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The Return of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #6-7)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  3,711 Ratings  ·  74 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 CookDeadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
Military Fantasy
54th out of 247 books — 473 voters
Moon Called by Patricia BriggsMagic Bites by Ilona AndrewsThe Final Empire by Brandon SandersonMagic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsGraceling by Kristin Cashore
Best Fantasy Books with Strong Women Characters
100th out of 456 books — 334 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Milda Page Runner
Oct 31, 2015 Milda Page Runner rated it really liked it
Recommended to Milda by: Evgeny
Shelves: dark-fantasy

Bleak Seasons 3* review
She is the Darkness 4* review
May 18, 2011 Brandon rated it really liked it
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
Mar 26, 2010 Derek rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2010 Wm rated it really liked it
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
Jun 20, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, war-ptsd
Wow. I was speechless when I finished it last night and I'm speechless after a good night's sleep. Glenn Cook is a master story-teller. He wove elements in there that I normally would have scoffed at because they were so outlandish, but the build was so slow and so thorough that he was able to suspend my disbelief. It was a slower read this time - though I wonder if that's not the book and just life in general getting in the way - no less enjoyable however.

On to the next if I have the emotional
Oct 18, 2009 Raja rated it really liked it
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...
Aug 15, 2015 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
"Dreams too easily become nightmares."
Joshua Simon
May 26, 2011 Joshua Simon rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 11, 2016 F.T. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
These next two books in this series are a wild ride full of drops, twists and turns. I initially balked at having a new narrator, but that didn’t last long. I liked Murgen and he continued to grow on me as I went. He’s a great character, a farmer who ended up with the Black Company as Annalist and Standardbearer. He’s resourceful, sarcastic, sensitive and a little messed up.

This story threw me in the beginning. Murgen has this mysterious ability to leave his body and jump around in time-space, a
Nov 23, 2015 Angela marked it as deals  ·  review of another edition
23 November 2015: $5.99 on Kindle
Mar 24, 2010 Holly rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 16, 2014 Macha rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2011 James Tallett rated it really liked it
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.
Cory Smart
Jan 29, 2016 Cory Smart rated it really liked it
It takes a while to get used to the new narrator Murgen and his initial exploits that seem to go back and forth in time, but stick with it! You will find out what is happening with him. Murgen is different from Croaker as a narrator, not quite as sarcastic and maybe not as forward thinking but he grew on me. I loved his personal story through these books. It's really an emotional rollercoaster.

Croaker has changed and maybe not for the better, but you can understand the stress he must be under. L
Jan 09, 2012 Sebastian rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2014 Ray W rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Nov 02, 2009 Derek rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jun 23, 2012 Evgeni Kirilov rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 05, 2010 Troy G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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.
Aug 16, 2014 Drsilent rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 22, 2011 Colin rated it it was amazing
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!
May 07, 2014 Fayzul rated it it was ok
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
Patrick St-Denis
Jun 08, 2016 Patrick St-Denis rated it liked it
I know, this review was a long time in coming. Heck, the one for Glen Cook's The Books of the South dates from 2009. I am ashamed to realize just how behind I am when it comes to various "older" SFF series. So this year I've decided to do something about it, which is why you have seen reviews for books/series by Jacqueline Carey, Jim Butcher, C. J. Cherryh, and now Glen Cook. I've been meaning to get more up-to-date with several series in 2016, so expect more such reviews in the months to come.

Kiel Van Horn
May 14, 2016 Kiel Van Horn rated it really liked it
It's certainly fun reading Mr. Glen Cook. It's particularly fun because his storytelling powers are also advancing. It's like that summer I read Harry Potter backwards and realized just how JKRowling's writing powers leveled up.

In this omnibus edition covering two books, Cook is exploring a storytelling device wherein the main character "slips" through time in seizuristic spells, experiencing himself in past times before returning to the "present"—or so we think. The books also play with the id
Sep 05, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2015-reads
Finally finished! This is the longest it's taken me to finish a book in a long time. General life happenings kept getting in the way of my normal reading time, and so this story feels like it's been with me for a LONG time.

The first book of the omnibus was tough. The change in narrator, time jumps, and slow burning setup (combined with my lack to time to read) made it really hard to delve into it. The second book was a bit better, but it really took until the last 150-200 pages for me to really
Matthew Bane
Aug 14, 2015 Matthew Bane rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2010 John rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
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
Jan 03, 2014 Marc Jentzsch rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, pulp
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
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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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