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Shadow Games

Shadow Games - Glen Cook As anybody who made it to this point knows after the events in The White Rose the Black Company split. The fate of its members left behind is described in The Silver Spike. This book starts the plot arc about the people who decided to go with its analyst Croaker to the place of the Company's origin, faraway and mysterious Khatovar. The seven survivors (yes, there were only seven people left in the beginning of the book) had no clue that they end up right in the middle of power play of some people/beings that could be qualified for a status of demigods because of their power.
The Black Company
The only ones who have any chance whatsoever of stopping them are the small group of quite mortal people who continues calling themselves The Black Company.

As Croaker leads his people further south, the number of the Company mercenaries grow, local people became more and more scared of them - their former reputation still haunts them, and more and more miracles is expected from them. As reluctant Croaker to get into local conflicts, the Company is inevitably drown into them if only to progress closer to its goals. If you think Northerners from the first trilogies were undisputed masters of backstabbing and double-crossing: people from the south make them look like really bad amateurs.

A couple of warnings for the people that have not read the series before. The plot arc that starts here will only be completely resolved 5 books later, in the last book of the series. This book ends with what has got to be the mother of all cliffhangers. I am sure if you look up the word in a dictionary there would be a picture of this book as an example for the definition.

The novel starts somewhat slow as the survivors that do not know what else to do with their lives other than being mercenaries, try to find their place outside of a big army.
The Black Company 1
Fortunately Goblin and One-Eye are back with their rivalry to liven things up. They will continue doing so through the whole book culminating in a drunk wizard fight. The pace speeds up considerably once the company took part in their first local conflict.

Strictly speaking the rating of this book is closer to 4 than 5 stars, but knowing the groundwork it laid for the future plot advancement I will round it up. I felt it is worth the highest rating during my reread.