Title: Shadow Games
Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: of 5 Battle Axes
Croaker, along with the few remaining members of the Black Company, head towards a fabled city where the Black Company supposedly originated hundreds of years ago.
Along the way, they pick up a “few” more members and end up battling Taken that have faked their death.
Right at the end it looks like both Croaker [who is now the captain for the Black Company] and the Lady are dead, but I won’t be sure until I read the next book.
These books are touted as “dark” and “anti-hero” and supposedly had a great influence on Steven Erikson and his epic Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I can see that but where Erikson went wrong, in my opinion, was that he left out the humor. You can only grind my nose into so much existential crap before I start to hate you as an author.
And that is why I can continue to like these books. There are grand flashes of humor at just the right points so you don’t get mired down in the muck of ever ongoing battles for survival. Not laugh out loud moments, at least not for me, but deft touches that brought my spirits up and enhanced my enjoyment of reading about a group of mercenaries who really have no reason to continue their existence.
It was grand fun watching the Black Company just steam roll over all opponents for the first 90% of the book. They just couldn’t lose. Which I think was a setup by Cook, on purpose. Because that last 10% made me wonder how these books were going to keep on going. So of course I’m going to keep reading. I was manipulated by Cook, realized it and ended up liking it.