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Summary

When sorcerers and demigods go to war, those wars are fought by mercenaries, "dog soldiers", grunts in the trenches. And the stories of those soldiers are the stories of Glen Cook's hugely popular Black Company novels. If the Joseph Heller of Catch-22 were to tell the story of The Lord of the Rings, it might read like the Black Company books. There is nothing else in fantasy like them.

Now, at last, Cook brings the Glittering Stone cycle within the Black Company series to an end... but an end with many other tales left to tell.

As Soldiers Live opens, Croaker is military dictator of all the Taglias, and no Black Company member has died in battle for four years. Croaker figures it can't last. He's right.

For, of course, many of the Company's old adversaries are still around. Narayan Singh and his adopted daughter - actually the offspring of Croaker and the Lady - hope to bring about the apocalyptic Year of the Skulls. Other old enemies like Shadowcatcher, Longshadow, and Howler are also ready to do the Company harm. And much of the Company is still recovering from the 15 years many of them spent in a stasis field.

Then a report arrives of an evil spirit, a forvalaka, that has taken over one of their old enemies. It attacks them at a shadowgate - setting off a chain of events that will bring the Company to the edge of apocalypse and, as usual, several steps beyond.

Glen Cook is the leading modern writer of epic fantasy noir, and Soldiers Live is Cook at his best. None of his legion of fans will want to miss it.

©2000 Glen Cook (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Dark and surprising, Cook's latest is free of pretension, but rich in characters and world building." ( Publishers Weekly)
"The author's wry wit and flair for understatement add a level of realism uncommon to the fantasy genre." ( Library Journal)

What members say

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A beautiful ending

A perfect ending to the series, wonderful narration and a story made even greater with its completion

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  • DDTAN
  • 16-10-13

Finally, Croaker & The Black Company Returns!!!

What did you love best about Soldiers Live?

The return of Croaker as annalist of The Black Company and also Marc Vietor as narrator.

I soldiered through the last four books just to get to this one, because I knew The Black Company that I fell in love with in the first four books would finally return.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It was Croaker by far. His annals/perspective of The Black Company, to me, is why I fell in love with the series in the first place.

Which character – as performed by Marc Vietor – was your favorite?

Marc Vietor, to me, is the best narrator of the series. He adds grittiness to The Black Company that the other narrators of the series could not match. His portrayal of Croaker is simply perfect.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I found the phrase: "Soldiers live..." uttered throughout the book by Croaker, to be deeply profound. And it particularly moved me when Croaker uttered it for the last time: "Soldiers live and wonder why."

Any additional comments?

I now understand why Glen Cook wrote the last four books with different annalists. I think it was to give this well seasoned version of Croaker more flavor to contrast the younger Croaker from the earlier books.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jared
  • 26-07-16

Must listen for fantasy fan

This is about as good as it gets for epic fantasy series. On the same level as wheel, thrones, first law, blood song.

Do it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Josh
  • 22-03-16

Rushed ending... disappointing.

The great long plot sputters to an end with a fart rather than a bang...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A User
  • 14-02-18

A fitting end to an excellent series.

I am sad these characters will not return. The Black Company books are a tour de force for great fiction and a realistic depiction of the camaraderie of fighting men and women.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-11-17

Resolution

The entire Black Company series is a marvel of fantasy. The strongest assest are the universe and cast of characters formed over the series. The ending was masterfully crafted.

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  • John R Severs
  • 16-11-17

loved it!

I have loved the entire series of the Black Company. I really think you will enjoy them if you like fantasy!

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  • VJC3
  • 10-11-16

An excellent end to an excellent epic.

Ten plus books later this is an excellent cap to one big, deep and rich epic series. It is easily one of the best final books of such a huge series. You will never see the end coming and if you haven't invested in all of the preceding books of the series the last book will be meaningless.

It satisfied me in capping the multitudes of character story lines while staying true to the long running analysts story line. A fantastic end where Croker finds his place and his legacy.

Invest the time in the preceding books your time and investment will be well rewarded here in this final book of the epic series of The Black Company.

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  • Richard N Jones
  • 17-09-15

Great

Cook has written a whole series. It's a great finish to a good set of novels. Engaging, suspenseful, fantastic images. I wish I could read it again for the first time. Reading was excellent. Solid production.

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  • Maleyna
  • 29-07-15

Great end

Loved it! Perfectly ties up and loved that they brought back Croaker and Marc Vietor to finish the series.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-06-15

fan tactic

this is one of the only series that I relisten to . great narrator and fantastic ending