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A Cruel Wind
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A Cruel Wind (Dread Empire #1-3)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  764 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Before there was Black Company, there was the Dread Empire, an omnibus collection the first three Dread Empire novels: A Shadow of All Night's Falling, October's Baby and All Darkness Met.
ebook, 600 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Night Shade Books (first published 2006)
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Evgeny
This has got to be my most difficult to write review so far. The book is an omnibus containing the first three novels of the Dread Empire series, and the novels vastly differ in quality. It is also practically impossible to talk about the plot of each novel without significant spoilers, but I still have to do it as the series is fairly obscure - while the author is very well known and respected in the genre. I have to split the review into separate parts for each of the three novels.

A Shadow of
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Joseph
This is relatively early (i.e. pre-Black Company) Glen Cook -- an omnibus collection of the original trilogy in his other major fantasy series, The Dread Empire. The structure is interesting -- each book alternates between contemporary chapters, and chapters that flash back to events decades or centuries in the past that laid the groundwork for current events. Also, there's a major shift in viewpoint characters between the first book (A Shadow of All Night Falling) and the second & third (Oc ...more
Rob
Fans with an interest in the down-in-the trenches approach without so much veneer would do well to check out these books. Hell, fans of fantasy in general would do well to read these books. I enjoyed A Cruel Wind a great deal for many reasons - the evocation of the setting, the different approaches Cook utilized from book to book, and quite simply, the overall story itself in each volume and as a whole for the saga. I did think the pacing was slightly uneven in spots from book to book, but on th ...more
Bruce
Like others have posted, I found the first book in the trilogy, 'A Shadow of All Night Falling' tough sledding. I was on the verge of putting it away to try later, but being a big fan of Cook and his 'Black Company' series, I decided to give the second book, 'October's Baby', a chance. I'm glad I did. The omnibus became a page-turner, and though I found book three, 'All Darkness Met', a touch slow getting started, it proved a satisfying conclusion.

One small nit was the lack of a map. There were
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Ben
I've gotten 83 pages in and took everything I could from reading this "saga." Reading about the Dread Empire is absoultly Dreadful! Almost the entire book so far takes place in either a castle with dull drab characters or in random bits of time following one emo'ed out "man". The author is very vague with regards to how magic occurs and in descriptions of the characters. None of the characters are likable either. Everybody is depressed and just waiting around for something to happen. I recieved ...more
Sergio
Really great series, which is to be expected from Glen Cook. I was only recently turned onto his books and have now read everything I can lay my hands on. In this trilogy the first book and the last book were my favorites.
Brendan
I really want to like the works of Glen Cook, but there's always something a bit disappointing about them. It's nebulous, and changes from novel to novel, but it's still there. They're just never quite up to par for me.

With A Cruel Wind, the three books comprising the trilogy really each had a totally different feel. The first book seemed like all setup. Very little actually happens until the very end. Just characters moving from place to place. That said, it was an interesting world that I want
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Matt
This is an Omnibus edition of three previously published fantasy novels:

A Shadow of All Night Falling (1979)
October's Baby (1980)
All Darkness Met (1980)

I almost put this volume aside after the first book.

A Shadow of All Night Falling rather ambitiously attempts to manage introducing characters, introducing the world and telling a main story by means of two threads separated by 500 years; all in a page count that would be considered tiny by current fantasy standards. I found the result to be some
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Joe
sure do love glen cook. this omnibus of initial dread empire books strikes me as of a kind with the black company, certainly similar, as if held up to a mirror. the perspective is pulled back to a mostly third-person limited, since we're not relying on an annalist, though it gestures at a historical context and we get a peek at things no one in situ should know about. imagine, maybe, if the black company were written as historical treatise rather than a diary.

the prose is light, and, i thought,
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Luke Coury
Really enjoyable book, like the Black Company, I was terribly confused with his writing style (it took me a while to realize he was going back and forth through time and between different places). Another confusion factor was that Cook will often interchange last and first names of characters, so you'd meet a John Smith, and when talking, John would say something and then later, he'd be referred to as Smith. It was actually pretty late in the series until I figured it out so I'll probably have t ...more
Ken
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edmund de Wight
Look, let me say up front that I really love Glen Cook. I obsessed over the Black Company series but I just can't make this book work for me. It felt like it was all over the place, rambling and disjointed. I wasn't too enthused with the writing style. I know it's what was chosen for a specific feel but it just didn't do it for me. I can see the feeling he was going for but it was just not for me.

Sorry, Glen, you rock but this time you did not rock my boat. I'm quitting without even finishing fo
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Corprew
This is one of Glen Cook's earlier books, and you can see his writing style evolving from a dark, victorian style to the edgier style that marked him as a mature writer. By the middle of the third book, it's a lot terser, and closer to the writing of the Black Company series. Both styles have their merit.

The first third of this omnibus is a shockingly good book, and the plot, which at first seems sprawling and confusing, wraps up as tight as a great mystery novel. The conclusion was jaw-dropping
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Ben
A good but very uneven book. The world building is very good, as Cook has come up with a complex yet realistic fantasy world. The lack of clearly defined good and evil is also a definite plus. However, the pacing of the stories is uneven at best. Some seemingly important events are just skimmed over, and others are related in a way that reads like a mediocre history text. Additionally, especially in the later two volumes of this trilogy, there's a huge cast of characters who are sometimes diffic ...more
Jonathan
Lacks the narrative intimacy of the fabulous Black Company series. Too many characters, not enough character development for my taste. I found it difficult to muster much interest in the fortunes of any particular party.
Larry Kenney
Like Glen Cook's other series, The Black Company, it's no wonder he is such a huge influence in the new dark and gritty fantasy series that are becoming so popular. These start a bit slow, but so much is happening by the end it's amazing. It's also really cool to see characters in these books that are obvious influences to newer authors as well.

If you want a series where not every hero has a heart of gold, where events don't all come together neatly, and no character is sacred, then this really
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Jim
I wasn't totally thrilled with this book when I read it. It had been a gift for Christmas picked up solely based on the cover art. And until reading this, I had no idea who Glen Cook was. The characters are dull and don't really pull you in and make you care about their plights. The story at times is hard to follow and on multiple occasions I had to re-read sections to fully understand what was going on. Definitely not in the same league as the Black Company books.
Richard
This is three books in a single volume: A Shadow of All Night Falling, October's Baby, and All Darkness Met. Original copyrights were in 1979 and 1980, so these are old books -- probably among Cook's first. The plots are way too complicated and there are too many characters. The author uses two or more names for each of most of the characters, and the logic is thin. Stopped reading at the start of the third book.
Tim
This is a very good epic fantasy tale by Glen Cook. The writing style is very much in line with his Black Company novels. Gritty and very humanized while encompassing a vast storyline. Cruel wind is three books combined and follow various military and political adventures amongst the main characters. As per usual when it comes to Glen Cook stories this is a great read and I am looking forward to moving onto the sequels.
Jason
While these books are earlier than the Black Company, there is very little difference in the feel and pacing. Not bad, but it is difficult to get past the feeling of "haven't I read this before?" having read many of Cook's Black Company books.
On the other hand, the character of Mocker is obviously the inspiration for the character Kruppe in Stephen Erickson's Malazan Books of the Fallen series.
Christopher Tatro


I loved Cook's Black Company series but this was pretty rough. I've only finished the first 2 books in this 3 book omnibus but have very little desire to continue on. It very much has the feel of a writer finding his feet and lacks the depth of character that made Black Company so compelling. SOme hints of that come through but not enough for me.
Jacob Ruby
Started reading this a year ago, after digging through most of The Black Company - I LOVED The Black Company, but The Dread Empire books so far have been flat comparatively. The overall story is interesting, but the characters don't seem as sharp. It is decent, but a bit of a letdown after The Black Company. I should at least finish this book.
Lyndol Fast
I enjoyed the book. It was, if possible, even less romantic and more gritty then Cook's Black Company series. Once again Cook had created an engrossing world of characters who's motivations are rarely pure regardless of which side they stand on. I loved Mocker's character, as well as Haroun and Varthlokkur. A must read for fans of Cook.
Lisa
I've only read the first book in this series so far. It was hard going until about the last 40 pages, when he finally started to pull back the curtains a little bit. He plunges you right in and doesn't reveal enough of the characters to hook you right away. It is his first book though. I might dip into the 2nd one after a bit of a break.
Tulara
This is a massive book - over 500 pages, although I think this book has three books in it. I liked the book and the characters - the intrigue was hard to follow with all the gods, lesser gods, etc. The author does battles scenes really well, although, by the third book, I was skimming them to see who lived and who died.
William
Well it was an early work, so I expected it to be a little raw, and more so, just because of the way Glen Cook writes.

Lots of genre cliche's given the Glen Cook treatment, which has since become a cliche in itself, what with everyone getting into the whole grimdark fantasy war and intrigue business.
Zach
The first book of the three is the strongest. The imagery and the depth of the characters is very poignant. However, the story starts to drag and drop off in the second book, and by the third it just becomes another Cliché of the genre. I still recommend reading it, if only for the first book
Jon
Not bad, but his later Black Company books were better.
The Deus ex Machina character (star rider) was annoying. Even when the main characters tried to oppose him. Allowing several sides to narrate conflicts was helpful. But it kinda dragged, I read 2 other books before finishing this one.
Joe
Though i'm tapping out unfinished, I've put it on the "read" shelf so that I'm not tempted to pick it up again. Or winch it up; it certainly doesn't lift itself. This was my second try at Ravenkraking, but I'm done, again. I'm unconvinced the prize would be worth the siege.
Cliff
While classically Glen Cook, it is also a proto form of his later works, filled with characters that are step stones to iconic figures like Croaker, Lady, Goblin and even Piper Hecht. Entertaining, with some nice breaks from convention, but not necessarily a must read.
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Glen Cook was born in New York City, lived in southern Indiana as a small child, then grew up in Northern California. After high school he served in the U.S. Navy and attended the University of Missouri. He worked for General Motors for 33 years, retiring some years ago. He started writing short stories in 7th grade, had several published in a high school literary magazine. He began writing with m ...more
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The Black Company (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #1) Chronicles of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1-3) The White Rose (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #3) Shadows Linger (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #2) The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #4-6)

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