Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shadowline (Starfishers Trilogy, #1)” as Want to Read:
Shadowline (Starfishers Trilogy, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Starfishers Trilogy #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  643 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here

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 car
Paperback, 350 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Warner Books Inc
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shadowline, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shadowline

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  643 ratings  ·  49 reviews

Sort order
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This is a buddy read with my fellow Glen Cook fans: Choko, Lee, and Sarah.

Meet Storm family. To call it dysfunctional would be an understatement of the year.
dysfunctional family
The oldest Storm Gneaus is a head of an elite mercenary band. He inherited this title from his father. Obviously there is a pressure on his numerous sons to become a tough leader like his father. The problem is, only one of them - the youngest - has what it takes to become one.

The very lifestyle of a mercenary leader creates enormous amou
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
We are the Glen Cook Cult and We Shall not Stop until We Have Read All the Glorious Books our Wondrous Senpai Has ever Written Buddy Read (WatGCCaWSnSuWHRAtGBoWSHeWBR™) with my dear wife Choko , Grand Master Evgeny and Lee The Noob

Friendly warning: this review is particularly shitty uninteresting. Just so you know. And loooooong. Way toooo looooong. Jut so you know. I love you too.

The Special Glen Cook Rating System (SGCRS™) applies here. Meaning that in Glen Cook Wonderland (GCW™) this boo
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with all the Cook Mercenaries at BB&B! This time in space:):):)

This is another story in the life of a major mercenary family, which in the years of 2950-3052 is in war with another major mercenary empire in space. That is at least the set up. In reality, it is a big space opera told from different POV's with non-linear time progression, jumping back and forth in time, all somehow connected with the Shadowline War. It also concentrates on the Storm dynasty, of which the
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.75 Stars - Roast Pork without the crackling.

First off, let me say that it was great being back into Cooks writing. It has been far too long for me and I am excited to find a whole series to look forward to.

This was a buddy read with the Cook Fan Club. Which was fun in itself and I certainly find that group reads can certainly add to a read, especially since I hardly ever discuss books with anyone at work.

Shadowline is ............ well, its Cook. It is like being on a roller coaster. The time
3-1/2 stars, rounded down

Not really a review, just some rambles:

This was an interesting read, as it's an early Glen Cook work that predates the Black Company novels. It features all of his trademarks: complex characters with strong motives, a fascinating world, and of course lots of backstabbing and plot twists, with no safe characters. And yet it was to the Black Company as a bare winter tree is to its leafy summer self, as everything was much more obvious to me as a reader. It wasn't bad by a
Apr 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Joey Simeroth
Oct 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Eric H.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it

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
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 Sangare ...more
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really liked the Black Company novels, but couldn't get into this one.
Sarah S
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Space opera. A little bit confusing because of multiple time lines. This book traces the fall of the Iron Legion. It is allegedly roughly based on Norse mythology. The basic universe consists of Earth which is in decline having sent all of its adventurers out into the universe earlier. The time frame is about a thousand years from now. On the periphery of the galaxy, large families of mercenaries conduct warfare. One of the greatest of these is the Storm Family, headed by a 200 year old. His Iro ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book about revenge and the death of a way of life. It is a tale is old as time progress makes professions die as new force act to take away their purpose. The book gets interesting as it is a story of two private mercenary armies fighting for a valuable resource worth a lot of currency used in it. What made this book interesting is the rise of modern PMC that are often seen fighting in resource rich nations as trainers, guards, and even soldiers for the various factions. I would recommend this ...more
Boulder Boulderson
I love Glen Cook, he has written some amazing books - not least the Black Company series. This one is not quite up there. I haven't checked the dates, but it feels like one of his early ones, and it is a bit confused/ over complicated compared to the lean style of the Black Company.

OK, I went and checked the dates, and it is an early one. Don't get me wrong, it's very good, and develops into something better as it goes along, it just lacks the assurance of later novels. If you like Cook, and wan
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book about the cycles of revenge, the cruelties and loyalties of men who lead armies, and how we are shaped by the events in our lives.

This book tells the story of a war taking place on the planet Blackworld, and its role in the tangled web of revenge between an heir, a mercenary warlord, and a cunning man playing with their loyalties.

This was a slow read for me because I sometimes felt confused about characters and places, or this would have been a 5-star read.
Drew McCaffrey
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like all of Cook’s work, Shadowline is a sparsely written but surprisingly deep novel about the ways in which emotions drive war. The disparate threads, spread across hundreds of years, come together in an eminently satisfying manner.
Natalie Portmanteau
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty good on second read but Cook has distasteful depictions of women that I think I didn't noticed when I was younger. Shame.
Nov 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Superior space adventure.

This is a decent book but slightly disappointing too, the disappointment comes from the fact that Cook does characters so much better than most sci-fi authors that it is disappointing that he isn't better at plot.

The characters are all interesting, no two-dimensional clichés here, with decent back stories and motivations that become more and more fleshed out as the story progresses. There are a variety of damaged people with conflicting agendas who always act in a believ
Eric Wisdahl
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Jesse Mcconnell
Sep 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
Sep 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
George Bargoud
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Year's Best SF 15
  • Monstrocity
  • The Eternal Prison (Avery Cates, #3)
  • The Van Rijn Method (Technic Civilization 1)
  • One Night Stands and Lost Weekends
  • Dreamships
  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2010: The Year's Best SF and Fantasy
  • Jed the Dead
  • Debatable Space
  • Osprey Island
  • There Is No Darkness
  • The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 1
  • The Scoundrel Worlds (Star Risk, #2)
  • State of Decay (Revivors, #1)
  • The Return of Nathan Brazil (Saga of the Well World, #4)
  • A Song Called Youth
  • Retief At Large
  • A Matter for Men (War Against the Chtorr #1)
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

Other books in the series

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