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Shadowline (Starfishers Trilogy, #1)
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Shadowline (Starfishers Trilogy #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  383 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The vendetta in space had started centuries before "Mouse" Storm was born with his grandfather's raid on the planet Prefactlas, the blood bath that freed the human slaves from their Sangaree masters. But one Sangaree survived - the young Norborn heir, the man who swore vengeance on the Storm family and their soldiers, in a carefully mapped plot that would take generations ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Warner Books Inc
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Community Reviews

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Dang, I had high hopes for this one. It is written in the space opera format ala Dune with many worlds, politics, and many characters. But after about 100 pages I had to put it down. It wasn't holding my attention and since the chapters bounce back and forth across characters AND across many decades I was often lost as to who I was reading about. Maybe if it could be read in long sittings. Alas, I won't be reading like that for about 15 more years.

Had been recommended from library mail list.

Sarah S
Normally I don't bother recording books I don't finish: it wasn't for me, move on. But others might be interested to know that there are no worthwhile female characters in this book.
I really liked the Black Company novels, but couldn't get into this one.
Glen Cook can do better with the organization and plot: he's readable and creates memorable characters ("borrowing" rather heavily from Norse mythology) in an imaginative universe but it's often hard to figure who is doing what to whom (especially with the ineffective interweaving of time and perspective)... Oh and the female characters are his typical weakness of flat stereotypes, I'm rather sorry I read the book (and at the same time want to read more hoping against hope it gets better). FYI n ...more
Joey Simeroth
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Glen Cook's fantasy novels have a sharp edge and unique style, with dark undertones flowing throughout even the most lighthearted bits of the story. I really like that. In his science fiction he tries something similar. It doesn't QUITE work as well though...

In the back of my mind I was comparing this to the recent Battlestar Galactica series. Despair fills this novel from almost the first chapter. One of the most compelling characters dies very early
Told from 4 separate view points in a non-linear fashion - each chapter has dates and it skips backwards and forwards from the narrative "now", the time of the shadowline war, on a chapter by chapter basis.

The plot superficially concerns the fighting of "the last merc war" ... but is really focused on the cycle of violence, revenge, obligation and obsession that lead to this final show-down, hence all the flashbacks...

The writing style is terse, even for Cook, and I can't help wonder if it’s a d
I don't write many reviews, and I'll keep this one short. I loved this series, but the first book is a major slog. It gets WAY better in the 2nd and 3rd books! So keep reading if you are remotely interested. If nothing else, check out Passage at Arms. It is only related to the series and is the best of all of them.
Eric Wisdahl
As Cook is one of my favorite all time authors, I am really not quite sure why it has taken me this long to get to this series. I guess it is because I think of Cook as a fantasy author. As such, I was a bit skeptical about his Sci-Fi books (although I had read and enjoyed the Darkwar trilogy as well as the Hiers of Babylon). Well, I am no longer. I think that the next two books will go quite quickly if they are anywhere near as good as the first.

Shadowline was the first in the Starfishers trilo
Story of a hardened mercenary Gnaeus Storm brought into an unwanted conflict by schemes of both his brother Michael and mysterious Sangaree Deeth. Soon old grudges will surface and families will clash, brother against brother, family against their own, revealing plot within plot resulting in death of almost entire Storm family and most probably end of standalone mercenary armies. Masato Storm The Mouse will survive the onslaught only to continue this never ending vendetta against the Sangaree wh ...more
Eric H.

The characters are well crafted, Gneaus Storm and Cassius particularly. I also enjoy Mouse as a character. The plot is dry in the beginning and its set up feels slow, but it culminates in several enjoyable, interesting, and surprisingly profound scenes.

The book is plot driven, not character driven, so it moves like a quickly paced history of fatalistic events rather than a ponderous, wandering character based narrative. I tend to prefer the latter, so that may have had something to do wit
Jesse Mcconnell
Dark and ominous. I generally like this style, but this took a while to get into. Perhaps because it is part of a pre-existing storyverse of which I didn't have any familiarity, it felt like it dumped me into the middle of things. The extremely disjointed timeline was also confusing, jumping forward and back to at least five different time periods, all of which depend on each other.

That said, it grabbed me in with the feeling of doom surrounding the entire story, and I nearly begged some of the
It's hard to believe that this imaginative space sci-fi novel was written almost 30 years ago. It's as fresh and compelling as anything I've ever read.
I read this trilogy years ago, and I recalled that I had really liked it, but couldn't remember anything further. I reread this first book while on vacation and enjoyed it a great deal. Cook does a good job in a relatively short book of painting the picture of a group of mercenaries whose time is drawing to a close. The first book did not leave me with the overwhelmed feeling of impressiveness I recalled from the trilogy as a whole. I'm not sure if this is because I'm now older and seeing it in ...more
Somewhat randomly, I pulled this off the shelf while browsing at the library. The writing style is quite different from other authors I am used to reading. For example, the author frequently refers to a single person twice in a single sentence using two different names, one of those names not being used often enough to make it obvious who is being referred to. While certain aspects of the writing style presented minor obstacles, the story itself was interesting enough to hold my attention all th ...more
Okay, so it starts out as standard military sci-fi...but then you read deeper. And, with a few well-placed references, Cook leads you to what he's really telling: Gotterdammerung, but in space. The setting of space replacing the frozen north is a great idea, to me, as Cook conveys the utter coldness and harshness of the place.

Cook also manages to make his book (the first of three; as far as I can tell, the other two don't continue the Norse-mythology-in-space storytelling device) thoroughly mode
Atrociously bad. No characters, almost no plot, and poor writing.

There were no interesting or sympathetic characters. None of them seemed even human. They were all some combination of grim, cold, cruel, or vapid; and uniformly two-dimensional. The plot (such as it was) was about a feud between two feudalistic families, but I didn't care one bit what happened. And because of the bad writing, I was confused much of the time.

Don't waste your time on this.
George Bargoud
This is definitely one of my favourite books, ever. The theme of Norse mythology set in space works very well, from each of the gods' identities when entering Ragnarok to the dead soldiers collected at battlefields to enter Valhalla and the different races, elves, frost giants, dwarves being associated with a different species or planet's residents. I must say that Glen Cook is now among my favourite authors.
Brian Richardson
Cook is great at military sci fi. This novel does take a bit to get going, and can be confusing at times, but ultimately the vision of future corporate clashes, dominated by hired mercenary families, wins through as a compelling and interesting twist on "generic" military scifi. Points off, however, for the somewhat unclear timeline skipping around. Worth starting and finishing the series.
More of the grim and cynical tone that I've come to love from Glen Cook. While difficult to follow at first with the shifting timelines and the very brief and general descriptions of things, I started to enjoy the book more as all the plots came together and hit the fan, as it were. It has a very bitter ending, but I am curious as to where it goes from here in the next book.
Even though the far future space setting didn't really bring anything new to the table, and it lacks the grim but literary qualities of the Dark Company books, Shadowline is populated with such interesting characters and the flashbacks are handled so well that I really, really enjoyed reading it.
Read about 80 pages. It just didn't grab me. After reading The Prefect by Alistair Reynolds this just seemed juvenile in comparison. Things are poorly explained and the characters blend together. The names annoyed me too: Storm? Darksword? Ack. Maybe this is Teen Sci-Fi or something.
Scott Taylor
An old book, but a good book. It took me perhaps a 100 pages to get into the Starfishers Trilogy, but once I was in, had my grove with the way Cook had written it, it was all good. I would suggest taking a read if you get the chance and love a good space opera/thriller.
Robert Haight
l enjoyed the book, but not as much as his other work. Like the dread empire series, his world spanning series with multiple characters suffer from loss of detail. I'll read the next one to give the series a chance, but might call it after that.
Larry Kenney
The story moves fairly slow in this, which is not normal for Cook. It took me a while to make it through this one, however, the end has me hooked and I cant wait to get to the second book in the Starfisher's Trilogy.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2010 RK rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no
The book has it's moments. I think the shifting back and forth while interesting loses something towards the end.

Overall, an okay read, nothing to write home about...
Nicely done. Gritty sci-fi. Science and fiction in a well thought out balance. Viciously interesting characters. Jarring and stilted prose, non-linear style works well.
Michael Lagier
Amazing book series, my favorite Science Fiction series. A shorter series than most, only about 1000 pages in total across 3 books but still worth the read
Cook does ok fantasy, but he does surprisingly good sci-fi.

It has some weak moments, but overall it's pretty epic, and keeps the reader engaged.
At its best, 80's Sci-Fi is like 80's music.

At it's worst, 80's Sci-Fi is like 80's music.

This book was a solid Call Me by Blondie
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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

Starfishers Trilogy (4 books)
  • Starfishers (Starfishers Trilogy, #2)
  • Stars' End (Starfishers Trilogy, #3)
  • Passage at Arms (Starfishers Trilogy, #4)
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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