Chronicles of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1-3)
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Chronicles of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #1-3)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  10,641 ratings  ·  335 reviews
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.

Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more�.

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose.
Paperback, First Edition, 704 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1986)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
"Oh, 'twould be marvelous if the world and its moral questions were like some game board, with plain black players and white, and fixed rules, and nary a shade of grey."

war is hell. hell is other people. other people are other people. other people have their problems. i have my own problems. my people are my people. their goals are my goals. we do what we can. we fight in a war. war is a business. war is our business.

The Black Company is a mercenary outfit. they are from the South; they currentl...more
Athena (Shardbearer)

Buddy Read Sunday 4/27 Gavin

LOVE THIS SERIES! Review to come soon!

OH...The Black Company, how you have won my heart!

Reasons you should read this series

1. Bad-ass Mercenaries
2. Band of Misfits
3. Magic and Creepy Ass Wizards(Goblin)<---Still love him!
4. Croaker as a narrator, hilarious and sometimes a weenie!
5. The Lady *shivers*
6. The Dominator <---Ok, I will admit, every time I read this my mind went into the gutter.
7. RAVEN! (view spoiler)
I love and hate this trilogy. Glen Cook drew me in, led me to fall in love with characters, and then let me down. This was a common theme as I read. The story would hook and reel me in, then suddenly I would lose interest or feel like the story was incomplete at parts and stop reading for a week or two. I had to push myself to get through this book.

I love the characters. Croaker, One-Eye, Goblin, Raven, The Lady, Darling, Silent, and Tracker. They are all unforgettable. Very complex, very detail...more
This is a copy/paste of my BookLikes review:

There are no good guys, just a band of mercenaries always trying to make a choice between a bad side and a very bad side - they work with a lesser evil to prevent the comeback of a greater one. The people they work with only consider them a useful tool to be discarded when they outlive their usefulness, so expect a lot of backstabbing and double-crossings always present in Glen Cook's writings.

The mercenaries a...more
Any book that makes me want to drop my relatively comfortable life to join a mercenary company with at best a fluid sense of morality is doing something right. I'd be signing up for long marches through snow and mud, for following orders (no questions asked), and for the occasional massacre, and frankly, that's not normally me. Huh.

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! I was pleasantly surprised. I accidentally began reading the second compilation of books in this series (The Book...more
The Crimson Fucker
Ok, since I don’t have Mr. Greg’s reviewing skills I’ma keep it short and simple! This is like somebody gave the guy who wrote this book a fucking Minigun and loaded with bullets of awesomeness and told him to aim directly in to my brainand then the mother fucker went trigger happy! This is good shit! I read it twice in a fucking row!

It got it all! Awesome wizards, kick ass villains, drama, action, more action and more drama! And the hottest villain ever!!! EVER!!! I have a crush with The Lady...more
“No one will sing songs in our memory. We are the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar. Our traditions and memories live only in these Annals. We are our own mourners.”

The Chronicles of the Black Company tell the tale of a renowned mercenary company with centuries of histories and tradition. Throughout this three-book omnibus edition, the reader is brought along on a journey from the rich, southern cities of the south to the dark, feared catabombs of the Barrowland in the far north. And some j...more
Kevin Xu
He is one of the first if not first one to write dark fantasy and bring it on a personal level that is now all the rage like the works of the George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson, where fantasy during his time were still Tolkien copycats with a band of heroes going on a quest.

Basically he wanted to write fantasy based on his experience during the Vietnam War.
Michelle Feist
Couldn't keep reading...This book got such good reviews in the places I checked and I had had my eye on it for some time, so I was looking forward to enjoying a great fantasy story. Maybe the story will get better, but it's the writing style that I can't get past! It's so choppy and lacks detail or smooth transitions from scene to scene. I felt like I was reading something my grade 6's would write! I could get NO feeling for any of the characters so far, not even the narrator - they all felt fla...more
Jul 08, 2013 Eric rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Someone interested in a military spin on fantasy might find this interesting
Shelves: fantasy, unfinished
I read about the first 75 pages of the first book, The Black Company, and I just can't get over the feeling that something is fundamentally missing from the story. I can't get a handle on who exactly the Black Company is, how many of them their are, their history, or any specifics on the individuals who make it up, past vague generalizations. More time is spent detailing the one new addition to the group, Raven, than on the narrator, Croaker, the few important magicians, or the seldom mentioned...more
Well, that was . . . testicular. Military fantasy about a company of mercenaries, with one of those completely flat, non-ideological conflicts where we’re told X and Y persons are evil, but we have no context for any of it. So what you have left is a bunch of battle summaries (boring) and some local color (all men, don’t ask about the women. Just don’t’).

I think my real problem is that this is told by the company doctor writing the history. He freely admits that he is eliding and prettying thing...more
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Litchick's Fiance via this post: Me: "Hey do you know where the ham is? Because it's not in the right drawer. Didn't you unpack the groc-"
Me: ...I feel like that shouldn't have turned me on as much as it did.

Now how can you go wrong with that?
Shane Davenport
Oct 28, 2008 Shane Davenport rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shane by: Boarders Store Clerk
This was a good read. I would recommend it to any Science Fiction Fantasy reader. It is a bit different than other Fantasy books I have read in that it is more or less in journal form as per the Croaker, the company’s physician, historian, also the narrator of the novels.

I really like how Glen Cook does not portray the characters as too strong or powerful and grounds the novel in a more human perspective.

Also, you have to really think about what you are reading as his style changes a bit as it m...more
Simon Raistrick
this book contains the first three volumes of an absolutely amazing fantasy series introduced to me by my friend jesse. the black company books offer bloody-minded and gripping military fiction, with cleverly done concepts of sorcery and its practitioners interwoven. at the time I was reading this I thought, "this might be the best goddamned fantasy I've read since Tolkien." rather, scratch the "since Tolkien" part. since reading this series, I have discovered a couple of other ones in the same...more
Anson Mount
"The Black Company" is quite simply the best fantasy series I have ever read. For too long, the genre was caught between the kind of adolescent irony propagated by authors such as Piers Anthony (for whom I still carry a teenage love) and the romanticized sword & sorcery worlds of authors such as Robert Jordan. Fortunately, Mr. Cook arrived in time to provide a much-needed dose of realism, internal conflict and morally questionable heroes and villains alike.

When asked for the elevator pitch...more
I really liked these books.

Thinking back on it, I can't remember much of the first book but I do remember that I wasn't really that interested in the story until the Second book.

What really got me interested was the parts that included the Lady.

When reading this book I went into it thinking that it was going to be like most books I've read. Maybe one character's point of view in a sort of memoir style about what happened in their life with detailed accounts. This wasn't it.

The books are writt...more
I ploughed through all 3 books one after the other and did not get tired of the characters or the story line/world. Mr Cook writes well. He has style and a good 'eye' for dialogue. We are not talking Joe Abercrombie but not far off. Highly recommended.
Mike (the Paladin)
Good action in a world rife with magic, combat, betrayl....and the Black Company. The meanest mercenary company to ever swing a sword.
Sep 18, 2009 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own-it
Since this is an omnibus and consists of three separate books, I will separate my reviews.

The Black Company

The first thing I noticed when beginning the Black Company was that Glen Cook does not use alot of description. He leaves it up to the reader to form what the characters and places look like. I wouldn't say that it is a bad thing, but it's not the norm for fantasy where sometimes you can be bogged down with pages upon pages of descriptions.

You pretty much get thrown into the story and for t...more
Mar 26, 2009 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of epic fantasy or war novels
This book was just absolutely phenomenal. The thing that was craziest about it was when I was about a quarter into the first book of this three book collection, I was ready to put it down. It read like a war story set in a fantasy world. Which is apt because that's exactly what it is. However, I wasn't interested in a war story. I like to read about characters and their development and interactions with other characters. However this was a gift from a friend who gave it with high praise and we n...more
Apr 02, 2009 Peter rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: fantasy
This is the collected first three books of Glen Cook's "Black Company" series, chronicling the adventures of a famous mercenary company in grim world threatened by all sorts of darkness. Although the series was continued, the first three books are an effectively self-contained trilogy.

I first read them in college. And back then (so long ago!) they seemed terribly dark - almost unbearably so. How times have changed; compared to some of the torture-porn that's being put out under the fantasy and s...more
Michelle McGuinness
I gave this book a five because it does exactly what it sets out to do. It is gritty, dark and fantastic from start to finish. Nothing is sugar-coated. You follow the lives and adventures of a band of mercenaries. Their work is not pretty, and they're not always fighting for that good guys. This limbo Cook places his characters and readers in - a limbo in which there is no clear good and evil - works really well throughout all three books. It is unsettling and challenging, which is rare for fant...more
An early entry in the 'gritty' fantasy that authors like GRRM and Erikson have taken further. The overall plot is pretty good but the first-person POV of an army medic requires a lot of contrivances to make sure he's in the right place in the right time. Most of the soldiers speak in the same voice but Cook does a good job emphasizing other aspects of their characters. The magic system is roll-your-eyes vague and silly. All in all the plot and characters are compelling enough to read. I'll proba...more
Only 3 down of 11? Yikes, best keep going. Great low fantasy but 3 of 11? That's insane. Who will still be alive by then? Isn't 3 enough for an epic fantasy series? GOD.
Nikki Nye
This was my first Glen Cook book and I am glad that I did not put it down, as I was tempted to in the beginning.

At the start, the reader is thrown right into the middle of an already in-progress conflict, which continues to go on as if everyone who has just started to read it should already know what is happening and who all the characters are. It took me a good fifty pages to at least feel like I was not drowning in confusion. And even then, at fifty pages in, I still did not know what a singl...more
Overall rating - 3.5 stars

Individual rating

The Black Company - 3.5 stars - excellent introduction to the series, throws you right in the middle of the world in a 'swim or sink' fashion

Shadows Linger - 3 stars - last few chapters (when the Company left Juniper) saved the book for me; Juniper bored me to death though I really liked progression of Shed's character.

The White Rose - 4 stars - I liked the three POV narration, great ending

The best review of this omnibus I've read is mark monday's and I...more
Hans Ng
IMO the author's style of writing is something of a love/hate kind of thing. Considering the book mostly takes place from the form of Croaker's point of view, you are usually stuck with one perspective only. Also, while there is strong character development with each of the characters, i find that there's always something missing whenever I finish the books. The author never goes into much detail or description through battle scenes or fights. Major events are sometimes skipped entirely only to...more
J.S. Bangs
I gave up on this one. I can see why some people might like it, but in the end this book has none of the things that I look for in fantasy.

In the first place, Cooke's descriptive style is extremely sparse. Very little is described and much is implied or left to the imagination. This is a good thing, I suppose, since given how appallingly grim this book is it might be even more revolting if things were described in detail. As is, the style of this book is like one of those modern paintings in wh...more
The Chronicles consist of 3 books relating to the Black Company, a band of mercenaries.

The main character is Croaker, the medic. The first book describes the company getting employed by one of the Taken. The Taken are almost supernatural creatures brought back from the dead to serve their mistress, The Lady. Croaker meets The Lady and a strange relationship forms. This book and the others are full of battle scenes and war stories. The company members are varied and larger than life.

The following...more
A masterpiece: my all-time favorite series

This series is a masterpiece, perfectly written. In fact, my all-time very favorite series. I identify so much with The Black Company characters that I actually start to miss them, and end up re-reading the entire series again every few years. Must be on my fourth or fifth time through now. Every time, I somehow feel as though I'm coming home.

I absolutely love Glen Cook's writing style. I see that several reviewers complain about it being overly choppy a

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The Black Company: What was the hook? 12 55 Aug 11, 2013 05:10PM  
Fantasy Book Club: Planning to read, First Impressions 66 202 Jun 10, 2013 04:35PM  
Fantasy Book Club: Finished reading, spoilers ok 21 108 Apr 04, 2013 04:06AM  
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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...
The Black Company (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #1) 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) Shadow Games (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #4)

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“There are no self-proclaimed villains, only regiments of self-proclaimed saints. Victorious historians rule where good or evil lies.” 7 likes
“Evil is relative, Annalist. You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.” 1 likes
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