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In Water Sleeps, the surviving members of the Company regroup in Taglios, determined to free their fellow warriors held in stasis beneath the glittering plain. Journeying there under terrible conditions, they arrive just in time for a magical conflagration in which the bones of the world will be revealed, the history of the Company unveiled, and new worlds gained and lost… In Water Sleeps, the surviving members of the Company regroup in Taglios, determined to free their fellow warriors held in stasis beneath the glittering plain. Journeying there under terrible conditions, they arrive just in time for a magical conflagration in which the bones of the world will be revealed, the history of the Company unveiled, and new worlds gained and lost… all at a terrible price. And in Soldiers Live, no Black Company member has died in battle for four years. Croaker figures it can’t last. Then a report arrives of an an old enemy newly active again. It attacks them at a shadowgate — setting off a chain of events that will bring the Company to the edge of apocalypse and, as usual, several steps beyond.


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In Water Sleeps, the surviving members of the Company regroup in Taglios, determined to free their fellow warriors held in stasis beneath the glittering plain. Journeying there under terrible conditions, they arrive just in time for a magical conflagration in which the bones of the world will be revealed, the history of the Company unveiled, and new worlds gained and lost… In Water Sleeps, the surviving members of the Company regroup in Taglios, determined to free their fellow warriors held in stasis beneath the glittering plain. Journeying there under terrible conditions, they arrive just in time for a magical conflagration in which the bones of the world will be revealed, the history of the Company unveiled, and new worlds gained and lost… all at a terrible price. And in Soldiers Live, no Black Company member has died in battle for four years. Croaker figures it can’t last. Then a report arrives of an an old enemy newly active again. It attacks them at a shadowgate — setting off a chain of events that will bring the Company to the edge of apocalypse and, as usual, several steps beyond.

30 review for The Many Deaths of the Black Company

  1. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    This is my review for not just this omnibus edition consisting of the last two books, but for the entire series. ------------ In the beginning, there was the Black Company. In the end, the Black Company remains, relentless and unyielding, refusing to surrender to the jaws of death. If you’re actually intending to read all of this, then I would urge you to pour a cup of coffee or tea and make yourself comfortable. This will be the longest review I’ve written, complete with tons of quotes to make it This is my review for not just this omnibus edition consisting of the last two books, but for the entire series. ------------ In the beginning, there was the Black Company. In the end, the Black Company remains, relentless and unyielding, refusing to surrender to the jaws of death. If you’re actually intending to read all of this, then I would urge you to pour a cup of coffee or tea and make yourself comfortable. This will be the longest review I’ve written, complete with tons of quotes to make it even longer. Still not dissuaded? Well then, in my very last review of the Chronicles of the Black Company, let me indulge in my passion for storytelling and begin by telling you a little story... In those days the Company was in service to the Syndic of Beryl... - The Black Company Once upon a time in the city of Beryl in the north, the tale of the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar began. To me it feels like an eternity has passed since those days. Since the days when Croaker was the Company physician, Lady was the dark sorceress with supreme power over the world’s greatest empire, and fabled Khatovar was just a distant dream. Like an avalanche of memories, the tale grew in the telling. The Black Company was recruited by the villainous Soulcatcher. It fought alongside the Ten Who Were Taken, the most powerful wizards of their time. It stood against the Dominator, the darkest shadow ever to fall upon the world. It became an instrument for the fulfilment of the prophecy of the White Rose. And it journeyed south to find its roots in the lost city of Khatovar. All the while people lived and died, new members joined and rose in the ranks, and the Company went ever onward. The books must be written. The truth must be recorded even if fate decrees that no man ever reads a word I write. The Annals are the soul of the Black Company. They recall that this is who we are. That this is who we were. That we persevere. And that treachery, as it ever has, failed to suck the last drop of our blood. - Water Sleeps Even though the Black Company is led by a Captain, at its heart there is always an Annalist. Some of them get appointed to the job while others take it upon themselves in times of crisis. The style of the series changes for each one. There are those who value writing long sentences and beautiful words, and there are those who insist on merely recounting facts in a direct manner. All are different, and all provide a different touch to the Annals they leave behind. The one thing that all the books have in common, is that they are written from the viewpoint of a soldier, a member of a mercenary company in the service of whoever pays the most. And that is the greatest achievement of Glen Cook in writing this series; the fact that you get a fantasy series written not about larger-than life heroes and the classical clichéd archetypes of the genre, but about ordinary people struggling to get by in a world of darkness and despair. Steven Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, once stated that Glen Cook was the first fantasy author to bring the story down to a truly human level. When it comes to the actual writing, these books are written exactly the way you would expect from the Annals of a mercenary company. There is little of the eloquence and grandeur found in the books of authors like J. R. R. Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay. There is mostly directness and simplicity, but there is also a lot of beauty to be found in that simplicity if you know where to look. And like this review is an example of, there are dozens of great quotes to be found while turning the pages. An old, tired man. That is what I am. What became of the old fire, drive, ambition? There were dreams once upon a time, dreams now all but forgotten. On sad days I dust them off and fondle them nostalgically, with a patronizing wonder at the naivete of the youth who dreamed them. - The White Rose The Chronicles of the Black Company was always Croaker’s tale. Other members of the Company have taken up the annalist’s pen from time to time, and one might argue that the protagonist of the series is the Black Company itself, but the most important character was always Croaker. He began in the first volume as the young and rash Company physician and annalist whose love for a wicked sorceress came to fruition. He later turned into a brilliant strategist and a military dictator, and in the end he goes back to his former role, and scribbles down the final volume of this wondrous story. The nostalgia is almost overwhelming. Croaker, however, is not the character that truly made me love this series. That award goes to Lady. The Lady of the Tower. Her journey is even more astonishing than that of Croaker. Hundreds of years ago, long before the Black Company was even formed, Lady was the wife of the Dominator, the tyrannic ruler of the North and the original master of the Ten Who Were Taken. She was defeated and buried alive along with her husband long ago, but when a band of cultists tried to revive them both she betrayed him, left him in his dark tomb, and seized all power for herself. The most powerful sorceress ever to walk upon the earth, she rules her empire with an iron fist and sees everything with the Eye of Truth. Until the Black Company arrives, and her life is changed forever. Death and despair are what we endure all our lives. This world is all one of pain and loss illuminated only briefly by moments of happiness and wonder. We must live for those times, not bemoan their passing. - She Is the Darkness The relationship between Croaker and Lady was probably one of my favourite aspects of this series (I’m probably a secret romantic somewhere deep inside). It starts out with a young physician creating sexual fantasies in his mind about the Company’s enigmatic mistress, but after decades of war and a common history, it grows into so much more. Direct and sometimes brutal, it fits the tone of the series particularly well, and in the end it is definitely among the most fascinating and rewarding love stories in the fantasy genre. So to those looking for romance, this series has that as well! It would take lots of time to write about all the great characters this series has to offer, but with so many wonderful men and women, I would love for you all to get to know them at some point. Soulcatcher, the most powerful of the Ten Who Were Taken. Raven, the mysterious northern nobleman who murdered his own wife to join the Company. One-Eye and Goblin, the wizard friends who are constantly jabbing at each other. Mogaba, a high-ranking member of the warrior class of Gea-Xle. Darling, a mute farm girl with a great destiny. Narayan Singh, the living Saint of the Deceiver cult. There are heroes and villains and everything in between, and they all deserve your time. Those who form it come and go but the Company is forever. Every brother, great or small, is a snack just not yet snapped up by the devouring maw of time. - Bleak Seasons The time of the old members of the Black Company is soon to come to an end. A new generation is being readied to take up the mantle and the banner of the skull. Those who made up the Black Company of old are either gone or old enough to retire from soldiery forever. But in the Annals of the the Black Company, where their deeds have been written down by masters of the craft, they will never be forgotten. In the night, when the wind dies and silence rules the place of glittering stone, I remember. And they all live again. - Soldiers Live Well then, a question arises. After all the three and four-star ratings for the separate books (there was even a two-star rating), how can I possibly justify giving five solid stars to the series as a whole? Have I just had a fit of irrational generosity? No, the thing is that I’ve decided to present the series with the only rating it deserves, instead of the rating I would have to give it if I were to pick the average of my book ratings. Each of the books can be considered a relatively small piece in a much greater puzzle, and in the end all the pieces come together, leaving a result that is surprisingly close to perfection despite the flaws of each individual piece. The Chronicles of the Black Company is, in the end, one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. To be able to come along on the grand journeys of this ragged band of mercenaries has been a wonderful literary experience. These are not the most skillfully written books ever published. They do not have the most enchanting story either. There is just something about them. Something that makes me want more. Something that makes me want to read them again from the beginning as soon as possible. And that mysterious something is why I would not hesitate to call this series a true masterpiece, and an astounding achievement by a man who changed the fantasy genre forever. That is all I have to say about this wonderful series. All that remains is to finish this review by giving you one final quote written by the great Croaker… There were dreams. I remembered everyone who had gone before me. I remembered the places and times. Cold places, hot places, weird places, always stressful times, swollen with unhappiness, pain and fear. Some died. Some did not. It makes no sense when you try to figure it out. Soldiers live. And wonder why. - Soldiers Live This is one of two reviews I have done for this series. The introductory one can be found here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Simon

    These two books (Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live) may be my favorite in the series. Saying that about the last two books (at least for now) in a series says a lot about Glen Cook as a writer. Yes, there are "many deaths" as the title says but each one feels fitting considering what's been established before. Some endings are happy, most are not which shouldn't surprise the reader given Cook's world thus far. The conclusion is satisfying to me in that there is closure regarding most of the storyli These two books (Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live) may be my favorite in the series. Saying that about the last two books (at least for now) in a series says a lot about Glen Cook as a writer. Yes, there are "many deaths" as the title says but each one feels fitting considering what's been established before. Some endings are happy, most are not which shouldn't surprise the reader given Cook's world thus far. The conclusion is satisfying to me in that there is closure regarding most of the storylines. However, a few doors are left open for future books. This was the first series I ever reread and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. No one builds characters or tells a story like Glen Cook does.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James Tallett

    And it's over. Like many series, this one went down hill a little as it dragged onwards. The characters in the later stories (especially the books of the south onwards) just aren't as compelling or interesting as the Books of the North. Also, especially in Soldiers Live, there seemed to be some completely unnecessary and gratuitous deaths, including characters who had no right being killed by what killed them. Also, many of the characters dropped out of the story with no explanation as to what ha And it's over. Like many series, this one went down hill a little as it dragged onwards. The characters in the later stories (especially the books of the south onwards) just aren't as compelling or interesting as the Books of the North. Also, especially in Soldiers Live, there seemed to be some completely unnecessary and gratuitous deaths, including characters who had no right being killed by what killed them. Also, many of the characters dropped out of the story with no explanation as to what happened. They just happened to wind up dead completely off screen. Unfortunately, rather than ending the series on a high note, it clearly ended on a low.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Milda Page Runner

    Water Sleeps 4* review Soldiers Live 5* review Water Sleeps 4* review Soldiers Live 5* review

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

    "That is us. The Black Company. Wicked deeds done dirt cheap. But by damn! You had better pony up when payment is due. Otherwise, if we must, we will come back from the grave itself to make sure our accounts are properly balanced." "That is us. The Black Company. Wicked deeds done dirt cheap. But by damn! You had better pony up when payment is due. Otherwise, if we must, we will come back from the grave itself to make sure our accounts are properly balanced."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Water Sleeps - 5 stars - Soldiers Live - 5 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    I liked this omnibus about as much as I expected but much less than I'd hoped. Better than the third, not as good as the second, nowhere near the first. Ah, well. The first book, Water Sleeps, is narrated by Sleepy, who's taken over as interim Annalist in the last fifteen (!!) years since the end of She Is the Darkness. Meh. I found myself wondering why it took her so long to enact all her plans. Strangely, I didn't mind her as a narrator, but that might have been because she was the only remaini I liked this omnibus about as much as I expected but much less than I'd hoped. Better than the third, not as good as the second, nowhere near the first. Ah, well. The first book, Water Sleeps, is narrated by Sleepy, who's taken over as interim Annalist in the last fifteen (!!) years since the end of She Is the Darkness. Meh. I found myself wondering why it took her so long to enact all her plans. Strangely, I didn't mind her as a narrator, but that might have been because she was the only remaining obstacle between me and the last book. The book narrated by Croaker. However, Soldiers Live didn't really stand up to my expectations. I guess I'd built them up too much from the first omnibus. Yes, my favorite narrator of the series is back - but he's changed. I expected that, having gone so long without his words, but I wanted to see more of that change. And really - honey? sweetheart? I couldn't really see those words coming out of his mouth, but I imagine that's because we've missed so much of his story. And it's a story I wanted, darn it! While there were a few gems in there that recalled the old days (just as Croaker himself did), it wasn't enough. I guess the thing I originally liked about the Black Company (other than the mercenary aspect, double roles, and awkward romance) was the Old Crew and how well they knew each other. That presence was missing as many of them died off in the intervening books and were subsequently replaced with new characters from the South. But I never felt that same camaraderie, even after two whole books. One of my biggest gripes with the later books of this series is the prevalence of plot devices! Mainly, letting your enemies live for no good reason at all! In case they're useful? Seriously? After everything that they've done! I don't think so. After all, this is the Black Company we're talking about. They just don't do that. The omnibus did pick up in the last 50 of so pages (out of what, 780?) once we met up with, er, Booboo. That brought all Croaker's emotion right back into the story for me. While I rolled my eyes for most of that plot line (which started off as quite a cliche and cliffhanger), it managed to recall some of the longing from The Books of the South. But those 50 pages weren't enough - and I'm still not sure how I feel about the end, but I think I liked it. Those last 50 pages bumped this up a star for me. All in all, I am not unhappy that I read the whole series and am actually a bit sad now that it's over, but after Shadow Games, none of the stories could really compare. And now, in the words of our favorite Annalist, I am putting the pen down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    As an avid fan of the Black Company, I would dearly love more books following their exploits and continent-spanning adventures and infamy, but if none ever surface, The Many Deaths... represents, whether intentionally or otherwise, a perfect place to end the series. A superb and thoroughly satisfying end to the best Fantasy series I've ever read. Conclusion and resolution both, with space sufficient to explore and extrapolate further (as I believe is Glen Cook's intention). Commensurate with the As an avid fan of the Black Company, I would dearly love more books following their exploits and continent-spanning adventures and infamy, but if none ever surface, The Many Deaths... represents, whether intentionally or otherwise, a perfect place to end the series. A superb and thoroughly satisfying end to the best Fantasy series I've ever read. Conclusion and resolution both, with space sufficient to explore and extrapolate further (as I believe is Glen Cook's intention). Commensurate with the rest of the series, The Many Deaths of the Black Company is stuffed with brilliant characterisation; the key personalities figuring large even as you note the small nuances to their respective personalities that makes them so familiar, believable, and endearing. Thoughtful plotting and pacing sustains the book well, to the extent I had a couple of nights where I read for far longer than intended, such was the need to keep pace and follow the developments occurring. Those familiar with the tense and engrossing action sequences of the series will find plenty to enjoy here, of particular enjoyment the grand finale, so to speak, towards the end of the book. I have no complaints, no constructive criticisms, nothing at all I can find detrimental in any capacity in these books. So masterfully composed and constructed, with grizzled, curmudgeonly, and nefarious characters, most of whom are downright scoundrels, paradoxically enough, they're also the most charming and endearing characters I've ever encountered. The depth and complexity in the relationships Cook has constructed is the strongest asset of the entire series; yes there's a fantastic story of warfare and empires and dark prophecies, but it is these young (and old) Company lifers that carry us along with them through the vicissitudes of a mercenary's life. You're never quite satisfied or convinced that they're either wholly and solely the bad or good guys - their morality isn't quite fixed, sure enough, in concrete terms, but certain principles or omissions thereof remain firm and help give a greater sense of consistency and grounding realism to their actions, decisions, and delineated perspectives. These colourings help inform the profound relationship dynamics explored throughout the series; as Croaker notes very early on in his Annals, for many the Company is their only family, dysfunctional and more than occasionally terminal as it may be. Such as it is, I am indebted to Glen Cook for the epic adventure he has written here, for the sinuous machinations and unfathomable destinies played out, for the burdens of suffering and destruction wrought by and inflicted upon the Black Company's luckless bastards, and for the exemplary rendering and depth of the most human of qualities, time and again, amongst a motley group of characters - murders, thieves and miscreants all, who I have had such tremendous fun with. I cannot wait until I read it again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick St-Denis

    Chronicles of the Black Company, the first omnibus comprised of Glen Cook's first three Black Company installments, was everything I wanted it to be. Perhaps not as groundbreaking today as they were when the books were initially published, they were nonetheless as entertaining as anything you are likely to read in the fantasy genre. Understandably, I was eager to read the rest of the sequence. Alas, the second Black Company omnibus turned out to be a fun yet quite uneven read. And sadly, The Retu Chronicles of the Black Company, the first omnibus comprised of Glen Cook's first three Black Company installments, was everything I wanted it to be. Perhaps not as groundbreaking today as they were when the books were initially published, they were nonetheless as entertaining as anything you are likely to read in the fantasy genre. Understandably, I was eager to read the rest of the sequence. Alas, the second Black Company omnibus turned out to be a fun yet quite uneven read. And sadly, The Return of the Black Company, the third omnibus suffered from more or less the same shortcomings that plagued its predecessor. Indeed, it featured novels that vary greatly as far as depth and merit are concerned. Still, She is the Darkness moved the tale forward like no other Black Company volume thus far, setting the stage for what could be a memorable finale. The Many Deaths of the Black Company can be called many things, true, yet memorable is not one of them. Although there are some high notes throughout, there's no denying that the storylines peter out over the course of these last two installments and end in a somewhat lackluster fashion. Here's the blurb: In Water Sleeps, the surviving members of the Company regroup in Taglios, determined to free their fellow warriors held in stasis beneath the glittering plain. Journeying there under terrible conditions, they arrive just in time for a magical conflagration in which the bones of the world will be revealed, the history of the Company unveiled, and new worlds gained and lost… all at a terrible price. And in Soldiers Live, no Black Company member has died in battle for four years. Croaker figures it can’t last. Then a report arrives of an an old enemy newly active again. It attacks them at a shadowgate — setting off a chain of events that will bring the Company to the edge of apocalypse and, as usual, several steps beyond. Following in the footsteps of both Croaker and Lady, The Return of the Black Company saw another change of point of view, with Murgen now as the new protagonist through whose eyes we witnessed everything. I'm aware that not everyone agrees, but I truly enjoyed Murgen's narrative. As a sometimes inept soldier and someone with low self-esteem, the company's Standardbearer was nearly as much fun to follow as Croaker used to be. Given his fate in the last book, he couldn't possibly be the narrator for what came next. Sleepy's is thus the perspective through which we see the events of Water Sleeps unfold. Her POV is unlike those of her predecessors, but I liked the chance to discover how she feels and thinks. Problem is, the first half of this omnibus is extremely slow-moving and often boring. As was the case with Bleak Seasons, I doubt that there was enough material to warrant a full novel here. In a nutshell, Water Sleeps is about Sleepy preparing the remnant of the Black Company for their rescue attempt of those companions trapped underneath the Glittering Plain without alarming Soulcatcher of their true objective. There are some good parts here and there, but it's mostly a slog from start to finish. Soldiers Live features the return of Croaker as narrator and it's awesome to have him back! For my money, Croaker has always been the true voice of the Black Company. As a narrator, his witty and sardonic observations remain one of the highlights of the entire saga. The man is aware of his strengths and his flaws, and it's always a joy to follow his narrative. And now that he's older, supposedly wiser, and crankier, his perspective will make you chuckle in every chapter. With revelations pertaining to the Plain of the Glittering Stone, the Shadowgates, Khatovar, Kina, the birth of the Black Company, and so much more, Soldiers Live probably answers more questions than any other installment in the series. Honestly, I was expecting more out of Narayan Singh and the Daughter of Night, but it was not to be. The ending notwithstanding Glen Cook truly shines as an author in this novel. Along with She is the Darkness, Soldiers Live is one of his his best works to date. With unexpected twists throughout, a decidedly creepy and evocative imagery, this final volume definitely shows Cook at the top of his game. But as the second portion of The Many Deaths of the Black Company following a lackluster Water Sleeps, once again it just shows how disparate in quality and originality the Black Company novels ultimately all turned out to be. Cook's worldbuilding has always been minimal, but the author seriously upped his game in these last two books. All the Black Company installments have been character-driven affairs and the same can be said about the works comprising this last omnibus. Kudos to Cook for not being afraid of killing many of our favorite characters. I would have expected him to do so with a bit more emotion, yet that's just me. I relished the opportunity to be reunited with most of the old crew one last time. As I mentioned, the ending felt somewhat uninspired. Those readers hoping for resolution and a conclusion that ties up all the loose ends are bound to be disappointed. It's with mixed feelings that I reached the last page. I would have loved for Cook to close the show on a high note. Alas, though it occasionally showed signs of brilliance, the series has been dragging for a long time now and it's no wonder that the tale of the Black Company would draw to a close in such a fashion. Many new readers give Glen Cook a shot based on Steven Erikson's blurbs. I know it was the case for me more than a decade ago. If you are a Malazan fan and love the Bridgeburners, please keep in mind that the Black Company series saw its first work published in 1984. At the time, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Raymond E. Feist, and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman dominated the bestseller lists. Hence, Cook's novels really stood out. Needless to say, the face of the fantasy genre has changed dramatically over the course of the last few decades and I'm afraid that the Black Company sequence, like many other beloved SFF works from the 70s, 80s and the 90s, has not aged well. For potential readers thinking of picking up this series, I suggest that you get your hands on the first omnibus and take it from there. For more reviews, check out www.fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com

  10. 4 out of 5

    Travis Orders

    Unlike many people, I cannot rate the individual books, I can only rate the series as a whole. I read them all in omnibus form, one following the other, and enjoyed pretty much every page of them. I have read a good deal of reviews, where the later books are panned, but I thoroughly enjoyed the gritty writing style throughout. The characters DO "write" in a somewhat similar tone, but I dont find that to be a detractor. They do serve together, and are bound to share attributes. I was impressed wi Unlike many people, I cannot rate the individual books, I can only rate the series as a whole. I read them all in omnibus form, one following the other, and enjoyed pretty much every page of them. I have read a good deal of reviews, where the later books are panned, but I thoroughly enjoyed the gritty writing style throughout. The characters DO "write" in a somewhat similar tone, but I dont find that to be a detractor. They do serve together, and are bound to share attributes. I was impressed with how Cook managed to marry high & low fantasy... Almost as impressed with it, as the eloquence of some of his prose. Because I cannot do individual reviews, I am reposting this on the review for the other books. I know it is not a lot to go on, as far as reviews go... But wanted to focus on what I felt were really strong points of all of his books... I also found the end of the series to be quite sublime.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    I really enjoyed the two books contained in this omnibus. Glen Cook does a great job of sweeping you into his world and involving you with this characters. There are two more books scheduled to be released in the future, but with no update on when/if these will ever be released you could consider Soldiers Live the finale of the Black Company series, and what a finale it was. I found myself sad and heartbroken at times as Croaker outlives a lot of his friends and allies in the Black Company but st I really enjoyed the two books contained in this omnibus. Glen Cook does a great job of sweeping you into his world and involving you with this characters. There are two more books scheduled to be released in the future, but with no update on when/if these will ever be released you could consider Soldiers Live the finale of the Black Company series, and what a finale it was. I found myself sad and heartbroken at times as Croaker outlives a lot of his friends and allies in the Black Company but still found that I did not want to put it down (a sign of a great book). This series is a great read for anyone who loves epic Fantasy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wm

    Wow, this did not go in the direction I thought it would, but that's not a bad thing in this case. It wraps up the series in a way that is satisfying without being too overt and in a way that has hints of realism and the randomness that we've come to expect. It is less about awesome heroes and more about the ability to adapt to changing conditions and alliances and technologies and knowledge and, above all, the indomitable soul of the Black Company. That is, that no matter who dies, who defects, Wow, this did not go in the direction I thought it would, but that's not a bad thing in this case. It wraps up the series in a way that is satisfying without being too overt and in a way that has hints of realism and the randomness that we've come to expect. It is less about awesome heroes and more about the ability to adapt to changing conditions and alliances and technologies and knowledge and, above all, the indomitable soul of the Black Company. That is, that no matter who dies, who defects, who loses heart, Soldiers live.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    This final Omnibus for the chronicles of the infamous Black Company brings the whole story to a powerful close. I was very satisfied with the ending. Croaker is still a complete badass well into his 50's. If you've gotten to the point where you'd read this book, you've obviously been through 8 books before it. Enjoy! This final Omnibus for the chronicles of the infamous Black Company brings the whole story to a powerful close. I was very satisfied with the ending. Croaker is still a complete badass well into his 50's. If you've gotten to the point where you'd read this book, you've obviously been through 8 books before it. Enjoy!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kossie

    This is another awesome book from the Black Company Chronicles! There is so much story, emotion, hardship and joy to read... every page is fun and interesting to read. Maybe not a light read, but its definitly one of my favorite series. The ending was beautiful, a little bit sad and I think it was just perfect (for Croaker).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leon Laffredo

    Nothing else to say, I enjoy reading the antics of the Black Company. Many changes from the start to the end, but they are still the Company.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sofija Kryž

    The last omnibus on the Black Company was tense. Nevertheless, overall impression was… OK. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the books. Yet, there were a couple of things that irked me a tiny bit. We’ll get there yet. Let’s begin with a quick overview. We left the series with the Old Crew cruelly tricked by their oldest and the most resilient enemy frozen underneath the Glittering Plain. Time flows and 14 years pass since the unfortunate day. Water sleeps. But the Company doesn’t. Survivors of t The last omnibus on the Black Company was tense. Nevertheless, overall impression was… OK. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the books. Yet, there were a couple of things that irked me a tiny bit. We’ll get there yet. Let’s begin with a quick overview. We left the series with the Old Crew cruelly tricked by their oldest and the most resilient enemy frozen underneath the Glittering Plain. Time flows and 14 years pass since the unfortunate day. Water sleeps. But the Company doesn’t. Survivors of the Black Company continue their guerrilla war against their ancient enemy, self-proclaimed Protector of all the Taglias. Blended in among the Taglians, the Company members apply creative commando tricks to pester the Protector and the Great General. And in the meantime, they gather strength to revive the lost members of the Company. Now. Nothing is more permanent than changes. And it is probably the Company that knows it best. In this book, we meet a few old-new characters and meet a new not-so-expected Annalist. A lovely, warm and enjoyable character (except for when she(!) does something like: “The character looked X. ‘You look X,’ I said”. I caught that a couple of times :/). She’s a bit low on confidence, but much on loyalty to the old friends. And on courage. I love that. What I really like about this part of the Company Annals, we get to see quite a few strong women. Yes. We’ve seen the Lady, Soulcatcher, Darling, the Radisha, I know. But this time, instead of being some OP dark sorceresses or balls-positive monarchs shaped by palace intrigues, neither of the two plot drivers are (that) special. A middle-aged, wilting woman, hoping to bring her husband back from the dead. And a loyal Annalist, hoping to retrieve her old friends. I don’t know whether Cook included them because of the compulsory equalitarian sex quota, but I quite enjoyed the Company being steered by creative, sneaky women-soldiers. We also notice how badly the Company ages. And that’s a bit painful to read. I so got used to Goblin’s and One-Eye’s jackassing that it’s difficult to see them way less potent than they used to be. Nevertheless, they do play an important role. Wait and see. Good to see some old souls being exploited again (Hi Murgen!). Unfortunately, Cook chose him to be way less interactive. Not just because of third-person view, probably because of his enforced hibernation and a couple of other things. Nevertheless, a reader, spoilt by his previous omnipresent knowledge of the events, may feel the story going slower than before. There are almost no psychedelic intercepts about what’s going on the Glittering Plain. I’m ok with it, found them a bit boring in the past. We do get some Kina, but I kind of got used to her as a necessary annoyance. Plus, she’s actually doing something interesting here. You’ll see. We still get glimpses of Narayan Singh and the Daughter of Night. I would find them a bit annoying in earlier books (just could not take in Croaker and Lady’s kid as a vegetable, without consciousness or self-awareness). Interestingly, we start seeing some glimpses of humanity(!) and self(!) in the Daughter of Night. Well done! OK. Now. Despite of what I said about the Glittering Plain intercepts – the Glittering Plain and the Nameless Fortress story here is my favourite in this omnibus. I found this part vivid, engaging, tricky, and pleasant to read. Including the fortunes and misfortunes. There are going to be some HUGE surprises and revelations here and onwards. So keep on reading! P.S. One thing – tonk. Is. Back. However, not so fun, interactive or vivid as it was when reading the very first book. So that was a bit of a disappointment for me. All together – 4 stars. Would have rated a bit less, but the Fortress in the Glittering Plain and story onwards made my nights sleepless with curiosity. Now. Soldiers live. Bittersweet - some excitements, some disappointments. (Most of) the Old Crew is back and fine. Except for being changed and old. We get Croaker back as the Annalist. And he’s indeed gotten old, repeating the same things over. Which kind of reminds of the old Black Company atmosphere, but not so potently, especially, since we heard it before. Maybe just a reflection of Cook getting tired with writing about the Black Company. Nevertheless, he does write well. Not to spoil too much – now that we learnt some mindblasting facts about the reality of Black Company’s world, we see them recovering and gathering their strength to revenge the Protector and return the empire to its rightful rulers. That kind of goes slow at first, essentially, because the Old Crew are… old, retired and are not let onto some very crucial information on some plot developments. So the reader is semi-blind too. We lose Murgen’s omnipresent knowledge. It is compensated by… something else, but not so well. So we are dependent on some, surprisingly, very potent characters that are not that reliable themselves. Maybe even disappointing. Yes, I mean you, Tobo. We’ve learnt some interesting details about what shadows the past of Nyueng Bao and can follow Cook exploiting it to grant the Company the strength it will need to return to Taglios. And return to Taglios it does. Through immeasurable pains. The omnibus is not called “The many deaths of the Black Company” for nothing. The book begins with deaths and carries on that way. It’s not unexpected. All what we’ve known about the Company since its service for the Red Syndic of Beryl has been bloodshed. Beryl. Battle of Charm. Juniper. Dejagore. Yet, we feel the end will come soon. It’s not as cruel in terms of losing our pet characters, compared to what Andrzej Sapkowski did with the battle at Stiga castle. Nevertheless, the reader will feel plenty of pain. Especially because of cruelty and meaningless of some of those deaths. We should have expected that. Such is war. I do not feel better, though. I think what sums up “Soldiers live” is this quote: “The exhausted armies disentangled as the day waned. The soldiers on both sides had endured so much horror that, gradually, they just stopped trying to interfere with an enemy who seemed willing to go away without causing trouble. But who won? On that day arguments could have been made both ways. Final determination would be in the hands of those historians who examined the effect of the battle had on Taglian society and culture. It could be a watershed or it could be nothing important, depending on what followed and how population responded.” I told you Croaker repeats himself. Which kind of diminishes the effect of his words. Yet I grew up with his school of thought since I was 13 and that is exactly the reason I won’t ever be able to trust historians. Speaking of which. We do learn about the history of the Company and even follow a detour towards Khatovar. Nevertheless, we never get more than scraps. This is exactly what made me bitter, despite healthy tension and action throughout the book. The unfinished ends. I don’t know whether that’s meant to replicate real life, but it made me roll from side to side for quite a few nights. What did One-Eye know about Goblin? How? Was he a greater wizard than one could actually think of? What’s the story of Khatovar? What happened there? Where did Shadowmasters come from? The Voroshk? Why do the Unknown Shadows stick to Tobo? What’s this about the glittering stones and their messages? What happened to Sahra, actually? What’s the thing about Hong Tray? What did the Nef ever want from the Company? What happens to the imp? That’s just the tip of the iceberg of looming questions. The end of the book felt dragged out. Some aspects were predictable, too. All gets sorted in the end. But while some key questions stay unanswered, others get more attention than wanted. Overall, in the whole series we get disproportionately much of Taglios. I would have liked to learn more about Khatovar, Gea-Xle or other old Annals of the Company. Was not happy with how the Daughter of Night thing got sorted. That was only partially believable. We saw even more humanity in her in this book, which did not get fully exploited. She did not feel like Croaker and Lady’s child (perhaps that’s how it was expected to be) – not enough self or shrewdness. I could ramble on about my mixed feelings more. The first omnibus will stay my favourite (if the story had ended there, no harm would have been done to it, so atmospheric and live in terms of characters it was), especially the Juniper arc (nothing creepy like it). Yet this was not bad either (especially the Nameless Fortress bit in “Water Sleeps”). 3-3.5 stars for “Soldiers Live”. So 3.5–3.75 stars for this omnibus.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    As far as I can tell, this is the last of the Chronicles of the Black Company. I felt this resumed the quality of the other books in the series, after a mild dip found in the Glittering Stone Vol. 1. The end of a series is always tricky, and going in I had pretty low expectations. Given the nature of the Chronicles, and how characters come and go throughout, I wasn't sure how Cook would wrap it up while remaining true to the series. While there were parts of this that I wasn't very happy with, I As far as I can tell, this is the last of the Chronicles of the Black Company. I felt this resumed the quality of the other books in the series, after a mild dip found in the Glittering Stone Vol. 1. The end of a series is always tricky, and going in I had pretty low expectations. Given the nature of the Chronicles, and how characters come and go throughout, I wasn't sure how Cook would wrap it up while remaining true to the series. While there were parts of this that I wasn't very happy with, I feel like he did a pretty good job, and the ending exceeded my expectations in that regard. The way I read it, the series spanned about 10 original books, grouped into 4 collections. With any body of work that size, you'll have some ups and downs, and this was no exception, but in general I thought it was a good read. It remained sufficiently different from other fantasy series to keep me interested, and this book was a decent end to it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wheeler

    Holy hell. I'm finally finished. I can't explain the lack of active interest I had in this one. I feel like I SHOULD have liked it more than I did. And I do actually like the fact that this omnibus comes back around to focus on Croaker's viewpoint. I like the storyline. I like the characters. But for some reason I couldn't summon up any enthusiasm for getting this book read. There was no point in time while reading it, that I felt I just HAD to read one more chapter before putting it down. I eve Holy hell. I'm finally finished. I can't explain the lack of active interest I had in this one. I feel like I SHOULD have liked it more than I did. And I do actually like the fact that this omnibus comes back around to focus on Croaker's viewpoint. I like the storyline. I like the characters. But for some reason I couldn't summon up any enthusiasm for getting this book read. There was no point in time while reading it, that I felt I just HAD to read one more chapter before putting it down. I even went a couple of days without reading anything at all. I almost feel bad, because I'm left feeling like it deserves a higher rating, but I just wasn't really into it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bill Ramsell

    I grew up reading the stories of the Black Company. There is something mythic and grand in these books that appeals to my darker side. I had not read any of the books in years, so when this Kindle collection became available I was delighted to revisit my old friends, Croaker, The Lady, Goblin, One-Eye, Raven, Sleepy, Murgen, and all the rest. These stories are what Game of Thrones would want to be if it ever grew up. See you in Khatovar.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rick Staten

    A satisfying completion to the black company series though it leaves me asking what next for lady, croaker, and their daughter. It opened up whole new possibilities through croakers new role, ladies new powers and glimpses into other worlds and histories. Dont get me wrong though, it does end the story line nicely wrapping up the main antagonist/antagonists.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Faith Hakimian

    Wow. Bloody mythic. This whole series is one of the weirdest, most sprawling, most hugely casted stories I've ever read, often slow to get going, yet utterly entrancing once you get into it. Glen Cook manages to make the world bigger and the stakes higher as then series goes on, while also somehow managing to not jump the shark and get too big for itself. Soldiers live. And wonder why. Wow. Bloody mythic. This whole series is one of the weirdest, most sprawling, most hugely casted stories I've ever read, often slow to get going, yet utterly entrancing once you get into it. Glen Cook manages to make the world bigger and the stakes higher as then series goes on, while also somehow managing to not jump the shark and get too big for itself. Soldiers live. And wonder why.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mark Alger

    For as long as this series has hung on, you'd expect Cook to be just going through the motions by this point. But: not. He's actually ringing the changes with a sure hand. I'm not thrilled with what he's done to Lady, but nevertheless, love the story(ies) For as long as this series has hung on, you'd expect Cook to be just going through the motions by this point. But: not. He's actually ringing the changes with a sure hand. I'm not thrilled with what he's done to Lady, but nevertheless, love the story(ies)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    23 November 2015: $5.99 on Kindle 23 November 2015: $5.99 on Kindle

  24. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Water Sleeps Review: 7.5/10 After the intense ride that was "She is the Darkness", "Water Sleeps" definitely took a step back and slowed things down again. After the ending to "She is the Darkness", I was expecting to pick up right where things left off and get back into the story and what I got was the complete opposite. "Water Sleeps" picks up 15 years after the events of the last book and with very little happening. The Protector has taken over and The Black Company is little more than a loosel Water Sleeps Review: 7.5/10 After the intense ride that was "She is the Darkness", "Water Sleeps" definitely took a step back and slowed things down again. After the ending to "She is the Darkness", I was expecting to pick up right where things left off and get back into the story and what I got was the complete opposite. "Water Sleeps" picks up 15 years after the events of the last book and with very little happening. The Protector has taken over and The Black Company is little more than a loosely held together gang. With all of the other narrators out of the picture, Sleepy has become the stand in captain and annalist. While I do like Sleepy as a character and enjoyed her figuring out her role as a captain, I do think that out of the four narrators introduced so far, she is one of the weakest. I feel like this would not have been the case if the first half of the book didn’t drag so much. While some people may like the idea of having The Company use guerrilla warfare and spy tactics on an enemy much more powerful, it just didn’t work well for me. I think that far too much time was invested into the Taglios plot and by the time things actually started happening outside of Taglios the book was already half over. In normal Cook style though, the second half was much better with the last quarter being incredibly interesting. I feel like this book didn’t progress much in terms of the overall plot of the story, but it answered so many integral questions that I can forgive its choppy first half. I think that this was the last big set up before the final book and I am hoping that "Soldiers Live" will be everything I want and more. If Cook sticks the landing of this final book, it will be in my top 5 series for sure. Soldiers Live Review: 9.2/10 What an ending. I know that technically there is still "Port of Shadows" to read after this but for all intents and purposes, this is the end of the series. I think that Croaker taking back the annalist role for this final book was an excellent choice by Cook and really brought home the fact that this was the end and Croaker was still here with us after going through everything. As he so well puts it, “Soldiers Live”. Being the lengthiest book by far in this series, I was expecting a decent chunk of the book to be long winded chapters giving more explanations about the world and its secrets similar to how "Water Sleeps" was. I was wrong. This book was as packed to the brim with action and war and twists more than Bleak Seasons was and it was a delight. Within the first third of the book we are introduced to two completely other worlds with many new characters that came with them. I was quite worried about this since introducing massive things like this to a series on its last book can be dangerous and has to be written well to not have plotlines left over and unanswered by the end. Somehow Cook pulled it off while also having those new plotlines and characters still play an important role in the overarching storyline. The only real complaint that I can think of is how disconnected the story felt sometimes when it came to the war itself. Story-wise this makes complete sense as Croaker is no longer the captain and isn’t privy to everything going on with the war effort but it still felt strange as Cook’s previous books had you right in the midst of the battle every time and this was a much more removed viewpoint. Battles that would have been a 100 pages in previous books happened in a mere chapter. Extremely important characters would die by the handful but without Croaker being there to see their death all we would get is a more statement that they had died. This caused some of the major deaths to feel a little hollow and didn’t sit well with me. Once again, I completely understand why Cook did this as Croaker himself was much more focused on other things while the war was going on but it didn’t stop me from feeling a little bitter at some points. Overall this series was brilliant and I can understand why Cook is nicknamed “The Father of Grimdark”. His writing is like no other and while it takes a bit to get used to, it became one of my favorite writing styles to read. The one biggest piece of praise that I can give Cook that clearly made itself known throughout the series is his straight to the point writing style. After reading a good amount of books written in the last 10 years, I cannot stress enough how unusual it is to see books written like this. Cook has this amazing way of writing some of the largest scale, epic and world spanning books without the word count of most authors doing the same nowadays. He can create these stories with almost no extra fat or bullshit. For the most part this series is almost 100% straight plot advancement. While I definitely enjoy some massive, thick boy books, it is refreshing to see an author create a world just as big with such a small number of pages. The Many Deaths of the Black Company Score: 8.4/10 The Black Company Score: 8.8/10

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adán

    4/5* These two last books are a great improvement from the previous ones. The series received a proper ending, though some threads do remain open. Things I liked: - There's a higher level of character development. You get to know more about main characters because they get emotionally involved in the events at last. - The plot thickens considerably. Perhaps having to do with reaching the end of the series, there's a great lore expansion and a lot of events take place. This includes battles and death 4/5* These two last books are a great improvement from the previous ones. The series received a proper ending, though some threads do remain open. Things I liked: - There's a higher level of character development. You get to know more about main characters because they get emotionally involved in the events at last. - The plot thickens considerably. Perhaps having to do with reaching the end of the series, there's a great lore expansion and a lot of events take place. This includes battles and deaths, so be warned. Finally you can feel there's something going on. - The narrative perspective switches more often. The narration jumps from the Annals to situations outside of them, adding more dimensionality and relieving you of the sometimes tiresome dull Annalist narration. - Some characters finally make some good decisions instead of choosing the greater evil for no reason as they usually did in the previous books. Though this is not always the case by any means. Things I disliked: - As I said above, characters do not always make good decisions. Yes, they are human and they are prone to making mistakes from time to time, but I mean taking the worst choice possible at pivotal points in the story time and again. I just don't understand why must you try to make an unstable, probably harmful alliance with an enemy who wants you dead. If the Black Company actually finished off their enemies at the first chance, the series would have ended right at the end of the third book and they would have enjoyed a way happier mercenary life. The worst thing is, there's no true reason for this. The Company achieves great power several times in their history, but they still act like they need help to survive or achieve even more power. Just for no reason. And surely enough enemies left alive always do come back. - Wisdom is ignored. The Company has some very old, very experienced, very talented people among its ranks. They know quite a lot about the world and how it functions, specially regarding magic, power, and supernatural enemies. Do they share this knowledge with the rest in order to be better prepared for what is coming? No. They stay silent and behave just as if they were just normal mercenaries with no particular knowledge. This drives me nuts. Very few times do they share their wisdom, only to be disregarded in two short paragraphs, tops. This way, nobody learns, nothing of value is shared, and mistakes are made. The series Overall, The Black Company is not disappointing by any means. It has an almost linear plot, wasting no time in superfluous details (although the plot stales here and there). The style of the narration, coming from the Annals and the writings of the Annalist, needs to be that way: concise and to the point. Though there's a palpable lack of profoundity in the characters as described in the text. They all seem to express themselves more or less the same, no matter their origins or personal stories. They do act the same, but this disconnection between their personalities and their actions make them utterly unpredictable, and it's hard for the reader to empathize with them. This series has taken me a long time to read and very probably that impacted my idea of it. Reasons were classes, exams and other stuff. My pace was shit. But I'm glad I finished it, because it was a good story, and not entirely devoid of lessons, although I would have loved more philosophical themes behind it, because it asked for it. Soldiers live. And wonder why.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gantzgantz

    -I'm going to use this to review and catalog my thoughts on the series as a whole rather than just the two books in this omnibus- Ten books. One story. The story of The Black Company. Where to start? This is the longest series I've read to date and it was a journey that I think will stick with me for a very long time. I ended up reading the final seven books one after another, devoting almost all of my free time over a two week period without being able to stop. I finished feeling emotionally exh -I'm going to use this to review and catalog my thoughts on the series as a whole rather than just the two books in this omnibus- Ten books. One story. The story of The Black Company. Where to start? This is the longest series I've read to date and it was a journey that I think will stick with me for a very long time. I ended up reading the final seven books one after another, devoting almost all of my free time over a two week period without being able to stop. I finished feeling emotionally exhausted and a bit forlorn that it was all over but at the same time simply happy that I got to experience it all. Before I make a bold statement about how good it was lets go through the negatives so I can seem objective. To start with, the writing here is far from the greatest offered by the genre. The style of being written through a soldiers viewpoint often results in very simple prose and there are few passages that leave you really wowed or blown away. The plot isn't perfect by any means, and certain aspects were annoying - for me the constant capture and escape of prisoners in the later books got tiring and it felt contrived at best that they always made it out without harm. Finally, the books themselves don't really stand that strongly by themselves. I don't know if I'd rate a single one of them a full 5 stars without reservations (although White Rose and She is the Darkness are very close if not there), with most coming to 3s and 4s and some novels being mostly just setup for the one after it. And yet, put them together and look at whole picture rather than the parts and you have something incredibly special. Something that, I believe, is a masterpiece of the fantasy genre. "Masterpiece" is lofty praise indeed for something I just slew with a bunch of criticisms. Lets explain the positives then. The writing is simplistic a lot of the time but it also fits perfectly for the type of story being told. The war correspondent style of prose allows you to really see things through the eyes of a solider and there's clearly beauty and skill that went into writing these novels. The characters and themes are a major drawing point. Very few characters get detailed descriptions (we learn about them through their action and behavior rather than any sort of infodumps), but they still end up feeling multifaceted and fully realized. Over the course of the series so many soldiers come and go and yet they all play their part and each adds something to the telling. Four characters especially stood out for me; those being Croaker, Lady, and the inseparable One-Eye and Goblin (all of which jumped into my favorites list immediately). One-Eye and Goblin, the small-time, constantly feuding wizards always managed to bring comedy to the story with their pranks and banter and their schemes that were just as likely to hurt the company as to help it. Underlying their constant bickering was a friendship deeper than any other in the company and the story simply wouldn't be the same without them. Croaker, the original annalist, was really the star of the story, the tale often felt like it centered on him even if the company itself was the true main character. The other annalists did a great job but it always felt more natural to have him behind the pen. His voice is full of cynicism and sarcasm as company physician and historian, which gives his writing a distinct flavor and one that I always found enjoyable. I especially found the passages focusing on his thoughts and attitude towards his profession as a mercenary and the lifestyle behind it, as well as those dealing with growing old to be extremely poignant. He's just one of those characters that it seems impossible not to like, and I certainly was always rooting for him and happy that he got a good if bittersweet ending. Finally there's also Lady, who was the most interesting part for me of the first trilogy. I remember remarking that there was just something about her that drew me in so strongly and always made me want to learn more. During the later novels she is no longer "the young and beautiful, the romantically sorrowful and remote Lady of Charm" anymore, and the sense of mystery surrounding her gets chipped away bit by bit as the series progresses. And yet, she always remained incredibly interesting to me and her lines always demanded attention. By the end there was no question in my mind that she was my favorite female character in fantasy. Also I guess as I get older I'm becoming more of a romantic because I got a little too seriously invested in the relationship between her and Croaker. It was not always as happy as I hoped it would be but it always felt incredibly real and authentic. I loved watching it develop and it was one of the things that drew me most despite normally taking the not caring route when it comes to romances in fantasy novels. Certainly a great love story was not one of the things I was expecting heading into these books but nonetheless I got it. What's most striking to me is that The Black Company books are told through vastly separate perspectives, being told by several different narrators, and yet never once did I feel like Cook lost sight of what the story is about. There's something vastly impressive to me in how he was able to stay true to the themes he was presenting over such a long period of time. I could really take the positives I wrote in my review of the first trilogy and slide them right in here because they are there all throughout. The men and women of the company travel vast distances, they get tangled up in political struggles they don't really care about, they make enemies of strong and mysterious sorcerers, they raise the ire of a goddess and her religious cult, countless brothers die and are replaced along the way..and yet at the heart of it, through all the external changes, this is always primarily about a group of soldiers that just wants to get through and are doing what they can to survive. A group of characters that act in realistic ways that you would expect of people put in their situations. No matter what happens, always throughout the reading there is a focus on the exploration of the brotherhood and camaraderie that develops and exists between this band of misfits and outcasts of society. It's that realistic exploration that is what the series is best at and where, in my eyes, it stands apart from others in the genre. Ultimately The Black Company is one of the greatest reading experiences I've ever had with fantasy. I am glad and thankful that I got to go on this journey with these characters and look forward to doing it all again one day. The series isn't quite as popular as I think it ought to be but I hope Cook is immensely proud of what he's created and accomplished here because he really deserves to be. Just like the soldiers of the company, his memory will live on as long as there's readers out there to remember him. It is an immortality of sorts..

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert2481

    When I finished reading the first of the nine books, I thought I was in for a great experience. Of course, that's before I knew just how long it would be. Each book sucked me into the next one, & the farther I got, the more it became just a matter wanting to finish something I had started. The whole did not add up to the promise of the very first book, but neither did it sink to the levels of some in the middle. In the end. I finished & I'm glad to finally got to scratch that itch. Sometimes th When I finished reading the first of the nine books, I thought I was in for a great experience. Of course, that's before I knew just how long it would be. Each book sucked me into the next one, & the farther I got, the more it became just a matter wanting to finish something I had started. The whole did not add up to the promise of the very first book, but neither did it sink to the levels of some in the middle. In the end. I finished & I'm glad to finally got to scratch that itch. Sometimes the author seemed to write like a jazz musician; making it up as he went along. I mean, the Voroshk, an important element to the plot, were only added in The Many Deaths. Anyway, with all these additions & subtractions, these books would have been much better, if they could have been read concurrently.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joel Mitchell

    The two novels in this omnibus mark a fitting conclusion to the annals of the Black Company. There were some loose ends and incompletely explained events, but that works with the “life is messy and confusing” vibe that permeates the series. Though there were a few clunkers in the series (the omnibus before this one was unimpressive), I’ve become attached enough to this band of morally ambiguous mercenaries that the many deaths promised in the title were truly moving. Enough of the company is lef The two novels in this omnibus mark a fitting conclusion to the annals of the Black Company. There were some loose ends and incompletely explained events, but that works with the “life is messy and confusing” vibe that permeates the series. Though there were a few clunkers in the series (the omnibus before this one was unimpressive), I’ve become attached enough to this band of morally ambiguous mercenaries that the many deaths promised in the title were truly moving. Enough of the company is left alive that the author can continue the series if he ever gets the urge, but they are clearly moving into a new phase of their existence and I’m content to wish them good luck as they continue their tradition of a brotherhood involved in conflicts where “darkness battles darkness.”

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike O'brecht

    Now this books ending was amazing, and something I never saw coming at all. The re-introduction of Croaker as the narrator was also something fantastic to bring back. Sleepy was alright as the annalist/narrator, but just didn't have the same flare for surprise and mystery as Croaker did. The same goes for Lady and Morgan. All in all, the ending was shocking, and to me leaves the series open to continue, if Cook wanted (and I wish he would). Despite that, you'll never know if there's disaster, en Now this books ending was amazing, and something I never saw coming at all. The re-introduction of Croaker as the narrator was also something fantastic to bring back. Sleepy was alright as the annalist/narrator, but just didn't have the same flare for surprise and mystery as Croaker did. The same goes for Lady and Morgan. All in all, the ending was shocking, and to me leaves the series open to continue, if Cook wanted (and I wish he would). Despite that, you'll never know if there's disaster, end of the world, continued Black Company, or continued..... anything from this book! It's a mystery in and of itself. All in all though, a damn good read, and if you don't think so, you can learn to suck eggs.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Martin R. Kotomski

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again, great adventure and amazing writing style . Switching between the annalists you can see the Murgen and Sleepy (?!) styles . So what happened to the oryginal Black Company, eh Survin taking the charge 🤔 and where are they actually going now ??? I guess Mr Cook left himself so room for adding another chronicles as Port of Shadows is based on the storyline before the Taglios war ( so I hear ).

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