Soldiers Live (Glittering Stone Series #4)

Soldiers Live (Glittering Stone Series #4)

4.6 14
by Glen Cook

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 One-Eye's grandson, 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, by changing bodies with him--and within the golem body Croaker may have yet more stories to tell. Dark and surprising, Cook's latest is free of pretension, but rich in characters and world building. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
After a long stay in the land of the Hsien warlords, the mercenaries of the Black Company prepare to return to their former home, a journey that takes them once more through the shadowgates and across the Glittering Stone, where old and new enemies await them. The ninth installment of the author s popular Black Company novels brings to a conclusion several plot threads while leaving room for new variations on a tried-and-true theme the trials and tribulations of men and women at war against impossible odds. The author s wry wit and flair for understatement add a level of realism uncommon to the fantasy genre. Recommended for most fantasy collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Black Company Series, #10
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.09(d)

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Read an Excerpt


An Abode of Ravens: When No Men Died

Four years passed and no one died.

Not of violence or hazard of the calling, anyway. Otto and Hagop did pass on within days of each other, of natural causes associated with aging, last year. A few weeks ago one Tarn Due, recruit in training, perished of the overconfident exuberance of youth. He fell into a crevasse while he and his lance brothers were riding their blankets down the long slick slope of the Tien Myuen glacier. There were a few others. But not a one by an unfriendly hand.

Four years has to be a record, though not the sort often recalled in these Annals.

That much peace is impossible to believe.

Peace that prolonged becomes increasingly seductive.

Many of us are old and tired and retain no youthful fire in the belly. But us old farts are not in charge anymore. And though we were prepared to forget horror, horror was not as accomodating toward us.

• • •

In those days the Company was in service to its own name. We recognized no master. We counted the warlords of Hsien as our allies. They feared us. We were supernatural, many recalled from the dead, the ultimate Stone Soldiers. They dreaded the chance that we might take sides in their squabbles over the bones of Hsien, that once-mighty empire the Nyueng Bao recall as the Land of Unknown Shadows.

The more idealistic warlords have hopes of us. The mysterious File of Nine provide arms and money and let us recruit because they hope we can be manipulated into helping them restore the golden age that existed before the Shadowmasters enslaved their world so cruelly that its people still call themselves the Children of the Dead.

There is no chance we will participate. But we permit them the hope, the illusion. We have to get strong. We have a mission of our own.

By standing still we have caused the blossoming of a city. A once-chaotic encampment has become ordered and has acquired names, Outpost or the Bridgehead among those who came from beyond the plain and what translates as Abode of Ravens amongst the Children of the Dead. The place keeps growing. It has generated scores of permanent structures. It is in the processing of acquiring a wall. The main street is being paved with cobblestones.

Sleepy likes to keep everyone busy. She cannot stand a loafer. The Children of the Dead will inherit a treasure when we finally go away.

Copyright © 2000 by Glen Cook

Meet the Author

Born in 1944, Glen Cook grew up in northern California, served in the U.S. Navy, attended the University of Missouri, and was one of the earliest graduates of the well-known "Clarion" workshop SF writers. Since 1971 he has published a large number of SF and fantasy novels, including the "Dread Empire" series, the occult-detective "Garrett" novels, and the very popular "Black Company" sequence that began with the publication of The Black Company in 1984. Among his SF novels is A Passage at Arms.

After working many years for General Motors, Cook now writes full-time. He lives near St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife Carol.

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Soldiers Live (Glittering Stone Series #4) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the Black COmpany when it first came out, so many years ago. I was quite happy to see Glen start writing a few more Black Company books. I finished Soldiers Live! last night. I guess I have mixed feelings about the last 1/4 of the book. Cook suddenly started treating the Black Company rather roughly, almost as if he wanted to quah any future talk of sequels. He succeeded. In the aftermath of closing this book, I feel an overpowering sense of nostalgia, remembering the earlier books. Charm, Whisper, Silent, Raven, etc. I've always felt that Silent should have shown up later. I also know the Black Company has truly ended.
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Isaiah Adarme More than 1 year ago
It all came together at the end
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. It is as dark as the other Black Company books. You have no idea who was going to survive, and that fact makes these books so much more exciting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An absolutely amazing book and the perfect ending to a great series! Having Croaker writing the Annals again was a great treat. I only wish that this wasn't the last book in the series, but there are so few things left to finish up that I really don't think that Glen Cook is going to write another Black Company novel. Everything finally comes to a close in this highly-recommended book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly an incredible finale to the Black Company Series, Glen Cook has done what most other writers can't seem to do *cough*Jordan*cough* he has finished a signature series, successfully and with closure. The Black Company survives, but at a terrible cost, and if this is not the end, I may not move on with it. But it has been a wonderful ride Mr. Cook...Thank you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It has now been a while since 'Soldiers Live' came out. I enjoyed it so much, I have again read the entire 'The Black Company' series, just to place it into perspective. It's the same thing I've done when any of the last several books in this series came out. What a treat! Since going through 'Soldiers Live' yet once again, I'm convinced Mr. Cook should continue 'The Black Company' series, and if we're lucky, he may actually do so. Certainly, enough loose threads were left in this last book for him to easily pick it up again. I know for years to come, I'll continue to peruse the new books list in the hope of discovering a new 'Black Company' book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You always approach the last book of a beloved series with some one likes to see a story fail of its early promise. There were a couple of bumps along the way in the Black Co. series but Cook wins redemption for himself(and his fans) by producing an extraordinary book to bring it all to a close. I was completely satisfied on all counts and never saw the twist in the end coming. Great writing by one of the top authors around today. Thanks, Cook, for giving readers one of the truly great fantasy series of all time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading this book and I had to forcibly take hold of myself to keep getting all misty eyed and sentimental. To say that 'Soldiers Live' is a crowning achievment in a long and glorious series of Black Company novels would be a serious understatement. To say that it is a work to rival any science fiction or high fantasy masterpiece would only come close to doing this book justice. Words are not enough. There are not enough stars on the rating chart to cover the incredible story that unfolds and, quite possibly concludes, in this, the final book of Glittering Stone. At long last Cook brings it all together, revealing secrets and mysteries that have been developing over the course of the past three novels. Only now, as I read the final chapter again, can I see why it took Cook so long to start down the path of Glittering Stone. It was six years from the time 'Dreams of Steel' was published to the release of 'Bleak Seasons' (the first book of Glittering Stone), and now 'Soldiers Live' is the culmination of that story arc. After years of eagerly awaiting the return of the Black Company, many of you reading this review will no doubt remember the disappointment many of us felt in reading 'Bleak Seasons' for the first, and probably the last, time. Well I'm here to tell you that, as painful as that book was to get through; 'Soldiers Live' makes it all worth while. Oh sure, the other books of Glittering Stone were not really bad, 'She is the Darkness' was a definate improvement and 'Water Sleeps' was actually quite good, but 'Soldiers Live' brings all the other books of Glittering Stone into sharp focus, and fairly begs the reader to go back and relive the company's southward quest to uncover its origins; all over again, from the beginning, even 'Bleak Seasons.' I promise you, if you are a fan of the Black Company and have grown disillusioned with the books of Glittering Stone, then this book will be like a 100-gallon keg of redemption for you, just as it was for me. To my profound sorrow, 'Soldiers Live' may well be the last book of the Black Company. In it we say goodbye to a lot of dear friends, settle some old debts, and a last confront a terrible goddess. The plot twists and turns, and near the end, you don't want to finish the book because you are terrified that Cook may go too far, dooming his characters and us, the readers, to fates too horrible to be true, no matter how gritty and merciless the life of a soldier can be. Nevertheless, the ending will astound you, leaving you exhausted from the wild emotional ride and heart pumping suspense. It is perhapse the most poignant, perfect, and fitting conclusion to any story ever written, and while it could have been a happier ending, it could not have been better! 'Soldiers Live.' Buy it. Read it. Love it. For Glen Cook and the Black Company, I do believe, it is immortality of a sort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Water sleeps was a good novel, and I am looking forward to Mr. Cooks final book in the Glittering Stones 'trilogy'. However I am more than a little disappointed at the delays in publishing, and the lack of promotion that a fine author like Mr. Cook has recieved. Within the fantasy novel genre he is one of the Great Talents.