The Black Company

The Black Company

The Black Company is a series of fantasy novels by author Glen Cook. The series combines elements of epic fantasy and dark fantasy as it follows an elite mercenary unit, The Black Company, through roughly forty years of its approximately four hundred year history.


Main chronology

"The Books of the North"

#"The Black Company" - May 1984 (main annalist: Croaker)
#"Shadows Linger" October 1984 (main annalist: Croaker)
#"The White Rose" - April 1985 (main annalist: Croaker)

"The Books of the South "

#"Shadow Games" - June 1989 (main annalist: Croaker)
#"Dreams of Steel" - April 1990 (main annalist: Lady)

"The Books of the Glittering Stone"

#"Bleak Seasons" - April 1996 (main annalist: Murgen)
#"She Is The Darkness" - September 1997 (main annalist: Murgen)
#"Water Sleeps" - March 1999 (main annalist: Sleepy)
#"Soldiers Live" - July 2000 (main annalist: Croaker)


#"The Silver Spike" - September 1989 (Chronicled by: Philodendren Case)

To be released

#"A Pitiless Rain" - TBA (main annalist: TBA) cite web|url=|title=Strange Horizons Interview|accessdate=June 20|accessyear=2006]
#"Port of Shadows" - TBA (main annalist: TBA)

Plot summary

The series follows an elite mercenary unit, The Black Company, last of the Free Companies of Khatovar, through roughly forty years of its approximately four hundred year history. In the series, Cook mixes fantasy with military fiction in gritty, down-to-earth portrayals of the Company‘s chief personalities and its struggles. The series can be subdivided into three sections plus a novel, "The Silver Spike," that follows events concerning former members of the Company and one of its adversaries. The three sections are the "Books of the North," the "Books of the South," and "Glittering Stone."

The "Books of the North," collected in the "Annals of the Black Company," recount the Company’s dealings with the Empire of the North. The "Books of the South" follows the Company’s journey south and near destruction on its journey back to its beginnings in Khatovar. "Glittering Stone" sees the Company achieve victory over its employers’ enemies, wreak vengeance on the selfsame employers, and move on to its destiny.

The "Books of the North" include: "The Black Company," "Shadows Linger," and "The White Rose." The "Books of the South" include: "Shadow Games" and "Dreams of Steel." "Glittering Stone" includes: "Bleak Seasons," "She Is The Darkness," "Water Sleeps," and "Soldiers Live." The stand alone novel "The Silver Spike" takes place roughly at the same time as the first Book of the South. Two proposed novels, "A Pitiless Rain" and "Port of Shadows", have not yet been published.

The Domination

The world of the Black Company is shaped by events that occurred long before the time of the first novel. A powerful wizard called the Dominator had created a brutal empire, assisted by his sorceress wife, known as the Lady, and ten enslaved magical rivals, the Ten Who Were Taken or just Taken. Eventually the Domination was overthrown by a rebellion led by the White Rose. Not powerful enough to kill any of them, she had all 12 buried alive and partially asleep in the remote Barrowland, with magical enchantments to keep them bound.

Much later, a wizard named Bomanz awoke the Lady in an attempt to learn from her, but was tricked into releasing her from her imprisonment. She freed the Taken and bound them to her will, but kept her insane husband in his tomb. The Lady rebuilt the empire, but her rule is less heavy-handed than that of her spouse.

The Ten Who Were Taken; The New Taken

Many generations before the first novel, these "Ten" powerful wizards were magically bound to the will of the Dominator:

*The Limper
*The Howler
*The Hanged Man
*The Faceless Man

Then, between the first and the third novels, the Lady replaced those of the Ten who were slain or had fled south with the following:

*The Creeper

The Free Companies

The Black Company knows little of its own origin. The last survivor of the Free Companies of Khatovar, its records go back centuries, but that is not far enough. People come and go, but the Company remains. At the beginning of the series, it has evolved into a ruthlessly effective mercenary unit willing to work for the highest bidder. But individually the members can recognize true evil when they see it, and often they try to manipulate the situation to mitigate the worst outcomes.

What they do not know is that the goal of the Free Companies of Khatovar was to invade a foreign land and create havoc in order to bring about the Year of the Skulls for a demonic entity known as Kina. Many would consider that to be the end of the world, while others consider it a new beginning. But centuries later, the new recruits do not know that the original mission of their organization was to destroy their world for the glory of a monster from another plane.

In the later novels, the mercenaries come to learn their history. Being no stranger to working for the mostly wrong side in conflicts which sets the supremely evil against the merely wicked, The Black Company must use its accumulated experience to set the titanic forces surrounding them against each other, and hope for an outcome that preserves something of their world.

Members of The Black Company

From the Northern Campaigns

*The Captain - leader of the Black Company.
*The Lieutenant - his second in command.
*Croaker - Company's doctor and historian, also the narrator of the novels
*Silent - moderately talented wizard.
*Goblin - moderately talented wizard.
*Tom-Tom - moderately talented wizard. Killed early in the first book. Brother of One-Eye.
*One-Eye - moderately talented wizard. Brother of Tom-Tom.
*Elmo - the Sergeant.
*Murgen - standard bearer.
*Otto - veteran mercenary.
*Hagop - veteran mercenary and scout.
*Raven - Northern recruit. Cold, and deadly with a knife. Very minor wizard.
*Candy - veteran mercenary.
*Pawnbroker - veteran mercenary.

From the Books of the South

*Murgen - Standard Bearer and later annalist
*Lady - Former employer, then foe, later Lieutenant and second in command
*Big Bucket - Also known as Cato Dahlia
*Cletus, Loftus, Longinus - Three brothers (Or cousins), engineering warfare specialists.

Non sworn brothers but affiliated persons

*Cordy Mather
*Willow Swan

Nyueng Bao

A race descended from a separate Free Company of Khatovar, aligned with the Black Company after the catastrophic siege of Dejagore.

*Uncle Doj - last informed priest of the Nyueng Bao - minor wizard
*Mother Gota - Mother of Thai Dei and Sahra
*Thai Dei - Murgen's brother-in-law and body guard
*Sahra (Sarie) - Murgen's wife. Mother of Tobo

ee also

* The Black Company (novel)

External links

* [ The Glen Cook Wiki]
* [ Black Company Timeline]
* [ Black Company Maps]


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