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The Return of the Black Company

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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  4,959 Ratings  ·  93 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 1997)
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Rating details
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Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bleak Seasons - 4 stars -
She is the Darkness - 5 stars
Bleak Seasons: ★★★★★
She is the Darkness: ★★★★★
Milda Page Runner
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Milda by: Evgeny
Shelves: dark-fantasy

Bleak Seasons 3* review
She is the Darkness 4* review
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-company
Buddy read with Athena & Gavin!
Mar 11, 2011 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
Sep 25, 2009 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...
Mar 03, 2010 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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 01, 2010 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
Joshua Simon
May 26, 2011 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."

Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
"Dreams too easily become nightmares."
Dec 08, 2015 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
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: home-library, fantasy
I really didn't like this one as much as the previous 2 omnibuses. I'm disappointed in the switch of viewpoint from Croaker & Lady to Murgen. There were a lot of flashbacks to incidences that had already occurred in the previous books, but told from Murgen's view inside Dejagore. So the the reader knows exactly what is going on already and is just waiting for the character to catch up to current events. And then when he does, said events aren't as fast-paced or interesting as the reader has ...more
Feb 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Tallett
Sep 07, 2011 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.
Evgeni Kirilov
Jun 23, 2012 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.
Oct 23, 2009 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).
Troy G
Dec 01, 2010 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.
Jan 02, 2012 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.
Feb 22, 2011 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!
Nov 23, 2015 marked it as deals  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grimdark
23 November 2015: $5.99 on Kindle
Mike O'brecht
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is probably better than the rating I gave it. Especially when I consider the surprises and shocking twists that occurred. Learning about the history of The Black Company is always interesting, but the way the story is written from Murgen's view is very different from Coaker's. I would agree with Croaker's own assessment of Murgen's writing, that it is very self involved.

With that said, this book was better than the one based in The Plain of Fear. The "ghost walking" although interesti
Patrick St-Denis
Apr 02, 2016 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.

May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Solid entries in the series, perhaps deceptively so. Was worried that covering some of the same ground as the previous book would make for a boring read in Bleak Seasons, but Cook employs a bit of narrative playfulness that keeps things fresh and interesting. Murgen proves to be an entertaining narrator, and he provides a personal focus to the unfolding story of the Company. She Is The Darkness falls to a bit more familiar territory, in terms of the Company's entering headlong into another campa ...more
Ignacio Correa Falconi
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I finally finished this omnibus, after a long time of pause. Not bad, and Cook, as always, knows how to write a good end and cliffhanger.

I'm still biased by Malazan Book of the Fallen, so I think these books are good, but not excellent. As always, I appreciate the militar and soldier PoV in a fantasy setting, something uncommon.
Philip Chaston
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Should have been named Bleak Company for that ending...
Too long, often confusing. I really don't like the dreaming stuff. The action is very slow, but story is still ok, characters are great.
Rorschach Ror
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love how grim this universe is. I also enjoy the mundane soldiers point of view against tyrannical sorcery.
Christopher Fore
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Better than Croaker's annals
Adon Coya
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Not in par with previous 5 books, still a good read; but a huge cliffhanger in the end!
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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

Other books in the series

The Chronicles of the Black Company (10 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)