The Black Company by Glen Cook

September 23, 2014
The Black Company by Glen CookThe Black Company by Glen Cook
Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company #1
Published by Tor Books on May 1984
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epic, Fantasy
Format: eBook

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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.
This was on my TBR pile for a bit before I finally read it because, well, it’s a divisive book. Love it or hate it, most people have an opinion. After reading it I want to be straight forward tha an important, and I stress, this is very important, thing to make sure you are more likely to fall on the ‘love side’, or at least not the hate side, is to sit back, and go with the flow. You have to know and accept ahead of time that the big picture will work itself out as you discover more information. But this happens as the story unfolds, nothing is set up or explained. If this type of thing drives you nuts, my prediction is that you’re unfortunately going to fall on the hate side of things. Lucky for me, I’m more of a go with the flow type reader, so it worked out to my advantage.
 A couple random fun facts that I had absolutely no clue about before going into this (and never in a million years would have guessed. It features not just vampires, but also a wereleopard (or man-leopards or forvalakas, whatever you would like to call them). It also features a leader so skilled he has to hire mercenaries to protect him from his own troops! And a poor mute girl winds up in the company of mercenaries. How is that going to work out?? I mean, come on people, how could you not want to read this one?? It’s also a great example of dark fantasy as well as military fantasy.

It takes a while to sort out (and remember) the character, places, pretty much everything and keep it all straight. Don’t read this and expect to know what’s going on, just take the story as it is told. I know I said this already, but it’s really important. I’ll probably say it again before the review is through.

A couple of disadvantages? Well, I felt the card games (a game called Tonk) were a bit more detailed than I would have liked. Also, there are two characters, Goblin and One Eye, whose constant antics I think were suppose to be much more amusing than I found them to be. I can have a slightly off-kilter sense of humor, so perhaps that’s just me. But I tend to not care for spotting humor in books that I just don’t find all that humorous. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, just more of me wishing that part would end so they could get back to what I felt was the real story.

I know I said this is a love it or hate it type of book, but I truth be told, I am sort of in the middle, though much closer to the love side. In all honesty, I suspect there’s a good chance I could swing firmly to the side of love when I read more in the series because I felt the more I read, the further into the story I got, the more I enjoyed it, the more I wanted to keep reading. The end of this book is pretty much a set up for the larger story and I’m interested, I’d like to know where it goes. Unfortunately, I was not able to move straight into the second book when I finished this one, but it’s on my list. I’m starting to try and make more time to go back and read sequels for series like this, so some day, I will get to continue. I definitely would recommend this one to anyone who is a fan of dark and/or military fantasy. Also, for anyone looking for a book written 30 years ago that still holds up well today. Just remember to go with the flow with this one. Take it as the story comes.



  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) September 23, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I thought Goblin and One-eye’s antics were just the sort of thing to expect from soldiers in the midst of a long campaign; at times jokers need to lighten things up. And sometimes practical jokes can blow up or go to far, but that is just me.

    I love the book, didn’t read them until about four years ago. But I see influences from it in all kinds of books I read now. Plus, I think the Ten are the coolest villains around, bar none.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Q & A: Robert Jackson Bennett talks ‘City of Stairs’My Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) September 23, 2014 at 7:52 am

      Oh, I didn’t mean that the antics didn’t make sense. I just didn’t find them funny and felt like I was supposed to. But, that’s just me. I am really picky about humor in books.
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  • Danya @ Fine Print September 23, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Holy shit, The Black Company series started in 1986? I had no idea this series was so long-running. Guess that explains it’s influence, eh? Personally I’m very easy to please when it comes to humour in books, so I might enjoy Goblin and One Eye more than you did. But I can’t stand it when things are left unexplained…I’m torn!
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  • Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum September 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Read this one a while ago and I was in the middle too, I liked it but didn’t get the great urge to continue with the series. I wasn’t able to get into the characters, maybe that’s why.
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  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) September 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I like to think i have an oddball sense of humor but who knows. I don’t know if I’ve ever read any ‘military fantasy’ – what then makes it really really military fantasy?
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  • Lynn September 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I haven’t read any Cook – interesting and it does seem to be a marmite book!
    Maybe I’ll hold off this one for a while – it’s not as though I’ve got a shortage waiting anyway. Need more time.
    Lynn 😀
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  • Anton September 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I could never get into these :(. I don’t mind when things aren’t explained, but the style of writing just didn’t work for me at all. That was quite some time ago, maybe one day I’ll give Cook another chance.
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