3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book is a follow-up to the Books of the North: Tales of the Black Company. I would highly recommend reading those stories first. Both because I think they're a little bit better and because they greatly help make sense of the events in this Books of the South. The books of the South has three stories in it:
"Shadow Games". This follows the story of the devastated Black Company after the climactic events of the Books of the North. Croaker is once more the annalist who tells the story of the Company and their journey south to discover their historical roots. It's well written, although the opponents lack some of the impact that the opponents had in the Books of the North. Part of this is because the Company is smaller and less powerful. But the strange and outre creatures are fewer and farther between in this series.
"Dreams of Steel". Is narrated by The Lady as events have, at least for the moment, removed Croaker from his usual duties. In this book the action really starts to heat up, making it a better read in my opinion than Shadow Games. The Lady takes a turn at running the Black Company, with very interesting results. If you were curious to find out more about The Lady and how she thinks, this is a very good book for that. I was curious, so I very much enjoyed this book.
"The Silver Spike". This follows up on the members of the Company who remained in the North with the White Rose. The Silver Spike holds a great evil, but a pedophile and some low-rent comrades find a way to remove it from its guarded location. I thought that part was pretty implausible. I also found it increasingly implausible as the pedophile turns into a one-man killing machine capable of taking on seasoned warriors and coming out on top. This book had some rather interesting moments based around an old foe from the Books of the North, but the main plot around the Silver Spike wasn't as good as I thought it could be. Yes, it's grim and even grittier than most Black Company tales, but the implausible transformation of a drunken, two-bit pedophile into someone who rivals Raven (literally and figuratively) was just too much for me to swallow.
All in all then this is a good book of fantasy stories. If you're a fan of the Black Company, you're almost certain to enjoy The Books of the South. While they aren't perfect as a whole, they are still very much a fun group of stories to read. If you're new to the series, then I would still recommend the Books of the South, but only after you've read and enjoyed the Books of the North.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2009
Glen cook has provided a dark and dangerous environment for the black company to try to prove that their loyalty to each other can overcome any obstacle that can be put in their path on the way to kahovar