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The Books of the South (The Chronicles of the Black Company #3.5-5)

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  8,322 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Marching south after the ghastly battle at the Tower of Charm, the Black Company is hounded by shadowy figures every inch of the way. The game is on: the Company versus the Shadowmasters, deadly creatures that deal in darkness and sorrow. When hope dies, there's still survival. And there's still the Black Company.  
The Book of the South is the second omnibus of novels from
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Paperback, 671 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Markus
3.5 stars (based on my individual ratings for all three books)

The heart is stilled but the corpse stumbles on. The Company is dead in fact but not in name.
And we, O merciless gods, stand witness to the power of names.


After decades of fighting in the dark empire of the north, the huge and devastating battle at the Tower of Charm, and the awakening of an ancient evil in the Barrowland, the Black Company turns south in a quest to find its mysterious origins and the long lost city of Khatovar.

Shadow
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Eric
We returned to the river and sailed down to the Second Cataract. Faster traffic had carried the word that the boys were back. Idon, a bizarre strip of a town, was a ghost city. We saw not a dozen souls there. Once again we had come to a place where the Black company was remembered. That made me uncomfortable.

What had our forebrethren done down here? The Annals went on about the Pastel Wars but did not recall the sort of excesses that would terrify the descendants of the survivors forever.

Below
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Milda Page Runner
Dec 11, 2015 Milda Page Runner rated it really liked it
Recommended to Milda by: Evgeny
The Silver Spike 4* review
Shadow Games 3* review
Dreams of Steel 5* review
Adrienne
Well #%$@$. This compilation made me angry - and sad. Not because it was bad, necessarily, but because I'd gotten attached to our narrator. And then, after the first book, he was narrator no longer! But. I couldn't stop reading it. On the other hand, I don't think I'm ready to forgive the author for switching it up on us yet.

I'm a self-stated lover of the first-person voice. I like getting close to my narrator and following him through his life. I can deal with the third-person interludes; those
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Joshua Simon
May 25, 2011 Joshua Simon rated it it was amazing
The second omnibus both wraps up some loose ends from the end of Book 3 and sets the stage for the Black Company's next adventure.

The Silver Spike which follows Raven, Silent, and Darling is probaby the weakest book in the series to me. I think this is because as minor characters or seen in brief glimpses during the first 3 books, they work well. But on center stage, they have a tendency to falter and can become boring at times. Nonetheless, the story itself is pretty good and gives closure to t
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Alissa
Aug 05, 2015 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
"We’re going to have such fun. The whole world thinks we’re dead. You can get away with anything when you’re dead.”
Christine
Dec 30, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing
From the first page of The Black Company to the last page of the Silver Spike this series has been a rollercoaster. I struggled to get into the first book, but then was dragged along, a willing partner in a gang of mercenaries' escapades.

Sometimes it's hard to watch characters change and evolve when we like them from the beginning - and it was. But, none changed in a way that was out of place or made me feel like they were being driven by the outside force of a writer not totally set on who his
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John
Feb 15, 2010 John rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Thus begins the overlong tale of the Black Company's search for their origins as the "last of the Free Companies of Khatovar."

This collection follows up where the first trilogy (collected in Chronicles of the Black Company) leaves off. Twice actually, as the first two books cover the Black Company itself, while the third deals with what happened back North after they left.

As I write this I realize that I actually enjoyed the books in this collection nearly as much as the original, it's just that
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Brandon
Mar 11, 2011 Brandon rated it it was amazing
Like many others I liked the first two books in this volume, and since they carried on the storyline from the previous volume I did not find it too incongruous when Lady became the narrator. In fact since Croaker had regularly pointed out that he was getting old and had exceeded the life expectancy of one in his line of work I had always assumed that at some point a change in narrators would be necessary.

Also like others I found the third book in this volume more jarring though. It ties in to th
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Spencer
Oct 08, 2008 Spencer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoyed the other Chronicles
This book matched the other Black Company books pretty closely in quality. I thought this was an easy read, but none of the books in particular stood out as being outstanding (or poor), although the Silver Spike seems to be the most memorable, in retrospect.

I thought the order of the books was a bit odd, as the first two books follow the Company south and then the third jumps back to the North. Reading book 3, followed by book 1 and then 2 seems like it would have been more appropriate, as the t
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Jake
Sep 14, 2009 Jake rated it really liked it
The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company
Glen Cook
Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (June 10, 2008)

The Books of the South is an omnibus that collects three books in the Glen Cook's Black Company Series. The first two books, Shadow Games and Dreams of Steel, deal with the company's journey south after the events of the White Rose . The last book, the Silver Spike, deals with the titular object, and events surrounding it's fate.

Shadow Games picks up shortly after the end of the Whit
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Peter
May 01, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing
Another three books of The Black Company series, and I'm still loving it. At first, I was a bit slow getting into it, because there were new characters that didn't seem as interesting as some of the side characters introduced previously. Still, the main group is fun to read about, the battles are well done, and the Company has its normal trickery to keep me going. By the time I hit the second book, though, there was a clear over-arching story happening, and the side characters that I wasn't in l ...more
F.T.
Nov 15, 2014 F.T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The first two books in this get into a thorny quest for the Black Company's roots, the perils of which every shifty character in the book seems to know except the Black Company. Add to that the return of some old villains and a bloodthirsty destroyer goddess and this is good stuff. I did make a frowny face when the narration shifted from Croaker to Lady in the second book, but I liked her and it worked. Dreams of Steel ended on a mean-ass cliff and off I went hoping to get closure.

However. The t
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Mark Howell
Jul 22, 2009 Mark Howell rated it really liked it
This "book" (it's actually 3-in-1 in case ya somehow missed that in the description) is kinda difficult for me to rate. On the one hand, I LOVED the first two books (and especially the "opportunity" to get inside Lady's head), I have to agree with virtually everyone else who rated this, that Silver Spike simply is the "odd man out". After finishing Dreams of Steel, well, one naturally assumes that hey, ok, finally we get to find out what happens when Lady and Croaker reunite, tie off the Shadowm ...more
Travis Orders
Nov 05, 2012 Travis Orders rated it it was amazing
Unlike many people, I cannot rate the individual books, I can only rate the series as a whole. I read them all in omnibus form, one following the other, and enjoyed pretty much every page of them. I have read a good deal of reviews, where the later books are panned, but I thoroughly enjoyed the gritty writing style throughout. The characters DO "write" in a somewhat similar tone, but I dont find that to be a detractor. They do serve together, and are bound to share attributes. I was impressed wi ...more
Farès
Jan 24, 2016 Farès rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of good things to like in this book.. The characters were pragmatic, funny and interesting, some stuff that were bothering me have been corrected (such as the super inflated reputation of Raven, turns out he's as stupid and normal as the next guy)
Didn't like some of the so called killed characters of the previous books turning up back again, but the author kept it all so logical that you couldn't fault or blame him.
Case was a hoot, Smeds, I wa rooting for all along (even if he didn't deser
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Troy
Jun 20, 2012 Troy rated it really liked it
Again, it's great to have the Black Company books bound up in these collections. Tales of the south is a great continuation of the Black Company. It's good to see the Company begin to re-accumulate members and build in mass, like a cartoon snowball rolling down hill. Not often before did we see many people enrolled in, and integrated into the Black Company. Here's it's insightful to see how new people are gathered up and quickly become true brothers.

It's heart rending to see The Lady and Croaker
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Rick
Jul 25, 2011 Rick rated it liked it
Too bad that instead of finishing the first 2 books of the south Glen Cook used the third book to finish up some loose ends up north. Not that there where any loose ends but Cook managed to come up with some. With brings me to the next big letdown. The super evil guys don't die, this is now the third time the taken are being dragged from the grave and I'm afraid it won't stay that way.

After all an entertaining read but not much more then that. I think I'll just leave the black company alone for
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Derek
Apr 29, 2009 Derek rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
Shelves: fantasy
Glen Cook does a great job with the continuing stories of the Black Company. The only thing that seems odd about this Omnibus is the 3rd book "The Silver Spike". While a decent book on its own, it seems fairly out of place with the other 2 books (the first two books follow Croaker and the Lady into the South, while the third book follows Darling, Silent, Razor and the others than didn't leave with Croaker).

All 3 books are enjoyable, and typical non-stop Glen Cook action the entire way. A great r
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S.C. Parris
Oct 04, 2012 S.C. Parris rated it really liked it
Took me a while to get used to the way it was written and things were presented, but I absolutely fell in love with this book and the series, and plan to get the third one whenever I can. A very well-put together fantasy, one that I can revisit time and time again.
The characters were incredibly interesting, the magic sublime, the plot easy to follow and I did want to follow it! Recommend to all who love "smart" epic fantasy novels that aren't just fantastical tales of magic and swordplay.
Matthew
Aug 03, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
The first and second book in this omnibus are by far the best in the series to date. Glen Cook gives us the close-ups we wanted for all three of the first books and a big enough struggle to keep us intrigued. The third book seemed much scrapier and less put together, which I can understand may have been a literary device due to a change in narrator, but it made it a less enjoyable read.

Worth reading through all three though. So glad I have another two omnibusses left.
Randy Daugherty
Dec 04, 2010 Randy Daugherty rated it really liked it
This is a compilation of Shadow Games,Dreams of Steel and Silver Spike and is the follow up to the books of the north.
Cook has a way of weaving a story line that catches you.The characters are intriguing and he follows their different stories very well.The ending ofDreams of Steel was great and left you wanting to know the rest which of course leads the way to another series.Cook knows how to write a fantasy story and I would recommend this to anyone.
Sydney Sykes
Jun 22, 2010 Sydney Sykes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-fantasy
Glen Cook was already my favorite author before I started this book, and continually through the series he reminds me why I love his books so much. This continuation of the Black Company was absolutely perfect. Nothing about it is like anything I've read before. His characters are so intricate and multi-faceted, I just can't get over my amazement for this series!
Michael
Sep 23, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I'm completely addicted to Cook's characters and despite the love I have for his plotting I feel this series has lost just a little of the shimmer it had in the first couple of entries. I'm going to keeo reading because I'm hopelessly in love with the Lady and Croaker. Oh, and the Silver Spike is my favorite Black Company novel.
Wm
Apr 11, 2010 Wm rated it really liked it
Excellent and not quite as punishing as The Books of the North (which is a good thing in this case). Taken together The Books of the North and South form one amazing feat of storytelling and especially of characterization. Highly recommended for anyone who can handle their fantasy gritty or their gritty with fantasy.
Derek
Dec 11, 2009 Derek rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure why this series grabs me so completely, but every book besides the first one has been great.

On a related note, I went from this book back to Wheel of Time, and Robert Jordan's writing style is so different it feels almost like a different language. I might have to take a day off from reading so that I can recalibrate to a world that has "extraneous things" like scenery. :-)
Troy G
Dec 01, 2010 Troy G rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is a collection of great books. Unfortunately, the collection includes one book that doesn't belong, and won't make sense unless you've read the books that go before in the series. That book is "The Silver Spike"

For more details see my reviews of each of the individual books.
Marc Kolb
Mar 27, 2012 Marc Kolb rated it it was amazing


Glen Cook delivers a dark fantasy epic on the same lines as his first three books. In the Black Company series, the are no clear heroes, villains, or bystanders. This is what makes this series so gritty, different, and engrossing. It breaks the fantasy formula.
Ian
Jun 13, 2008 Ian rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-horror
Stalled out after the first two books in this volume... which weren't as good as the first three in the trilogy. Nor was the story arc wrapped up. (2.5 stars)

I might return to the Silver Spike down the road.
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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
More about Glen Cook...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of the Black Company (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1)
  • Shadows Linger (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #2)
  • The White Rose (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #3)
  • Shadow Games (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #4)
  • Dreams of Steel (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #5)
  • Bleak Seasons (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #6)
  • She is the Darkness (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #7)
  • Water Sleeps (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #8)
  • Soldiers Live (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #9)
  • A Pitiless Rain (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #10)

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“I guess each of us, at some time, finds one person with whom we are compelled toward absolute honesty, one person whose good opinion of us becomes a substitute for the broader opinion of the world. And that opinion becomes more important than all our sneaky, sleazy schemes of greed, lust, self-aggrandizement, whatever we are up to while lying the world into believing we are just plain nice folks. I was her truth object, and she was mine.” 2 likes
“I guess each of us, at some time, finds one person with whom we are compelled toward absolute honesty, one person whose good opinion of us becomes a substitute for the broader opinion of the world.” 0 likes
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