Shadow Games/Dreams of Steel

by Glen Cook

Published by TOR Books (US)
U.K. 3.50 (Paperback)
311/346 Pages
ISBN 0-812-53382-8/0-812-50210-8

For a change I will review two books in the same series, Shadow Games and Dreams of Steel. The two books, known collectively as "The South", are the Fourth and Fifth Chronicle of the Black Company. This fantasy series started with The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose.

The series follows the fortunes of a company of mercenaries, the Black Company. The main character is Croaker, now Captain of the company, who is supported by the few surviving characters from the first books, Lady, One-eye, Goblin, Murgen, and Otto.The characters are the same strange bunch, with now-powerless beautiful Lady, the feuding wizards One-eye and Goblin. The enemies are, kind of, similar to the old dark evil sorcerers, the Taken, who they defeated in the first books.

The plot of these books involve the Company travelling South towards the fabled city of Khatovar, where the Black Company first set forth from centuries before. New recruits are added to the Company as they have to overcome hostile forces arrayed against them, and old enemies with scores to settle with the Company. The same mix of politics, war, battles, and powerful sorcery. Croaker's relationship with Lady is explored further, and we learn a great deal more about the origins of the Black Company.

If you liked the first three books then you will enjoy these two volumes. If you have not tried the first three before then do so. The next volume in the series is "Bleak Seasons" then "She Is The Darkness", which continue the next phase of the Chronicles of the Black Company, book one of "Glittering Stone".

A score of 8 out of 10. Keeps up the high standard of the first three books.

P.F. 14th April 1997

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Paul Farris 1997