Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Water Sleeps by Glen Cook

Water Sleeps: A Novel of the Black Company (Chronicle of the Black Company, Number 8)

Review written March 2000
Water Sleeps is the most recent addition to the saga of the Black Company. Personally, I think the early books in this series (The books of the North) were the best in the series, Cook is just coasting along on momentum now, it seems. One of the annoying things about the recent books in the series is that the point of view has switched from Croaker (the annalist of the Company we met in the first book) to Lady to Murgen and, in Water Sleeps, to Sleepy. (Those of you who have no clue who these people are need to read the rest of the series).
At the end of She is the Darkness, Cook left all of our old friends from the Black Company trapped by Soulcatcher on the plain of Glittering Stone, in some sort of suspended animation. Sleepy, a young woman who usually goes around disguised as a man, for various personal and military reasons, has inherited the job of Annalist and, by default, Captain in all but title. The remnants of the Black Company are in hiding and disgrace in Taglia, hunted by Soulcatcher, the Radisha Dra and Willow Swan's secret police.
The goals of the company are: to survive, to exact vengeance upon their betrayors, and to rescue their trapped leaders (the Captured) from beyond the Shadowgate.
The book moves along pretty slowly for the first two-thirds, as Sleepy and her companions connive and confuse their enemies in the city. When they finally leave the city to go after the key to open the Shadowgate, things begin to pick up a bit. During their attempt to rescue the Captured, we learn a great deal, finally, about the origins of the Black Company and the nature of the plain of Glittering Stone.
At the end, of course, Cook leaves all of their old nasty enemies alive and at large, so I've got to assume that we'll be seeing more of the Black Company in another novel or two before too very long. Hopefully, he'll stick with Sleepy, Murgen or one of the previously established annalists for a POV, instead of forcing us to make new acquaintances with each iteration.

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