Croaker has fallen and, following the Company's disastrous defeat at Dejagore, Lady is one of the few survivors - determined to avenge the Company and herself against the Shadowmasters, no matter what the cost. But in assembling a new fighting force from the dregs and rabble of Taglios, she finds herself offered help by a mysterious, ancient cult of murder--competent, reliable, and apparently committed to her goals.
Meanwhile, far away, Shadowmasters conspire against one another and the world, weaving dark spells that reach into the heart of Taglios. And in a hidden grove, a familiar figure slowly awakens to find himself the captive of an animated, headless corpse. Mercilessly cutting through Taglian intrigues, Lady appears to be growing stronger every day. All that disturbs her are the dreams which afflict her by night--dreams of carnage, of destruction, of universal death, unceasing....
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©1990 Glen Cook (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
Since there is no other audio book edition of the Black Company novels, and I thought the others in the series thus far lived up to expectation (Mark Vietor has a good handle on Croaker, so how far wrong can they go.) I don't fancy myself a critic, and after all the audio books I've enjoyed (even some I've greedily devoured,) I'm a bit ashamed to make my 1st book review a bad one. I'm sort of hoping someone at Audio-Frontiers is reading. The book isn't, at least in my opinion, the strongest in the series, but it is still very good. That is, of course, a back-handed complement. When Mr. Cook is really "on" his books refuse to be put down and I can remember the first time I read the series sitting up in bed to 4am, "Work in the morning be damned, I'd survive.." Ms. Butera, however was a big disappointment. I could waste time on a flame, ( a reading of something like "the carnage was great" describing a battlefield - "great" being interpreted with relish like Tony the Tiger saying "They're Great!" as opposed to describing the scope and breadth of the carnage, comes to mind as a vividly cringe-worthy and toe-curling moment. I guess you could make an argument that is what Mr. Cook intended, but...) suffice it to say, I felt, that she came across as false and at times even bored with what she was reading. Mechanically manipulating her voice in reaction to words, but seemingly uncaring or unaware of the whole. It was continually jarring. She did have a few character voices that were subtle enough to be believed, and "rang true," but as the main character and narrator rarely fell into this category, they are not what sticks in my mind. (Unfortunately, there were also a few doozies that sounded like they were right out of a bad cartoon, and sadly they are hard to forget.) I'm sure I'll listen to the Black Company novels again, they are that good, but I'll either skip this one, or more likely pull out my old paper version.
I'm an engineer that took all my electives in English and Art! Fantasy novels with moral depth and colorful worlds fill my library.
The book was similar to the other Glen Cook books--and all of them are good. The narrator was not good. She had voices for characters sometimes, and sometimes not--then other times, the character's voice changed to a different voice. This is definately way out of character for Audible Frontiers, so I hope if Ms Butera is going to continue in this work, she becomes a more diligent study... All that said, the book is worth reading--and Audible books are fun to 'read' while driving--or whenever. This one is well worth the read. Try to ignore the narrator.
I've been loving the black company books so far, but this one... I think I'll get it in paper. This is one of the worst readings I've encountered on Audible. Mark Vitor does Lady's voice better than Ms. Butera. I've noticed this problem with several Fantasy books in Female voices, that Audible seems to think all women should sound soft, and a bit ditzy. Please hire better female readers, they are out there!
I love this series and have consumed it rapidly, how ever this book I found confusing, also having the lady as the main wasnt that appealing since shes very cold and and doesnt have much of a sense of humor.
The narrator wasnt well suited for the book, as a previous reviewer said she has certian vocal quirks that can be quite irratating,and her attempts at Indian accents are almost comical though not in a good way.
Tip to narrators avoid accents.... unless you sound like a native, you just end up sounding like a racist 1970s comedian.
“I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."
No, after listening to Marc Vietor for the last 4 books, it was tough getting used to Rachel Butera's narration.
The Lady because the whole book was concentrated mostly on her.
Contrary, flimsical, valley.
It was a decent listen mostly due to Glen Cooks excellent ongoing story of the Black Company.
I feel Rachel Butera was not the right voice for this kind of story. This is gritty and dark fantasy; Rachel's voice didn't do the story justice because it was to nonchalant, there was an air of levity her voice brought to moments that needed a more serious and dire approach, which I did not feel that from her.
The series is great, I love the books and the company. But the voice actor chosen makes it painful to push through. I've listened to a lot of books, Rachel is by far the worst I've experienced.
I don't write reviews often, only when I feel the need to save someone the inconvenience I have experienced. Listen to the sample of you still want to try it, I downloaded it in haste not paying attention to the voice actor change. If I had sampled it I definitely would of read the book. Again, no hard feelings against her personally, just a really terrible reading of a great book.
This story line is unusually complex, even for the Black Company. While it resolves a number of threads it creates twice as many in its wake. On the up shot, there is good news to be had here and despite all that has happened the Company survives.
"A shame about the change of narrator"
Story - 4/5
A great conclusion to the Books of the South. There wasn't as much action as in previous books, which has been one of this series' biggest assets, but what you get instead is a fantastic game of power, where Lady brutally plays the politicians, religious heads and faction leaders to re-establish the Black Company's power, and gain revenge on those who destroyed it.
I enjoyed the change of viewpoint in this story. We got so used to Croaker having a heart and caring for his men that having a cold and (almost) emotionless protagonist lead the company was quite refreshing.
The big discovery near the end didn't come as big of a shock to me as I think it was supposed to (although this may be different for others), but I loved it all the same, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series to see what comes of it. If you have enjoyed the books thus far, you are sure to love this one too.
Performance - 3/5
Although I understand the change of narrator for this audio book (the change of main character viewpoint from a man to a woman), I wasn’t a huge fan. Lady’s voice was dominant in the story, but we already had a good voice from Marc Vietor for this character, which I would have preferred them to continue using
Rachel Butera was good at reading the story; describing scenes and helping to build up the dark atmosphere, but some of her character voices were quite bad at times. Not all of them were awful, but some male characters were particularly bad, and it did detract from the story a little.
Overall - 3.5/5
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