After the Black Company has taken care of the Dominator in the north, the few survivors choose to go south to find out the real history of the Black Company and to find fabled Kathovar, the origin of the Black Company itself. On their travels south they find new friends and old and new enemies, but looming over everything is the fact that their name, the sole uttering of the Black Company, seems to strike fear into the hearts of those who hear it. It seems, the real history of the Black Company is darker than everyone could have imagined.
Originally I think Cook intended to write only a south trilogy, but the last book, commonly known as “The Glittering Stone”, grew into four books itself. Sometimes the south storyline feels a bit too stretched, as if Cook had lost focus, but in the end it regained steam with “She is the Darkness” and was back on track. The society the Black Company encounters in the south is inspired by india with its thousands cults and countless gods, which is a nice touch and makes it look less like your standard fantasy setting.
During the first trilogy only Croaker was the character from whose point of view the story was told, that changed here, Cook wrote from different POVs, one book is from Murgen, one from the Lady and one from Sleepy, only to let Croaker tell the end of the story in the last book again, which was a rather good decision to close the cycle. And the last book was a real high point, Cook cleared the table, killed many characters, told the end of the story in the best possible way and had even a plot twist on the last page which was utterly brilliant. A good second run and a grand finale.
Shadow Games (1989)
Dreams of Steel (1990)
Bleak Seasons (1996)
She is the Darkness (1997)
Water Sleeps (1999)
Soldiers Live (2000)