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8601219,152 (3.8)8
"Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive....I am Murgen, Standard bearer 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..." So writes Murgen, seasoned veteran of the Black Company. The Company has taken the fortress of Stormgard from the evil Shadowlanders, lords of darkness from the far reaches of the earth. Now the waiting begins. Exhausted from the siege, beset by sorcery, and vastly outnumbered, the Company have risked their souls as well as their lives to hold their prize. But this is the end of an age, and great forces are at work. The ancient race known as the Nyueng Bao swear that ancient gods are stirring. the Company's commander has gone mad and flirts with the forces of darkness. Only Murgen, touched by a spell that has set his soul adrift in time, begins at last to comprehend the dark design that has made pawns of men and god alike.… (mer)
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A different style than previous books, and makes it hard to get into, but well worth the effort. ( )
  Fardo | Oct 15, 2019 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission. Title: Bleak Seasons Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company Author: Glen Cook Rating: 3 of 5 Stars Genre: SFF Pages: 317 Format: Kindle Digital Edition Synopsis: Taking place mostly concurrently with the previous book, Dreams of Steel, we follow Murgen, the standardbearer, as he tries to keep the Old Crew alive in the besieged town. All the while he is having spells that throw him into the past and into the future but he can never remember anything from them. My Thoughts: This was confusing as all get out. While Cook has the writing skills to pull it off, I still didn't like it. Going from present to past to future to simply 'now' [which might be any of the 3] made for a very distracting read. While I liked Murgen, I am not so much a fan of what Croaker, now the Captain, is becoming. Which is Cook's goal I believe. Can't have anyone becoming too heroic and hence possibly be a hero. Heaven forbid. I am invested enough in the series that a book like this doesn't throw me off but I have to admit, I am sick to death of books that try to yank my chain in one way or another. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
The Black Company is on one level, standard genre fantasy fare. There isn't much going on other than straight plot exposition (Well, in this particular novel #7 in the series, the time-line is non-linear, but the point holds.) Not much to recommend it other than solid craft and a definite twist on standard good vs. evil morality plays. I consider the Black Company to be epic fantasy that is influenced by Vietnam. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, but no one is fighting for a higher purpose unless they are lying or crazy. It's a bleak and dismal series, in that sense, but in the middle of that bleak and dismal moral setting the choices of the characters have a better chance of being meaning full than when the white-hats smite the black-hats.

Anyway, I like it. It stands out compared to standard genre fare but doesn't try to do to much. Maybe that is Cook's secret. He does a few things well, but doesn't try to do too much. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
I read the previous book in this series quite a while ago so I had to go back and see how it ended. Definitely on a big cliffhanger, but this book didn’t really satisfy me. I would have to say that Bleak Seasons is the worst of the Black Company books so far. I am hoping that book two of the Glittering will be better. We will see.

This is the first book written in Murgen’s point of view, and I can say that I really didn’t enjoy reading from his perspective. I enjoyed Croaker the most and Lady was a great narrator too, but I just couldn’t get into Murgen’s story. I guess I just don’t know him well enough to make him feel as important as Croaker and Lady, if you know what I mean. Not enough character development before switching to him as a narrator. Reading from his point of view just wasn’t that interesting, not to mention that it was incredibly confusing. Apparently, Murgen is under some sort of spell, which forces him to jump though time (back to events that take place in Dreams of Steel) and I thought it was really complicated to figure out in which time I was reading. It was constantly back and forth. Ugh! I guess this was also why I didn’t like reading from Murgen’s perspective. This time shifting just interrupted the flow of the story. Maybe it would have helped if these two different time periods were in separate books. I think that would have made it a little less confusing and an opportunity to add more to the story.

Except for One Eye and Goblin, none of my favorite characters play much of a role in this novel. It was pretty disappointing not being able to read about them. :( Also, One Eye and Goblin weren’t as entertaining as they usually are. Don’t get me wrong. They were still up to their shenanigans, but not like the first few books in the series.

The book does add a little to the story of the Black Company, but this particular book was rather slow and complicated. There were of course some good parts, but most of it was actually kind of boring. I am hoping the pace picks up a little in the next book.

If you are enjoying the series so far I would still suggest reading this one if you want to continue on. I will let you know if the next one is any better!

( )
  AshleyMiller | Sep 10, 2014 |
I almost didn't go on after the last book. The Black Company is just not aimed at me. But these last few books turned up in the used bookstore, and it is hard for me to abandon a plotline, so I finally dug in again.

Bleak Seasons is a bridge book of sorts. Cook took six years off after Dreams of Steel, and Bleak Seasons is an alternate viewpoint of much of that time period, as well as a little bit after - introducing a new Annalist, Murgen, who has a tendency to come unstuck in time and space. It's a bit gimmicky, but it works, and actually becomes very useful in the suceeding volumes.

There's a lot more hinting at the True Nature of the Company, but not much is revealed, and otherwise it's a Black Company novel like all the rest - grittiness, sneaking, bickering, and bloodshed. It's fine, if that's what you're into. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
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"Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive....I am Murgen, Standard bearer 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..." So writes Murgen, seasoned veteran of the Black Company. The Company has taken the fortress of Stormgard from the evil Shadowlanders, lords of darkness from the far reaches of the earth. Now the waiting begins. Exhausted from the siege, beset by sorcery, and vastly outnumbered, the Company have risked their souls as well as their lives to hold their prize. But this is the end of an age, and great forces are at work. The ancient race known as the Nyueng Bao swear that ancient gods are stirring. the Company's commander has gone mad and flirts with the forces of darkness. Only Murgen, touched by a spell that has set his soul adrift in time, begins at last to comprehend the dark design that has made pawns of men and god alike.

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