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The Return of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #7-8)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  2,908 ratings  ·  59 reviews
"Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive. . .

"I am Murgen, Standardbearer of the Black Company, though I bear the shame of having lost that standard in battle. I am keeping these Annals because Croaker is dead, One-Eye won't, and hardly anyone else can read or write. I will be your guide for however long it takes the Shadowlanders to force
Paperback, 672 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Gardens of the Moon by Steven EriksonA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieThe Black Company by Glen CookMemories of Ice by Steven Erikson
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Community Reviews

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A great series became even greater... I love the humor Murgen injects in his writing, even if Croaker thinks that Murgen is too self-interested. There are some fantastic lines, and the by-play between the Old Crew members is wonderful. There were several points where I laughed so hard the bed shook!

I need to go back to the Malazan series, but at this point, 10 or so months after I read them, I have to give the Black Company the edge. Not by much, but I have really loved the last 7 (?) or so book
This series just keeps getting better. The switch in narrator/Annalist takes some getting used to after spending all those pages with Croaker, but it's a good switch and a needed one really since Murgen brings a different point of view and an additional (strong) back story in to the mix. A lot happens -- some of it expected, some not. And there's enough change in relationships, situations and alliances to keep everything from going stale.

Content warning: these two novels have more instances of
The new Black Company omnibus definitely satisfies, especially in the wake of the cliffhanger ending of Dreams of Steel, which supposedly concluded The Books of the South, but in reality did nothing of the kind.

This omnibus comprises the first two books of the four-book Glittering Stone quartet, and while the end of this volume isn't a cliffhanger in the strictest sense, it's close. At least I have plenty of other books in my queue to read while I anxiously await the conclusion...
"Dreams too easily become nightmares."
Joshua Simon
This book covers the first half of the Glittering Stone saga. Murgen takes a stab at being Annalist and does a great job at it. The stakes have risen and the Black Company finds themselves in a perilous position by the end, setting up a million questions in the mind of the reader.

These two books in my opinion are a step up from the Books of the South and set up an amazing conclusion in the next collection "The Many Deaths of the Black Company."

Buddy read with Athena & Gavin!
This book started off a bit oddly with Murgen (the Narrator) sliding between locations and times with little or no warning. This was obviously intentional, but was not clearly explained at first that that is what was happening. Once I realized it though it proved an interesting way of revealing back story without using a recap.

There are sections that hint as to what is happening on the Glittering Plain, which while they give hints and are interesting, I found to be generally difficult and never
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4 stars and more. Books 7 & 8 of the Black Company series; Books 1 & 2 of the Glittering Stone 4-book subseries. i read Water Sleeps, Book 9, first, tsk, because that's the way it came to hand. this is a marvelous series, and the writing in it just keeps getting better and better. Murgen is currently the annalist for the Black Company, and Croaker as the previous holder of that post complains herein that his PoV is too personal, but Murgen is half Croaker's second and half a walker throu ...more
James Tallett
Like all of the books of the Black Company series, I find the dialogue and the writing excellent. The one point I will knock the series for is that the whole collection (with the exception of the Silver Spike) is one book. It means that this story doesn't end, here, but instead ends in Soldiers Live, two books further on.

And of course, I have now started Water Sleeps. Soldiers Live, I'll see you shortly.
I love the series. POV changes, but that did not trouble me, I actually recognise that potential all along. Chronicles, right?
Well, what I like about the Black Company is that it illustrates more or less everyday guys in war in a truthful way. The protagonist are neither heroes nor saints, their first priority is survival. The no nonsense writing form Cook is refreshing.
Ray W
Bleak Seasons takes place from Murgen's point of view during the siege of Dejagore (during the same time frame as Dreams of Steel). A good portion of Bleak Seasons runs concurrently with Dreams of Steel but there are also future events sprinkled in. The time frame of the story warps around A LOT which left me a little disconcerted more than once. A difference in this book is that the point of view is always that of Murgen. I don't recall the chapters ever skipping around to any of the other char ...more
I really enjoyed Murgen as the new annalist for the Black Company. Story moved well, and his perspective (though a bit confusing at first with the jumps back in time) was quite refreshing.

I'm really looking forward to the 4th Omnibus in this series so that I can find out what happens (this book really leaves you hanging).
Evgeni Kirilov
There isn't much I can say that will surprise Glen Cook's readers. If you are this far into the series, you should know that this omnibus follows the same style as the previous ones. The only notable difference is that we get to see Murgen as the main viewpoint character, and Cook does some interesting things with that.
Troy G
A compilation of 2 of the best books I've ever read. You should get this or the books individually and read them. For more details see my reviews of the the individual books.

Note: This is my suggested point to start the Black Company series. You can go back and pick up the previous books if you want to later.
The series still does not disappoint. This one (the first of the contained two books in particular) ups the ante by experimenting with temporality.

The first half of it is told from the point of view of a character unanchored in time, clearly as confused by the process as the reader is. This allows Glen Cook to turn the tale of a rather grueling siege into a more dynamic chase through time and space, with both goals and means only slowly uncovered. I found it very well done and compelling.

The sto
This series started well and stays strong. It has a very classic swords & sorcery feel, like a latter-day "Appendix N" series. Very nice. The only problem is that as soon as I finish one I want to read the next one!
I find that this book not to my taste not because the story not good but because Crocker the hero that I've invested so much time with no longer the protagonist. He is only one of the character in the book. After a few chapter of reading I end up just skimming the rest of the book. I probably will not read the rest of the sad...I really loves to find out the end of the story. Will he marry Lady? Will they find their daughter? Will they reach Khatovar? I will probably never find out.. ...more
Matthew Bane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The continuation of the quest of the Black Company to find their origins as "the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar." Unfortunately, both the Company, and us readers, are stalled within sight of this goal as they must deal with a new war, the politics of both their new employers and their new/old enemies, and other complications.

The conflicts presented in these stories are interesting, but maddening because it's already past time for the "Khatovar" quest to end. If these stories had been pre
I have mixed feelings on this portion of the Chronicles of the Black Company. On one hand, the move into the new territories added some fresh elements to the story line, and moved the plot in some interesting directions. On the other hand, I found much of the reading to be difficult due to the annalist's propensity toward falling through time. There were several portions which were simply confusing, and the pacing just wasn't as consistent as the other books.

Like the other books, these are writ
Marc Jentzsch
Quite possibly the most disappointing of the series so far. It isn't that they're bad, just that they're not nearly as compelling as the previous outings have been.

That said, we do get a peek into the background of what happened at the siege of Dejagore and the Nyeung Bao are an interesting mismash of a couple recognizable cultures and are fleshed out some here. Plots come to a head and the end comes again, not quite where it would be in most stories.

There are generally two types of Black Compan
Unlike some people, I enjoyed this instalment of The Chronicles of the Black Company more than its predecessors.

Perhaps this is because these volumes are chronicled by Murgen, and Cook is using a somewhat different style in the telling of the tales. It was in this book that I became more aware of the differences between the annals as kept by Croaker and briefly Lady, something which is mentioned in the book itself. I felt there was a difference in narration - now whether this was a trick of my m
Yvonne Jae
After I had read the "Chronicles of the Black Company" I was quite sure that I'd march through all other "Black Company" books. I must say that I need a break from the Black Company for now - not a bad thing though, I'm just saving the last two novels for a special occassion.

At the beginning of "Bleak Season", Cook confused me a little with going back and forth in time and place which does make sense of course if you want to communicate a story that took place in a time that is already past but
Joe Maddox
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A part of me wanted to like Murgen. But mostly I resented him for not telling the story I wanted to read, especially after the last cliffhanger ending.

This book is also a great example of why I typically don't read the sprawling multi-volume epics (and yet what are the sequels to [link: The Chronicles of the Black Company] but sprawling multi-volume epics?). A storyline that once felt tight and well-planned has mushroomed into something unwieldy. This should not have been much longer than the fi
The first part, bleak seasons, is just crap and confusing and its really hard to trace the story. The second part, she is the darkness, is actually great. It is a really good story and I wanted to read more. The details of the story is better and you actually get to know some of the characters, a quantum leap compared with the other stories. The total stars are only 3 because the first part is so bad.
Geanncarlo Lugo-Villarino
Kathovar at last!

Nicely woven with the previous trilogies, this one take us along with the black company to its home, Kathovar. Filled with twists and turn, the trip there is highly entertaining and thrilling, and guided by Murgen, the standard bearer and the analyst, we are in for a great adventure facing an admirable enemies and mythological creatures. Two thumbs up!
These are not bad books, but they just don't sustain the pacing and level of adventure set in previous chronicles. I honestly hated the Smoke/Dreamwalking deus ex machina that Cook and the book's characters lean waaaaaaay too heavily upon. Maybe if you have to have an all-seeing eye-in-the sky to keep up with all of your plot points in both time and space you should re-evaluate where your story is going? It just seemed very lazy, is all I'm saying. I will keep reading because I still care, but I ...more
I really liked his first trilogy. I also like how he writes it form the first person POV. And as I'm continuing to read the chronicles of the Black Company, he's found a very clever way to switch persons for the POV. It says a lot about his versatility of writing style when he can change narrators like that, and not only has he switched narrators, he does it well. I can really appreciate the depth of his writing being able to create a whole new way of looking at things and it not get so old. The ...more
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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 Chronicle of the Black Company, #1)
  • Shadows Linger (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #2)
  • The White Rose (The Chronicle 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 Chronicle of the Black Company, #7)
  • Water Sleeps (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #8)
  • Soldiers Live (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #9)
  • A Pitiless Rain (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #10)
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 (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #4-6)

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