The Black Company is a dark fantasy series of novels, which tells the story of a mercenary company called The Black Company, the last free companies of Khatovar. The series has total eleven books, published from 1984 to 2018. The first book was appropriately called The Black Company. All the books are written by Glen Cook.
Originally, I reviewed the books of this series separately, but I realize it would be best to merge them into a one review. I’ll do the same thing with my reviews of Cradle Series and My Hero Academia as well.
The series begins as the Company reluctantly accepts the commission of a northern sorceress tyrant known as “the Lady”. A prophecy concerned with her downfall is about to be fulfilled, and the people are rising up in anticipation of the event. The Company has often been betrayed in the past by its employers, and the Lady is one of the least trustworthy ones it’s had, but she pays well, and the Black Company goes where it is desired, so it commits to the contract.
As time goes by, the Company struggles to survive and recover its past as it goes from employer to employer, drifts from conflict to conflict, and sees its fortunes wax and wane. It’s favored one moment and betrayed the next; it is one minute a legion, and the next nearly annihilated — yet this is not unusual, because while the people may come on and go, there will always be a Black Company.
The books are divided into three collections. The first collection is the Books of the North, which details the history of the company under the Lady’s employ. Croaker, the physician is the main point-of-view character, he serves as a historian for the company apart from his physician related duties. Later, he becomes the leader of the company, after the captain (who is named Captain) dies, and the rest of the old leadership ends with him.
Second collection is titled Books of the South, and the company leaves the empire of Lady. They embark on a journey to Taglios under the leadership of Croaker, to find Khatovar, and return the written records to where the company originated.
Meanwhile, we get to see what happened to the people who were left behind in the empire, and what kind of chaos took place once the company and the Lady left. Raven, one of my favorite characters, dies in this book.
The third and final collection is titled The Books of the Glittering Stone, and in these books, a lot happened. We learn the true origin of the company, why Taglios fears them so much, and we even get to see an entirely new world.
Also, we learn how being workaholic can end up result in being nailed to your throne, while your buddies leave for a drink, and forget to come back, and remove those nails. That is why, I tell you right here and now, I’m no workaholic, put away those nails already! I don’t even have a throne.
So, an important question. is this series worth reading?
I believe yes. Read all the ten books, but skip Port of Shadows. that one isn’t that great, doesn’t add anything new, (it was published in 2018, 18 years after the Soldiers Live was published.)
there’s a twelfth book announced, called A Pitiless Rain, but no release date is given yet. But when (or if) it got released, you know where to look to find its review. You can follow me on Twitter in the meantime.
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