Glen Cook

March 20, 2010 at 1:41 am | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Hired mercenaries fight a vicious war of weapons and magic against an empire. Another group of mercenaries fight against evil in a different world. A private detective deals with the supernatural in our modern day world. These are the Fantasy worlds of author Glen Cook. They are works of military bleakness and full of cynicism, but with understandable solutions to combating evil. Few of his characters are the black and white heroes of many other Fantasy novels. His books are full of action, violence and adventure, but make powerful statements about war.

The first of his book series are the Dread Empire books. In these books, a group of mercenaries fight for a quasi European and Indian group of countries against a dark empire much like ancient China. The mercenaries are led by a military genius named Bragi. Each book deepens the story of Bragi in his battle against the empire. A Shadow of All Night Falling, October’s Baby and All Darkness Met are the first books in the se ries. Two prequels of Bragi’s earlier life are The Fire in His Hands and With Mercy Toward None. Sequels to the first three books continue Bragi’s story with Reap the East Wind and An Ill Fate Marshaling.

Mr. Cook ventures again into war themes in his Black Company books. This is a group of mercenaries that fight ruthlessly with their enemies with magic and weapons. They serve an evil lady but eventually find a way to fight for good. The books are The Black Company, Shadows Linger and The White Rose. Another part of the series is known as the Books of the South. These are Shadow Games, Dreams of Steel and the recent Soldiers Live!. A side story of the Black Company is found in The Silver Spike. All of these books are very violent and bloody, and not for young children.

Next, Mr. Cook turned to Contemporary Fantasy with his other series of books. The Garrett books are private eye novels with Fantasy el ements. Garrett is a private detective who deals with the occult. In the first book, Sweet Silver Blues, he fights vampires and other fantastic creatures while solving a mystery. These books pay homage to writers like Chandler, Hammett and Spillane. Garrett is like Sherlock Holmes with a half elf Watson. The books have a strong sense of cynicism. Other books in the long series are:

Bitter Gold Hearts

Cold Copper Tears

Old Tin Sorrows

Dread Brass Shadows

Red Iron Nights

Deadly Quicksilver Lies

Petty Pewter Gods

He has written a stand alone novel also with The Swordbearer. This is an Epic Fantasy novel. A boy finds a sword that drinks souls and his destiny. He must deal with being a pawn in a war between interfering gods. Mr. Cook uses similar ideas like Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion books for this one.

Glen Cook is a Fantasy author of many books with a military theme or Contemporary Fantasy. He uses a lot of action and battles to make statements against war. His characters find ways of dealing with problems and are very human. Mr. Cook is a different voice in the genre. Readers will find his books very different from the usual fare.

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