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Glen Cook

Latest novel - Lord of the Silent Kingdom - Book 2 in the Instrumentalities of the Night Series, released February 20, 2007.

Glen Cook is best known for his gritty, hard-hitting Black Company series about mercenaries plying their trade in a dark sorcery filled fantasy world where it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad.

Fantasy readers have also taken strongly to his Garrett, P.I. series - the spare, choicely worded, hard-boiled detective ala Marlowe, set in fantasy land.

Cook's writing style is sophisticated and widely admired. Due to the rather bleak and violent nature of his themes, and to his penchant for painting good and evil in shades of grey, we recommend his books for mature readers.

The bibliography below is in approximate chronological order, though with series listed before stand-alone novels.

Buy Books by Glen Cook
Dread Empire Collection Books 1 - 3
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New Edition!
Dread Empire Series (published 1980-88)
by Glen Cook

"Across the mountains called Dragon's Teeth, beyond the chill reach of the Werewind and the fires of the world's beginning, above the walls of the castle Fangdred it stands: Windtower. From this lonely keep the Star Rider calls forth the war that even wizards dread, fought for a woman's hundred-lifetime love. A woman called Nepanthe, princess to the Stormkings..."

Dread Empire, Cook's first series, while not as popular as the Black Company books, sets the tone for his future military fantasy series with its story of war and the strong bonds of loyalty between comrades.

The main series is split into three mini-series. These books are currently out of print but generally available used.

The Dread Empire Set 1:
A Shadow of All Night Falling (Book 1)
October's Baby (Book 2)
All Darkness Met (Book 3) (end of trilogy)

These three books have been re-released in a new collector's set - A Cruel Wind: A Chronicle Of The Dread Empire.

"In the vast reaches of the desert, a young heretic escapes certain death and embarks on a mission of madness and glory. He is El Murid -- the Disciple -- who vows to bring order, prosperity and righteousness to the desert people of Hammad al Nakir.

But among the warriors, rebellion seethes as they plot to execute the justice of the desert on their evil leader. For after four long centuries, a sorcerer appears among them -- a savior destined to build a new Empire from the blood of their enemies!"

The second set of this series chronicles the rise of the prophet El Murid, his expansionist religious zeal, and the men who oppose him (familiar from the earlier books) - desert warfare is the theme. Set in the Dread Empire, prior in time to the first trilogy.

Second set:
Fire in His Hands (Book 1)
With Mercy to None (Book 2)

These two books have just been re-released in a new collector's set - A Fortress in Shadow: A Chronicle Of The Dread Empire.

"It has ended. It begins again. In Kavelin: Lady Nepanthe's new life with the wizard Varthlokkur is disturbed by visions of her lost son, while King Bragi Ragnarson and Michael Trebilcock scheme to help the exiled Princess Mist re-usurp her throne -- under their thumb. In Shinsan: a pig-farmer's son takes command of Eastern Army, while Lord Kuo faces plots in his council and a suicide attack of two million Matayangans on his border. But in the desert beyond the Dread Empire: a young victim of the Great War becomes the Deliverer of an eons-forgotten god, chosen to lead the legions of the dead."

This two-book series takes place four years after the events in the first trilogy and ends with an unresolved cliff-hanger. Apparently, the third book was written, but never published.

Final set:
Reap the East Wind (Book 1)
An Ill Fate Marshalling (Book 2)
Starfishers Series (1982-1985)
By Glen Cook

"The vendetta in space had started centuries before "Mouse" Storm was born... with his grandfather's raid on the planet Prefactlas, the blood bath that freed the human slaves from their Sangaree masters. But one Sangaree survived -- the young Norbon heir, the man who swore vengeance on the Storm family and their soldiers, in a carefully mapped plot that would take generations to fulfill.

Now Mouse's father Gneaus must fight for an El Dorado of wealth on the burning half of the planet Blackworld. As the great private armies of all space clash on the narrow Shadowline that divides inferno from life-sheltering shade, Gneaus half-brother Michael plays his traitorous games, and a man called Deeth pulls the deadly strings that threaten to entrap them all -- as the Starfishers Trilogy begins."

Future fantasy series featuring "Starfishers", marvelous deep spaces creatures hunted for their ambergris. Dune fans might like these books. Available used.

Starfisher Series Books:
Shadowline Book 1)
Starfishers (Book 2)
Stars End (Book 3) (end of trilogy proper)
Passage At Arms (Book 4)
The Black Company
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Chronicles of the Black Company (1984 - 1989)
By Glen Cook

"Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hardbitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead. Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her..."

Cook's famed series about a centuries-old band of mercenary soldiers, steeped in their own history and legends, loyal to one another, honorable in serving their paymasters, with no family but the brotherhood of the Black Company.

We recommend these books be read in order.

Chronicles of the Black Company Series:
The Black Company (Book 1)
Shadows Linger (Book 2)
The White Rose (Book 3) (end of first trilogy)
Silver Spike (a side story, ties up some loose ends)
Shadow Games
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Black Company - Book of the South (1989-1990)
By Glen Cook

"After the devastating battle at the Tower of Charm, Croaker leads the greatly diminished Black Company south, in search of the lost Annals. The Annals will be returned to Khatovar, eight thousand miles away, a city that may exists only in legend...the origin of the first Free Companies.

Every step of the way the Company is hounded by shadowy figured and carrion-eating crows. As they march ever southward, through bug infested jungle, rivers dense with bloodthirsty pirates, and cities, dead and living, haunted by the passage of the Company north, their numbers grow until they are thousands strong.

But always they are watched--by the Shadowmasters--a deadly new enemy: twisted creatures that deal in darkness and death: powerful, shadowy creatures bent on smothering the world in their foul embrace. This is the first round in a deadly game, a game that the Black Company cannot hope to win."

Book of the South series:
Shadow Games (Book 1)
Dreams of Steel (Book 2)
Soldiers Live by Glen Cook
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Black Company - Glittering Stone Series (1996-2000)
By Glen Cook

"Let me tell you who I am, on the chance that these scribblings do survive....

"I am Murgen, standardbearer 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....

"I expect these writings to blow away on a dark wind, never to be touched by another eye. Or they might become the tinder Shadowspinner uses to light the pyre under the last man he murders after taking Dejagore...."

So begins the saga of the siege of Stormgard, the chronicle of a desperate conflict between dark sorcery and bare human courage, seen through the eyes of a war-weary, battle-scarred veteran. Spellbinding adventure on an epic scale, this is heart-stopping heroic fantasy at its finest."

Glittering Stone Series:
Bleak Seasons (Book 1)
She Is The Darkness (Book 2)
Water Sleeps (Book 3)
Soldiers Live (Book 4)
Darkwar Trilogy (1985-1986)
By Glen Cook

"The Grauken wakes...it was the dormant, loathsome instinct possessed by every beast of Ponath. An innocent pup of the Degnan Packstead, Marika thought it was just a tale to frighten the young. Then the Grauken-possessed, cannibalistic nomads swept down from the far north -- and the winter of death began.

Marika's pack now has to fight for its life -- even if it means calling upon the treacherous witchlike Silth who can slay by mind alone. But young Marika has powers, too... enormous, untamed mental energies. Can Marika be a weapon against their foes? Or will she become something far greater than the Silth, something fearfully whispered of only in legends...Doomstalker."

Well-written and well-recieved dark-themed future fantasy trilogy.

Darkwar Trilogy:
Doomstalker (Book 1)
Warlock (Book 2)
Ceremony (Book 3)
Tyranny of the Night by Glen Cook
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Lord of the Silent Kingdom by Glen Cook
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Instrumentalities of the Night Series (2005)
By Glen Cook

Book 1 in this new series is The Tyranny of the Night. According to Cook (in an interview at Strange Horizons, the premise is that the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea are land-locked, an ice-age is swiftly approaching (because magic is failing), and there's magic and anti-magic (religious) forces at work. The setting is Italian medieval. Here is an excerpt from the book description:

"Welcome to the world of the Instrumentalities of the Night, where imps, demons, and dark gods rule in the spaces surrounding upstart humanity. At the edges of the world stand walls of ice which push slowly forward to reclaim the land for the night. And at the world's center, in the Holy Land where two great religions were born, are the Wells of Ihrain, the source of the greatest magics. Over the last century the Patriarchs of the West have demanded crusades to claim the Wells from the Pramans, the followers of the Written. Now an uneasy truce extends between the Pramans and the West, waiting for a spark to start the conflict anew. Then, on a mission in the Holy Land, the young Praman warrior Else is attacked by a creature of the Dark-in effect, a minor god. Too ignorant to know that he can never prevail over such a thing, he fights it and wins, and in so doing, sets the terrors of the night against him."

Lord of the Silent Kingdom - Book 2 (2007) - "Its cold. The wells of power are weakening, and the forces of Night are strong. The gods are real, and they still have some power, mostly to do harm. The Instrumentalities of the Night are the worst of these. Piper Hecht, born Else Tage, survived a battle with the Instrumentalities. Now he is captain-general of the armies fighting a crusade for Patriarch Sublime V. Intrigues swirl around the throne of the Grail Empire, as the imperial family's enemy Anne of Menand raises money to help the perpetually indebted Patriarch finance his crusades. Now Piper Hecht learns that the legendary sorcerer Cloven Februaren, referred to as the Ninth Unknown, is still alive, more than one hundred years old, and on his side. As the dynastic politics of the Empire become even more convoluted, its clear that while the old gods may be fading, theyre determined to do everything they can to bend the doings of men to their own advantage. Sieges, explosions, betrayals, Anti-Patriarchs, and suspicious deaths will ensue as the great chess game plays itself out, with Piper Hecht at the center of it all. Dark, exciting, gritty, and sometimes bleakly funny, this is Glen Cook in his Black Company mode, writing military fantasy of compelling intensity."
Whispering Nickel Idols
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Garrett, P.I. Series (1987-2002)
By Glen Cook

Description for the first in the series, Sweet Silver Blues: "It should have been a simple job. But for Garrett, a human detective in a world of gnomes, tracking down the woman to whom his dead pal Denny left a fortune in silver was no slight task. Denny's family wanted to hang onto the treasure -- especially sister Rose, with a body hot enough to stop Garrett in his tracks, but a heart colder than the metal he was packing. And suddenly vampires, centaurs, and other nasty creatures are in the way, and Garrett would much rather be at home with a bottle of beer than in the wilds with fangs in his neck.

Even with the aid of Morley, the toughest half-elf around, Garrett wasn't sure he'd make it out alive from a land where magic could be murder, the dead still talked, and vampires were always hungry for human blood!"

Hard-boiled detective working in a fantasy world - a unique and fun ride. They are now slowly being re-released, so check them out.

Garrett P.I. series to date:
Sweet Silver Blues
Bitter Gold Hearts
Cold Copper Tears
Old Tin Sorrows
Dread Brass Shadows
Red Iron Nights
Deadly Quicksilver Lies
Petty Pewter Gods
Faded Steel Heat
Angry Lead Skies
Whispering Nickel Idols
Swordbearer by Glen Cook
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Stand Alone Novels

Swordbearer (1982)
by Glen Cook

"On the day his town was laid to waste, Gathrid, a newly made orphan, escaped into a cave, and there was wedded to a woman, a legend, and a sword.

Forged on the anvil of death, imbued with the souls of its victims and bearers, the sword had chosen Gathrid. In his hands it would taste the blood of soldiers, spirits, sorcerers, and kings. It would cleave its own path through the chaos of war.

To Gathrid now fell the power to avenge mortal and immortal treachery. To Gathrid now fell the challenge -- to pierce a heart more savage than his own, and free the world forever from the gift that made him the most dangerous of all men... The Swordbearer."
A Matter of Time (1985)
By Glen Cook

A Matter of Time is a contemporary, Earth-based, time-traveling mystery novel featuring Detective Sergeant Cash on the trail of murder. For Cook fans who want a complete collection.
The Dragon Never Sleeps (1988)
By Glen Cook

"The voice of the Dragon echoed across canon space..."Surrender or die!" For four thousand years the Guardships had issued that dictat. Built and armed by great mercantile houses, their computer cores alive with the engrams of great past leaders, they were feared all along the Web, the spidery network that links the far-flung worlds of Canon Space. Beholders to none, impossible to escape, the invincible warships maintained peace with an iron grip.

Now a dark Presence believes it has found a way to wrest the Web from the invincible. The immortal Ku warrior Kez Maefele knows the ships can be conquered, but he is alone. And as the Guardship VII Gemina streaks across the Web to confront the Presence, he must begin his own battle for survival."

Another well-executed future fantasy/sci fi adventure novel.
The Tower of Fear (1989)
by Glen Cook

"The City of Qushmarrah is uneasy under the rule of the Herodians. They are short, balding men whose armies would never have conquered the city had not the great and evil wizard Narkar been killed and sealed in his citadel; had not the savage nomad Datars turned coat and sided with the invaders; had not some traitor opened the fortress to them.

Not many would welcome the return of the bad old religion, the bloody return of wizardry... but there are some patriots who would accept the return of the devil they know, if it meant the return of independence.

Aaron is a carpenter who fought loyally in the war, but who now lives decently under the invaders. His wife and small son mean everything to him. He takes no part in the intrigues of the underground, for he remembers all too clearly the horrors of the wizard Nakar. But there are children being kidnapped all over the city -- little Zouki, his neighbor's son, is taken. Aaron begins to live in fear. To whom can he turn for help, for safety? And why are the children being taken? For what terrible purpose, what fate?"
Sung in Blood (1990)
By Glen Cook

"Glen Cook creates a society full of intrigue and danger in Sung in Blood. Protector Jerhke has kept Shasesserre peaceful for hundreds of years. After his brutal murder, his son Rider tries to discover his father's murderer. Rider is helped in his search by his companions, as they battle against the agents of the mysterious Kralj Odehnal. But the murderous dwarf turns out to be an introduction to greater terror, as they match wits with Shai Khe, the powerful sorcerer who wants to rule Shasesserre."