Glen Cook's *Chronicles of The Black Company* are, bar Tolkien, some of the finest works of fantasy ever written. With exceptional atmosphere, a fascinating and tangled plot line, a bleak but abundant, trenchant, wit and an anti-hero narrator who I can relate too all to well... these books, especially the first three (particularly 1&2) are something special.
Sadly the narrator was, IMO, wrong for these books. He never seemed to get the feel for Croaker's voice, at least as I hear it in MY head. He brings plenty of drama and feeling to his readings, and that is the problem. Croaker, and his cohorts, call for a certain laconic quality this reader didn't seen to feel in the text. Maybe that's just my feel for the books (I've read them 20x, if that matters, and I am career Army Infantry, which also probably influences my ideas, for good and ill.) Veitor's Croaker is certainly hearfelt. It's just that really, most of the time, Croaker doesn't DO heartfelt, and since he's the predominant voice, it doesn't ring right. IMCO Real shame-- these are fantastic novels.
Yes, but not from this series.
Yes... she started out over the top, but this book is over the top. The series is over the top, anyway. She'd be better of reading the "male lead" without trying to do a "husking" male voice. IMO, if the character's voice is out of your vocal range, just read it with your normal voice, especially if you're reading all the other male characters that way. It was distracting, and it made Gideon Cross (Names, where do they come up with these names?) sound like he had just been kicked in the balls every time he started to speak. "This is the opinion that fire cannot burn out of me; I will die in it.
Yes, the erotic bits were definitely erotic.
The plot line was ridiculous. The characters were decent, if one is able to suspend disbelief far enough... ("world's fifty richest men yadablahblah") But the plot line is why I won't bother with the third book. You just can't have that many horrible fights, improbable misunderstandings, wrenching psychological explosions away from each other, and tempestuous sexual rekindlings in this space of time. It's far-fetched. It's ridiculous. It's LUDICROUS! It ask TOO much of the reader's ability to suspend disbelief.
To all those whining about this only being half a book: This is the format of the Koontz/Frankenstein books. Get used to it. If you read the first trilogy, you know that all ready, ya crybabies.
This is a good follow on to a great first trilogy. It was my introduction to Koontz, and it was a good one led to the discovery of Odd Thomas and many other, equally good books besides. I don't know if I'd characterize it as vintage Koontz-- his older stuff seems just a trifle formulaic by comparison, although formulaic can be good, and if a writer ventures outside the bounds of his usual ouvre, I can see it being frustrating to a longtime fan who's spent money on the book, probably in hard cover.
I love these characters, and it's good to have so many returning favorites, as well as new ones. Deucalion, Erica Five, Jocko, Carson, Michael-- even brother Knuckles aka Salvatore, of Brother Odd fame, makes a cameo.
As always, it was incongruous to have a new reader of old characters, ones you associate with another voice. This being said-- Lane had me pleasantly on his side by the end. At first he made Jocko sound way too much like Paul Lynn, of 70s comedy/game show infamy, but even that grew on me. All in all, it wasn't QUITE a tour de force... but it's the first novel of a (likely) trilogy... if it left me entirely satisfied, it probably isn't doing it's job. Which, I think, is where I came in.
Good stuff, highly recommended, read the first three first, 'cause they're great, too. And they'll make this one better. And hey, the bayou is more fun than Montana, this time of year, unless you love Montana, which I do. But that's neither here nor there. Buy it! Hear it! Live it! Love it!
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