The Black Company
Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hardbitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead.
Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more.
There must be a way for the Black Company to find her...
Glen Cook is the author of dozens of novels of fantasy and science fiction, including The Black Company, The Garret Files, Instrumentalities of the Night, and the Dread Empire series. Cook was born in 1944 in New York City. He attended the Clarion Writers' Workshop in 1970, where he met his wife. He currently makes his home in St. Louis, MO.
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. Cook mixes fantasy with military fiction in gritty, down-to-earth portrayals of the Company's chief personalities and its struggles.
The Black Company consists of nine primary works, and includes two additional books that complement the series but are not considered mandatory reads. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.
Related series The Black Company (omnibus editions)
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In my opinion, THE BLACK COMPANY (and the series that follows) is one of the ten best works in all of fantasy fiction. I don't say that lightly, but Cook's deft characterizations and unflinching look at combat are seldom matched. Forget winsome Elves and stoic Dwarves banding together to save the Fair Lands from the dark-lord-of-the-week. These are people fighting for their lives. They aren't good people. They aren't bad people (well, some are). They're both. I read this book more than 20 years ago, and Croaker's voice still sounds in the back of my mind. Read it. You won't be sorry.