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Chronicles of the Black Company: A Dark Fantasy Series by Glen Cook
If you are looking for a fantasy series that is gritty, realistic, and morally ambiguous, you might want to check out Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook. This series is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of dark fantasy and grimdark genres, and has influenced many modern authors such as George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and Joe Abercrombie. In this article, we will give you an overview of what Chronicles of the Black Company is about, why you should read it, and how you can read it.
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What is Chronicles of the Black Company?
Chronicles of the Black Company is a series of fantasy novels that follows the exploits of a mercenary group called the Black Company. The series spans over four decades and several continents, as the Black Company gets involved in various wars, intrigues, and supernatural events.
The premise and setting of the series
The series is set in a world that is loosely based on medieval Europe and Asia, but with magic, gods, and mythical creatures. The world is divided into several regions, such as the North, where a tyrannical empire ruled by the Lady and her Ten Who Were Taken (powerful sorcerers who were once her enemies) dominates; the South, where a rebel movement called the Circle of Eighteen (also composed of sorcerers) opposes the Lady's rule; and the Plain of Fear, a mysterious land where strange beings dwell.
The Black Company is one of the oldest and most notorious mercenary groups in the world. They have a long and bloody history, dating back to centuries ago when they served the White Rose, a legendary hero who defeated the Dominator, the Lady's husband and an even more evil tyrant. The Black Company's motto is "We do not ask questions. We get paid.", which reflects their pragmatic and cynical attitude. They are loyal to their contracts, but they also have their own code of honor and camaraderie.
The main characters and factions of the series
The series has a large cast of characters, but the main protagonist and narrator is Croaker, the physician and historian of the Black Company. He is a witty and sarcastic man who records the events and adventures of his comrades in his annals. He also has a romantic interest in Lady, whom he initially fights against but later allies with.
Some of the other notable members of the Black Company are:
Raven, a mysterious and deadly warrior who joins the company with a young girl named Darling, who turns out to be the reincarnation of the White Rose.
Goblin and One-Eye, two rival wizards who constantly prank each other with their magic.
Silent, a mute wizard who commands respect with his power and presence.
Captain and Lieutenant, the leaders of the company who make strategic and tactical decisions.
Elmo, a gruff and loyal sergeant who is Croaker's friend.
Some of the main antagonists and allies of the series are:
Lady, the ruler of the northern empire who is a beautiful and ruthless sorceress. She was once sealed in a magical barrow by the White Rose, along with her husband, the Dominator, and the Ten Who Were Taken. She was freed by a group of rebels who hoped to use her against the Dominator, but she betrayed them and took over the empire.
Ten Who Were Taken, also known as the Taken, are the Lady's generals and advisers. They are former enemies of the Lady and the Dominator who were captured and enslaved by them with dark magic. They have lost their names and identities, and are known only by their titles, such as Soulcatcher, Limper, Shapeshifter, etc. They are feared and hated by everyone, and often scheme against each other.
Circle of Eighteen, also known as the Circle, are the leaders of the southern rebellion against the Lady. They are sorcerers who have gained power and influence by posing as religious figures. They claim to serve the White Rose, but they are actually corrupt and manipulative.
Dominator, the Lady's husband and the original master of the Taken. He is a megalomaniacal and sadistic warlord who wants to conquer and enslave the world. He is still trapped in the barrow, but his influence and power are growing, and he seeks to escape his prison.
White Rose, the legendary hero who defeated the Dominator and the Lady centuries ago. She is prophesied to return and lead a new rebellion against them. She is reincarnated as a young girl named Darling, who is mute but has the power to nullify magic.
Why should you read Chronicles of the Black Company?
Chronicles of the Black Company is a series that offers a different perspective on fantasy. It is not a typical story of good versus evil, heroes versus villains, or chosen ones versus dark lords. Instead, it is a story of ordinary people who are caught up in extraordinary events, and who have to make hard choices and deal with the consequences.
The unique style and tone of the series
The series is written in a first-person point of view, from Croaker's perspective. This gives the reader a close and intimate look at the thoughts and feelings of the narrator, as well as his biases and limitations. The style is also very realistic and gritty, with no sugarcoating or romanticizing of war, violence, or magic. The tone is often dark, cynical, and humorous, with witty dialogue and sarcastic commentary.
The series also subverts many fantasy tropes and clichés, such as:
The main characters are not heroes, but mercenaries who fight for money and survival.
The magic system is not clearly defined or explained, but mysterious and unpredictable.
The world-building is not detailed or extensive, but vague and minimalist.
The plot is not linear or straightforward, but complex and nonlinear.
The influence and legacy of the series
The series is widely considered to be one of the pioneers and inspirations of dark fantasy and grimdark genres, which are characterized by moral ambiguity, realism, violence, and antiheroes. Many modern authors have acknowledged or praised Glen Cook's work, such as:
George R.R. Martin, who wrote: "The Black Company novels were among my chief influences when I first sat down to write A Game of Thrones."
Steven Erikson, who wrote: "Reading his stuff was like reading Vietnam War fiction on peyote."
How to read Chronicles of the Black Company?
# Article with HTML formatting (continued) The order and structure of the books
The series consists of 11 novels that can be divided into three sub-series: The Books of the North, The Books of the South, and The Books of Glittering Stone. There are also several short stories that fill in some gaps or provide different perspectives on the events. The best way to read Chronicles of the Black Company is in chronological order, which is as follows:
The Books of the North
The Black Company
Port of Shadows
The White Rose
The Books of the South
The Silver Spike (spin-off)
Dreams of Steel
The Books of Glittering Stone
She Is the Darkness
# Article with HTML formatting (continued) The availability and formats of the books
If you want to read Chronicles of the Black Company, you have several options to choose from. You can buy the books individually or in omnibus editions, which compile several books in one volume. You can also find the books in different formats, such as paperback, hardcover, ebook, or audiobook.
One of the most convenient and affordable ways to read Chronicles of the Black Company is to get the ebook versions. You can download them to your device and read them anytime and anywhere. You can also adjust the font size, brightness, and other settings to suit your preferences. The ebooks are available in various platforms, such as Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google Play Books, Apple Books, and more.
One of the best sources for Chronicles of the Black Company ebooks is Rakuten Kobo, which offers a wide selection of ebooks and audiobooks for different genres and interests. You can browse their catalog and find Chronicles of the Black Company ebooks for a reasonable price. You can also read a preview of each book before you buy it. You can access your ebooks on any device with the free Kobo app, which syncs your bookmarks and progress across your devices. You can also earn points with every purchase and redeem them for rewards.
Chronicles of the Black Company is a series that will appeal to fans of dark fantasy and grimdark genres. It is a series that features a mercenary group as the main characters, who face various challenges and dilemmas in a world full of magic, gods, and monsters. It is a series that has a unique style and tone, with realistic and gritty descriptions, witty and sarcastic narration, and subversive and complex plot. It is a series that has influenced and inspired many modern authors and works in the fantasy genre.
If you want to read Chronicles of the Black Company, you should follow the chronological order of the books, which consists of 11 novels divided into three sub-series. You should also consider getting the ebook versions of the books, which are convenient and affordable. One of the best places to get Chronicles of the Black Company ebooks is Rakuten Kobo, which offers a great selection of ebooks and audiobooks for different tastes and preferences.
Q: Who is Glen Cook?
A: Glen Cook is an American author who is best known for his fantasy series Chronicles of the Black Company. He is also known for his other fantasy series such as The Dread Empire, The Instrumentalities of the Night, and Garrett P.I.
Q: What is grimdark?
A: Grimdark is a subgenre of fantasy that is characterized by a dark, gritty, and realistic tone, with morally ambiguous characters, violent and graphic scenes, and bleak and pessimistic themes.
Q: What are some other books similar to Chronicles of the Black Company?
A: Some other books similar to Chronicles of the Black Company are A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, The First Law by Joe Abercrombie, The Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker, and The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence.
Q: How many pages are in Chronicles of the Black Company?
A: The total number of pages in Chronicles of the Black Company varies depending on the edition and format of the books. However, according to Goodreads, the average number of pages per book is 384 pages.
Q: Is Chronicles of the Black Company finished?
A: Yes, Chronicles of the Black Company is finished as a series. The last book in the series was published in 2000. However, Glen Cook has written some short stories set in the same world as Chronicles of the Black Company, and has also published a spin-off novel called Port of Shadows in 2018.