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Water Sleeps: A Novel of the Black Company Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 2000

2.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 3 edition (March 15 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812555341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812555349
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.4 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #819,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The eighth volume of the military-fantasy saga of the Black Company of mercenaries, set in a world strongly flavored with elements of South and Southeast Asia, holds to the high standards of previous volumes. It is some years after the close of She Is the Darkness, when their nemesis, Soulcatcher, locked most of the company in a magical stasis field; now the motley band of survivors exists at the sufferance of the Radisha of Taglios. This doesn't keep them from wanting to rescue their comrades, however. The survivors' leader is the young woman Sleepy, once the ward of Murgen the Standardbearer but now his successor as Annalist of the Company. She organizes her ragtag followers to steal the various sorcerous secrets of ways to penetrate the stasis field and eventually to kidnap the Radisha of Taglios herself. The rescue party then hotfoots it, with Soulcatcher, her general Mogaba and Kina the Destroyer close on their heels. This novel stands more sturdily on its own than most Black Company books, thanks to the exceptional richness of the world building, exemplified in particular by its feel for Eastern religion. It is compelling to see the dregs of society groping toward a certain nobility through loyalty to lost comrades. The actual rescue has a whiff of anticlimax about it, but the revived Black Company has no shortage of surviving enemies, and further adventures are practically guaranteed and eagerly anticipated.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

After a 15-year wait, the surviving members of the Black Company marshal their resources and begin an arduous journey back to the glittering plain in an attempt to rescue their captured brethren from a timeless prison. Told from the perspective of an Annalist haunted by dreams of the past and visions of the future, the eighth chronicle of the last of the Free Companies encompasses accounts of guerrilla warfare and open battle as well as the everyday struggles of soldiers caught in a war for survival against immortal enemies. Cook's singular talent for combining gritty realism and high fantasy provides a hard edge to this popular fantasy noir series. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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In those days the Black Company did not exist. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Aug. 10 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The second to last Black Company installment.
This one did not work so well for me as some of the others.
Sleepy, the narrator, is a less than successful character for me: snappish, intolerant, periodically mentioning a dark past which never gets revealed enough to create sympathy for her. Many of the other important characters are either imprisoned in this volume or getting old, and the new upcoming ones don't hold a lot of interest for me. It's hard to see here how anyone could have ever fallen in love with Sahra, and Murgen, a favorite of mine, gets pushed to the perimeter. Only the return of Willow Swan, whom I've always liked, gives this book character interest for me.
The plot progresses, though I found the resolution of one fairly long-term suspenseful thread anticlimactic, accomplished easily and almost offstage. Particularly at the end, events become hard to follow and jump around. There's a sense of ennui about the whole thing, of "so what?". Followers of the series will nevertheless want to see what happens and progress to the (so far) final volume.
I really like the way the catchy title of each book is foreshadowed in the preceding volume; a clever touch by the author.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This series peaked with Shadow Games and has been interesting, but rather meandering and lacking focus ever since. It's interesting to note that Glittering Stone was originaly intended to be one book (the 3rd Book of the South) following Steel Dreams, but Cook decided to expand it into 4. I think he would have been better off sticking to his first idea.
I agree with everything Patrick said below me. There is actually one other plot hole that is even bigger and more irritating than those he pointed out. Namely: After capturing the Black Company leadership with some spell at the end of She Is The Darkness (an event that was never really explained very well), why the heck doesn't Soulcatcher just kill them? Instead, she goes to the great bother of dragging them all down into that cave to enter some suspended animation. Seems to me the only reason she would do this is so Cook can write more books about the Black Company. Even more puzzeling is where Cook writes that Soulcatcher thinks the company is all dead rather than asleep. Excuse me? She hauled them all down there thinking they would die, despite the fact that everyone else down there was in suspended animation? As I stated before, if she wanted them dead she would have just stuck a knife in each one before she left and end of story. I hate to belabor the point, but Cook ought to fire his editor, and then maybe fire himself for thinking his readers wouldn't notice these gaping holes in his plot.
I'm still giving it 3 stars because Cook still has a knack for making us care about his characters, even though almost all of the old ones are dead now or strangly sidelined (Lady and Croaker). I've even pre-ordered Soldiers Live to see how it all ends. Maybe he'll redeem himself at the end...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Water Sleeps" is definitely a page turner. The plot is nicely constructed and seems to have more direction than "She Is the Darkness". Sleepy, the new annalist, keeps the company spirit alive as she pulls some tricks truly worthy of the Black Company's style. As someone else noted, Cook definitely seems to be getting into saga mode. I don't think one more book will wrap up this series. Count on at least two.
Now the gripes (SPOILERS AHEAD! Skip the rest if you haven't read the book): It would have been nice to have some dialogue with Croaker and Lady, at least at the end. I also noticed some inconsistencies in the story. For example, when Soulcatcher's sabotaged carpet gives way, she sees the words 'Water Sleeps' written in the sky. Later, Cook writes that she didn't know the carpet breaking was sabotage until she checked her other carpet and saw that it too was sabotaged. Somehow I think 'Water Sleeps' as she fell would have been a good clue.
As for someone's comment wondering why the Company hasn't gotten Soulcatcher's true name, I'd go further than that. Why the heck did they leave her alive anyway? In "She Is the Darkness", they dragged around Howler and Soulcatcher for no good reason. 'They might come in handy' is not a compelling reason to keep two incredibly dangerous enemies alive. I don't recall any better reasons being given (someone enlighten me, by all means, if there was). I couldn't believe that an outfit that can be as ruthless as the Black Company would let those two live when they caught them unless it was VERY important. Sorry, this just drove me nuts as I read 'She Is the Darkness'. Now Cook may be doing it again at the end of 'Water Sleeps', though not quite as badly, with Narayan and Longshadow.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to admit this book was a page turner but only because I was so anxious to find some trace of Cook's previous writing style. Though I have become accustomed to Cook adding new characters and relegating old ones to the background, I am particularly disappointed with his treatment of One Eye, Goblin and Soulcatcher. Has he grown tired of these characters and indulged in some pettiness by portraying them in manners inconsistent with past storylines? Mr. Cook's writing style also contains more profanity and sexual inuendo than before. I am no prude but this all adds up to a significant departure from previous Black Company novels. It bears more resemblance to his writing style in the "Garrett" series (ie; "Petty Pewter Gods"). Please Mr. Cook, examine your writing style and how this latest installment is a glaring departure from previous volumes and not for the better. Thank You.
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