Customer Reviews for

The Black Company (Books of the North Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
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5 Star

(24)

4 Star

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(2)

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(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A new type of fantasy

The Black Company is a dark fantasy about the last company of elite mercenaries who, having failed their last contract must flee from their home country or be killed. Finding themselves under the employment of some kind of zombie-wizard thing who in turn is under the co...
The Black Company is a dark fantasy about the last company of elite mercenaries who, having failed their last contract must flee from their home country or be killed. Finding themselves under the employment of some kind of zombie-wizard thing who in turn is under the control of an even greater zombie wizard thing..

The characters are interesting in that they are only known by nicknames or titles, The Captain while being a somewhat important character is known only as the Captain. Apparently this is because a true name is incredible powerful in some way. But this can get confusing as for a while I didn't know there was actually a character that was named the Rebel and assumed for a while they were referring to the rebel army. the lack of back-story for almost all of the characters is somewhat off-putting when trying to understand them at first but becomes quickly irrelevant as they begin to grow on you as, through the main character Croaker, you feel the strong brotherhood between members of the Company

The story itself is presented through the eyes of the Company's Doctor and recorder Croaker, who does much less doctoring and a great deal more investigating and writing. As such the reader only knows what Croaker knows and at some points thats not a whole lot, at one confusing part where i thought i lost a few pages, a character is presumed dead one second and just a few paragraphs later is sitting at the table playing cards with no mention on what happened in between. Other times the amount of things happening all at once increases and feels fast paced and exciting. All in all a great and interesting story that had me stuck til the end, and already getting ready to continue on in the next book.

posted by zelig on July 25, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Don't waste your time on this book . it make no sense.

not good.

posted by wms on January 18, 2013

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Don't waste your time on this book . it make no sense.

    not good.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A new type of fantasy

    The Black Company is a dark fantasy about the last company of elite mercenaries who, having failed their last contract must flee from their home country or be killed. Finding themselves under the employment of some kind of zombie-wizard thing who in turn is under the control of an even greater zombie wizard thing..

    The characters are interesting in that they are only known by nicknames or titles, The Captain while being a somewhat important character is known only as the Captain. Apparently this is because a true name is incredible powerful in some way. But this can get confusing as for a while I didn't know there was actually a character that was named the Rebel and assumed for a while they were referring to the rebel army. the lack of back-story for almost all of the characters is somewhat off-putting when trying to understand them at first but becomes quickly irrelevant as they begin to grow on you as, through the main character Croaker, you feel the strong brotherhood between members of the Company

    The story itself is presented through the eyes of the Company's Doctor and recorder Croaker, who does much less doctoring and a great deal more investigating and writing. As such the reader only knows what Croaker knows and at some points thats not a whole lot, at one confusing part where i thought i lost a few pages, a character is presumed dead one second and just a few paragraphs later is sitting at the table playing cards with no mention on what happened in between. Other times the amount of things happening all at once increases and feels fast paced and exciting. All in all a great and interesting story that had me stuck til the end, and already getting ready to continue on in the next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2009

    The Black Company Review

    Reviewer: Eric Fraga
    The Black Company Review
    Glen Cook has written something special, that's for sure. When critics say that he redefined the genre of fantasy epic, they weren't kidding. Cook writes a thrilling tale about The Black Company, an elite mercenary group. Throughout the tale, the group is hired, fired, betrayed, and praised by friends, foes, and strangers alike.
    Interestingly enough, the story follows a physician (and historian) for the Company, as we see through his eyes, the hardships of war and the dark sides of humanity. That is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book. There is no good and evil. There is only humans being humans, doing what they do best, and that's surviving. To survive, the Company finds that they may have to give up something greater than just morals or reputation though, but perhaps their own souls. By being driven to ally themselves with the enemy of the world, they find themselves being used to quell uprisings, assassinate rebel wizards, and fight in epic battles that span many different battlefields. But when is it too much? Who is the true enemy in this world of magic and darkness? Can evil with good intentions be not all that bad? These are all questions that are left to the reader to find out for themselves.
    What I can tell you though, is that this is an excellent book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the fantasy epic genre, military genre, or even history genre. The scope of this epic is beyond anything I have ever read. Cheers and happy reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    Great Great Series

    This is a great dark fantasy series, I couldn't recommend it enough. I've given my copy out to so many people and now they're all fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2001

    Top Notch Dark Fantasy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is by far the best, most entertaining dark fantasy series since it's inception. This is awesome reading, 1st book a little slow in the beginning, but it picks up till soon you cant put it down. This book has all that makes the best of a dark fantasy story : Lich's, Revenant's & Necromancers galore, intrigue & Skullduggery. The entire series kicks butt, get's a little overly narrative and political by book 8-10, but it's worth it! Personal note: Silver Spike is awesome and very creepy. This series stands side to side with the likes of J. R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings, among many others, it's a shame the series ended by book 10(which I am still reading) but all good things do have an ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2000

    GET DOWN AN DIRTY WITH THE HARDEST BUCH OF HIRESWORDS IN TOWN!

    This is the first installment of a series of Black Company novels and it also happens to be the best. Cook easily conveys a 'you are there' sense of first-person realism that eludes so many of today's fantasy authors. He is content to weave a masterful, fast-paced, and addictive plot--one driven by deep character developement and rich, flavorfull dialogue--and leaves mundane descriptions of the local flora and fauna to the readers imagination. Afterall, once you've seen one 'Boars Head Inn,' you really have seen them all. The bottom line? If you are looking for a Tolken-esk experience, forget it. Cook's Black Company is all about plot and action. It's a hard-boiled, pan-fried look at life in a brotherhood of mercenaries as the men strive to meet the obligations of their duty, their employers, and their stomachs, and still get out of town alive! It's not just about 'humpin and lumpin' though. Cook's primary villans have vast reserves of magical power at their command, but don't expect any high-brow, mumbo-jumbo approach to magic in THIS book. The mages found in 'The Black Company' are frighteningly powerful, and they wield that power with a casual brutality that underscores their no-nonsense approach to world domination. Yes, THIS IS IT fantasy fans! This is the breath of fresh air we have all been looking for! 'The Black Company' is a raw and invigorating departure from classic fantasy. It's hard, it's gritty, and once you start reading, you WILL NOT be able to stop until you have completed the entire series! Buy it now, worry about the addiction later.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Anonymous

    One of my all time favorite fantasy series. Great characters, lots of humor and evil wizards out smarted by a band of brothers. I recommend reading all of the black company books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    How did I miss this for so long?!

    It hits just enough familiar elements that you fall right into the world but has enough interesting twists that it's new and exciting. The writing style is unusual: clipped, to the point, but effective at painting brilliant pictures.

    How I missed this series for this long is beyond me but, if it stays this good, I've got several long, adventure-filled nights ahead!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Gffufdf

    Ghdhhggg

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    Brief Summary:  The mercenary, rough sailors of the Black Compan

    Brief Summary:  The mercenary, rough sailors of the Black Company find themselves under the command of a new employer—a woman called The Lady, who may have darker plans for them than they could have ever imagined.
    The Tsundoku Scale:  Middle of the Pile, 7 out of 10.
    The Good: The tale of the Black Company is an interesting one, told by Croaker, the Black Company’s doctor and annals keeper.  It is a fast-paced book of short sentences, and even shorter tempers, as war rages on with the Black Company stuck right in the middle of it, holding on to their lives only by their own cunning.  Croaker is really a splendid character, with his wry and dry humor.  He is the quintessential unreliable narrator; for, while he writes the annals of the narrative that the reader is reading, he often chooses to omit and include details at his own whims.  He even mentions at one point that he has chosen to omit many of the atrocities that the Black Company commits because he does not like to show them in a negative light.  You like the characters, you sympathize the characters, and yet you still get the feeling that you don’t really know them. Cook does a great job pushing and pulling the reader between familiarity and aloofness with the characters.  What’s also oddly thrilling about this book is that there is no real back story.  There are prophecies, supernatural beings, and magic, but the reader is only granted slight glimpses of this history.  Croaker seems to neglect to tell the reader of certain facts mostly becaus these facts are already common knowledge to those characters in the story.  It takes a while to get used to things just happening matter of factly without much explanation, but, in this way, the reader is never caught up in the epic of good against evil. Instead, this otherworldly battle is but a side note to Croaker’s and the Black Company’s story, and for once the reader is truly controlled by the whims of the narrator, and Croaker gives the reader’s a thrilling ride.
    The Bad: Many praise the Black Company for its divergence from a typical fantasy book.  The book filters out the high-end, elaborate telling of most general fantasies from the dirty trenches of war, but unlike most fantasies, it wants to leave you with the dregs.  Nonetheless, this praise is not particularly justifiable.  For “just an average person,” Croaker plays quite a role from the weight his opinion has in the Black Company’s decision-making, to the fact that The Lady, the most powerful being in the world, takes a special interest in him, going as far to contact him personally.  Croaker may be a normal man without magic or special abilities, but his life is certainly anything from normal, and the idea of this book being a different kind of fantasy is certainly misleading.  What’s more, it can often be frustrating how little Cook stays within the limits of his own narration.  Though Croaker is supposed to be telling the story through the annals that he has written, often those rules of the story are broken and instead the story transforms into a present narrative, rather than the re-telling it is supposed to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    Boring!

    After all of the positive reviews I was really looking forward to this book. Sadly, I found the story boring and the characters shallow. Maybe when the book came out in the 80's this book was considered "gritty" but compared to the Joe Abercrombies of today, this book is juvenile.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of my all-time favorites

    This story is the classic good-vs-evil, but from a completely different point of view. It's funny, gut-churning, and totally unforgettable. There are 3 books that I never let anyone borrow, and this is one of them.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2007

    Spectaculer

    I have only read the first two books but they are fabulous. I am eager to by the third book and continue the series. They have earned a place as my second favorite series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2007

    best book ever

    The BLACK COMPANY was the best book i ever read my dad gave it to me to read and i loved it. There is so much adventure in it i couldnt put the book down. I recomend this book to anyone who likes action adventure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2000

    Addicted yet?

    The book takes about 50 pages to pick up what they are talking about but once you get it you cannot get out.What detail! I must recommend! If you like a series that picks up where the other left off, then get into this one. The second book, Shadows Linger, picks you right back up and gets you addicted. 5 STARS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    The Black Company was the best read, ever!

    If you are like me and hated Elric with his wishy washy ways you will love The Black Company. The players in this book really know how to use thier wits, there is a no-bull hard nosed approach to life that I just happen to love. The value of thought, stategy and the art of politics, it's all here. Whats also here is fast paced action and a plot that runs long and deep. I can't say enough good things about The Black Company.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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