This is a copy/paste of my BookLikes review: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/734878/a-father-of-grimdark-fantasy-often-copied-but-never-surpassed
There are no good guys, just a band of mercenaries always trying to make a choice between a bad side and a very bad side - they work with a lesser evil to prevent the comeback of a greater one. The people they work with only consider them a useful tool to be discarded when they outlive their usefulness, so expect a lot of backstabbing and double-crossings always present in Glen Cook's writings.
The mercenaries are definitely not nice guys, who do a lot of dirty work, but they grow on you and I found I cared about them by the end of the first book. If you want to know where Steven Erikson found his inspiration to write about soldiers' interactions for his Malazan series, look no further than this. These interactions in here are brilliant: soldiers' brotherhood, rivalry of minor wizards (and fighting between the said wizards while drunk), reluctant heroics, and people bound by their duty.
The writing style is something which takes some time to get used to: it is annals of the Company written by its annalist. In this book it is a guy who also happened to be the Company's surgeon aptly named Croaker; he does not spend his time writing about nature, landscapes, cloths, food, etc. Some people abandon the first book because of this minimalistic style, but if you can live with it, the reading becomes smooth sailing.
This is a beginning of the series where I was having great trouble to put a book away - this one and all others in the series.