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She is the Darkness

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The wind whines and howls with bitter breath. Lightning snarls and barks. Rage is an animate force upon the plain of glittering stone. Even shadows are afraid. At the heart of the plain stands a vast grey stronghold, unknown, older than any written memory. One ancient tower has collapsed across the fissure. From the heart of the fastness comes a great deep slow breath like The wind whines and howls with bitter breath. Lightning snarls and barks. Rage is an animate force upon the plain of glittering stone. Even shadows are afraid. At the heart of the plain stands a vast grey stronghold, unknown, older than any written memory. One ancient tower has collapsed across the fissure. From the heart of the fastness comes a great deep slow breath like that of a slumbering world-heart, cracking the olden silence. Death is eternity. Eternity is stone. Stone is silence. Stone cannot speak but stone remembers. So begins the next movement of Glittering Stone.... The tale again comes to us from the pen of Murgen, Annalist and Standard Bearer of the Black Company, whose developing powers of travel through space and time give him a perspective like no other. Led by the wily commander, Croaker, and the Lady, the Company is working for the Taglian government, but neither the Company nor the Taglians are overflowing with trust for each other. Arrayed against both is a similarly tenuous alliance of sorcerers, including the diabolical Soulcatcher, the psychotic Howler, and a four-year-old child who may be the most powerful of all.


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The wind whines and howls with bitter breath. Lightning snarls and barks. Rage is an animate force upon the plain of glittering stone. Even shadows are afraid. At the heart of the plain stands a vast grey stronghold, unknown, older than any written memory. One ancient tower has collapsed across the fissure. From the heart of the fastness comes a great deep slow breath like The wind whines and howls with bitter breath. Lightning snarls and barks. Rage is an animate force upon the plain of glittering stone. Even shadows are afraid. At the heart of the plain stands a vast grey stronghold, unknown, older than any written memory. One ancient tower has collapsed across the fissure. From the heart of the fastness comes a great deep slow breath like that of a slumbering world-heart, cracking the olden silence. Death is eternity. Eternity is stone. Stone is silence. Stone cannot speak but stone remembers. So begins the next movement of Glittering Stone.... The tale again comes to us from the pen of Murgen, Annalist and Standard Bearer of the Black Company, whose developing powers of travel through space and time give him a perspective like no other. Led by the wily commander, Croaker, and the Lady, the Company is working for the Taglian government, but neither the Company nor the Taglians are overflowing with trust for each other. Arrayed against both is a similarly tenuous alliance of sorcerers, including the diabolical Soulcatcher, the psychotic Howler, and a four-year-old child who may be the most powerful of all.

30 review for She is the Darkness

  1. 5 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    💀 Buddy reread with the clueless new mercenary recruits Elena, Mark and Maria over at BB&B. Under the wicked supervision of our Ever-Stalking Black Company Overlord (ESBCO™), of course 💀 Previous rating: 18 stars. New rating: 20+ million stars. And a half. ➽ And the moral of this reread is : there is a slight chance this might possibly be the best book in this series. And one of the bestest books I have ever read in the entirety of my entire life. And also one of my mostest favoritest books of a 💀 Buddy reread with the clueless new mercenary recruits Elena, Mark and Maria over at BB&B. Under the wicked supervision of our Ever-Stalking Black Company Overlord (ESBCO™), of course 💀 Previous rating: 18 stars. New rating: 20+ million stars. And a half. ➽ And the moral of this reread is : there is a slight chance this might possibly be the best book in this series. And one of the bestest books I have ever read in the entirety of my entire life. And also one of my mostest favoritest books of all time. Maybe. Perhaps (view spoiler)[ looks like I might already have said as much in my original review for the book. Maybe. Perhaps. Oh well (hide spoiler)] . ➽ And the other moral of this reread is : ghostwalking (not to be mistaken for that other glorious pastime commonly known as ♫ghostdancing♫, just so you know) + my boyfriend Murgen (aka He Who Snores Roars Like A Starving Bear) being his usual, super hot self + severed heads (view spoiler)[ duh (hide spoiler)] + mercenaries mushrooms + treacherously treacherous everyone and everything + my boyfriend Croaker turning into a grumpy, harrumphing grandpa without losing an inch of his utter sexiness + ectoplasmic short hairs + grim brats in dire need of a good paddling + Machiavellian Twists R Us + the hottest couple the world has ever seen + paranoia maxima + the undying charm of my girlfriend Lady nasty old bitches + emergency flying carpets + the best aunt ever this side of the Plain of Fear + the most nerve wracking final chapters in the history of most nerve wracking final chapters = And also: P.S. I think I like this book. A little. [Original review] ☠ Glen Cook Please Have Mercy on Us Buddy Read (GCPHMoUBR™) with my fellow mercenaries Evasive, Slowpoke and Cleaver ☠ Actual rating: 18 freaking stars. Yes, intergalactic amazement is me again. ➽ A quick recap for the clueless people Little Barnacles who had the terrible misfortune to miss the previous episodes: ❣ Glen Cook is a GENIUS. ❣ Glen Cook is inhumanly TALENTED. ❣ Glen Cook is a GOD. ❣ Glen Cook, I worship thee. ❣ Glen Cook, I am naught but a lowly barnacle in utter awe and complete amazement of your never-before and never-after equaled BRILLIANCE. ❣ This series is the best series EVER. ❣ The books in this series are some of the VERY best I have EVER read in the entirety of my entire life. ❣ Blah blah blah. ❣ Blah blah blah. ❣ Blah blah blah. ❣ And blah. ❣ And stuff. (view spoiler)[You're welcome. (hide spoiler)] You think I have nothing else to say here? Because there is no way anyone can review utter perfection for the seventh time in a row? Hahahahaha. You're so funny, my Little Barnacles. You should know by now that I ALWAYS have something to say. Admittedly, what I have to say is mostly pointless and uninteresting, but has it ever stopped me before, I ask you? No, you don't need to answer that. Because QED and all that crap. So. She is the Freaking Darkness . I swear, Glen Cook nearly killed my fellow reading buddies mercenaries and my little self here. Most of our discussions about this book went something like this: » Mercenary #1: "asdfadasfdrtwefjskhfbiyhuiw!!!!" » Mercenaries #2 & 3: "we know!! We know!!" » Evgeny, aka Evasive: this will be explained two books from now. » Mercenaries #1, 2 & 3: "ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" Yes, there are lots of #BRBdead moments in this series book. Because Glen Cook is more devious, more vicious and more ruthless than all the villainous villains in this series put together. I'm telling you, this guy is almost as heartless as I am. And that's saying something. The man is out to get us. But before he does, he will revel in watching us suffer endlessly. It is absolutely glorious. Yes, Glen Cook is actually a freaky cat in real life. Who would have thought you could write the best series in the history of best series using only freaky kitty cat's paws? Why so many #BRBdead moments, you ask? Because this book is Backstabbing Paradise. Diabolically Duplicitous Double-Crossing (DDDC™) is a Glen Cook trademark, but treachery and betrayal and manipulation reach unprecedented levels in this instalment. Knives in the back are the ultimate fashion accessory here! Backstabbers being backstabbed by the backstabbers they thought they were backstabbing while those were being backstabbed by the backstabbers they thought were backstabbing! From the very first to the very last page! And when I say the very last page, I mean it, Little Barnacles! And what goes hand in hand with Backstabbing Paradise, I ask you? Paranoia Heaven! YESSS!!!!! You can trust no one in She is the Freaking Darkness! NO ONE and NOTHING! Oh yeah, that's right. Not even rocks can be trusted here. Things get so heavenly paranoid in Paranoia Heaven you even start having doubts about the Mostest Awesomest Holy Trinity (MAHT™), aka MY Murgen, Grumpy Croakie, and Impaling Fangirl Lady! Yep, that is just how heavenly paranoid and deliciously suspicious things get in this book. You can trust NO ONE and NOTHING, I tell you! Not even the love of your life, the ex-love of your life, or your future girlfriend! It's wicked yumminess and yummy wickedness perfection! Now. I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about this Glorious Object of Utter Perfection (GOfUP™), but today seems to be Lucky Little Barnacle Day (LLBD™) so the crap is about to get cut. BUT. But. But. But. I wouldn't dream of letting you resume your desperately boring, Cook-less life without mentioning a few of the Glorious Things that makes this GOfUP™ utterly glorious. So here goes: Bamboo tubes. Freaky kids, aka grim midgets. Problematic in-laws getting drunkenly down and dirty with grumpy-insane wizards on wood pallets (life will never be the same). Reformed-yet-not-so-reformed raving lunatics. Little shits everywhere. Ghostbustingwalking (view spoiler)[who you gonna call? (hide spoiler)] . Mystic parasites. Mushrooms kept in the dark and fed a diet of horseshit. Ectoplasmic spies. AND WHO THE BLOODY HELL THE FREAKING DARKNESS IS SHE????!!!!! {please insert sigh of utter, absolute bliss and complete total contentment here. And you might want to throw in a tiny little bit of subdued excitement, too} Oh please don't act surprised and pretend you didn't know this was coming! Actually, you should feel really lucky I was able to keep my inner fangirl in check up until now. So stop whining, you big babies. We only have two instalments left to read in this series. We shall return. We shall get revenge on all the devious, treacherous bastards and go all Lady-Kina-Deceivers on them. There will be blood. There will be beheadings. And garrotings. And impalements. Limbs shall get deliciously severed. And our interiors shall be redecorated with our enemies' body parts. Because that's how we roll in Glen Cook Heaven (GCH™). "Even Water sleeps, but Enemy never rests." · Book 1: The Black Company ★★★★★ · Book 1.5: Port of Shadows ★ ← I have no idea where this book came from, or what it's about. Pretty sure I never read it. · Book 2: Shadows Linger ★★★★★ · Book 2.2 (short story): Shaggy Dog Bridge ★★★★★ · Book 2.3 (short story): Bone Eaters ★★★★★ · Book 3: The White Rose ★★★★★ · Book 3.5: The Silver Spike ★★ ← pretending this one never happened. · Book 4: Shadow Games ★★★★★ · Book 5: Dreams of Steel ★★★★★ · Book 6: Bleak Seasons ★★★★★ · Book 8: Water Sleeps ★★★★★ · Book 9: Soldiers Live ★★★★★

  2. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    Buddy read with Athena & Gavin! "Darkness is our time. And darkness always comes." With the Siege of Dejagore a distant memory, the Black Company goes relentlessly on in the quest for Khatovar and the lost tales of its origins. And while all kinds of enemies rally against them, the Company marches on the fortress of Overlook, last stronghold before the mythic Plain of the Glittering Stone... She Is the Darkness is definitely the best Black Company book so far, beating even the spectacular Dreams of Buddy read with Athena & Gavin! "Darkness is our time. And darkness always comes." With the Siege of Dejagore a distant memory, the Black Company goes relentlessly on in the quest for Khatovar and the lost tales of its origins. And while all kinds of enemies rally against them, the Company marches on the fortress of Overlook, last stronghold before the mythic Plain of the Glittering Stone... She Is the Darkness is definitely the best Black Company book so far, beating even the spectacular Dreams of Steel. Even though I prefer Croaker's and Lady's points of view, the Books of Murgen are brilliant in their own right. Besides Glen Cook's masterful combination of eloquence and profanity, this book is filled with grand battle scenes, extraordinary plot twists, a villain rising up to become one of the greatest characters in the series, and the absolute best ending in the series so far.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    Just because you’re paranoid does not mean they’re not out to get you. A group read with my fellow GR mercenaries Choko, Eilonwy, and Sarah (by the way, thank you for the picture idea). I will try to give a very general idea about this installment of The Black Company to the people completely unfamiliar with it. Imagine unicorns and rainbows, My Little Pony, and Teletubbies. Well, these are not even remotely close – they are so unlike each other they might come from different galaxies. How about Just because you’re paranoid does not mean they’re not out to get you. A group read with my fellow GR mercenaries Choko, Eilonwy, and Sarah (by the way, thank you for the picture idea). I will try to give a very general idea about this installment of The Black Company to the people completely unfamiliar with it. Imagine unicorns and rainbows, My Little Pony, and Teletubbies. Well, these are not even remotely close – they are so unlike each other they might come from different galaxies. How about Sesame Street? Surprisingly now we are getting closer. One of the main themes of the book are people being paranoid in suspecting everybody and consequently trusting nobody. In the vast majority of cases the paranoia is justified as your closest allies are always ready to stick a knife in your back the moment you become stupid enough to turn the said part of your body to them. They betray you to your common enemy only to backstab them as well, sometimes only one page later. Sometime late in the book things got so intense I had trouble remembering who was fighting on what side – and this is my reread. Coming back to the plot the novel starts exactly where the last one left. The Black Company is ready to go on offensive even if practically everybody thinks this is exactly the wrong season for it. The Captain and the Lieutenant of the Company are hell-bent on revenge, so it is not exactly clear what the driving force behind their motivation is and whether they were really ready for a winter campaign. Because of paranoia I mentioned above even these two are not completely truthful with each other. The level of trust between people who have different agendas goes all the way to negative values. I can go on and on, but it is sufficient to say this is one of the best book of the series. If you made if this far you will continue going on – and not just because there are only two books left; the quality and excitement improve with each following installment. You have been warned. As for the rating it is very simple. Any book which keeps me awake in the middle of the night during the reread is worth unconditional 5 stars, period.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    "In normal times," Longshadow said, "I would go out to the Shadowgate personally and employ the traps there to collect the shadows I want to use. To obtain the best effect they have to be trained. Once they are properly trained they will leave their friends alone. The skrinsa can employ them without troubling me. But these are not normal times." No. They were not. And when he mentioned the shadowweavers I began to wonder if he knew just how bad off he was when it came to followers. At no time had "In normal times," Longshadow said, "I would go out to the Shadowgate personally and employ the traps there to collect the shadows I want to use. To obtain the best effect they have to be trained. Once they are properly trained they will leave their friends alone. The skrinsa can employ them without troubling me. But these are not normal times." No. They were not. And when he mentioned the shadowweavers I began to wonder if he knew just how bad off he was when it came to followers. At no time had he ever had much contact with those who managed the daily business of his fortress. He gave orders. They got executed. Only a handful of his people had survived Lady's last attack. They continued to care for him. Howler had seen to that. He no longer had any shadowweavers to manage any trained shadows he might have. On the other hand... At one time there had been a crystal chamber atop a tower every seventy feet along Overlook's southern wall. Inside each was a mirror that could be used to cast the light there in a beam onto the ground surrounding the road down from the Shadowgate. It had taken a couple of men to aim each mirror. Longshadow did something by moving small figurines in a collection on a table, as though making multiple moves in a board game. He said a single word. The lights in the surviving tower tops waxed brilliant. Light beams reached out across the night. Like accusing fingers they swung to point in the general area of Croaker's Old Division. They did not light up the slope nearly as well as they had in former times but I was impressed. They did their jobs without the aid of one human hand. The others there were impressed, too. Narayan seemed a little troubled, the Howler suddenly restless. Longshadow did not notice. He moved on to his next step. He said, "The lights are unnecessary to coming events. I just thought it would be amusing if our enemies watched one another scream their lives out." He giggled. Howler sat up straight as a spear, suddenly alert. He did not like the way things were going. Maybe Longshadow was not as big a fool as everyone thought. I spent a moment too long watching the girl for a reaction. Smoke did his she is the darkness reaction and started to back off. I held him. We were about to witness some excitement. Longshadow stepped up to the big crystal sphere standing on a pedestal at the center of the chamber. His audience watched carefully, nervously. This was not something he had done in front of witnesses before. I doubted they knew what the sphere was. The globe was four feet in diameter. What looked like little tunnels followed wormtracks in to a hollow place at its center. As Longshadow stepped closer shimmering light rippled over its surface, like oil on water but much more intense. Snakes of cold fire wriggled through the channels inside. It was a hell of a show. Longshadow raised his spidery hands. Carefully, he removed his gloves and pushed up his sleeves. The skin he revealed seemed both translucent and pus-colored, with speckles of blue beneath, like cheese. He had a fine crop of liver spots. There was almost no flesh on him at all. The Shadowmaster rested his hands on the surface of the sphere. The lights inside became excited. The surface shimmer climbed his fingers, covered his hands. His fingers sank into the globe like hot rods slowly melting their way into ice. He grabbed the worms of light and began twisting. He began to talk in a conversational sort of voice, of course using a language that nobody recognized-though the Daughter of the Night frowned and leaned forward as though she was able to puzzle out a word here and there. The Shadowmaster summoned a shadow. I could not see it. It was inside the pedestal supporting the globe. But I felt it. There was not much to it but it was very, very cold. The Howler dropped to the floor and leaned closer to watch. Narayan and the Daughter of the Night stared, bemused. The kid took a few steps forward. Singh moved closer to the door, for a better angle of view. Longshadow spoke for several minutes, his eyes closed tightly. As he finished the brightness inside the globe began to fade. He opened his eyes and stared out southward as he had done ten thousand times before, watching the area illuminated by the mirrors. She is the darkness! I was not looking at the brat... Not that darkness. A very special darkness. A surprise darkness that should not have caught me that far off guard, considering. (view spoiler)[Soulcatcher. She stepped in through a door opened by Narayan Singh as though she had been about to knock. Longshadow was not ready for this. Not at all. He was surrounded, totally betrayed, before he realized Catcher had arrived. I clung there with all the power I had to resist Smoke's terror. The little shit whined and repeated she is the darkness! like that was some mantra against the fangs of the night. "The game ends," Soulcatcher said in the booming, basso voice of a crier in an amphitheater. Then she giggled like a teenaged girl. "It's been hard work but worth it. I really like my new house." (hide spoiler)] 4 1/4 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    This installment of the Black Company series was the most enjoyable since the original trilogy. The likable Murgen is back as narrator and a host of familiar faces reappear as the Black Company continues their relentless march towards Khatovar. I continue to like Murgen's "voice" and his ability to ghost walk is also pretty interesting as it gives the reader a glimpse at the happenings of all the parties involved in the story. The villains are plentiful, and each has their own valid motivations This installment of the Black Company series was the most enjoyable since the original trilogy. The likable Murgen is back as narrator and a host of familiar faces reappear as the Black Company continues their relentless march towards Khatovar. I continue to like Murgen's "voice" and his ability to ghost walk is also pretty interesting as it gives the reader a glimpse at the happenings of all the parties involved in the story. The villains are plentiful, and each has their own valid motivations for their actions. They also hold real threat and menace. If I had to pick a favorite villain of the bunch it would be the enigmatic and unpredictable Soulcatcher. The ending was a real shocker. I'm eager to move onto Water Sleeps and discover what happens next. Rating: 4 stars. Audio Note: Johnathan Davies continues as narrator and gives his strongest performance so far.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maria Dimitrova

    Buddy read with the mercenaries of BB&B. She is the Darkness is one of those books that a reader needs breaks every once in awhile from. Not because of high handed writing or ridiculous characters but because the tension can be felt like an oppressive blanket smothering you. I just knew that this will end badly, that at the end I will be screaming and sobbing and demanding justice. I could feel the trap coming from about a third of the book in and two days later I still can't think of a way for t Buddy read with the mercenaries of BB&B. She is the Darkness is one of those books that a reader needs breaks every once in awhile from. Not because of high handed writing or ridiculous characters but because the tension can be felt like an oppressive blanket smothering you. I just knew that this will end badly, that at the end I will be screaming and sobbing and demanding justice. I could feel the trap coming from about a third of the book in and two days later I still can't think of a way for the Black Company to have avoided it (other than never setting foot in the Southern parts of their world). I didn't want to finish this book. I wanted to just put it off indefinitely but at the same time my curiosity was killing me. Is this the book in which we reached the fabled Khatovar? Do we finally learn what's in those old annals? Or how the Free Companies came to be? What is Kina planning? And who the hell is the She in the title? At some parts of the book I was convinced She is Lady, then that it's Lady and Croaker's kid, then Kina, then Soulcatcher then (for a very little time) I was even entertaining the idea that She is Mother Gota (I know weird theory but Glen Cook manages to get me all tangled up). Talking about Ky Gota I'm really mad at the Nyueng Bao. Well not all Nyueng Bao just Murgen's in-laws. they're dicks and while I was told by the more seasoned mercenaries in our little buddy-reading company that they have their reasons for what they did, I'm still pretty pissed. And the fact that Murgen is aware of what they pulled off and the current situation makes the ending all the more frustrating and heartbreaking. Seriously, can't the Black Company catch a break? Just for once I would like them to have a couple of years of peace and quiet so they can just live a little! Is that too much to ask for? Now I'm facing a dilemma. I both want to start the next book immediately and I'm scared of doing so because there'll be some major changes dictated by the ending and I'm not sure I'm ready for them. Decisions, decisions...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    The Black Company doesn't get very far in this installment of their tale. They're stuck outside Longshadow's Overlook for the vast majority of the book, wallowing in mud, barely making do for food, hunkering down during earthquakes, and defending themselves from the shadows turned loose by one of their least favourite wizards. But despite this lack of movement, I found it involving reading. If you, like me, have made it this far in the series, you're pretty invested in the Company, it's quest, a The Black Company doesn't get very far in this installment of their tale. They're stuck outside Longshadow's Overlook for the vast majority of the book, wallowing in mud, barely making do for food, hunkering down during earthquakes, and defending themselves from the shadows turned loose by one of their least favourite wizards. But despite this lack of movement, I found it involving reading. If you, like me, have made it this far in the series, you're pretty invested in the Company, it's quest, and it's future. Murgen, our standard-bearer and narrator, has his own struggles to deal with—the pain of losing his wife, the annoyance of her uncommunicative and ever-present family, and the odd duties that his strange talents have saddled him with. Actually, Murgen's ability to *walk the ghost,* apparently a form of astral projection, is an ingenius way for Cook to show us what is happening away from the Black Company without having to change narrator. Some folks are more difficult to track than others, leaving enough uncertainty to make things interesting. Plus, one man can't be everywhere at once, so some things will remain unseen. Murky enough to produce the necessary plot tension. The title of the book, although apt, is a bit nebulous until the last pages. There are plenty of women with dark designs involved in the action, so the reader has choices. Lady, Kina, Soulcatcher, or the Daughter of Darkness. These women haven't been held back by their gender! They are powers to be conjured with. There are interesting revelations and setbacks, as well as forward movement. All the paranoid, back stabby plotting that we expect from Croaker and Lady. It's reassuring to know that some things don't change. Book number 364 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project

  8. 4 out of 5

    Athena Shardbearer

    Buddy Read Gavin & Markus In the night, when the wind no longer whines, through a fortress that was there before the plain that was there before the first Free Company marched, stone whispers. Stone sprouts. Stone grows. Stone buds and stone flowers. A thousand pillars rise where no-pillar has stood before. Moonlight sweeps the plain, setting aglitter the characters taking form, remembering a few of the fallen. It is immortality of a sort. SOOOOOO much better than the last..I need the next book. I Buddy Read Gavin & Markus In the night, when the wind no longer whines, through a fortress that was there before the plain that was there before the first Free Company marched, stone whispers. Stone sprouts. Stone grows. Stone buds and stone flowers. A thousand pillars rise where no-pillar has stood before. Moonlight sweeps the plain, setting aglitter the characters taking form, remembering a few of the fallen. It is immortality of a sort. SOOOOOO much better than the last..I need the next book. I had a feeling it would have a cliff hanger ending.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Milda Page Runner

    Wow! What an ending! Dark and haunting - just perfect for Halloween! :D Much more positive book than Bleak Seasons. If that one invited to the House of Pain - this one is all about paranoia. Just as I felt my interest is starting to dwindle due to too many mysteries and hidden plots and agendas - twists started unravelling. Few I could see coming and few were pleasant surprises. Second half of the book doesn't lack in action and has some good scary moments with the shadows. I have to say shadows Wow! What an ending! Dark and haunting - just perfect for Halloween! :D Much more positive book than Bleak Seasons. If that one invited to the House of Pain - this one is all about paranoia. Just as I felt my interest is starting to dwindle due to too many mysteries and hidden plots and agendas - twists started unravelling. Few I could see coming and few were pleasant surprises. Second half of the book doesn't lack in action and has some good scary moments with the shadows. I have to say shadows reminded me a lot of Shades in Fever series and I think it's quite possible K.M.M. borrowed the idea from Cook. This book is a must read if you've read Bleak Seasons. It doesn't give all the answers but certainly unravels quite a few mysteries set out in the previous book. And that ending!! Some might see it as a cliffhanger. To me it was awesome and could just be - The End. But of course then it would leave some questions unanswered.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Choko

    *** 4.75 *** A buddy read with the mercenaries at BB&B!!! Holy-Glittering-Balls, What the Hell Happened???? WTF?!?!?! Another Black Company adventure on the road to Khatovarm and another absolutely insane ending!!! What, How, Who, all of those are questions that flashed like a disco ball in a club in the 70's through my mind, as the book got closer to its ending... So many people back-stabbed one another, that I am not sure if all the main players were not stabbed by a different blade dozens of t *** 4.75 *** A buddy read with the mercenaries at BB&B!!! Holy-Glittering-Balls, What the Hell Happened???? WTF?!?!?! Another Black Company adventure on the road to Khatovarm and another absolutely insane ending!!! What, How, Who, all of those are questions that flashed like a disco ball in a club in the 70's through my mind, as the book got closer to its ending... So many people back-stabbed one another, that I am not sure if all the main players were not stabbed by a different blade dozens of times!!!! The closer they come to their final destination, the more unseen and unexpected dangers assail the mercenaries of the Black Company. Despite the warnings, planning, and secretive manipulations the Captain Croacker and his Lady come up with, the closer they get to the mythical Plain of the Glittering Stone, the more unfortunate events befall them... No one wants to speak of the Plain and no one has ever returned from there... The ominous signs that arise at every corner are not enough to discourage Croacker from continuing his quest to reach the land where the Black Company and the other Free Companies were born.... According to legends, they were nothing like the Black Company of today, but something born of nightmares and slaughter!!!! The lost tales of its origins sing their siren song and Croacker is determined to follow!!! Meanwhile, enemies rally against them, brothers are perishing, and scariest of all, One Eye is probably hooking-up with Mother Gota!!!! THE HORROR!!! There is no way for anyone to describe the plot in a satisfying fashion without giving something up, and I am not about to do so, because I want all other readers to become as paranoid as I was by the time I was half done!!! This book got to me, making me jump at noises and expecting anyone to have an agenda and plan some type of betrayal!!!! I will be lucky if by the end of the series I do not develop some kind of Combat Post Traumatic Disorder!!! We are the company, after all, and we go through all the horrors with them! I LOVED Murgen's point of view, although I agree with Croacker that he is a bit self-centered and one sided while writing the annals... Despite that, he gives us one hack of a psychedelic trip!!! I CRAVE MOREEEEE!!!! As you all can see, I have been obviously already damaged by the relentless march to Khatovarm and the only hope of salvation is to get there in one piece, disembowel all of the Company's enemies, and find a clean bed and a pillow to lay my head on... This is the only way, the one hope for releasing the insanity which digs its claws deeper and deeper the closer we get to the Plain of the Glittering Stone.... Are we there yet????

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lanko

    This is the longest book of the series so far, clocking around 450 pages (others are around 300-320). And there's really a lot to cover with numerous possible conflicts and schemes going on. Suffice to say, I wasn't disappointed. Not until the very end, at least. Military tactics and plans are pretty well described, as is the paranoia of the people leading an army. The conflicts, betrayals, plans and everything else unfolding are pretty great overall. The only issue I had was about the ending. Cro This is the longest book of the series so far, clocking around 450 pages (others are around 300-320). And there's really a lot to cover with numerous possible conflicts and schemes going on. Suffice to say, I wasn't disappointed. Not until the very end, at least. Military tactics and plans are pretty well described, as is the paranoia of the people leading an army. The conflicts, betrayals, plans and everything else unfolding are pretty great overall. The only issue I had was about the ending. Croaker is a 20+ year veteran and Captain of the army, was the previous Annalist and extremely suspicious and paranoid, always thinking of every possible situation. Lady commanded an empire that span half the world for centuries, is an extremely powerful sorceress and also extremely clever. However, these two had to swallow a huge dose of the Stupid Pill for the convenience of the plot. It was so unbelievable I almost dropped the whole book to a 2* star, but a day later realized it wouldn't be fair because the vast majority of the book was excellent. But this does deserve a mention. (view spoiler)[ Croaker and Lady manage to defeat and capture all their enemies. Longshadow seems totally in their control. Howler as well. But then comes Narayan Singh and Soulcatcher. Narayan kidnapped Croaker and Lady's newborn daughter four years ago. They both have a special place in hell prepared for him. Narayan's best description would be "extremely sneaky and resourceful assassin/spy". So instead of working on him, our heroes just leave him be. They don't even break his feet or arms. Blind him or something. Then comes the big revelation near the end. Murgen, the protagonist, sees through his special mystical vision that Narayan actually escaped and is far away from them. He asks Lady and Croaker about Narayan. Their answer: "Wow, I totally forgot about him!" I was dumbfound. This was the guy who kidnapped and brainwashed your newborn daughter, you morons! Even Murgen mocks Lady for that. But that needed to happen because Narayan needed to rescue the girl, who is brainwashed to be the Daughter of the Night. If Narayan was killed and Croaker and Lady got their kid back just like that it wouldn't be fun, would it? Next dosage of the Stupidity Pill was provided by Soulcatcher. Soulcatcher is Lady's sister and wants revenge. She's currently even more powerful than Lady. Then Catcher makes a mistake and is captured by Lady and Croaker. Murgen even asks if they shouldn't at least cut Catcher's fingers to prevent her from using spells. Both reply that they believe she will behave. I was dumbfound again. For anyone, even those who only have read the first book, it's crystal clear Soulcatcher is one of the most insane, crafty and unpredictable characters in the series. And she keeps getting even more unpredictable. But nope, let's just keep the most powerful sorceress simply tied with ropes and forget about her. You can guess what happened. Worse, magicians in this world hide their true names under nicknames (Lady, Soulcatcher, etc). If someone uses their true name, they lose their powers (happened with Lady). In the very first book Lady had special arrows with Soulcatcher's true name on them to kill her. They are sisters, remember. So why in the seven hells didn't Lady just used Catcher's true name and stripped her of all her power? Why the guy who kidnapped her daughter wasn't under surveillance? Why at least they didn't break Narayan's feet or cut Catcher's fingers, as was suggested? There was absolutely nothing preventing them from doing so or that required them to rush and forget the villains. I even understood the reasoning: "we're gonna pass through the Shadowgate, so if something happens with us, it will happen to them too, so it's in their interests to warn us." But Narayan Singh? He had nothing to do with that. Why not render Soulcatcher useless and bring her along anyway? Because everything was obviously a trap created by Soulcatcher and our intelligent, ancient and powerful heroes couldn't just achieve their objectives the easy and clever way. That would be no fun! So there it goes, Stupidity Pill for everyone so we can have a few more books! Sigh... (hide spoiler)] Despite my rant, the rest of the book was really good and only this ending spoiled it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    Definitely five stars, even though at the moment I'm not sure what hit me with the ending. My brain is still squawking "What? What?! WHAT?!" I think I may need to reread the last few chapters when the shock wears off. I'm not sure what I can say about this installment without spoilers. But wow, it's clear now just which "She" is the Darkness, and the reveal was utterly chilling. I'm still shaking. The imagery and atmosphere of the final fifth or so of this book are just amazing -- incredibly cre Definitely five stars, even though at the moment I'm not sure what hit me with the ending. My brain is still squawking "What? What?! WHAT?!" I think I may need to reread the last few chapters when the shock wears off. I'm not sure what I can say about this installment without spoilers. But wow, it's clear now just which "She" is the Darkness, and the reveal was utterly chilling. I'm still shaking. The imagery and atmosphere of the final fifth or so of this book are just amazing -- incredibly creepy and evocative. I'm going to be walking a shining black road across a barren and glittering plain in my head for a while, I think. The amount of backstabbing in this story has left me wondering why I trust anybody. The twists were big and surprising, and I am (as always) completely in awe of Glen cook's ability to keep doing this to me. Seven books into a series, and everything happening still feels fresh and inspired. I can't wait to get to the final two books. And yet I am already afraid of how barren my reading life will feel once I'm done with this twisting, mind-screwing series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    At the beginning of and throughout the entire previous Black Co. book, Bleak Seasons, I was not too impressed that Murgen, the Standarbearer, had taken over for Croaker as the new company Annalist. I had been very attached to Croaker, long time Black Co. Annalist and overall narrator for the reader, since the very 1st Black Company chronicle. Very shortly into this installment I finally accepted the fact that Murgen now filled the position and grew almost as fond of him as I had been of Croaker At the beginning of and throughout the entire previous Black Co. book, Bleak Seasons, I was not too impressed that Murgen, the Standarbearer, had taken over for Croaker as the new company Annalist. I had been very attached to Croaker, long time Black Co. Annalist and overall narrator for the reader, since the very 1st Black Company chronicle. Very shortly into this installment I finally accepted the fact that Murgen now filled the position and grew almost as fond of him as I had been of Croaker. After all, Croaker is still in the story so Cook hadn't completely taken him away from us. Without getting into the plot, I adored this particular Black Co. excursion and would put it right up there with my top couple Black Co. books. It may sound strange but I kinda love the realness of these books- subtract the mystical bits and it could almost be true-war non-fic. accurately representing the struggles faced by the individual soldiers These books have, weirdly, probably been the source of one of my biggest reading revelations concerning tastes- that maybe 'I' don't even know what I like. Anyone who knows me would not expect me to be the type of person to read a militaristic mercenary-filled fantasy- especially not 7 or 8 of them. Despite that, I have come to especially love this series and am going to be sad when it's over. Only 2 more books left

  14. 5 out of 5

    Keivan

    Holy fucking mother of fuck shit, the ending!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sumant

    This book is a definite improvement from the last two books in the series, although Bleak seasons was a good book but I definitely thought that it lagged in some parts and main issue with it was our narrator i.e. Murgen just kept jumping from past to present and it was hard to identify where he was exactly each time, the previous book ends with a earthquake occurring which has devastating consequences especially for shadow masters side.Cook is on his own turf when he writes about soldering becau This book is a definite improvement from the last two books in the series, although Bleak seasons was a good book but I definitely thought that it lagged in some parts and main issue with it was our narrator i.e. Murgen just kept jumping from past to present and it was hard to identify where he was exactly each time, the previous book ends with a earthquake occurring which has devastating consequences especially for shadow masters side.Cook is on his own turf when he writes about soldering because he manages to capture the whole war is meaningless thing and the boredom associated with it as the soldiers have to do the same thing day in and out.This book is full of action from the start and especially the siege at overlook was really captured well. The book continues from the last in the sense that Croaker decides to crush the shadow masters once and for all and decides to march on overlook.Cook gives us in detail how large an arsenal this army basically requires.Also the company manages to keep one step ahead of the enemy due to the comatose wizard smoke. We find that murgen is hooked on traveling in dream world and is spending more and more time there he gets addicted a sort to it.His habit finally gets noticed by croaker and one eye and croaker finally confronts him with hard facts regarding uncle gota,mother doj and tie day. Murgen discovers some facts about about Sahri's murder which just blew my mind. The battle at charandaprash is also an exciting an battle with company going head on against mogaba at that battle we actually come to know what really is going on between blade and croaker. Also croaker finds his own shoes as captain in this book, this is not the croaker how we knew from first three books this basically a man who spends most of his time know determining strategy regarding how to get the company back to khatavar. Another important character in this book is definitely soul catcher the way she executes her strategy against the company in overlook as well as in taglios reminded me of Breaking bad episode where Bryan cranston execute 9 convicts scattered across different prisons in just 5 minutes. The cliffhanger at the end was one of the best I have read in a long time.Read this book if you want the answers regarding did the company manages to reach khatavar ?.The only annoying aspect of the book was regarding keena because it was difficult to exactly know what cook wants to convey in that scene except that this is book is a solid 4/5 stars and has bought the black company series back on track for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maggie K

    I am finally done! It took me forever to read this book... OK, Im going off topic for just a second here... See, I am a Libra, the Cardinal air sign. In most people this doesn't matter, but I seem to be the epitome of a cardinal air sign. I flit around, I have trouble focusing, I always want to be in the next place...I can even dreamfly. So in this book, Murgen slips back in forth in time, learns to dreamfly, and basically runs around not focused on anything....So I liked it (what's not to like?) b I am finally done! It took me forever to read this book... OK, Im going off topic for just a second here... See, I am a Libra, the Cardinal air sign. In most people this doesn't matter, but I seem to be the epitome of a cardinal air sign. I flit around, I have trouble focusing, I always want to be in the next place...I can even dreamfly. So in this book, Murgen slips back in forth in time, learns to dreamfly, and basically runs around not focused on anything....So I liked it (what's not to like?) but it would just serve to remind me of my own life, and I would get back to it! lol So I had a lot of problems with the narrator, but they were all personal and I quite enjoyed the book anyway, it just made it that much harder to focus...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Predrag Djokic

    3.5 star(s)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Campbell

    The first book in the series to really showcase Glen Cook's brillaince since the original trilogy! A fast paced novel that really gives off a dark sense of foreboding from beginning to end that doesn't let go. Murgen has really come into his own as the narrator of the Annals of The Black Company. After finishing The Books of The South trilogy, I almost gave up on the series. They just didn't have the feel of the first three books. I'm glad I soldiered on, because this book blew me away! Five star The first book in the series to really showcase Glen Cook's brillaince since the original trilogy! A fast paced novel that really gives off a dark sense of foreboding from beginning to end that doesn't let go. Murgen has really come into his own as the narrator of the Annals of The Black Company. After finishing The Books of The South trilogy, I almost gave up on the series. They just didn't have the feel of the first three books. I'm glad I soldiered on, because this book blew me away! Five stars and I'll be reading the next installment soon.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tyson

    I just can't get into Murgen as the POV narrator. His ghosting/time warp ability feels arbitrary and gimmicky. I just can't get into Murgen as the POV narrator. His ghosting/time warp ability feels arbitrary and gimmicky.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janice Bonczek

    Nooo! Oh man. I am so glad I did not read this book when it first came out. Because if I had to wait a year or more before I could read the next one...I might hurt somebody. This ending was a crazy cliffhanger. So, this is the 6th Black Company book, She is the Darkness. It is also "Book 2 of Glittering Stone". It is narrated, like the previous book, by Murgen, the standard bearer of The Black Company. In the last book, there was a lot of time travel, as Murgen kept getting pulled into the past Nooo! Oh man. I am so glad I did not read this book when it first came out. Because if I had to wait a year or more before I could read the next one...I might hurt somebody. This ending was a crazy cliffhanger. So, this is the 6th Black Company book, She is the Darkness. It is also "Book 2 of Glittering Stone". It is narrated, like the previous book, by Murgen, the standard bearer of The Black Company. In the last book, there was a lot of time travel, as Murgen kept getting pulled into the past during "episodes" he was having. In this book there was less of that, but he still "dream walked", because now that his mind had learned how to slip from the flesh, he possesses this power and can do it at will while he sleeps. In this book the company attempts to finish up it's war against the last Shadowmaster, Longshadow. Croaker decides that they will leave Taglios and travel south during the beginning of winter, to attack when he will least expect it. But as we know, there are other, (some unknown) players trying to be part of this war. We also get to see an unexpected friend return, who we thought was lost! This was a great, well told story. It was really suspenseful trying all the time to guess who was a friend and who would be a betrayer. The suspense had me almost crazy by the end! I'm off to read the next book immediately, because I literally can't wait.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Björn

    Throughout this book I felt like this book was going to be like the calm before the storm. That prediction turned out to be not quite accurate. As always, Cook experiments with different formats to his story, and this time we see Murgen still having these out-of-body experiences but this time he's mostly in control. The result is a narrator that exists mostly outside the story, and while I think that creative choice was interesting, I think that was my biggest issue with it. This sort of literal Throughout this book I felt like this book was going to be like the calm before the storm. That prediction turned out to be not quite accurate. As always, Cook experiments with different formats to his story, and this time we see Murgen still having these out-of-body experiences but this time he's mostly in control. The result is a narrator that exists mostly outside the story, and while I think that creative choice was interesting, I think that was my biggest issue with it. This sort of literal detachment can easily become an emotional detachment as well. The scenes Murgen had with Sahra (who is quickly climbing my list of favourite characters in the series) stood out from the rest of the Smoky/dream scenes, which comprised most of the book. But ultimately most of this book was posturing or small scale skirmishes that didn't really invest the reader emotionally. I rarely felt in the thick of things like in previous entries. There were some standout moments though. The reveal of Croaker's long term strategy to defeat Longshadow was brilliant, Mother Gota's appearances were hilarious, and the ending was simply incredible. All in all, I think this book was very good, but I felt it still stood below the previous entries.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Anderson

    After lukewarm feelings about the previous installment in the Black Company series, I debated whether to keep going with it. Based on the user reviews, I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did! The Company is back, with gusto. Croaker is grumpier and more paranoid but still as tricky as ever. One-Eye is grumpier and just as irreverent. Come to think of it, they're all grumpier. Guess that's life as a soldier in the Black Company. There were no bad parts. There were some times when I thought t After lukewarm feelings about the previous installment in the Black Company series, I debated whether to keep going with it. Based on the user reviews, I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did! The Company is back, with gusto. Croaker is grumpier and more paranoid but still as tricky as ever. One-Eye is grumpier and just as irreverent. Come to think of it, they're all grumpier. Guess that's life as a soldier in the Black Company. There were no bad parts. There were some times when I thought the pace could have been a bit quicker, but for the most part the whole thing was spot-on. Cook has captured the feel of military service in these novels. Most of the time it's not climactic battles, it's training and waiting, preparing and waiting, horseplay and waiting. The narrator did a great job as well. Lots of distinct voices and mannerisms that he jumped between effectively.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Herbert

    I've read all the Black Company books in order. It's sad, but they're just getting a bit dull. The mystique seems to have gone for me. This book is about 100 pages too long. It's repetitive. And the end is a huge cliff-hanger. Again. Fine, I have the next book. But I'm not dying to read it... The series seems to be petering out rather than rising to a crescendo. I don't fear the end for the characters because there are 2 more books to go. I've read all the Black Company books in order. It's sad, but they're just getting a bit dull. The mystique seems to have gone for me. This book is about 100 pages too long. It's repetitive. And the end is a huge cliff-hanger. Again. Fine, I have the next book. But I'm not dying to read it... The series seems to be petering out rather than rising to a crescendo. I don't fear the end for the characters because there are 2 more books to go.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Riki

    WOW............ I'm mostly speechless. Glen Cook, wtf man, you're breaking my heart :( So good though. There's really nothing bad at all that I could say about this book. I enjoyed every page, every character, every moment. It was a great ride from beginning to end. WOW............ I'm mostly speechless. Glen Cook, wtf man, you're breaking my heart :( So good though. There's really nothing bad at all that I could say about this book. I enjoyed every page, every character, every moment. It was a great ride from beginning to end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bastard Travel

    It was okay, but I'm done with this series now. Too much investment for too little payoff. If we're being honest, most of its punch drained away when the Dominator went into that tree. It was okay, but I'm done with this series now. Too much investment for too little payoff. If we're being honest, most of its punch drained away when the Dominator went into that tree.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tgz

    Caution Spoilers: I'm rating this book in comparison to others in the series. I was extremely disappointed with this one. The vast majority of the book comprised Murgen simply ghosting off with Smoke and getting a read on what was going on in other parts of the world. He would wake. Eat something and share his information with Croaker and then do it again. And again. And again. But nothing was really happening or at least I didn't feel like it was. This book dragged on and it was a slow march to Caution Spoilers: I'm rating this book in comparison to others in the series. I was extremely disappointed with this one. The vast majority of the book comprised Murgen simply ghosting off with Smoke and getting a read on what was going on in other parts of the world. He would wake. Eat something and share his information with Croaker and then do it again. And again. And again. But nothing was really happening or at least I didn't feel like it was. This book dragged on and it was a slow march to get through. I really don't know what happened or what the point of it all was. I couldn't figure out what the conflict was or why I should even be afraid. If three out of the five bad guys are some seriously badass and evil wizards, how come they can be easily overcome by a ragtag army? Why don't they ever use some magic or cast some spells and seriously mess up some stuff?! Soulcatcher has crows? The Howler really only shrieks? Longshadow seriously can't do anything else but throw a tantrum? Also, the great battle for which we were expecting happened in the middle of the book with very little explanation. It was a surprise attack by Lady and just like that all of the enemies of the Black Company from the four previous books were basically captured. That happened in the middle of the book...guess what the last 200+ pages were about...Murgen dreaming of his wife, Croaker grunting (has there been a cooler character in fiction that has just been boiled down to a useless, cynical grump more so than Croaker), and the Nyaung Bao just being there. And what does a mercenary company led by formerly one of the wickedest sorceresses ever do with the most sinister of villains after they've captured them? Torture? Slow, painful deaths? The murder of their families? Nope....you obviously keep them alive for no given reason until they escape and thwart all of your plans. (I feel like there is an Austin Powers reference in here). I don't get it. I don't understand why the five biggest enemies of the last four books upon being captured are held prisoner. They didn't offer anything to the Company. And they eventually escaped and created a trap in the end. Speaking of escape, Narayan Singh was just forgotten about and escaped? That's how he got away. The man who kidnapped the child of Lady and Croaker is captured and then both of them forgot what they did with him for 200 pages until the very last page when they are told he escaped? There couldn't have been a better escape explanation? I find that to be a little insulting to the reader. And Kina....? I've been reading about her and her bone-shattering evil for four books and 1300 pages now....is she going to make an entrance into the plot or just be a smell (literally?) in the background? With all of that being said, I am thoroughly into the story arc and cannot wait to read Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live to finish the series. I was let down by this one especially because I found myself loving the previous four books and the story of the Company in the south. Please, if anyone can offer me some insight into why this book should be receiving all of the five stars it is, leave a comment. I'm simply assuming that I won't understand this book until the series is finished.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gilgamesch_Drecksgrube

    DNF at 85%. It's really rare for me to not finish a book, and there were times I really tortured myself to read on. I thought about quitting around the 25% mark, then again around 50%, but I forced myself to push on. There's supposed to be a big cliffhanger by the end. But ... well ... I just gave up. All the issues I had with the previous novels are here, but it's not only that. Instead of being roughly 300 Pages like all the predecessors, "She is the Darkness" is a lot longer. Thing is, I don't r DNF at 85%. It's really rare for me to not finish a book, and there were times I really tortured myself to read on. I thought about quitting around the 25% mark, then again around 50%, but I forced myself to push on. There's supposed to be a big cliffhanger by the end. But ... well ... I just gave up. All the issues I had with the previous novels are here, but it's not only that. Instead of being roughly 300 Pages like all the predecessors, "She is the Darkness" is a lot longer. Thing is, I don't really see any justification for it. The Story is actually thinner and more compact this time around, dealing mostly with a couple of battles and schemes to defeat Longshadow. I would've hoped that the increased length would be used to improve and overhaul the dreadful prose, but that is not the case. My biggest problem with this story, however, was the protagonist. I don't have anything against Murgen as a Character, but what he does in this conflict is just annoying the f**k out of me. Most of the book is about him entering a ghostrealm that allows him to travel to any place at any time and thus being able to oversee all the politics, all the schemes and all the fighting from a safe distance. It's very rare that he is personally (i.e. in the flesh) involved in any of this. As a result, it has all the tension and excitement of watching a Let's-Player on Youtube playing a videogame. At some point, the routine just became tedious. Murgen dreams himself into the ghostworld, discovers some minute piece of information (or none at all), reports it to Croaker or Lady, spends some time in Camp, then goes of dreaming again. He speculates a lot about the schemes that all the leaders of the various factions are spinning, but he is mostly left on the outside. After a while, this gets heavily repetitive. Everything gets repetitive after a while here. One-Eye complains about every joke made on his behalf, Mother Gota complains in general, Company Brothers exchange the same platitudes over and over without having much in terms of character development. Croaker is moody most of the time, Lady is secretive and stressed out. It's repeated over and over and it just feels tiresome. There is stuff happening here, and it is actually not that bad. However, the way it is told has to be among the most boring and unexciting ways to tell a story, period. I'm done with the series. I regret it, because I got seven books in and there are only two left. I had hoped that the series would at some point click with me, but it never happened. The storytelling is interesting, but overall just too haphazard and fragmented, and Cooks writing style is driving me nuts, if it goes on for more than 300 pages.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bobbi Jo

    First things first: Do not even think that it's worth your while to open this book without reading the preceding books. Don't get me wrong--a person could still enjoy it almost like a Tarantino movie but would miss most of the significance of nearly everything. Fun filled fact: Croaker criticizes Murgen for how wordy his writing style is. I have to say, the story has been a lot more detailed and blow by blow since the kid took over. No complaints, either way. I had an idea where this was headed First things first: Do not even think that it's worth your while to open this book without reading the preceding books. Don't get me wrong--a person could still enjoy it almost like a Tarantino movie but would miss most of the significance of nearly everything. Fun filled fact: Croaker criticizes Murgen for how wordy his writing style is. I have to say, the story has been a lot more detailed and blow by blow since the kid took over. No complaints, either way. I had an idea where this was headed because I accidentally started reading Water Sleeps instead of a different book in the series a while back. The ending isn't quite a cliff hanger and a person could leave it the way it ended and call it good. Almost. Thankfully Cook didn't because I would have been losing my mind. It would have felt like almost a finale of the Dark Tower level of betrayal (which I shrugged and accepted because it's an acceptable ending, it just felt lazy) to end it here. As with most of the books in this series, there was a lot of action. There's periods of non-action, there's a lot of dying, a lot of bleeding, a lot of violence. One of the first things I ever heard about this series is that Cook doesn't care who dies. Everyone dies, no one lives forever. For the most part that's been accurate except for Croaker, One-Eye, and Goblin. Croaker hasn't been the main character for a while. We'll see. Maybe he'll bite it, too, at some point. Still good. Still worth reading. Keep reading if you've read to the book before this at some point. Start from the first book you haven't read, otherwise.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joel Flank

    She is the Darkness finally gets out of the past, and the Black Company Annalist Murgen is no longer wandering out of control in time. The captain's multi-year preparations are ready, and the Black Company begins the most ambitious campaign of their history, to finally destroy the most powerful of the Shadowlords. Murgen's personal tragedy motivates him to help in anyway, as he dives deeper into astrally scouting enemies across the region, and incidentally putting together a sweeping account of She is the Darkness finally gets out of the past, and the Black Company Annalist Murgen is no longer wandering out of control in time. The captain's multi-year preparations are ready, and the Black Company begins the most ambitious campaign of their history, to finally destroy the most powerful of the Shadowlords. Murgen's personal tragedy motivates him to help in anyway, as he dives deeper into astrally scouting enemies across the region, and incidentally putting together a sweeping account of the war in all locations simultaneously. Both sides need to contend with uncertain allies, driven more by their own motivations rather than being fully committed to the cause. As is typical, the crafty Captain keeps his subterfuges to himself, until his carefully laid plans change the course of battles, and strategies, keeping allies and enemies always reacting to the unexpected. As the campaign unfolds, and the Black Company drives ever closer to the Shadowgate and legendary Khatovar beyond, Murgen must try to piece together the truth to multiple mysteries or have the Company's fate be forever changed as multiple plots and ploys come to fruition. A lot gets packed into this book, and none of it disappointing. Cook constantly keeps the reader on their toes and guessing right along with Murgen as to how the plots within plots will finally resolve, right up until the final pages.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Another book by Murgen as Chronicler of the Black Company. This is a long one, it picks up where we last left off at the palace of Taglios, south to Overlook and the Shadowgate it guards, and beyond. Murgen is more stable in this book, in that he's not being pulled randomly through time, but he is starting to travel the world when he dreams. What's left of the Black Company is mostly together again, aside from a handful of characters off on special missions or otherwise missing. But the main focus Another book by Murgen as Chronicler of the Black Company. This is a long one, it picks up where we last left off at the palace of Taglios, south to Overlook and the Shadowgate it guards, and beyond. Murgen is more stable in this book, in that he's not being pulled randomly through time, but he is starting to travel the world when he dreams. What's left of the Black Company is mostly together again, aside from a handful of characters off on special missions or otherwise missing. But the main focus is on Murgen, Croaker and of course Lady. After the initial run from the Barrowland all the way down to Taglios in the span of one book, the story has been bogged down in the war with the Shadowmasters. This book finally gets the momentum going again, things move fast and great progress is made...but at great cost.

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