are five now? They are in various collections. For all I know the new one could be done, I've never understood how Cooks publishing schedule works.

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He's been writing book 11 slowly in parts. I think there are five now? They are in various collections. For all I know the new one could be done, I've never understood how Cooks publishing schedule works.

Five what?

I really don't know how the new books will work. While the characters changed, there was a constant on all the nine books (not in the spinoff though): Croaker.

Without him, while it would still be Black Company books, it would be quite different. Like some Wheel of Time books without Rand.

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Sorry, I'm half awake. The next book is a prequel set between books two and three and he's been publishing it as short stories. There's a post about it around somewhere I'll try and dig up later.

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Sorry, I'm half awake. The next book is a prequel set between books two and three and he's been publishing it as short stories. There's a post about it around somewhere I'll try and dig up later.

Wasn't aware of that.

Not a big fan of these types of in-between books though. We know what will happen in White Rose book, so I am not sure that I'll be motivated to read something that happens between that book and the previous one.

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I'm glad you finished the series TheRevanchist, and seemed to enjoy it.

He definitely left it off in an interesting place. I'm right there with you on the character deaths, but like you said, the format of these books are that they're basically annals from a mercenary band. No big sprawling death scenes that take pages and pages to right for the Black Company, regardless of character status ;) It was like that ever since the second book iirc.

Wasn't aware of that.

Not a big fan of these types of in-between books though. We know what will happen in White Rose book, so I am not sure that I'll be motivated to read something that happens between that book and the previous one.

Here's my earlier post on "A Pitiless Rain" and "Port of Shadows"

I was in the book store yesterday and saw a Baen anthology called Shattered Shields that came out last year with a Black Company story in it. I checked online and Cook is in another anthology from Baen, Operation Arcana which just came out in 2015. Looks like these are the latest serialized installments of "A Pitiless Rain" which takes place between the first two books, and is a tale of the north. If he's still writing "A Pitiless Rain", I doubt we'll ever see "Port of Shadows" which is the sequel to Soldier's Live and the series finale. If that doesn't happen, I guess I would be alright with it. Soldier's Live was a great book and I thought it had a great and fitting ending.

According to ISFDB, so far the following portions of A Pitiless Rain have been released

Edited by IronEmperor

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I'm glad you finished the series TheRevanchist, and seemed to enjoy it.

He definitely left it off in an interesting place. I'm right there with you on the character deaths, but like you said, the format of these books are that they're basically annals from a mercenary band. No big sprawling death scenes that take pages and pages to right for the Black Company, regardless of character status ;) It was like that ever since the second book iirc.

Here's my earlier post on "A Pitiless Rain" and "Port of Shadows"

I was in the book store yesterday and saw a Baen anthology called Shattered Shields that came out last year with a Black Company story in it. I checked online and Cook is in another anthology from Baen, Operation Arcana which just came out in 2015. Looks like these are the latest serialized installments of "A Pitiless Rain" which takes place between the first two books, and is a tale of the north. If he's still writing "A Pitiless Rain", I doubt we'll ever see "Port of Shadows" which is the sequel to Soldier's Live and the series finale. If that doesn't happen, I guess I would be alright with it. Soldier's Live was a great book and I thought it had a great and fitting ending.

According to ISFDB, so far the following portions of A Pitiless Rain have been released

Yep, Soldiers live serves well as the series finale. There aren't cliffhangers, there aren't unanswered questions. The Company goes as it has been before, now with pretty much completely new cast (assuming that Lady deserts and she'll do so without Croaker), there won't be anyone who was in the North with the company.

But he left it in that way, that it can continue if he writes another book. It was similarily with the end of books of the north. The White Rose could have served as series finale if Cook didn't decide to write other books.

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Question about the reading order of this series, which seems to have been slightly addressed at the top of the page but I'm afraid of delving too deep into this thread for fear of spoilers, BUT: 

So it seems I've already screwed up the reading order. I'm reading the omnibus version of this series, and I've wrapped up the Books of the North (original trilogy) and am 2/3 of the way through the Books of the South, when all of a sudden I'm taken back north with the Silver Spike? Nuh uh, not cool! I need to see what happens with Lady's daughter and Soulcatcher and Longshadow and the Stranglers etc etc! 

My question: can I skip the Silver Spike (which I probably should have read right after the original Books of the North trilogy, but we'll blame the omnibus editions for that) and read the Glittering Stone sagas I and II and THEN go back to the Silver Spike? Or do I really need to read the Silver Spike before tackling the final four books? 

My biggest fears here are that I'm going to slog very slowly through Silver Spike because I'm so disappointed at the switch in story focus that I'm a) not going to really enjoy it and b ) I won't remember as clearly what's going on down south when I finally get to the Glittering Stone sagas. 

Thoughts? 

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Question about the reading order of this series, which seems to have been slightly addressed at the top of the page but I'm afraid of delving too deep into this thread for fear of spoilers, BUT: 

So it seems I've already screwed up the reading order. I'm reading the omnibus version of this series, and I've wrapped up the Books of the North (original trilogy) and am 2/3 of the way through the Books of the South, when all of a sudden I'm taken back north with the Silver Spike? Nuh uh, not cool! I need to see what happens with Lady's daughter and Soulcatcher and Longshadow and the Stranglers etc etc! 

My question: can I skip the Silver Spike (which I probably should have read right after the original Books of the North trilogy, but we'll blame the omnibus editions for that) and read the Glittering Stone sagas I and II and THEN go back to the Silver Spike? Or do I really need to read the Silver Spike before tackling the final four books? 

My biggest fears here are that I'm going to slog very slowly through Silver Spike because I'm so disappointed at the switch in story focus that I'm a) not going to really enjoy it and b ) I won't remember as clearly what's going on down south when I finally get to the Glittering Stone sagas. 

Thoughts? 

I think it should be alright and I don't think there is anything in Silver Spike that has any real impact on the glittering stones books. Silver Spike is really just a side story to tie up the story in the north.

However, you might as well read it now as you'll probably be even more lost to what's happening in Silver Spike when you're done with the Glittering Stones books.

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