Soldiers LiveeBook - 2000
When sorcerers and demigods go to war, those wars are fought by mercenaries, "dog soldiers," grunts in the trenches. And the stories of those soldiers are the stories of Glen Cook's hugely popular "Black Company" novels. If the Joseph Heller of Catch-22 were to tell the story of The Lord of the Rings, it might read like the Black Company books. There is nothing else in fantasy like them.
Now, at last, Cook brings the "Glittering Stone" cycle within the Black Company series to an end . . . but an end with many other tales left to tell. As Soldiers Live opens, Croaker is military dictator of all the Taglias, and no Black Company member has died in battle for four years. Croaker figures it can't last. He's right.
For, of course, many of the Company's old adversaries are still around. Narayan Singh and his adopted daughter--actually the offspring of Croaker and the Lady--hope to bring about the apocalyptic Year of the Skulls. Other old enemies like Shadowcatcher, Longshadow, and Howler are also ready to do the Company harm. And much of the Company is still recovering from the fifteen years many of them spent in a stasis field.
Then a report arrives of an evil spirit, a forvalaka, that has taken over one of their old enemies. 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.
Glen Cook is the leading modern writer of epic fantasy noir, and Soldiers Live is Cook at his best. None of his legion of fans will want to miss it.
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Skillfully combining noir and military fantasy, acclaimed writer Cook may be concluding the Chronicle of the Black Company in the series's ninth book. Narrated by Croaker, the hard-boiled leader of the company, this book tells the story of the company's search for a path through the shadowgates from Hsien toward Taglios and its home. As they make their way, company members engage in numerous battles. They defeat the murderous forvalka; they assimilate some competent but untrustworthy sorcerers from Vorosh; and they continue to train Murgen's son, the company's principle sorcerer, Tobo. But their journey doesn't end when they get to Taglios. There, they find they have to overthrow Lady's sister (Croaker's sister-in-law) Shadowcatcher, prevent the Daughter of Night (Croaker and Lady's biological daughter) from wreaking havoc and generally put Taglios back together at considerable self-sacrifice. Croaker ultimately keeps his bargain with the guardian of the Glittering Plain, the golem Shivetya.
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