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1. The Tyranny of the Night: Book
2. Surrender to the Will of the Night
3. Darkwar
4. Petty Pewter Gods: A Garrett,
5. The Return of the Black Company
6. Cruel Zinc Melodies (Garrett,
7. Sweet Silver Blues (Garrett, P.I.)
8. Chronicles of the Black Company
9. A Fortress In Shadow: A Chronicle
10. The Books of the South: Tales
11. The Dragon Never Sleeps
12. An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat
13. Deadly Quicksilver Lies (Garrett
14. A Cruel Wind: A Chronicle Of The
15. Old Tin Sorrows (Garrett, P.I.)
16. The White Rose: A Novel of the
17. Red Iron Nights: A Garrett. P.I.,
18. Bitter Gold Hearts (Garrett, P.I.)
19. Lord of the Silent Kingdom (Instrumentalities
20. Cold Copper Tears (Garrett Files,

1. The Tyranny of the Night: Book One of the Instrumentalities of the Night
by Glen Cook
Mass Market Paperback: 528 Pages (2006-10-31)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076534596X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Welcome to the world of the Instrumentalities of the Night, where imps, demons, and dark gods rule in the spaces surrounding upstart humanity. At the edges of the world stand walls of ice which push slowly forward to reclaim the land for the night. And at the world's center, in the Holy Land where two great religions were born, are the Wells of Ihrain, the source of the greatest magics. Over the last century the Patriarchs of the West have demanded crusades to claim the Wells from the Pramans, the followers of the Written. Now an uneasy truce extends between the Pramans and the West, waiting for a spark to start the conflict anew.
Then, on a mission in the Holy Land, the young Praman warrior Else is attacked by a creature of the DarkÂ--in effect, a minor god. Too ignorant to know that he can never prevail over such a thing, he fights it and wins, and in so doing, sets the terrors of the night against him.
As a reward for his success, Else is sent as a spy to the heart of the Patriarchy to direct their attention away from further ventures into the Holy Lands. Dogged by hidden enemies and faithless allies, Else witnesses senseless butchery and surprising acts of faith as he penetrates to the very heart of the Patriarchy and rides alongside their armies in a new crusade against his own people. But the Night rides with him, too, sending two of its once-human agents from the far north to assassinate him.
Submerged in his role, he begins to doubt his faith, his country, even his family. As his mission careens out of control, he faces unanswerable questions about his future. It is said that God will know his own, but can one who has slain gods ever know forgiveness?
... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

1-0 out of 5 stars Cook Rides on his Reputation
I've been reading Cook since the first Black Company novel, and I'm a huge fan of all his books.. until now. This is some of the worst-written prose that I've ever fought through, laden with confusing references and terms that are thrown into the story without the slightest attempt at explaining what he's talking about. I don't read books to play guessing games. Cook has really disappointed me and I'll be looking to sell my copies of this series to try and recoup the wasted money.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dense, tightly woven, but also deeply funny.
"It is an age lurching along the lip of a dark precipice, peeking fearfully into chaos's empty eyes, enrapt, like a giddy rat trying to stare down a hungry cobra. The gods are restless, tossing and turning and wakening in snippets to conspire in mischief. Their bastard offspring, the hundred million spirits of rock and brook and tree, of place and time and emotion, find old constraints are rotting. The Postern of Fate stands ajar. The world faces an age of fear, of conflict, of grand sorcery, of great change, and of greater despair amongst mortal men. And the cliffs of ice creep forward."

Thus opens _The Tyranny of the Night_ by Glen Cook (The Tyranny of the Night: Book One of the Instrumentalities of the Night). It is a dense and tightly woven fantasy novel set in a world roughly equivalent to our late-Middle-Ages Europe and the Middle East with the Little Ice Age closing in.

The main character is Captain Else Tage of the Sha-Lug, heading a company of highly trained slave soldiers. Bought from the slave markets as children and raised to be able and willing defenders of the Praman lands (equivalent to the Muslim lands of our Middle East) from the invasions and crusades of the Chaldarean countries to the west (Christian countries in Europe and the Crusades they spawned), Sha-Lug training is comprehensive and changes the survivors for life. Although Captain Tage's time spent with fellow Sha-Lug ends in the beginning of the book, he is always Sha-Lug in his heart.

In the world described by Cook, magic is real as are bogons, gods and sprites. They all reside in the Night and are called Instrumentalities of the Night. While returning from a strange mission to steal the mummies of dead sorcerers from a remote part of the world, Captain Tage and his Sha-Lug company encounter a powerful bogon, a local king of the Night. About to be attacked, Captain Tage takes a chance and uses some of the new firepowder weapons on the bogon. He does not just defeat it, he kills it. This hitherto unthinkable act (to KILL a power entity of the Night????) starts him and others on a very long and confusing journey. By two-thirds into the book, Captain Tage is living in Brothe (Rome) under the name Piper Hecht, spying for his Praman Sha-Lug superiors and stirring up trouble in the Chaldarean Kingdoms to keep them distracted from another Crusade, while also spying on Brothe and the Brothen church (Roman Catholic Church) for Johannes Blackboots (modeled on one of the many strong European kings who frequently disagreed with the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages) and his spymaster Ferris Renfrow who know that he is Captain Else Tage of the Sha-Lug, AND also spying on one powerful Brothen family at the behest of another powerful Brothen family who think he is just another mercenary come south to find his fortune.

Clearly there are A LOT of things going on in _The Tyranny of the Night_; a comprehensive plot summary and character list would take three pages at least. In many ways it is as much a book of character studies as it is a fiction novel. The characters are all distinct, detailed, and all act in character. To keep that many characters and plot threads separate and yet also keeping each character in character even down to mannerisms and speech is something that Cook should be commended for.

Much as this review is turning out to be, _The Tyranny of the Night_ is rather dry. But I found myself going back and re-reading it and the sequel _Lord of the Silent Kingdom_ multiple times. In between the dry descriptions, the intrigue, and the plethora of characters are some extremely witty dialogues and dead-on comments about the world and human nature.

As an example, from page 292 of the paperback:
'Rumor said Masant Al-Seyhan had secret allies amongst the Five Families. Or the Colors. Or one of Brothe's numerous minorities.
Redfearn Bechter told Else and Pinkus Ghort, "You got to know somebody told them a******s that all we've been doing is trying to fool them into staying away." The occasion was another endless planning meeting where little got decided.
Ghort replied, "I can't believe Drocker counted on them being scared off. I bet he was playing it so maybe he could find out who was friendly with the pirates."
"There's one idea we do need to get spread around," Else said. "The notion that the people in charge know what they're doing."
"This is why I like Hecht," Bechter said. "He's all over fitted up with positive thinking." '

Even the language and diction shifts between characters, from the profane but very pointed and cynical comments of the soldiers to the Principalities and Instrumentalities and Principates of the elite educated classes. It really is a joy.

_The Tyranny of the Night_ is definitely NOT for everyone, and I honestly would not have liked it as much had I not read it AFTER reading its sequel _Lord of the Silent Kingdom_ (Lord of the Silent Kingdom (Instrumentalities of the Night, Bk. 2)). Which is one of the reasons I give it four stars and not five: as the first book of the series, _The Tyranny of the Night_ does not flow as smoothly and is not as engaging to read as the second book.

Also, I would highly recommend reading a history of the Crusades and Europe during the ages of the Crusades BEFORE reading _The Tyranny of the Night_ if you are not familiar with that period of history. I personally like _Dungeon, Fire and Sword_ by John J. Robinson (Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades), but that's just me, there's lots of other good books in that genre.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good start to an epic series.
The story follows a Praman warrior named Else Tage from his battle with a dark god and his unexpected victory, from there we see Else called his boss to go into the western world and spy on the Patriarchy, a western religion who have been sending crusades in his home land to kill and slaughter what they see as being an heretical religion, we see Else now under the alias of Piper Hecht spy on and assassinate anyone in his way while he is slowly climbing the ladder in the Patriarchy power base that will eventually see him leading armies into the heart of his own country, following close behind him are assassins, political rivals and more dark gods who have promised death because of the death of their brother.

This is the first Glen Cook novel I have read and I must admit I really enjoyed it, it is a well written and had a great plot with likable characters that you really find yourself rooting for, there are also some great one liners that you just have to laugh at, the only fault was that the action in this book just to slow paced, it could have been a lot better.

2-0 out of 5 stars Impenetrable
I've read and enjoyed a lot of Glen Cook's books so I thought I'd like this one too, but it's so badly written that I almost gave up on it. If you can get past the incredibly boring and poorly fleshed out characters, and the at times impenetrable walls of text that spring up throughout the book (you'll know them when you see them) then there is actually an incredibly complicated plot going on behind the scenes and it was just interesting enough that I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of only one. But if you haven't already paid for it like I did then you should do yourself a favor and not buy it. I think whoever put "needs editor" as a tag has the right idea.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Cook, in a new setting
Glen Cook tends to thrust readers right into the middle of his stories, letting readers gradually figure things out over the course of the first book of a series. By the second and following volumes, the setting has been firmly established and the stories proceed more smoothly. This is true of A Shadow of All Night Falling (which sets up the Dread Empire sequence) and The Black Company (which lays the groundwork for the rest of the Black Company novels). The Tyranny of the Night serves just the same purpose for The Instrumentalities of the Night.

Figuring out the setting is no more complex than it would have been if the setting was actual, historic Europe. Sadly (from my perspective as a historian), most people likely to read Cook's work lack an education in European history. With that in mind, I'll provide a synopsis of The Tyranny of the Night which hopefully makes the alternate names comprehensible, while not giving away any serious plot points. Still, those who want to be totally surprised by the book are best advised to not read further into this review.

In summary, Else Tage is a Sha-lug officer, in Dreanger, which equates with Egypt. Sha-lug are warrior-slaves, elite soldiers taken in early childhood from the families of subject peoples, and raised to be dedicated to the Praman (Islamic) cause. This makes them like the Egytian Mamlukes, except that they are white like the later Ottoman Janissaries. As a blonde white man, Tage could successfully pose as a "European," and thus he is sent to infiltrate the Chaldarean (Christian) lands across the "Mediterranean." His mission is to pretend to be a crusader returning from what today would be Israel or Lebanon, and to spy on the Chaldareans in this guise.

Tage eventually assumes the name of Piper Hecht, and travels with other returning crusaders to a Firaldian (Italian) port, where he meets Devedians (Jews) and The Brotherhood of War (the Knights Templar). Tage pretends to be a mercenary, and joins other mercenaries in a crusade to Connec (southwest France) to put down the Maysalean Heresy (the Cathars). He and his new friends then journey to Brothe (Rome), the seat of the corrupt Patriarch (Pope), whose rule is disputed by the rival Patriarch at Viscesment (Avignon). Along the way, Tage and his comrades encounter elements of the Grail Empire (the Holy Roman Empire, medieval Germany).

Eventually, there is war against Calzir (Sicily and Calabria), and most of the plotlines come together. This includes an army from Direcia (Iberia), headed by the King of Navaya (Castille), who spends most of his time in the equivalent of the Requonquista (the gradual conquering of the Islamic Moors by Christian Spaniards). Also involved are two Andorayans (Vikings), sent forward in time hundreds of years from Valhalla for a special mission.

I found all this no more complicated than sorting out the history of Middle Earth, the first time I read The Lord of the Rings. I don't read that much fantasy these days, but I gather that many series hit the reader over the head with exposition. I LIKE that Cook presumes a degree of intelligence in his readers. I hope the preceding has made this captivating story a bit easier to understand, for at least a few of those readers. If you want more detail on the plot itself, plenty of previous reviews provide that, so I'll conclude by saying that I enjoyed this book very much, and that I'm excited to read the next volume soon.
... Read more

2. Surrender to the Will of the Night (Instrumentalities of the Night)
by Glen Cook
Hardcover: 496 Pages (2010-11-23)
list price: US$27.99 -- used & new: US$18.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765306867
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Piper Hecht’s first and greatest secret is that he knows how to kill gods. What’s not a secret is that he knows how to win wars

Piper Hecht’s secrets make him dangerous, but his skill and his  reputation put him in danger—from his enemies, who fear what he might do, or who want revenge for what he has already done; and from his friends, who want to use his military gifts for their own purposes. His sister Heris and his living ancestor  Cloven Februaren, the Ninth Unknown, have made Hecht part  of their fight against the return of the dark god Kharoulke the Windwalker. At the same time, the half-mad Empress Katrin wants  him to lead the armies of the Grail Empire eastward on a crusade  against his old coreligionists the Praman.

Meanwhile, all around them, the world is changing. The winters are growing longer and harder every year, and the seas are  getting shallower. The far north and the high mountain ranges are  going under the ice, and fast. The Wells of Power, everywhere,  keep getting weaker. And the old evils, the Instrumentalities from the Time Before Time, have begun to ooze back into the world.  As ever, the genius of Glen Cook’s storytelling lies in his common  touch: in soldiers who are like real soldiers, in men and women  who love and laugh and sweat, with real hopes and real fears, united only in their determination to face the oncoming night.
... Read more

3. Darkwar
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 512 Pages (2010-12-14)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$11.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597802018
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The world grows colder with each passing year, the longer winters and ever-deepening snows awaking ancient fears within the Dengan Packstead, fears of invasion by armed and desperate nomads, attack by the witchlike and mysterious Silth, able to kill with their minds alone, and of the Grauken, that desperate time when intellect gives way to buried cannibalistic instinct, when meth feeds upon meth. For Marika, a young pup of the Packstead, loyal to pack and family, times are dark indeed, for against these foes, the Packstead cannot prevail. But awakening within Marika is a power unmatched in all the world, a legendary power that may not just save her world, but allow her to grasp the stars themselves. From Glen Cook, author of the Black Company and Dread Empire novels, comes Darkwar, collecting for the first time, the stunning science fantasy epic that originally appeared as Doomstalker, Warlock, and Ceremony. ... Read more

4. Petty Pewter Gods: A Garrett, P.I. Novel
by Glen Cook
Mass Market Paperback: 296 Pages (1995-11-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451454782
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When real estate becomes a scant resource in TunFaire, the newly arrived gods of the world hold a contest that will award the last available temple to whomever can find its key, and atheist P.I. Garrett is hired by two rival pantheons.LJ. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Garrett #8 - tool of the Gods
Petty Pewter Gods is Garrett PI #8.Its quite distinctive from the other Garrett novels in that there is less mystery and more fantasy - Garrett is dealing with Gods here, and is trying to stay alive.It also has a couple of Lovecraftian scenes of where the Gods all come from, and a touching little homage to Jack Vance's The Dying Earth in a magic rope and Nog the Inescapable, who really should be named Nog the Unforgettable, as he has a huge impact on the reader for all his limited vocabulary.

It starts, as it usually does, with Garrett hungover and chasing a gorgeous redhead.This time around, it's a trap, and Garrett is hired by two rival pantheons of Gods - both quite primitive and violent - to find the "key" to the last piece of real estate on the street of the Gods over in the Dream Quarter in TunFaire.Lose a spot on the street, and you become a mere wacky cult, lose power, and have to go back to wherever it is Gods come from.Garrett figures out the "mystery" reasonably quickly, and after this its trying to stay one step ahead of the machinations of various Gods and other similar things.Of course, Garrett being Garrett, some of the Gods - Goddesses actually - are quite pretty, and are somewhat taken with Garrett (they are presented as none too bright, to be fair to all involved).

Garrett then does quite a bit of staying alive, with the help of various supporting cast, including the long-suffering Dean, the long-dead Dead Man, and some incredibly annoying hard-living cherubs.

Glen Cook has real fun with Garrett here, and a lot of that joy comes off the page.Garrett is a dry, deadpan (and possibly unreliable) narrator , recounting a tall story and loving every minute of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cook has another hit
This series, written in the 1990s features a hard boiled PI in a fantasy world.Its great to have the series reprinted.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Garrett books BUT ....
A bit of confusion reigns at the beginning. At the end of the previous book, Dean had come home, the Dead Man had woken up, etc, etc. All of a sudden, at the beginning of this book, we got a different version of the events at the end of the previous book. A sure sign that Cook does not keep track of what he is doing with these characters. Which explains all the inconsistancies that have crept in.

3-0 out of 5 stars Actually a 3.5 stars, but Amazon doesn't allow halves!
Add one part Kolchak: The Nightstalker, a touch of Columbo, and heavy helping of wizards, elves, dragons, and all sorts of fantasy creatures.Blend quickly while tongue is planted firmly in cheek.There you have the entire Garrett P.I. series from fantasy writer Glen Cook.Petty Pewter Gods is the 8th book in the series.While it definitely helps to have read the first seven before jumping into this simultaneously zany and action filled installment, Cook does a great job providing just enough back-story to explain the sometimes (O.K. quite often) strained relationships between our hero and his so-called allies.

In this installment, Garrett finds himself in the employment of the gods themselves, who seem to be having a problem holding on to their followers.And when the number of followers falls below a certain level, the gods are threatened with eviction!This one starts out with all the fun and mayhem of the other books, but unfortunately doesn't quite live up to the others in the series.The problem is that in this installment I think the story got too big for Cook, and it appeared destine for multiple volumes.Instead, the author chooses to try and wrap everything up in the last fifteen or so pages, with our hero making a lucky guess and having all you-know-what break loose.While the ensuing chaos is a fun read, don't think to hard about it afterwards, because then you will realize just how contrived it was.

If this was done by most other authors, the story would have fallen flat and turned me off from the rest of the books.But Cook has a way of letting you feel like you are in on some big, cosmic joke.Never taking his protagonist or storyline too seriously, the end result is a fun ride through the magical city of TunFaire.The end result is a lighthearted action-fantasy-adventure that fans of the series will enjoy.If you have never read any of the Garrett P.I. books, don't start with this one, however.Fans of Cook's Black Company series may be surprised by the high humor and just outright silliness that appears in this book, and in the entire series.

This book has been out of print for a while, but is still available at used bookstore vendors and in many libraries.While not the best in the series, its definitely worth reading if you are familiar with the books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully light hearted
I read the Garret series earlier in my life and loved them. I am starting reading them all over by reading his newest in the series. There is wonderful humor in his writing of this series. ... Read more

5. The Return of the Black Company
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 672 Pages (2009-09-15)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765324008
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive. . . .

“I am Murgen, Standardbearer of the Black Company, though I bear the shame of having lost that standard in battle. I am keeping these Annals because Croaker is dead, One–Eye won’t, and hardly anyone else can read or write. I will be your guide for however long it takes the Shadowlanders to force our present predicament to its inevitable end....”

This omnibus volume comprises the novels Bleak Seasons and She is the Darkness.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Black Company not so welcome
Ditto everything David. A. Lessnau said in his review, however I will actually give both these stories 2 stars.It was an absolute slog to get through and I only did so because I want to know how this series ultimately ends.These two stories in no way compare to the other novels in this series.As David pointed out, it is very interesting that Cook recognizes this about his story 3/4 of the way through.

Anyway, here's looking forward to the finale and hoping some of the original magic returns.

4-0 out of 5 stars awesome
for any fantasy fan i would recommend My Brother's Keeper these books. Even tho i've always hated first person view in novels, Glen completely changed my mind on that. The way he writes you feel more pulled into the character, and feel all the crap that have to deal with. "Uhm." = my personal favorite dialogue itterism of the Cook btw ;-)

My Brother's Keeper

I also enjoy Robert Jordan, George R. R. martin, Piers Anthony (tho u have to have a particular sense of humor for his stuff, which happily i do ;-) Andre Norton, Robert E. Howard, Fred Saberhagen, Raymond. E. Feist, and to a lesser preachy extent Terry Goodkind. If you like the former, then you'll definitely enjoy this. Glen Cook is one of the most underrated fantasy writers-he's like Bruce Campbell as an actor: for those who know him he's awesome as hell and the best especially paired with Ted Raimi), but for those who don't you prolly never will enjoy this satisfaction.

A recommend indeed :-)

5-0 out of 5 stars More five star work by Glen Cook
All the Black Company books are in the uppermost echelon of epic fantasy stories, and this compendium is no exception.

5-0 out of 5 stars great series!
I liked the original books the best, but these definitely kept me interested.If you're looking at this page I'd recommend it!

4-0 out of 5 stars decent read
It is stylistically different from the earlier books and takes a few pages to get used to but not a bad read ... Read more

6. Cruel Zinc Melodies (Garrett, P.I. #12)
by Glen Cook
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2008-05-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451461924
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Garrett uncovers the dark side of the fantasy city TunFaire, where no-one is to be trusted especially beautiful woman. When a pack of gorgeous woman knock on his door, Garrett knows it’s too good to be true. The leader of the group is Alyx Weider, the daughter of the largest brewer in town. Her father and friends are opening a new theater in TunFaire and the lovely ladies are there to persuade Garrett to help get rid of the paranormal parasites living in the new construction. Garrett agrees because after all, it means free beer and the company of these beautiful girls. What else could a man want? But Garrett doesn’t realize the drama he’s stepping into. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Garrett #12 - tying up all the loose ends...
Cruel Zinc Melodies may end up being the penultimate novel in the Garrett saga, depending on events in Gilded Latten Bones, due November 2010.Continuing on from the events in Whispering Nickel Idols, Garrett is pretty much a one-woman man, with Tinnie Tate being the (un)lucky lady in question.Garrett's maturity continuesto grow - he is an important person in TunFaire now, for all that he does not see it, with powerful friends and rivals.

This job is pretty easy - help out a trio of beautiful girls who just want to build a theatre, so they can scratch their itch to perform on stage.Problem is, the building site is infested by giant bugs and scary ghosts.It turns out the bugs are a magical experiment gone wrong, which leads to the bigwig sorcerors up on the Hill getting involved - with disastrous consequences, especially for Garrett's future peace of mind.And the ghosts...well, they may not always be scary, but they are always someone from your past...someone who may not even be dead.

This time around, the Dead Man is a little confused, by a wonderful twist that had to happen sooner or later.Garrett is getting strange propositions and making stranger ones, and being led around by his nose a lot.Other people are smarter than Garrett sometimes, and we see that here: the book is confusing, but that is because Garrett is confused himself.

As always, Glen Cook has Garrett telling a sprawling yarn in his distinctive voice.I always read Garrett as if he's sitting next to me in a bar, spinning a tale while pausing only to sip his beer and pinch the pretty waitress.This is noirish detective fantasy at its best - a world that is a cracked, dark mirror held up to our own, one very recognizable due to the believable, vivid characters: who cares if Singe is a ratwoman, Morley Dotes a half-dark-elf, and the Dead Man a dead thing that is not, and never was, a man?As characters they live and breathe, banter and joke, and always provide pure entertainment.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unfinished and unrealized.
This book was really not as enjoyable as most. The central theme, repeated over and over in the book, is "Garrett grows up". As it turns out, a Garrett who is growing up is pretty dull. There's very little action in the story. The mystery isn't interesting or very mysterious. Missing are all the elements in other Garrett yarns; female interaction, violence and intrigue, interesting involvement of secondary characters, and a satisfying wrap up of loose threads. What there is in this book is a lot of reference to previous stories, gratuitous apearance of numerous characters without purpose or flavor, and a lot of introspective, approaching middle-age Garrett. The Dead Man is more lively in this one than Garrett. If you're familiar with the series, this story may disappoint; it certainly disappointed me. If you have just heard about these books, read some of the earlier, well-written sories when Garrett was actually alive.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Dragon Underground
Cruel Zinc Melodies (2008) is the twelfth fantasy novel in the Garrett Files series, following Whispering Nickel Idols.In the previous volume, Garrett found Chodo Contague and Harvester Temisk.Tinnie tended Garrett through his illness and then he returned the favor.Garrett also introduced Penny Dreadful to her father.Later, the Dead Man hired Silverman to make jackal jewelry.

In this novel, Garrett is a private detective in the city of TunFaire.He was a marine during his obligatory service in the Cantard.Now he lives in a private house on Macunado Street and has a partner, a cook, an accountant, and a girlfriend.

The Dead Man is his partner.He isn't really a man, but is definitely dead.The Loghyr mental faculties last longer than their bodies.So the Dead Man may have moths living on this skin, but his ability to read minds extends throughout the house and across the street.

Dean is the cook.He is a very good cook, but he is often cranky.The old man also has numerous female relatives, whom he frequently brings around for Garrett's inspection.

Pular Singe is a rat woman.Some sorcerer had experimented with rats in the past and now their descendants are larger and smarter.Pular is a genius among rat people and is Garrett's accountant and office manager.

Tinnie Tate is his red-headed girlfriend.They have been going with each other for quite a while.Garrett is even creeping up to the idea of becoming engaged, but he is not yet ready.Naturally, Tinnie will change his thinking when she feels the need.

In this story, Tinnie drops in on Garrett with her friends Alex, Bobbi and Lindy.They want Garrett to solve a problem for them.They have aspirations to become actresses and the new theater being built seems to be haunted.

Max Weider -- beer tycoon and Alex's father -- is the mastermind in the new business venture.The construction, however, is lagging behind his schedule.Max wants Garrett to do something about the spooks.

Garrett checks out the worksite and finds that the workers are hearing heavy metal music from deep underground and are seeing their lovers, friends and other dead people.He also finds giant bugs in the building.

Then he discovers two bodies on the grounds, the site security man and a homeless person.The guard seems have been killed accidentally by a local youth gang -- they were just roughing him up a little -- but the other was sucked dry of all blood.

Garrett soon involves the secret police in suppressing the youth gang.Then he finds the source of the giant bugs.The Dead Man thinks the music and ghosts are coming from a dragon.Not the fire breathing variety, but something much like that with a hoard and a tendency to hibernate.

This tale involves Garrett in the affairs of the magic users on the hill.A friend belongs to a club that does the usual activities of young rich males while away from their parents.Their clubhouse is an abandoned structure near the theater and one of them is interested in bugs.

The story has the usual mix of banter, battle and broads.Morey says a few words about Garrett's habits and friends.The youth gang takes a swipe at him.And he gets in trouble for appreciating the looks of Tinnie's friends.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Cook fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of fantastic mysteries, exotic magic, and a touch of romance.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Hear here!More Garret PI please!
I've been following the Garret series for years.And can say that each book is 100% re-readable ( that's the true test of a good book ).

But why does this one seem so wierd?Is it because Garret's growing up?Or is Glen Cook getting bored with the formulaic murder mystery (hey, by definition, murder mysteries follow a formula)?I think this one is less understandable than some of the others.I'm not sure I "got" a lot of the plot because it was lacking in exposition.

But it still left me wanting more.I want to know how Garret will cope with being betrothed.How will that change his life?I mean, ultimately, Taltos and Cawti broke up, so will it happen here too?Or will he become more similar to a Midsomer Murders situation, with the protagonist having a fairly healthy home life?

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Yet
Bringing together themes and events from past Garrett novels, this rousing tale moves the "detective" into position for future changes, while wrapping the background story in a thoroughly enjoyable comedy of errors.

I laughed through several chapters, and was still chuckling to the end.If you have enjoyed Garrett in the past, especially Sweet Silver Blues (Garrett Files)and Bitter Gold Hearts (Garrett Files), buy this book.It is especially lighter and less turgid than Cook's last Garrett novel: Whispering Nickel Idols: A Garrett, P.I., Novel. ... Read more

7. Sweet Silver Blues (Garrett, P.I.)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 320 Pages (1990-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451450701
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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It should have been a simple job. But for Garrett, a human detective in a world of gnomes, tracking down the woman to whom his dead pal Danny left a fortune in silver is no slight task. Even with the aid of Morley, the toughest half-elf around, Garrett isn't sure he'll make it out alive from a land where magic can be murder, the dead still talk, and vampires are always hungry for human blood. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Every bit as good as I had hoped it would be.
I've been wanting to read this book ever since it arrived last week.What a really fun experience this was.An interesting amalgamation of the old fashioned gumshoe private eye and the magical world of all things weird.I loved it.Garrett is the only human in the story which was chock full of strange characters and locations, but managed to incorporate a real mystery at the same time.Garrett was that paragon of a detective whose word was his bond and nothing was going to stop him from accomplishing the job he had taken on for the Tate family.Denny Tate had died in an accident but what was found in the basement of his house caused Garrett to be hired to find the heiress named in his will.The hunt led from one dangerous encounter to another until they finally met up with the people of the night.

These characters were wonderful.I liked Garrett immediately and that liking just got stronger as the story unfolded.Morley Dotes, a dark elfin, was the muscle with brains that Garrett hired to help him find Kayean Kronk.Morley spent time trying to convince Garrett that eating the vegetarian way would keep both his body and his mind cleansed.Those conversations were really funny because they were happening in the middle of all sorts of mayhem.And of course there were the groll triplets, brothers Dojango, Marsha and Doris.Dojango convinced Garrett to take Marsha and Doris along on the trip instead of buying mules.It's just that kind of story.

I enjoyed the whole book.It was funny, it was well written, it had quirky characters, but within it all was a quest to find the answers to questions Denny Tate's family needed to know.I've read quite a bit of fantasy fiction now and I don't usually get spooked by it.This story had the hairs on my arms standing up during one scene so don't get fooled by the comedy aspects.There is a kick to it too!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Dresden Files Before Dresden
Although Glen Cook is best known for his Black Company series, but he is also the author of the long-running and well reviewed Garrett P.I. series, of which Sweet Silver Blues is the first. As you might glean from the title of this review, the series has a lot in common with Jim Butcher's excellent Dresden Files. But, as is often the case with Cook, he is way ahead of the times. Much like how the Black Company series laid the grown work for the military fantasy popular today, such as Erickson's Malazan series, Garrett P.I. laid the ground work for a lot of the urban fantasy/detective fantasy you see today.

The Garrett P.I. series follows the adventures of soldier-turned-private detective living in a magical world. In particular, Sweet Silver Blues details Garrett's journey through a war zone to find a missing heiress. There's no great quest here. Garrett isn't out to save the world. He's just trying to do his job. And it's a lot of fun to read.

The story is told from a first-person perspective. Garrett is no poet or philosopher, so you won't get pages and pages of descriptions like you do with the likes of Martin, Jordan, etc. I came to Glen Cook pretty late in the game (I first picked up one of his books in 2009), so let me tell you, his works have been incredibly refreshing. They're short, quick and entertaining. You don't need an encyclopedia or an entire wiki devoted to helping readers follow the story. Garrett P.I. is definitely a great series to pick up while you're waiting for some of your favorite authors to produce their next work. Or if you're just looking for some fun.

Garrett, the character, is pretty entertaining. As I mentioned previously, the series has a lot in common with the Dresden Files and, indeed, Garrett has a lot in common with Harry Dresden, aside from Dresden's magical talent. They are both smart, gruff, witty, resourceful, a bit dirty and very, very human. Take away the elves and vampires and dwarfs and Garrett would fit in just fine in any noir detective novel. Aside from Garrett, there is a decent supporting cast. None of them are real serious characters, but they add some depth to the story and, more importantly, they add a lot of laughs.

If you've read the Dresden Files, you'll probably like Sweet Silver Blues. If you've read Glen Cook's Black Company books, you'll also probably like this one. The writing style is the same as in the Black Company, but it's fair to say that Garrett P.I. is more lighthearted, more humorous. But the humor isn't the laugh-out-loud type. It's more of the ironic, tongue-in-cheek kind that I personally love. Unfortunately, some of the later books in the series are hard to get a hold of today. But Sweet Silver Blues is a standalone novel. So even if you can't get every book in the series, there is no excuse not to pick this one up.

5-0 out of 5 stars How can you not love Garrett PI?
This is the first of the Garrett PI novels, written back in the mid 1980's.Like with Cook's Black Company, this was groundbreaking stuff back then, and remains incredibly readable today.

Garrett is a detective living in a gritty, noirish city called TunFaire, which is kind of like Lankhmar but populated by elves, dwarves, ogres and other things, as well as humans.TunFaire is part of Karenta, which has been fighting a dirty Vietnam-style war with rival nation Venageti, over silver mines in a place called the Cantard.Every male has to do 5 years military service; Garrett is an ex-Marine.

Now one of Garrett's old marine buddies is dead, and there is a Will to prove, which names a woman who was an old flame of Garrett's back in the war.So Garrett, needing funds, takes the case and goes back the Cantard, with some hired help.

Glen Cook has made a wonderful world come alive here - or rather, he has described a hard, nasty place wonderfully well.This book takes the conventions of both fantasy adventure and pulp noir, combines them, and subverts them beautifully.There are femmes - fatale and otherwise - vampires, elves, unicorns and shapeshifters.Everyone has an agenda of their own, and a pretty clear role outside of "Garrett's sidekick #1" etc.

With the hindsight of having read all 12 books to date, this is an introduction to Garrett's world, with later volumes focusing more on TunFaire and Garrett.The evolution of the series is a joy, with Garrett's role changing from Don Quixote to captain of industry, from ... but I get ahead of myself.

Sweet Silver Blues is Glen Cook mixing genres in sublime fashion, with well-drawn characters that make you laugh in a world that makes you weep.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for me, really.
*conversation with self*

(self puts down book-- "sexist jerk!" she mumbles.)
self2 lifts an eyebrow. "aren't you overreacting to a light-hearted genre spoof?", she asks.
(self sulks. "he has the conveniently groin-sized femme fatale stripped and spanked publicly when she tries to kill him. Jerk. That never happened in the Travis McGee novels.")
self2 looks up "parody" in the dictionary. She then looks up "genre conventions" and "hard boiled detectives"
(self: sexist!)
self2: parody!

I dunno. I'll say that it *may* be a serious guy book and that it *may* be aimed at your average teenage boy and leave it at that. I'll also admit that I *may* be lacking in a sense of humor and that I *may* occasionally let my buttons get pushed by this kind of genre foray.

The "spanking uppity chicks" issue aside, there were some genuine moments of cleverness and entertainment in this Cook novel. A friend lent it to me after I confessed that I simply choked on the Black Band books. He thought that it might be something by Cook more up my alley. And that's true. I like hard-boiled detectives a lot, and I do enjoy seeing the genre turned on its head within fantasy or science fiction. So some definitely good points here. If this is your thing, then you may find that it is really your thing.

For me, I didn't find it more than sort of entertaining. I missed any feeling for nuance-- more Micky Spillane than Raymond Chandler. I'll grant you that I might be expecting too much from a genre half-parody, but there you go.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hats off to Glen Cook!
When a loud knocking begins on the door of Garrett, P.I., his first reaction is to tell them to go away. He should have stayed with that plan. It seems that an old army buddy of Garrett has been found dead. There's no mystery about the death, but the deceased's father wants the terms of his will carried out, and he wants Garrett to see to it. But, this job is much more dangerous than it looks, and soon Garrett is going to need all of his moxie just to stay alive.

This is the first in the Garrett P.I. series, written by Glen Cook between 1987 and 2008 (and counting!). Garrett is a real hardboiled detective of the Dashiel Hammett variety, but this is Sam Spade facing wizards and elves and real-live Things-That-Go-Bump-In-The-Night. And, strangely enough it works!

The author does a great job of mixing the hardboiled detective and fantasy genres, producing not the bug-eyed monster that you would expect, but instead a wonderfully readable story that is very exciting to read. I really enjoyed the time I spent reading Sweet Silver Blues, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Hats off to Glen Cook! ... Read more

8. Chronicles of the Black Company
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 704 Pages (2007-11-13)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$4.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765319233
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.
Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once moreÂ….
This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (50)

2-0 out of 5 stars Just didn't cut it
I know I'm in the minority here but I could not finish Chronicles of the Black Company. I'm an avid reader and enjoy different writing styles but there was just something about Glen Cook's style that put me off. I made it through the first of the three stories, The Black Company, with an empty unsatisfied feeling. This is a dark, rough edged fantasy world with very little to counter balance the heavy cloud of sadness and misery which permeates this world. There is war, on a grand scale, magic, suspense and intrigue. So you would think you have all of the ingredients for a great story, but it just seemed to be lacking something.

The characters Cook creates are interesting but I never really felt any kind of real connection with them. There is action but it never totally satisfies. It always felt unfinished or incomplete. It wasn't until I began reading the second story, Shadows Linger, that it hit me. Cook leaves out exciting events that, as a reader, you really want to know about. He just skips over them as if they are trivial or unworthy of detailing. Here is a perfect example: The members of the Black Company are in a tavern playing cards, which Cook enjoys describing in excruciating detail, when a group of men walk in...

There were nine of them, if you counted Madle and some customers who got involved. Candy overturned the card table. We tripped the catches on our spring tubes. Four poisoned darts snapped across the common room. We drew swords.
It lasted only seconds.
"Everybody all right?" Candy asked.
"Got a scratch", Otto said. I checked it out. Nothing to worry about.

...Wait a minute. What just happened? You drew swords, yeah, okay,I'm ready, here it comes...oh boy oh boy...this is going to be good... Going to be some major butt kicking tonight...what? It's over?I was all set for a cool little fight scene and I got nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch. I got a little foreplay and the next thing I know I'm smoking a cigarette. Is it too much to ask to put a little detailed action between "We drew swords" and "It lasted only seconds."

This happens over and over again. When I want details he doesn't give them and when I really don't care to know the specifics of an event, like when the guys are playing cards, he goes on and on and on. I know that Cook can write details because he spends an interminable amount time describing card games, cities, buildings and rooms but he repeatedly skips the details on events that a reader would care about.

Don't get me wrong, there is action and some very interesting characters, but I always felt as if there were a disconnect and I was missing something. He has a way with descriptions and has no problem conveying the darkness and grittiness of his world and the sadness of the people in it, but it seems he has a problem conveying emotional details which would link the reader to the people in the story and make you really care about them.I had to stop after just a few pages of Shadows Linger and put the book down.

It is something I rarely do but, I give up. I need a connection and I just couldn't find it. InsteadI read "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".That one I connected with big time. Me and a couple million others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Awesome book!Never read a book that was told in the 1st person before.Totally easy to follow and the action is awesome.You actualy feel like your in the story.Can't wait to read the other books in the series.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Epic in too few words
The Black Company, to me, is the perfect example of the book that was published because the story was so good that the writing didn't even matter. Not that Glen Cook doesn't know how to write, but it isn't smooth and it is too incoherent for me to say that he is a good writer.

In this sense, Glen Cook reminds me of Terry Brooks. The two of them seem to have made a name for themselves from sheer imagination alone. The story of The Black Company is so intriguing and interesting that I'm sorry to see that it was only written into a 250 page book instead of a full-blown epic series. `Well, there are about a dozen other Black Company novels!' you interject, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that this first book had about three books worth of material in it. This produces both good and bad things.

The Good is that the story, the intrigues and the characters were all really well-shaped. There was so much stuff in here, and such new and interesting imagery and scenery, that I just couldn't help but keep reading to find out were it was all going. It's really quite a dark and dreary environment, and every once and a while, I like reading about those, wondering if any light will be introduced at one point. All in all, I just need to admit that it's nice to get through an entire trilogy worth of story and developments in less than 300 pages of material.

But that's also where it gets Bad: Glen Cook is not talented enough of a writer to pull off that much information in so little words. Sure, there's humor, there's detailed description and there's a good sentence structure. But it jumps around all over the place. He will spend ten pages talking about something that seems important and then throw in a sentence like, "And so a week later, we took down the fort," followed by the entire battle described in one, maybe two paragraphs...then their in the Fort and the next part starts. Call me picky but a one week battle to take down a fort held by the enemy might deserve at least a few pages, if not its own chapter, no? Well, the entire book is like this. It spans entire seasons and years, several war campaigns and lots of storyline in very little time.

This is acceptable, if the author is able to pull it off. But it wasn't good enough for me. I almost feel like each chapter of the book was its own short story. Maybe this is what he wanted, but it just left me hollow at the end, making me feel like I either wasted my time reading 7 short stories or got lured into reading another set of short stories in the next volume that might be worth reading...or might not. From other books I've read by Glen Cook, I don't think that his skills have developed much throughout the years, so I'm guessing that it's probably not worth my while to read ten more Black Company books, even if they are all 300 pages or less.

I'm really sad about this one. The storyline and the potential for it being one of the greatest epic series was their, Glen Cook really does have an amazing imagination. I only wish he had either the skill to pull off what he was trying to put out or had chosen to develop the details of the story more fully.Oh well.

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3-0 out of 5 stars Macabre Mercenaries (Spoiler Free Review)
Black Company is a very gritty take on fantasy.The story follows a band of ruthless mercenaries who were hired by an evil sorceress to do battle against an evil wizard.If you enjoy Dark Fantasy, this is about as dark as it can get.

The book is an omnibus of 3 tales:The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose.The Black Company is probably the most interesting of the three.

The story follows Croaker, the physician of the Black Company.He chronicles the events of the mercenary band as they perform their missions, battling enemy wizards, fantastic beasts, and invading armies.The entire story is told through Croaker's perspective, so you never really get a bird's eye view of the action.In some ways, this is good because it keeps you on your toes.

This is a dark fantasy world seen through the eyes of a guy who kills people for money.The world is vast, there's plenty of magic, fantastic beasts, mystic places, and turmoil.But, it's definitely tinted dark because the guy telling the story is a cold blooded murdering sociopath.

Writing Style:
The Black Company is narrated by Croaker and he talks like he's an old timey private eye."This dame came into my office.She had a great set of gams.Great gams, they were.Had me thinkin' and that sorta thinkin' gets me into trouble."Unfortunately, the whole book reads like that.Sure, the descriptions of things are amusing and they'll make you smirk, but it just doesn't get the job done.There are many events and characters that are just glossed over and you'll probably end up re-reading a bunch of paragraphs to find out what happened.At times, it gets confusing and frustrating.It's almost impossible to visualize any of the scenes because you never get a good description of anything.

The other two stories are much more traditional with a narrator and dialogue.

There's plenty of visceral action in the book, but most of the time, it just gets glossed over thanks to the minimalistic narration of Croaker.There are magic battles, duels, monsters... but all of these conflicts are over in a paragraph or two.It's really hard to get invested into the action when you barely know the characters and all of the details and suspense are omitted.

Gang Rape, Murder, Torture, Gore, etc...This book can be disturbing for those at any age.

Reading The Black Company is like listening to a medieval fantasy version of Sin City.I say listening because you get the over the top narration, "I was about as useful as a Palsy victim doing brain surgery with a pipe wrench."But you don't get much description of the world, the settings, the characters...All of that is missing.As a result, the story and the action are really hard to follow and it's really hard to get into the characters.

The other two stories are more traditional, but you have to get through The Black Company first.Personally, it was really difficult for me to read.

Read it if you like Dark Fantasy and you want a departure from Tolkien-esque worlds.
Read it if you want to follow a band of Mercenaries.
Read it if you don't mind the incredibly fast paced writing style.
Avoid it if you like traditional narration.
Avoid it if you don't like violence, gore, murder, and fairly evil heroes.

If you liked the book, or liked the concept of the book, I can whole heartedly recommend, "The First Law Trilogy" by Joe Abercrombie.
The characters are just as dark, but Abercrombie's writing style does a better job at flushing out the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars Growing more interesting
I was drawn to this series by the "dark fantasy" tag. As a reader of such staples as LOTR, David Edding's Belgarion and Mallorean, the first Shannara, Gotrek and other Warhammer novels and others, I was looking for something new and exciting.

The characters are interesting and grow with the stories. The fantasy elements increase as the series continues and the "dark" overtones are more "not outright heroics" as opposed to dark and evil.

Overall, the stories contain enough twists and catches to keep the reader interested and wanting more. ... Read more

9. A Fortress In Shadow: A Chronicle Of The Dread Empire
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-11-04)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801003
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Once a mighty kingdom reigned, but now all is chaos. In the vast reaches of the desert, a young heretic escapes certain death and embarks on a mission of madness and glory. He is El Murid - the Disciple - who vows to bring order, prosperity, and righteousness to the desert people of Hammad al Nakir. After four long centuries, El Murid is the savior who is destined to build a new empire from the blood his enemies. But all is not as it seems, and the sinister forces pulling the strings of empire come into the light. Who and what lies behind El Murid's vision of a desert empire? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Cook's best
I thought the start was a little slow with the development of El Murid (and to a lesser extent Bragi, Mocker and Haroun), but the story really takes off after that. I may feel that way since the narrative is so compelling, youaren't drawn into the characters backstories as much. Having read a lot of Cook, I can't think of too many other times where he has delved as far into the early years of his characters. Generally the early years are referred to casually, almost as asides.

As good as the orignial Dread Empire stories are, the prequels are even better.

5-0 out of 5 stars It is wonderful, but it is not new.
Unless I am badly confused, this was originally published as "The Fire in His Hands". My copy was printed in 1984. I am glad to see it reprinted and available, but when I saw the title I thought it was a new book, so I am annoyed that the publisher decided to change the name. I am sure they will sell a few more books to Cook fans that don't recognize it, but it is a slimy trick.
If you have not read it, and like strong characters and complex plots, you are in for a treat.

5-0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better than this, though it is pretty short.....
I reread the Dread Empire prequels recently in this omnibus volume, and the only bad thing I can say is that average book size used to be quite a bit shorter (200 pages or so) when Cook was writing much of his stuff in the 80's.This would apply to the shadowline trilogy, the darkwar trilogy, and other stuff as well.

Cook provides a fair amount of backstory for Haroun, Bragi Ragnarson, and Mocker as well as introducing El Murid (referred to in third person in the original trilogy) and describing much of the early conflict between Haroun and El Murid and illustrating how Bragi and Mocker came into contact with Haroun.

This story tell of the appearance of a fervent religious leader who first takes over his own native areas, and begins to export his crusade into smallern westernized kingdoms.It isn't hard to figure out the archetypes for this conflict are in the near and middle-east in contact with central and western europe in what I best gather to be the early middle ages, but, as in other Cook works which draw heavily on real-world historical situations and cultures, it becomes more backdrop than a story-driving force.Several battles are described, the early role of the Star Rider in the conflict in Hammar al Nakid is illustrated (this isn't a spoiler - it happens on like page 3 or so), and overall you are left wishing there was more.

Epic Military Fantasy doesn't get any better than this, in my opinion.I think it is wonderful Night Shade is putting much of Cook's out-of-print work back in print, and cannot recommend this series highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book for Glen Cook fans
This book actually is set prior to the first Dread Empire book.It discusses the roots of Bragi, Mocker, and Haroun.In the same tradition of the Dread Empire series, it describes an epic conflict of world scale where the forces of the Western cultures fight the cultures of the MiddleEastern desert tribes.Classic Glen Cook that requires thought to follow the complexity of the storyline and strong character development.The characters are neither good nor bad, rather they are amazingly human and you can see your own actions and decisions in the choices that have been presented.You may need to read the book several times to pick up on many of the nuances missed in a casual read.

I have been a fan of Glen Cook for over 20 years.I read these first books as a teenager and enjoyed them.20 years later I have re-read them and enjoyed them every bit as much as I did the first time.The concepts and situations are timeless and applicable to any generation. ... Read more

10. The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 672 Pages (2008-06-10)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$6.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765320665
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Marching south after the ghastly battle at the Tower of Charm, the Black Company is hounded by shadowy figures every inch of the way.

The game is on: the Company versus the Shadowmasters, deadly creatures that deal in darkness and sorrow.

When hope dies, there’s still survival. And there’s still the Black Company.

This omnibus edition collects Shadow Games, Dreams of Steel, and The Silver Spike.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as the Chronicles of the Black Company trilogy; Still a Lot of Fun to Read
The Books of the South is an omnibus of Glen Cook's Black Company series comprised of Shadow Games, Dreams of Steel and the Silver Spike. The Books of the South is the second arc in the Chronicles of the Black Company. The first arc is a trilogy that can be found in omnibus form called, simply, the Chronicles of the Black Company. If you haven't read the first trilogy, then there's not much point in starting here. All three of these novels build on the first trilogy.

Shadow Games and Dreams of Steel follow the story of Croaker, annalist and captain of the mercenary group the Black Company, who was the primary narrator and protagonist of the original trilogy. Croaker leads the remnants of the Black Company south in order to learn more about the origins and history of the Company. But along the way, they are hired by the leaders of a massive city to fight a war against a sinister collection of sorcerers. The Silver Spike, meanwhile, takes place during Shadow Games and Dreams of Steel and continues the story of some of the other characters from the original trilogy, Darling, Raven, Silent, and Case. All four are caught up in a crisis when a powerful magical artifact is stolen from custody and evil magicians from all around try to hunt it down to take advantage of its power.

Glen Cook is a very solid writer. His pacing is excellent. He creates a deep, complex world filled with very real people. None of the characters are particularly good people. A lot of them are murderers; some are rapists, backstabbers, etc. What makes it work so well is that the antagonists are, if anything, more evil. Although morally ambiguous characters have become more prevalent in the fantasy genre in recent years, Cook's Black Company novels were somewhat revolutionary when they were first released in the mid-to-late 1980s, before which most fantasy novels were essentially derivatives of the Lord of the Rings, which featured really "good" characters against really evil ones.

What really sets Cook apart, particularly from fantasy authors today, is his ability to tell a full, satisfying story in just a few hundred pages. None of the Black Company books are more than 350 pages. Most are closer to 300. Thus, a Black Company trilogy is about as long as one George Martin, Steven Erickson or Robert Jordan novel. To be sure, Cook's story is not nearly as complex or involved as are those of Martin, Erickson, Jordan, etc. But it is very satisfying to be able to sit down, read for a few hours, and make substantial progress in a book.

In all, the Books of the South are not quite as good, in my opinion, as the first Black Company trilogy. This is, I think, because they are so very similar to the first trilogy. The characters are basically the same, the tone of the novels are basically the same, even the plot is very similar (the Black Company somehow ends up fighting a bunch of evil sorcerers). All that being said, if you liked the original Black Company novels, you'll definitely like these. If you didn't like the other Black Company novels, you probably won't like these.

5-0 out of 5 stars Super
I thoroughly enjoyed this second entry in the Chronicles of the Black Company. A well written and complex page turner with fantastic characters. Well done.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gritty military fantasy
If you are looking to buy this novel, I assume you have read the first omnibus of the Black Company (first three books).If not, I recommend you start there.While this omnibus is a new story and these are stand alone novels from the first three books, there is a lot of background information that would be hard to catch up on.

The first two novels of this omnibus follow the Black Company on a journey to discover their roots.They end up getting bogged down in a prolonged battle (several years) on their way south.Unfortunately, I felt the novels bogged down even as the armies bogged down.You certainly get the feeling of frustration as the battles drag on for years, but I felt my interest waning at points as the fights became repetitious.In fact, these same battles continue in the next two omnibuses!

Interestingly, book three is completely unrelated to the first two books.It is a completely separate story following people who are no longer in the Black Company but were in the first omnibus.Rather than annoyed at this, it was a breath of fresh air and is the best novel in the three by far.

The main strengths of these books are classic Glen Cook: gritty, realistic military fantasy.Most sentences are incomplete, short, and to the point.You can read pages without finding a comma or other punctuation.The writing style frees these novels of any pretension and helps you to literally feel like you are in the trenches with these mercenaries.On the downside, there is nothing in these novels to top the creative elements of the first omnibus.So while the writing style is equivalent to previous novels, the fantasy elements of this omnibus take a step back.

If you like Glen Cook, you will enjoy this omnibus.No new ground is tread, but Mr Cook is the premiere military fantasy writer in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Glen Cook
This tome is a compilation of the "Southern books", "Shadow Games", Dreams of Steel" and "the Silver Spike". The stories that continue directly after the the first series "Chronicles of the Black Company". As with the first set of books, I had trouble putting this down because Mr. Cook makes you connect with the people in the story, and I truly wanted to know what happens to them next. I love the way that the stories are told, or should I say "recorded". Because they are being added to the annals of the Black Company, a band of mercenaries that have been fighting the good fight (or bad, whichever pays the best) for thousands of years, they are told from the view of a few different people. I like that when Mr. Cook writes, the voice, tone and even grammar take on that of the story teller. He doesn't make the protagonist talk for him, he talks as them. If it is a mercenary he writes with a gruff almost blue collar demeanor, for generals and their ilk a classier writing style. All in all I recommend this is you love a good mix of fantasy and military fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Compendium of 3 Very Good "Black Company" Books
"The Books of the South:Tales of the Black Company" is an excellent compendium of the 4th, 5th, and 6th books in the "Black Company" series.Specifically, it contains:

Shadow Games: The Fourth Chronicles of the Black Company: First Book of the South,
Dreams of Steel (The Fifth Chronicle of the Black Company), and
The Silver Spike: The Chronicles of the Black Company.

For the sake of brevity, I'll just let those links handle the reviews of the individual books (all of which I've rated at Very Good, 4 stars out of 5, books).

Surprisingly, if it were possible, I'd also add another half a star just for the quality of this compendium.The copy I have uses high quality paper, is nicely bound and cut, and uses a very clear (and large enough for these old eyes) typeface.The book is bigger (6" x 9") than the standard paperback (4" x 7").But, isn't so big as to make it unwieldy.Plus, that bigger size allows the use of that bigger typeface and keeps the thickness (1-1/4") down to just a bit over the thickness of the individual "Black Company" books (7/8").

Overall, though, I'll rate this compendium at the numerical average for the books making it up:a Very Good 4 stars out of 5. ... Read more

11. The Dragon Never Sleeps
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-07-15)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801488
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Glen Cook (The Black Company, The Dread Empire) delivers a masterpiece of galaxy spanning space opera! For four thousand years, the Guardships ruled Canon Space with an iron fist. Immortal ships with an immortal crew roaming the galaxy, dealing swiftly and harshly with any mercantile houses or alien races that threatened the status quo. But now the House Tregesser believes they have an edge; a force from outside Canon Space offers them the resources to throw off Guardship rule. Their initial gambits precipitate an avalanche of unexpected outcomes, the most unpredicted of which is the emergence of Kez Maefele, one of the few remaining generals of the Ku Warrior race - the only race to ever seriously threaten Guardship hegemony. Kez Maefele and a motley group of mysterious aliens, biological constructs, and scheming aristocrats find themselves at the center of the conflict. Maefele must choose which side he will support; the Guardships, who defeated and destroyed his race, or the unknown forces from outside Canon Space that promise more death and destruction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Rebirth of Space Opera
For a few years now I have seen reviewers speak of 'The Return of the Space Opera'. And they are correct - space operas are back. But I have yet to see a reviewer realize that the trend started with 'The Dragon Never Sleeps'.
From one of the best openings I've yet to encounter to a great climax, Cook has created a tightly-paced, well-plotted book full of interesting characters, amazing settings, and some real Space Opera wonder.

4-0 out of 5 stars Made up for a previous bad space opera experience
While I am a definite fan of Glen Cook"s Black Company and Instrumentalities books, I was a bit leary about something in the SciFi realm. I'm not a huge fane of the genre and my prior experience with a "space opera" wasn't particularly enjoyable. Even as I started ready the book it was tentative. I found myself pulled right in, though, and very much enjoyed the story. It isn't the same style as the Black Company series with the first person perspective. There's no "Croaker" narrator. I didn't find myself missing that at all. There are a number of seperate storylines, but I found them fairly easy to track and it all came together pretty neatly in the end. This still isn't my preferred genre, but I'd actually think a bit more postively about picking up another book of the sort after reading The Dragon Never Sleeps.

2-0 out of 5 stars Strange. I just didn't get it.
I'm a big fan of space opera and of hard sci-fi in general, so I was really excited about this book based on the reviews that I saw here. But WOW, is this a hard read. After reading about 50 pages, I had no idea what was going on, so I started it over from the beginning. That helped, but by the time I was about 250 pages in, I had the same problem again. So I gave it up and walked away from it.

It has some definite perks in that it creates an unusual and interesting universe. I liked its oddball feel. It reminded me of Dune in flavor; it's an entirely different story, but there's a stylistic similarity in that it takes what is ultimately a hard sci-fi idea and wraps it up in a fairly surrealistic manner. There are some familial issues that are definitely Dune-like as well.

But when all is said and done, when I got to the middle of the book, I found myself asking "just where the hell is this book going, anyway?" There were so many clones and subplots running around that I hadn't a clue what was going on. After I decided to abandon the book, I skimmed the rest to see what I might be missing, and jumped to the last page. Meh.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent book, especially for Glen Cooks fans. I purchased this and "Passage at Arms" because I am a Glen Cook fan. While it is a big shift from the "Black Company" or "Garrett, P.I." books, it nonetheless holds to Glen Cooks distinctive writing style, almost giving you a feel like you are there, that pulls you into the story. The levels of political intrigue are intricate and on multiple levels. All in all the book is a good read, but I did not enjoy it as much as the "Black Company" or "Garrett, P.I." But I will definitely be reading it again. An enjoyable book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Five, with minor caveats
An excellent book, among Cook's most innovative. It needed more stringent editing, as occasionally characters change gender in the middle of a conversational exchange, and antecedents can be unclear.None of which mars the the book as an outstanding read, anunusual space opera variant.It's not at all like his Garrett Files and Black Company books.

A sequel would be nice someday...

P.S.A year later, I can say that this one stayed with me.Memorable, strong, unusual, imaginative. ... Read more

12. An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat (Dread Empire)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 288 Pages (2010-07-13)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801887
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Dread Empire, a gritty world of larger-than-life plots, nation-shattering conflict, maddening magic, strange creatures, and raw, flawed heroes, all shown through the filter of Glen Cook's inimitable war-correspondent prose. The Dread Empire, spanning from the highest peaks of the Dragon's Teeth to the endless desert lands of Hammad al Nakir, from besieged Kavelin to mighty Shinshan, the Empire Unacquainted with Defeat, with its fearless, masked soldiers, known as the Demon Guard... An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat collects all of Glen Cook's short fiction set in the vast world of the Dread Empire, from "The Nights of Dreadful Silence", featuring the first appearance of Bragi Ragnarson, Mocker, and Haroun bin Yousif, to the culture-clashing novella "Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat"; from "Silverheels", Cook's first published work of fiction, to "Hell's Forge", a haunting tale of cursed pirates and strange lands, appearing here for the first time. Also including a detailed introduction and extensive story notes by Glen Cook, An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat charts the development of this influential American author and the massive, multifaceted world that he created. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars good serie of novels
These novels are not all of the same caliper but they are all interesting to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Short fiction in the Dread Empire
This is a nice collection of short stories set in the world of the Dread Empire, although previous exposure to other Dread Empire volumes is not necessary.At most about half the stories "depend" on being Dread Empire, and only to the extent of adding to the story if you know a little about it.

Cook is better known for his Black Company and Garrett PI novels, but he shows here that he can work in short fiction as well.

The best stories are "Filed teeth", "Soldier of an Empire Unacquanted with Defeat", which is almost a novella, and the first Vengeful Dragon tale.All of the contents are well worth reading though.

Simply put, these tales are fun, if a little dark.Here's hoping NightShade gets around to publishing a 4th Dread Empire collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Old Works by Cook Worth the Read
As an long time fan of Glen Cook's work with the Black Company and the Garrett Detective series, I was excited when Night Shade Books began releasing old works by Mr. Cook, including his Dread Empire series.As it would turn out, I loved the Dread Empire as much as the other world Cook has created.This last book, An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat, is a bit different in that it is not a continuation of the epic story line in the Dread Empire, but a collection of short story works within that world.

Before each new story the author also includes some thoughts as to the story being told such as where it first appeared and some history of himself in those times as he was writing it.Maybe I'm just a bit of a homerish fan of Cooks, but I really enjoyed this book and there are some great small stories that could have easily bloomed into bigger stories.Some of them also cross over into the time line of the main Dread Empire saga and were pretty neat to add to the flavor of that world.

If you are old fan of Glen Cook and have missed this or the Dread Empire series I highly recommend it.If you are new to reading Cook's work try it out as well as the Black Company and Garrett Detective novels.

3-0 out of 5 stars almost for collector's only
I'm an admitted Glen Cook fan but even I found this collection thin.The stories are for the most part well done.Especially good are the A Soldier of an Empire Unaquainted with Defeat (of a Dread Empire centurion on the run from his past) and Rolling Heads (not sure if that's actually the title, but the story of the young woman rescuing her son).The stories of the crew of the Vengeful Dragon are much weaker.

If you are a collector of Cook's work, this is definitely for you.If you are looking for an introduction to his work look elsewhere.

4-0 out of 5 stars Made me a Glen Cook Fan
For me, these books finally gave substance to Fantasy Fiction. It wasn't the Thud and Blunder of Conan or Gor. It was interesting, developed, 'real' characters working against insurmountable odds. And, trust me, the Shinshan are as bad a bunch off dudes as you will find. The Military SF aspect is realistic. The diplomatic intrigue is well thought out. The magic system works and is internally consistent. A good read of an interesting story well told. ... Read more

13. Deadly Quicksilver Lies (Garrett Files)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 304 Pages (1994-03-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$199.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451453050
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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When the former mistress of the now-defunct king hires Garrett to find her missing teenaged daughter, the human detective gets more than he bargained for in a world full of suspects, sex, and corpses. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Garrett PI #7 - sadly out of print
I had to borrow this from a friend to read it, as I cant find a copy for love or (reasonable) money.Its sadly out of print, but should be mandatory reading, like all the Garrett series.

Garrett runs up against a whole bunch of trouble here - pretty girls, lost books, pretty boys, crazy Contagues, and a rising City Watch.He's in over his head, but gets lucky in the end.Well actually he doesn't, but that is neither here nor there.


3-0 out of 5 stars Not Very Happy With This One
This is the 7th in Cook's Garrett series ("Sweet Silver Blues," "Bitter Gold Hearts," "Cold Copper Tears," "Old Tin Sorrows," "Dread Brass Shadows," "Red Iron Nights," "Deadly Quicksilver Lies," "Petty Pewter Gods," "Faded Steel Heat," "Angry Lead Skies," and "Whispering Nickel Idols"). Unfortunately, it's not up to par with the rest of the series.First, the book just seems to wander around in the middle.Garrett doesn't seem to be going anywhere with the mystery.It does pick up near the end, but that leads to the second problem:the solution to what's been happening just doesn't mean anything.We know who did what to whom and why (mostly).But, nobody really gets anything out of it.For the reader, the answers to all the questions are just emotionally empty.The final "big" problem with the book is that the character of Garrett's love interest, "Chastity," just falls apart.She's fine through most of the book, but then at the very end, she just drops out of the character (personally, emotionally, and professionaly) Cook set up for her.There's no explanation for it.It's very jarring and unwelcome.

Because of this, I can only rate this book at an OK 3 stars out of 5.

BTW: At the time of this review, this book is long out of print. It's tough to find anywhere. As an alternative, look around for the SFBC's "Garrett Investigates."This book is part of that collection.

1-0 out of 5 stars My 2nd least favorite of the series
While this story does have it's good moments and even funny moments, it's rampant anti-gay attitude puts me off completely.

5-0 out of 5 stars PI Garret back in action
I don't know how this book escaped customer review. The whole PI Garretseries is incredible. The odd mixture of classic Sam Spade PIin thefantasy world of elves, dwarves, centaurs, the generations old war is soentertaining.I could have been a flop, but Glen Cook pulls every book offin style, leaving me waiting for the next one. MORE MORE! ... Read more

14. A Cruel Wind: A Chronicle Of The Dread Empire
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 600 Pages (2007-08-08)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$8.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801046
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Before there was Black Company, there was the Dread Empire, an omnibus collection the first three Dread Empire novels: A Shadow of All Night's Falling, October's Baby and All Darkness Met. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Glen Cooks is a great writer (compared to Robert Jordan)
I am happy to say that I bought this book used.For some reason, some writers love Glen Cook.I think that it was on the basis of such an authorial recommendation that I purchased A Cruel Wind.Once again, i should have looked at the Amazon reviews, which are pretty much on the mark for this book.

I don't understand why Glen Cook is held in such high esteem.He gets compared to writers like Patricia McKillip.There's no comparison.Patricia McKillip is a far, far better writer.

A Cruel Wind collects three novels from the "Chronicles of the Dread Empire" and runs 582 pages.In theory this should give the reader some basis to judge Cook as a writer.I found Glen Cook's plots fractured and his writing poor.His powers of description are weak.Characters come in and out of the plot without much prior introduction.Characters take turns that are drastically in opposition to what we know of their back story.One of the few plot strengths in the book is to show both sides in the war.But the plot is so fractured that I wondered if Cook ever did an outline.He seems to just write and let the plot go where it will.This might work for a single novel, but in a complex three novel story this fails.The story makes little sense and in the end I felt like I had wasted my time.

The copy that I have is, as I noted, used and falling apart.I'm going to throw it in the recycling.Presumably it will travel to China and return to us as a cardboard box.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Good intro to Glen Cook
A great introduction to the writing style of Glen Cook. I thoroughly enjoyed the Black Company collections, and picked up a Cruel Wind to immerse myself in another of Cook's worlds. I was not disappointed in the world that is spun together throughout the trilogy. The political intrigue and broad strokes of empire building battles are classic Cook. My only disappointment was thatcharacter development was a bit shallow, but with such a large cast and vast world, it's understandable. While not as good in my opinion as the Black Company, it's still a solid example of Glen Cook's empire building style.

5-0 out of 5 stars Made me a Glen Cook Fan
For me, these books finally gave substance to Fantasy Fiction. It wasn't the Thud and Blunder of Conan or Gor. It was interesting, developed, 'real' characters working against insurmountable odds. And, trust me, the Shinshan are as bad a bunch off dudes as you will find. The Military SF aspect is realistic. The diplomatic intrigue is well thought out. The magic system works and is internally consistent. A good read of an interesting story well told.

1-0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near as good as Black Company
If you love the Black Company series (like I do) you should beware before purchasing the Dread Empire series.To be frank: the plotting, dialogue, and characterization of the Dread Empire series is terrible in comparison to the Black Company series.I assume this is because Cook was more experienced in the craft of writing when he penned the Black Company books.I found the Dread Empire books unreadable.The characters were frustrating and annoying. The plot was so herky-jerky as to be incomprehensible.There was nothing compelling about the Dread Empire series - in any way.Only the author's terse sentences give you a clue that you are reading the same writer.Everything else is terrible.Hey, every author has to start somewhere.I understand and appreciate that the author cut his teeth here, but don't torture yourself.Stick with the Black Company books.If you do choose to invest in the Dread Empire, do yourself a favor.Buy used.Then when you toss it out after gagging through the first hundred pages or so you won't kick yourself as hard for ignoring my sage advice.(I don't know how the guy who wrote the fanboy foreword can sleep at night - for shame!)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not There Yet
The Swordbearer (1982) was very bad.The Tower of Fear (1989) was very good.Presumably, somewhere between the two, Glen Cook learned his craft.Unfortunately (from the standpoint of this review), all three novels now collected into A Cruel Wind (1979-80) were written even before The Swordbearer.While actually not as bad as The Swordbearer, these novels suffer from the same shortcomings: a matter-of-fact "tell not show" narrative style, and very thin characters and relationships between characters. ... Read more

15. Old Tin Sorrows (Garrett, P.I.)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 304 Pages (1989-06-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451451570
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Someone—or something—is murdering the employees of retired General Stantor. Now, this growing legion of the dead wants to add the general to their ranks. And it’s up to Garrett and the half-elf Morley Dotes to protect Stantor and find the killer... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Big Sleep Redux
I'm a huge fan of the Garrett series with one notable exception - Old Tin Sorrows.The problem for me occurs very early in the plot, when Garrett is first hired to investigate the shady doings in General Stantnor's mansion. The events are unpleasantly similar to those in the opening chapters of The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler.The plots of the two books diverge somewhat in later chapters, but not much.Essentially, blackmail/pornography/murder in The Big Sleep are rendered as poisoning/magic/murder in Old Tin Sorrows.

Now I'm not accusing Cook of plagiarism by any means.For all I know, he may have been paying homage to Chandler in this fashion.It's just that the basic plotline, especially in the beginning, isn't really Cook's; and there's no apology to Chandler regarding this adaptation.

If the more recent Garrett novels were similarly inspired by other mystery classics, I haven't noticed it.I'm glad for that.I just wish I didn't have Old Tin Sorrows to think about every time I start reading a new Garrett story.

UpRight Ape

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 little soldiers, a troll cook, and maybe a ghost too...
This is no.4 in the Garrett series, and a departure from the format of the previous 3.There is almost no Dead Man, and instead is a classic whodunit.There is the usual Garrett wit, with crackling dialogue and cynical humour.

Its a fun read, one of my favourite Garrett stories, and well worth picking up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Old Tin Sorrows by Glen Cook (A Garrett, P.I. novel)
Old Tin Sorrows by Glen Cook is a Garrett, P.I. novel. I'm not sure which one in the series this is, but they can be read stand alone without hurting their enjoyment. If you are a fan of Cook you'll enjoy this book. Fans of humorous fantasy noir will also enjoy it. I think it's a great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book but not new
This book was advertised as new so I bought it for my husband (this is his account) and it is not new - June 1989 first printing.The paperback version is new.I wish it would have said that.But the book is excellent.Just go through you or your husbands old books and see if it is there in hardback before you buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Garrett PI book so far
This is the best Garrett book I've read so far. Glen Cook does not always cooks a convincing story line (sorry for the pun); this one was excellent, a real mystery story a la Agatha Cristie but with Gothic flavor. Almost Victorian :-) And it is nice once in a while to see Garrett going without help from the Dead Man. ... Read more

16. The White Rose: A Novel of the Black Company (Chronicle of the Black Company)
by Glen Cook
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (1990-04-15)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$42.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812508440
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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She is the last hope of good in the war against the evil sorceress known as the Lady. From a secret base on the Plains of Fear, where even the Lady hesitates to go, the Black Company, once in service to the Lady, now fights to bring victory to the White Rose. But now an even greater evil threatens the world. All the great battles that have gone before will seem a skirmishes when the Dominator rises from the grave.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good but rushed finish
Glen Cook's final of the first "trilogy" of Black Company novels finishes the story began in "The Black Company" and continued to great effect in "Shadows Linger".The story reaches its conclusion with some good storytelling and a few surprises, but there were a few things about this installment that disappointed.In particular, details about the role of the Old Father Tree, Tracker and Toadkiller Dog, and the final battle with the Dominator all could have used greater development.Each of these offered interesting twists but the details were too few and potentially worthwhile tangents were touched on all too briefly and largely left unexplored.

Despite these issues, it was good to finish the trilogy and Cook has won me over.I'll be looking into the further exploits of his Black Company.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Respectable Conclusion
The White Rose, the third book of Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company, may be the weakest entry in the first Black Company trilogy, but it is a good novel. If you haven't read the first two books, there's no sense starting here. But if you have and want to see if the White Rose is worth your time, read on.

The writing style remains mostly the same. Unlike the Black Company, which was told from a single first person perspective, and Shadows Linger, which was told from two first person perspectives, the White Rose is told from two first person and one third person perspectives. Personally, I preferred the previous books, where Cook focused on one or two perspectives. With a third perspective added, the story became a little complicated. Although, obviously, the work isn't nearly as complex as, say, Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, the relative simplicity of the first two novels was one of their major draws. In fairness, Cook writes very well from a third person perspective. But the writing style is very different than the first person perspectives. The first person perspectives, particularly Croaker's, are written typically in gruff, terse phrases, much the way one talks. The third person perspective, meanwhile, was written in flowing prose. The contrast, while nicely done, is a little uncomfortable.

Further, it took quite awhile to realize why the two perspectives (those other than Croaker's) were at all relevant. But, unlike in Shadows Linger where the second character perspective was as good as, or better than, Croaker's, the two in the White Rose are less interesting by far than Croaker's. I occasionally found myself skimming them to get back to Croaker's narrative.

The story doesn't progress as quickly or as fluidly as it does in the previous two novels. Indeed, plot advancement comes in fits and bursts. But, like the first two novels, the climax is delightful. The climax serves nicely not only for the novel itself but for the first trilogy of the series. If you wanted, you could end your experience with the Black Company here, with the White Rose, and not feel like anything is missing.

In some ways, though, the White Rose seemed like a bit of a letdown. While it was good, it lacked anything near the caliber of the revelation that was the character Shed in Shadows Linger. That most remarkable piece of writing left me expecting much of the same here, and it simply wasn't to be had. To be sure, the Lady receives some much needed character development and Cook handles it well. But after his magnificent effort in Shadows Linger, almost anything was bound to disappoint.

In all, the White Rose is a satisfying conclusion to the Chronicles of the Black Company. You can end here and feel pretty good about it. But if, like me, you want to follow the Black Company more, the series continues with the Books of the South duology and concludes (at least so far) with the Glittering Stony tetralogy. If you didn't like The Black Company or Shadows Linger, you almost certainly won't like the White Rose. It's more of the same. But if you liked the first two books, you'll like these. After all, it's more of the same. But unlike a lot of series where "more of the same" gets repetitive quickly, the Chronicles of the Black Company is entertaining and exciting from beginning to end.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Battle Begins !
The White Rose is amongst us, and The Black Company along with her. Now begins the Great Battle; The Lady, The White Rose and The Dominator. A free for all. A trifecta of powers. Big egos mean big downfalls.

The White Rose is the last of the trilogy but not for the series. It has been called The Books of the North. This book is superb. The buildup from the two previous books begins here. The book leaves off several years after Shadows Linger and Darling has become the hope of well, everything. As the book progresses and old evils emerge ,an unlikely partnership flourishes, like they say, the enemy of my enemy is a friend. This is a dangerous time not only for The White Rose but for The Lady and The Dominator as well.

In this book, there are magical beasts everywhere. Be it the menheirs, the windwhales or the Old Father Tree whom is some demi god of sort. Characters that have a great feel to them are Whisper, Toadkiller Dog, Tracker and Bomanz with the latter three being the newest of the novels character arsenals that add layers to what is already a book crammed with information. Cook leaves his foot on the pedal and never hits the break !

I love how the women in this book aren't these typical "damsel in distress" sterotypes that either plague movies, books or other mediums. These women; Whisper, Darling, The Lady are strong willed women that know what they want and go about getting it. Croaker also starts to show a little more of himself as well as Silent, the ever dueling Goblin and One Eye and also others.

All in all , a great finale to The White Rose saga. You'll never get a happy ending in this series. This is too real. Frienships, love, trust and hope is lost within this book. MUST PICK UP !

4-0 out of 5 stars "Croaker, there are strangers on the Plain"
In the third novel of The Black Company saga and completes the "first trilogy" (the first & second being "The Black Company" and "Shadows Linger").This book closes many loose ends and opens up many new possibilities.This concept is translated in the myriad books that have followed in The Black Company series.

In this book Croaker, company physician, historian and solider, is now aiding The White Rose/Darling.The idea is that The White Rose is the only one who can defeat The Lady.The former is the epitome of good and the latter is the epitome of bad.Believe me, there is a lot more too it, I am just paraphrasing.Now before Croaker and The Black Company were part of The White Rose movement, they worked under The Lady and her arcane and potent wizards, The Ten Who Were Taken.In order to make matters even more complex, the Taken were once under the power of The Dominator (basically the Devil himself).And to take it to the soap opera realm, The Dominator is The Lady's ex-husband.So now The Dominator is going to rise again from his grave to destroy the world. Consequently, The Lady, The White Rose or The Black Company wants to stop this from transpiring.

I have to say this book was a fun read, yet it was also a deep read.Glen Cook has a way of writing very complex. His imagination is endless, which is a good thing.There were many parts of this book were very philosophical and introspective.Many elements of religion were touch or inferred in this novel.In contrast, I found myself jumping back to earlier parts in book, just to make sure I had a grasp of what was going on.This is book (and series) is a very entertaining read, but it isn't light stuff.As for the names of the characters they are still wonderful: Goblin, One-Eye, Silent, Elmo, The Limper, Croaker, Soulcatcher, Raven, Tracker and of course my favorite Toadkiller Dog.I found Toadkiller Dog to be an interesting and somewhat funny character.

Despite some of the dark fantasy themes of The Black Company series, Glen Cook is still able to throw in humor.There is a reoccurring interaction between Croaker (the narrator) and a menhir.The menhirs are tall talking stones of few words.These menhirs live on The Plain of Fear.The Plain is where The Company has been hiding since the last novel.Anyway there multiple menhirs who keep saying to Croaker "Croaker, there are strangers on the Plain".Any time Croaker tries to reply the menhir is either gone or has some sort of funny response.There is also a part in the book where Croaker, One-Eye, Goblin, Tracker and Toadkiller Dog go on a mission and the result is both comedy and adventurous.

One thing that I did find strange about this "conclusion", it seemed to happen rather quickly.There was such a build up with the two former books and even in this one.However when it came right down to it, the story seemed to wrap things up in an expedited fashion.I don't want to be mistaken, I liked the end result, it just seemed like there was all this build up and little apex of climax.Who knows, maybe this was Glen Cook's intention.

Overall, this is a great book and great series of fantasy.I am not a huge fantasy person; as a matter of fact I don't like elves, dwarfs and other jovial mystical stuff.However, this series is very different and somewhat gothic.This is a wonderful book that can allow you to escape reality and modern times.

3-0 out of 5 stars Had the wrong focus
I read the Books of the North once before, maybe a dozen years ago, and I remember being intrigued by the characters; there was a vague recollection that they were unique because they were actually the bad guys: the Black Company serves the evil empire, not the heroic rebellion.By this third book, though, they have joined the rebellion against the evil empire, though this book focuses on the fact that the evil empire doesn't compare to the ultimate evil: the Dominator, who tries to break free and finally ends up defeated.

I wasn't as impressed by these books this second time around, especially not this last one.It has the usual sorts of themes that I do like -- the hints that this struggle between good and evil is never as simple as it seems, and also that it is neverending, but simply goes around and around in different forms over and over again -- but they were less important to Cook, who focused on his pseudo-love story and the friendships between members of the Company.Since the friendships were a major part of the whole trilogy, they worked fine, but the pseudo-romances were annoying, since neither of the female halves of the two romantic connections have been clear and well-defined as characters.So I ended up reading about these two guys. my favorite two characters, and how they loved these women that I couldn't stand, and it ends up making their friendship impossible, which just ticked me off.

All in all, though, this one, like all fantasy books, and I think like life too, ends up more good than bad.
... Read more

17. Red Iron Nights: A Garrett. P.I., Novel (Garrett, P.I.)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 304 Pages (1991-09-01)
list price: US$7.99
Isbn: 0451451082
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The knight-in-shabby-armour rides again...sixth time around
Red Iron Nights is the sixth Garrett PI novel, and a new beginning for Garrett.Crime Lord Chodo Contague is (involuntarily) semi-retired, and it is no longer a constant worry to Garrett to be thought his employee.On the other hand, Crask and Sadler now appear to be running the underworld, and that's not necessarily for the better, either.But it turns out that Chodo has a beautiful, crazy daughter, who could really use a knight-in-shabby-armour to lend a hand.

This time around, Garrett is retained by the forces of law and order (as far as such things go in TunFaire) to investigate a Jack-the-Ripper like serial killer.As it turns out, the serial killer is more than he seems at first glance - there is an ancient curse involved, with magical glowing butterflies.There is also a mad street preacher, and things are beginning to change in TunFaire now.Maybe that's due to Garrett, indirectly.

So there is a killer to be caught, a mystery to solve, a pretty girl to rescue, and a pair of psychopathic killers to run out of town.That all sounds like a good day's work.As always, Garrett is on the case, and as always, TunFaire is a wonderfully set stage on which he can walk, stumble, trip, and fall.To top things off, the book ends with Morley Dotes thinking that Garrett could use a talking parrot as a new pet.

This volume is out of print - I had to borrow it.It's a real shame, as all the of Garrett novels really should be in print, and selling like hotcakes.Cross-genre hardboiled fantasy noir has never been so much fun.

4-0 out of 5 stars Red Iron Nights review
This 6th volume of Garrett's novels is as interesting as the previous ones although less lively. The plot is kind of original and entirely different from the others. However, there are not as many fightings as on the 5th one making it less fun. Still a great book though, only for Cook's skill.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cook is an excellent author!
Glen Cook has been a favorite of mine for years. I was saddened by his passing but thankful for what he contributed. This particular book continues to showcase the haphazard life of the eyebrow raising Garrett, P.I. Not quite as dark as the Black Company series, but still realistic and amusing. Oh, and thanks to Martin for introducing me to Cook. Hope you still like Australia!

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good 6th in Cook's Garrett Series
This is the 6th in Cook's Garrett series ("Sweet Silver Blues," "Bitter Gold Hearts," "Cold Copper Tears," "Old Tin Sorrows," "Dread Brass Shadows," "Red Iron Nights," "Deadly Quicksilver Lies," "Petty Pewter Gods," "Faded Steel Heat," "Angry Lead Skies," and "Whispering Nickel Idols"). It's a good book, but the pacing could use some work.Also, Cook introduces several minor plot elements and does very little with them until the end.One of them, having to do with Morley, he doesn't do anything with (like explain it) at all.Regarding recurring motifs in the series, in this book, Cook introduces Chodo's daughter and the Parrot.His introduction of the Parrot is disappointing considering its prevalance in later books (if you don't know to watch for it, you'd miss it entirely).But, still, overall, a very good book. I rate it at 4 stars out of 5.

BTW: At the time of this review, this book is long out of print. It's tough to find anywhere. As an alternative, look around for the SFBC's "Garrett, P.I.." This book is part of that collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars A triple whammy
Garrett and his partner the Dead Man go from famine to a plethora of cases in this novel.Garrett only has to follow one of the local soapbox conspiracy orators after he is released from prison, find a green butterflybelching serial killer and find the wayward daughter of the boss of theunderworld.He accomplishes this in his usual way, and manages to rescue 3damsels in distress along the way.Of course things do get a littleinteresting after the serial killer dies, and still keeps on killing.Butthat is almost par for the couse in TunFaire a real melting pot for allsorts from this fantasy world.

I enjoyed reading this even though attimes, I felt that Cook was flat out telling the reader the solution priorto his character's enlightenment.This did not lessen the enjoyment any. And Cook still managed to get enough in to set up for his next book.Iwould definitely reccomend this one if you like Same Spade style mysteriesand fantasy. ... Read more

18. Bitter Gold Hearts (Garrett, P.I.)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-04-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451450728
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Stormwarden's children have been kidnapped and Garrett, P.I. is on the case. But caught between the bewitching beauty of a half-elf and the fearsome power of a horde of ogres, Garrett has to think twice before sacrificing all for a fortune in gold-after all, even in this enchanted land, he's only human. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Garrett #2, or, don't meddle in the affairs of crazy wizards
Bitter Gold Hearts is the second volume in the Garrett PI series, and unlike Sweet Silver Blues, largely takes place in TunFaire, and Garrett's case is a missing person...or two.Garrett is hired by a Stormwarden, one of the more or less crazy wizards who live on "the Hill", the nicer part of TunFaire, to find a missing heir.There are a few pretty girls to complicate matters, of course.Through all of this, Garrett has to manage dealing with criminal kingpin Chodo Contague, who feels he owes Garrett a favor.

This a much more of a true detective story than the first Garrett novel Sweet Silver Blues.There are mysteries aplenty, and the Dead Man is starting to shine here, with his collection of bugs re-enacting military campaigns on old maps.And in the background, Glory Mooncalled is starting to shake up the long stalemate in the Cantard, which can only be good...can't it?

Luckily, Garrett is on hand to deal with things, be they pretty girls needing a place to sleep, a jug of beer that needs drinking, or, if all else fails, solving the damn case.As usual, the book starts with Garrett waking up hungover and opening the door to the wrong person: as he tells it "I'd had a chance to give her the up and down, and she was worth a second look. And a third and a fourth. There wasn't a lot of her, though nothing was missing, and what was there had been put together quite nicely."If all that sounds interesting...well, it is: Bitter Gold Hearts is Glen Cook at his best, with humor, witty dialogue and a plot that never stops until the bitter end.


Bitter Gold Hearts

Bitter Gold Hearts is the second book in the Garrett Files collection.Garrett is a tough ex-marine, private investigator in the mold of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.The series is set in a fantasy world that is quite amusing.His advisor is "the Dead Man" who is really not a man at al and isn't dead exactly, but, oh never mind, buy this book; you'll want to read it several times. In this book Garrett foils a diabolical plot to kidnap the Storm Warden's son for a fortune in ransom, falls for a beautiful Elf, fights some Ogres, and much, much more. Oh just read the book.You'll enjoy it.

Highly recommended for fans of Cook and high adventure.

Gunner Octobert, 2007

1. Sweet Silver Blues (1987)
2. Bitter Gold Hearts (1988)
3. Cold Copper Tears (1988)
4. Old Tin Sorrows (1989)
5. Dread Brass Shadows (1990)
6. Red Iron Nights (1991)
7. Deadly Quicksilver Lies (1994)
8. Petty Pewter Gods (1995)
9. Faded Steel Heat (1999)
10. Angry Lead Skies (2002)
11. Whispering Nickel Idols (2005)
Science Fiction Book Club omnibus editions:
1. The Garrett Files (collects Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, and Cold Copper Tears; 2003)
2. Garrett, P.I. (collects Old Tin Sorrows, Dread Brass Shadows, and Red Iron Nights; 2003)
3. Garrett Investigates (collects Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Petty Pewter Gods, and Faded Steel Heat; 2004)

5-0 out of 5 stars Domestic Disturbances
Bitter Gold Hearts (1988) is the second fantasy novel in the Garrett Files series, following Sweet Silver Blues.In the previous volume, Garrett freed Kayean Kronk from the vampire nest.Afterward, he helped deliver a shapeshifting spy to the authorities.Then he filed his report and escorted Kayean to the Tate compound, where she became an honored guest.

After the probate paid his fee, Garrett bought the Dead Man's house and refurbished it as his home and office.He left the Dead Man in the newly refurnished parlor.When the Loghyr woke up, the news that Garrett was his new landlord left him speechless.

In this novel, the Dead Man is working on the tactics of Glory Mooncalled in the Cantard.He has bugs moving around on the wall map in the pattern of past campaigns.The grumblings and mutterings are trying Garrett's patience.

Garrett had been drinking heavily the night before, so the pounding on the door aggravates his hangover.Some lackeys in the colors of Stormwarden Raver Styx are hanging around outside guarding a half-fairy named Amirantha Crest.She has come down from the Hill to offer him one hundred gold marks to accompany her to the Stormwarden's residence.

After some typical verbiage to establish his importance, Garrett collects the money and then goes back with her to the household.The Stormwarden's secretary -- Domina Willa Dount -- wants Garrett's advice on the kidnapping of the Stormwarden's son.The Stormwarden is in the Cantard and her secretary would prefer that her son is released before she returns.Willa Dount describes the circumstances and shows him the ransom note.He provides her some useful tips and concurs in her thinking on the matter.

The Stormwarden's consort interrupts their discussion and Willa Dount handily brings him to heel.Then she dismisses Garrett, explaining that his very presence would be enough to warn the kidnappers to stick to the rules.As he leaves, Amirantha intercepts him in the hallway and asks about the interview, then she makes a date to meet him at the Iron Liar.Garrett notices a black-haired looker in the hallway -- she also notices him -- and learns that she is the Stormwarden's daughter Amber.

In this story, Garrett reports the meeting to the Dead Man, then he leaves for his date with Amirantha.Five ogres try to beat him on the street outside his door, but Garrett manages to get in the first and last licks.He learns more about Amirantha and the household during dinner.Afterward, Garrett takes her to Morley's place and they discuss the abduction.On the way out, Saucerhead Tharpe invites them sit down and have a beer;although Garrett declines, he tells Amirantha that she should hire Saucerhead if she needs any protection.

The Stormwarden's son returns home unharmed, but Amirantha disappears.Later, Saucerhead Tharpe staggers into TunFaire and admits himself to Bledsoe Hospital.He has been severely wounded.Garrett and Morley bribe the doctors to treat his wounds.When he regains consciousness, they listen to his story.

Ogres had attacked Amirantha at her rendezvous at a rural crossroads.Saucerhead is a big surprise for them, but they take him down anyway from sheer numbers.Yet Saucerhead manages to pick up Amirantha and stagger off to the home of a witch friend.Then he comes back to Bledsoe;he had been born there and figured that he might as well die there.

This story gets rather complicated.Garrett checks out the scene of the ambush and finds Saucerhead's friendly witch.Unhappily, Amirantha is dead, but well preserved.Garrett starts to do some investigating on his own.Other things are happening in addition to the kidnapping and murder.

Morley does Garrett a few favors and then hires out some of his thugs to help the investigation.Morley hates to appear soft, but Saucerhead is a friend, so what is a half-darkelf to do.Then Saucerhead recovers enough to join in the case and the Stormwarden returns to TunFaire.

Highly recommended for Cook fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of political intrigue, magical powers and family affairs.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding paranormal detective story
This is a reissue of the long out of print second book in the series.I hope that this reissue does not mark the end of the series.

Garrett is hired by a storm warden's secretary (the storm warden is a powerful sorceress) to advise her on ransoming the storm warden's son before she gets back from the war.But the whole thing seems rather fishy from the get go as you would normally hire someone like Garrett for the whole operation not just for some advice and appearances.This is where the plot gets involved and interesting with various bad guys trying to out smart each other.Good characters some humor and a very good plot overall.The one rough spot is what happens to the ransom.We are talking about a total of 8,000 lbs of gold here and that doesn't get moved fast or easily without a crew or magic.

Overall an outstanding read though.
BTW I notice that there are none of the editorial flaws that seem to be cropping up in books recently.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Can you stop gaping long enough to let me in?"
Stormwardens are the battle mages of Glen Cook's fantasy world of Karenta.They are the deadliest citizens of Tun Faire and exactly the kind of people Garret doesn't want to work for.First of all, he would probably have to work hard for his money, and if he got it wrong that would be too high a percentage chance that he might finish his life as a frog.But Garret is a sucker for a beautiful woman and Amarinda Crest, a half-elf and gorgeous, is the bait on Stormwarden Raver Styx's hook.The result is Garrett in trouble again.

First Styx's son disappears, then he reappears but Amarinda is gone.And Styx's secretary is a genius at stonewalls and dirty tricks, who has eyes only for the Stormwarden's husband.And there's a daughter, a mistress, and just a few dozen trolls.This story has more rotten characters than a hive has bees, even if you are only counting the good guys.And there aren't too many of them.From the moment Garrett gives Amarinda his first long and loving glance he is in deep water.

Glen Cook continues to write what is one of the better 'fixer' series in the market, pitching Garrett and the Dead Man into a plot that makes noir detective stories look like self-help books.This is a dark story, one where there aren't any 'good,' just shades of bad and ugly.But Garrett endures the snipes of the Dead Man and his cohort in crime, Morley Dotes, while delivering a few of his own, and this provides a lot of the charm of the story -- the underlying relationships that give the tale its underlying humor and keep the reader comfortable and interested. ... Read more

19. Lord of the Silent Kingdom (Instrumentalities of the Night)
by Glen Cook
Paperback: 496 Pages (2010-08-17)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765326051
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

It’s cold.  The wells of power are weakening and the forces of Night grow strong. The gods are real, and still have some power, mostly to do harm.  The Instrumentalities of the Night are the worst of these.
Piper Hecht, born Else Tage, survived a battle with the Instrumentalities. Now he’s Captain-General of the armies fighting a crusade for Patriarch Sublime V. Intrigues swirl around the throne of the Grail Empire, as the imperial family’s enemy Anne of Menand raises money to help the perpetually indebted Patriarch finance his crusades. To reduce his own vulnerability, sickly young Emperor Lothar assigns his two half-sisters—his immediate heirs—to their own realms.
Now Piper Hecht learns that the legendary sorcerer Cloven Februaren, referred to as the Ninth Unknown, is still alive, more than 100 years old, and on Piper’s side. As the dynastic politics of the Empire become even more convoluted, it’s clear that while the old gods may be fading, they’re determined to do everything they can to bend the doings of men to their own advantage. 
Sieges, explosions, betrayals, Anti-Patriarchs, and suspicious deaths will ensue as the great chess game plays itself out, with Piper Hecht at the center of it all…
... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ready for the next one
This is not a book for Glen Cook novices.If you have not read any Glen Cook, stop reading this and immediately order "The Black Company" books.After reading at least the first three of those you will be ready for "Instrumentalities of the Night."This is the second book in a series and they must be read in order.That being said, this is Glen Cook at his finest.IMO Glen Cook is the best hard fantasy writer alive and this is him at his peak.Lots of characters, lots of intertwined plots and counter-plots, and he keeps them all straight.You can, too, if you read carefully.One of the great things about Cook is that even in his "Garrett" novels, re-reading means re-discovering AND discovering.The more times you read one of his books, the more stuff you notice you missed the first (or second time) through.So, read "Tyranny of the Night" and then 'Lord of the Silent Kingdom."Then you can join the rest of us in waiting impatiently for the next installment in the continuing saga of Piper Hecht.Or is it Else Tage?Even he isn't too sure any more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun to read, but hard to describe
_Lord of the Silent Kingdom_ (Lord of the Silent Kingdom (Instrumentalities of the Night, Bk. 2)) is the second book in Glen Cook's series about the Instrumentalities of the Night, preceded by _The Tyranny of the Night_ (The Tyranny of the Night: Book One of the Instrumentalities of the Night).

It is set in a world similar to our Europe during the Late Middle Ages, preoccupied with the struggles between kings and popes, dukes and bishops, and with the minds of the powerful preoccupied by the plunder and disruption and opportunities of another Crusade in the Holy Lands. In addition to all the usual backbiting and ambitious backstabbing, the Praman (Muslim) kingdoms of the east have active spies and agents influencing the Chaldarean (Christian) realms of the west -- after all, it's a lot less to disruptive to the Pramans if the Chaldareans battle with each other instead of traveling east to battle with the Pramans -- and the world is entering its own Ice Age, with the poor crops, famine, refugees, economic upheaval, cold winters, and shrinking Mother Sea (Mediterranean Sea) that an ice age brings.

(You don't have to read the first book to understand and enjoy the second -- I speak from experience here, having read _Lord of the Silent Kingdom_ first. And I think the second book is better than the first, so it might even be advisable to read them in reverse order.)

The main character is Piper Hecht, Captain-General of the armies of the Brothen Church under the Patriarch Sublime V (a self-aggrandizing short-sighted Pope). But Piper Hecht is also Captain Else Tage of the Sha-Lug, Praman slave-soldiers, who was sent west by his ruler Gordimer the Lion to spy on, distract and destabilize the kingdoms of the west -- or maybe it was supposed to be an exile and certain death for a too-popular captain who knew too much about certain secret missions done for Gordimer's sorcerer er-Rashal al-Dhurquarnen. Captain Else Tage is also spying on the Brothen Patriarch for Ferris Renfrow, spymaster for the now-deceased Johannes Blackboots. And he is actively being wooed by various factions within the Brothen church who want Captain-General Piper Hecht to spy on other parts of the Brothen church.

Clearly, Piper Hecht (or whoever he is) is a very busy man. Even when he 's not keeping track of his friend Pinkus Ghort, or arguing with his officers Titus Consent and Redfearn Bechter over whether his life is in danger or not (it usually is).

Creeping around the edges of the civilized world are the Instrumentalities of the Night. Bogons, gods, sprites, the things that go bump in the night that you can't account for and the unsettling flickers of movement you catch a glimpse of while sitting around the campfire -- all those are Instrumentalities of the Night, both shaping and shaped by human belief.

Which brings up the central turning point of Piper Hecht's life -- before he was Piper Hecht, Captain Else Tage was on a mission to steal mummies for er-Rashal and during that mission Captain Tage used firepowder, cannons and silver shot to kill a powerful Instrumentality of the Night. Not using any sorcery. In so doing, Captain Tage forever changed the balance of power between humans and the Night and the Instrumentalities of the Night have been hunting him ever since, believing that if he dies his knowledge will die with him.

So as the ice advances from the north and the world gets colder, refugees of all kinds flee south to the shores of the Mother Sea. This includes humans, animals, and things of the Night. The cold brings poor crops and that coupled with refugees bring famine, desperation and upheaval. The Instrumentalities of the Night are still dealing with their own upheavals, not only of the advancing ice but fears of the Godslayer called Piper Hecht (and sometimes Else Tage) as well. The concentration of the pain and misery and the actions of sorcerers looking to make their own deals with the Night loose old gods who begin to walk among humans.

And through it all is the overriding theme that the world is changed the most by those who just do. their. job. No backtstabbing, no backbiting, no foolish chasing after fads just because they're something new, no stubborn clinging to tradition just because it's something old, no turning away competent men because they're not from the socially acceptable part of town -- just know what your job is, do your job, try to figure out how to do your job better, and you can change the world. And a large portion of the world will hate, despise, or envy you for it.

Which is also the lesson learned by many of the secondary characters, such as Princess Helspeth Ege who borrows some of Captain-General Hecht's men to help her kill an Instrumentality of the Night that everyone else is terrified of -- and in so doing terrifies and enrages the nobles of her kingdom who thought she was another empty-headed princess. And by Brother Candle, a Perfect of the Maysalean Heresy (similar the Cathars and Albigensians) who counsels reason and calm wherever he goes, and while he can't change the minds of rulers he does manage to save the lives and reason of many around him.

Like _The Tyranny of the Night_, _Lord of the Silent Kingdom_ is a densely written novel with a lot of characters and a lot of things going on. In one scene (pg 277), Captain-General Piper Hecht recognizes a man from the Sha-Lug company he commanded when he was Captain Else Tage. "Al-Azer er-Selim, Master of Ghosts. Almost unrecognizable in western clothing, wearing no facial hair. His eyes gave him away. Those eyes had looked in the heart of the Night, yet remained amused by the folly rampant in Man and all of God's creation."

That last phrase could describe the whole of _Lord of the Silent Kingdom_: Cook shows us all the varied shades of human greed, weakness, fear, apathy, laziness, pride, spite, envy, ambition, vengeance, stupidity, blindness, and incompetence. Yet he still remains amused by the folly rampant in Man and everything we create. Like _The Tyranny of the Night_, _Lord of the Silent Kingdom_ has some of the most slyly humorous observations about people and life that I've seen in a long time.

As with _The Tyranny of the Night_, _Lord of the Silent Kingdoms_ will be a lot less confusing and unrealistic if the reader is already familiar with European history during the Middle Ages, especially the incessant bickering and shifting alliances between powerful secular and religious factions.

I really liked it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first!!!
In this the second book of the Instrumenlities Of The Night and in this book we see that Piper Hecht as reach the top of his profession and is now Captain-General of the Pariarchy armies, he is now ready to follow the orders of an insane religious leader who will stop at nothing to slaughter all of the heretics of the Connect, during his crusade he has only victory after victory but following his success are more assassins, political rivals and the evil of the night all intent on Ending the Captain-General's life.

This is a great story, epic and complex in every way, there is everything a fantasy fan could want, heroes, magic, epic battles and demons of the night, this is a series that can't be missed.

2-0 out of 5 stars Better than the first one
I made the mistake of ordering this book along with the prequel instead of one by one. After struggling through Tyranny of the Night, I decided that I might as well give this one a chance, since I had already paid for it and everything. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book isn't quite as bad as its prequel. The lack of an editor isn't quite as apparent, and while the characters remain one dimensional and the writing style (or lack thereof) still somehow reminded me of sawdust (the dryness maybe?), on the whole this book was overall just a little bit less bad than the first one--I gave the first book two stars and I'd give this one two and a half if I could. Still, do yourself a favor and don't buy this.

3-0 out of 5 stars rough start but worth sticking to it in the end
I bemoaned the lack of a map in the first book and I'll start again by asking if it would be too much to include a map in a book that jumps among a slew of kingdoms, countries, islands, and petty territories.As a long-time fan of "epic" fantasy, I consider myself pretty well-versed in how to handle sweeping geography, but there were so many names of so many places playing a major role either in the active plot or in the backgrounds/motivations of characters that I became annoyingly bewildered by who was where and who was allying with whom. The same is true of the names, that get flashed by quite often, especially in the first third or so of the book, sometimes at a whirlwind pace where you might get 8-10 names of new places and new people in a single paragraph then two paragraphs later get another 8-10.Some of this is just background to the world-creation, pointing out that a larger world exists beyond the canvas of the novel's plot, but many of the places and people are important based on geopolitics--which queen is supporting which king who has sent which knight to lead which county lord against which king fighting in support of which prelate, and so on. Not to mention of course that some of these characters have multiple names due to their being undercover agents or having a separate nickname used by some characters but not others or, like many aristocrats, they have both names and title which gets used or not.And then there are the sects and sects within sects who often act as characters in their own right, as in "the Brotherhood was making things difficult".As I mentioned, it all gets a bit bewildering as characters drop into info-dump mode to explain why things are moving as they are and to be brutally honest, for much of the first third I had no idea of why things were happening at all.I knew what was going on--who was fighting whom and who was winning--but why they were fighting this particular enemy? No clue.
Eventually, those packed expositive paragraphs dwindle, the storyline narrows, and it all becomes easier to follow.As in book one, the focus is on Piper Hecht, now Captain-General of the Patriarch's army (though of course Hecht is actually Else Tage, a Praman warrior sent by his king--partially because Tage is so good and partially because the worried king thinks he's too good--into the West to undermine their ability to crusade against the Eastern (Praman) lands.In Lord of the Silent Kingdom, Hecht leads the Patriarch's army into the End of the Connect to pacify a religious heresy, learns more about his sponsor--a member of the high council (think Cardinals) and magic user, picks up a lost girl who seems to be someone important politically, evades many, many assassination attempts, learns he has a guardian angel of sorts, is caught up in the political and religious machinations as people battle for the power of the Patriarchy, and does battle with the instrumentalities--the minor and major gods. And that's not all.
Meanwhile, we get another point of view from Helspeth, Princess Apparent of the Grail Empire whose father has recently died, leaving the throne to her ill brother, who is to be followed by her older sister of questionable capability.
Rounding out the three-stranded POV is Brother Candle, a Perfect Master (pacifistic minister of sorts) who observes the battle in the Connecht but from the other side of Piper Hecht.
It's a hugely complex plot in terms of its politics, religion, character motivations, geography, etc.And as mentioned, it's all a bit hard to follow for the first third or so.The POV switches aren't always successful, the writing often feels disjointed, and the POV"s are also a bit unbalanced in effect, with Piper's much more engaging, followed by Helspeth's (though she gets the least amount of time), and then by Candle, who's character's passivity makes for relatively uninteresting reading, especially as much of what happens is told rather than shown.
Piper's story, however, is engaging even when one isn't sure why he's doing what he's doing. It has Cook's trademark realism and dark humor, strong character and dialogue.As events clear up, it becomes even more enjoyable.
The battles with the instrumentalities seem a bit anti-climactic, though it does seem we're building up to something larger.The grander themes are all fascinating--an encroaching ice, a worsening of the Instrumentalities, the major shifting of geopolitics, the problems with refugees fleeing the ice age effects, Hecht's gradually morphing from Else Tage, Praman warrior, to Piper, Patriarchal General.It's an ambitious work that doesn't quite succeed for a big chunk but then finds its voice and pacing for most of the rest of the book.
Cook is working on a large canvas here and sometimes probably short-changes himself by cramming it all in to a relatively small space, thus leading to problems of clarity of exposition-stuffed prose, but by the end the reader is pulled in thoroughly and looking forward to volume three.Recommended with caveats. And with yet another plea for that damn map. ... Read more

20. Cold Copper Tears (Garrett Files, Bk. 3)
by Glen Cook
Mass Market Paperback: 249 Pages (2007-02-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451157737
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
She was tall, blonde, and offering P.I. Garrett an irresistible fee to take a case that seemed open and shut.But in a town of elves and humans, thugs and swindlers, Garrett had learned to take a long, hard look before saying yes... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Garrett #3: mind the blondes and watch out for cults
Cold Copper Tears follows Garrett after the case of Bitter Gold Hearts, with Garrett being hired by a priest to recover some lost relics, and a pretty girl needing protection all at the same time.To top it off, someone has put a price on Garrett's head, and that someone has thereby invoked the wrath of Chodo Contague, amoral underworld kingpin.Garrett finds himself battling an ancient eunuch cult with the help of a gang of street girls, led by the entrancing Maya.Garrett and the Dead Man are up against something old and powerful here, and there is a case to solve and lives to save (mainly Garrett's own).

The Dead Man once again steals every scene he is in.

Once again Glen Cook has written a page-turning read full of noiry goodness, with a wide cast of characters well written.This is a gritty fantasy detective story, and yet the characters all seem very real - Chodo is filled with menace, Dean is long-suffering, Morley Dotes is...Morley Dotes.TunFaire is vividly drawn, and is becoming a character all of its own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three in a row

Cold Copper Tears

Cold Copper Tears is the third book in the Garrett Files collection..Garrett is a tough ex-marine, private investigator in the mold of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.The series is set in a fantasy world that is quite amusing.His advisor is "the Dead Man" who is really not a man at all, but, oh never mind, buy this book, you'll want to read it several times. In this book Garrett foils a diabolical plot to... Oh just read the book.You'll enjoy it.

Gunner Octobert, 2007

1. Sweet Silver Blues (1987)
2. Bitter Gold Hearts (1988)
3. Cold Copper Tears (1988)
4. Old Tin Sorrows (1989)
5. Dread Brass Shadows (1990)
6. Red Iron Nights (1991)
7. Deadly Quicksilver Lies (1994)
8. Petty Pewter Gods (1995)
9. Faded Steel Heat (1999)
10. Angry Lead Skies (2002)
11. Whispering Nickel Idols (2005)
Science Fiction Book Club omnibus editions:
1. The Garrett Files (collects Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, and Cold Copper Tears; 2003)
2. Garrett, P.I. (collects Old Tin Sorrows, Dread Brass Shadows, and Red Iron Nights; 2003)
3. Garrett Investigates (collects Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Petty Pewter Gods, and Faded Steel Heat; 2004)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gods, Priests and Women
Cold Copper Tears (1988) is the third fantasy novel in the Garrett Files series, following Bitter Gold Hearts.In the previous volume, Chodo Contague took Donni Pell as an ornament.Lord Gameleon, Baronet daPena and the Stormwarden Raver Styx were all found guilty of murder.The Stormwarden was stripped of her property and powers and ejected from the Hill.

Domina Willa Dount disappeared with the bulk of the ransom money.Garret did recover some of the ransom, but gave up on finding Dount.Besides, the Stormwarden was hunting her much more relentlessly than he could have.

In this novel, Garrett is taking a vacation from the clients, but Jill Craight gets past Dean and hires him to protect her from break-ins by persons unknown.She refuses to accept his excuses and pays him an exorbitant retainer.Garrett takes the money and sub-contracts the job to Pokey Pigotta.

Later, Magister Peridont -- a big-wig of the Church -- tries to hire him to discover who is behind the mud-slinging among the Orthodox clergy.The scandal has been spreading and may carry over to the Church itself.Garrett listens to the man and begins to like his approach, but turns down the job.

Later, a darkelf half-breed youth gang tries to kill Garrett as he walks toward Morley's place.One of the gang is an albino.He fights them off and takes three knives, then continues on to Morley's.

Garrett gets more than his usual stares when he arrives.Morley takes him upstairs to the office and plants him in front of a mirror.He has blood all over the left side of his face;a breed had gotten in one good cut that he hadn't even noticed.

Morley calls in Puddle and Slade and also invites Saucerhead Tharpe to the office.Garrett explains his ruffled condition, passes around the confiscated knives, and describes the gang.Puddle identifies them as the Vampires led by the albino Snowball.He also mentions that they had been far from their own turf when they attacked Garrett.

Pokey shows up at Morley's place while they are talking.He has come to give back the money that Garrett had paid him.Somebody has given him a better offer.Still, he has already checked out the building and seen the watchers outside.They left when it got dark and went to the Blue Bottle, where they shared a room on the third floor.

In this story, Garrett gives the job of protecting Jill to Saucerhead.The next morning, Jill shows up and demands to know why he has not been personally protecting her.Saucerhead had visited her and explained the transfer of duties.She is very upset, but changed her mind when Garrett offered back the retainer.

After Garrett and Saucerhead walked Jill back to her apartment, Garrett paid a visit to the Sisters of Doom.Garrett lived in the territory of the Travellers, but no longer had any personal contacts with that gang.He explains the situation to Maya, the boss of the Doom -- sounds better than boss of the Sisters -- and then invites her over for supper.Maya has been a special project of Dean and himself for some time now.

When he gets home, Crask has already dropped off a package for Garrett.Crask works for Chado and does minor chores for him when he isn't busy offing people.Chado has heard about the Vampire's hit on Garrett and is not pleased.He had put out the word to lay off Garrett and the Vampires did not listen.

In the package is a note, a snip of colorless hair and four temple coins.Garrett visits the address given in the note and finds three dead members of the Vampire gang and one thoroughly frightened survivor.The living gang member tells everything that he knows.

This story soon becomes even more confusing.Garrett starts to find bodies of men who have been totally castrated.The temple coins point to an outlawed and extinct sect.Sorcerous attacks are made on Chodo Contague's mansion and Garrett's house.

Maya is abducted by a group calling themselves the Sons of Hammond. The Doom track down one of the kidnappers and take Garrett along to their temple.Garrett charges in, is promptly ambushed, and breaks a vial of magical potion among the kidnappers.Things get really confusing about then.

Highly recommended for Cook fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of destructive gods, various magics, and stubborn detectives.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Womin and Dirty Old Gods
As often happens in this series it is a beautiful woman who drags Garrett into trouble.Jill Craight has something that needs guarding and Garrett farms out the job to Pokey Pigotta, who takes the job and then quits.Only to turn up dead when it turns out he had switched sides.In the mean time Garrett gets a visit from the Grand Inquisitor who wants Garrett to unmask a group that is spreading unpleasant truths about the Orthodox Church.Garrett declines, but may as well have accepted.Pretty soon strange homicidal eunichs are trying to terminate the detective, and the only clue is some brand new old coins that belong to a religion that shouldn't exist.

Garrett isn't just in trouble, he's dooms if he can't extricate himself from a plot which includes priests, gods, and religious politics.There is a series of climactic struggles as Garrett hunts for whatever is driving the killer priests in their quest for relics and power in TunFaire.

Along with the regular cast, Glen Cook introduces Maya, the head of an all girl street gang who, on a good day, see the worst side of life.Maya will reappear at regular intervals and in many ways is the best possible mate for the rough and tumble Garrett, if he were ever to go looking seriously for a mate,But, to date, he hasn't.Maya is a spark of life and commands on of the larger roles that Cook gives to any woman in this series.

Cold Copper Tears isn't the best of the Garrett tales, but it still meets the high standard Cook works at.New characters and character traits abound and the complicated life in TunFaire unfolds a bit more with each episode.If you like what you've read so far, track down a copy.

3-0 out of 5 stars An OK 3rd in Cook's Garrett Series
This is the 3rd in Cook's Garrett series ("Sweet Silver Blues," "Bitter Gold Hearts," "Cold Copper Tears," "Old Tin Sorrows," "Dread Brass Shadows," "Red Iron Nights," "Deadly Quicksilver Lies," "Petty Pewter Gods," "Faded Steel Heat," "Angry Lead Skies," and "Whispering Nickel Idols").It's an excellent book for the first 99%, but, unfortunately, the ending fizzles.Oh, Garrett and the Dead Man figure things out nicely.All the 'i's are dotted and all the 't's crossed.But, instead of involving us in the denouement, Cook relegates the final cleanup to a background role.It just lacks that visceral feeling of closure.Solely because of the ending, I can rate this book at only an OK 3 stars out of 5.

BTW: At the time of this review, this book is long out of print. It's tough to find anywhere. As an alternative, look around for the SFBC's "The Garrett Files." This book is part of that collection. ... Read more

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