....embedded in the trunk of the scion of the godtree, it contains the essence of the maddest of the Ten Who Were Taken...The Dominator.
Defeated by the Lady and cast from this world, all that was left of him was a foul trace of lingering evil. But the graveyard that was once the Barrowland contains more secrets than dead. All who would possess the power of the Dominator are drawn to the spike. A foolhardy band of thieves is the first to reach it, and a rapacious and malign spirit is unleashed on an unwary world. The forces gather, sides are drawn, and mortal men can only die as the Dark Lords battle for domination.
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©1989 Glen Cook (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I just downloaded all the Glen Cook novels and am loving them. I'm a huge George RR Martin fan so I like the grittier side of fantasy. Jonathan Davis does a awesome job reading this one, even though Marc V., who read the first three was good, I just like Davis better, wish he read them all (especially the Rachel Butera fiasco).
This is a side tale to the chronicles of the Black Company, however, it really sings and it is possible it has the most satisfying conclusion of all of them. This is one to get.
I say side-quel because it takes place at the same time as the events of Shadow Games despite being listed as book 5 in the series. I actually listened to this one first based on some recommendations elsewhere online. After finishing both this and Shadow Games, I can definitely agree that this should probably be read first. Particularly because Shadow Games may leave you very much needing to know what happens next! Although both Shadow Games and The Silver Spike take place shortly after the events of The White Rose, only The Silver Spike is actually concerned with those events. So it just makes sense!
First off, the narrator has changed! Which sucks but is also okay, since Croaker isn't actually in this book at all. Jonathan Davis has a MUCH different feel. My brother and I both kept rotating between loving and hating him. He has a very comforting southern kind of charm that really puts you at ease. But then his performance could be very uneven. A few times I actually recoiled from the harshness of certain characters/lines. Most of the time however, he was very pleasant to listen to. He certainly breathed life into Case, a formerly unimportant and undeveloped side-character--now the new first person perspective into the story (though not really that important to it).
Moving on to story, this book continues with those characters who didn't follow Croaker. Namely; Darling, Raven, Silent, Case, along with a few new characters and a few returning surprises. But even though their story serves as the backdrop, its actually the new characters that are the most interesting this time around. Smeds Stahl in particular was one of the most fun characters i've read about in a while.
Mild Spoilers from here:
I found it very interesting/unusual how Glen Cook decided to tie up so many loose ends so quickly in this book. It almost seems like he was halfway through Shadow Games when he decided he just didn't have a time or place for any of these hanging plots/characters anymore, so he wrote this book just to close any possibility of seeing them down the line. At any rate, it certainly made the book more surprising, as I didn't expect what was supposed to be a spin off to have so much conclusion.
Environmental Engineer and Disc Golfer
I have to preface this by saying Croaker is awesome, and Mark Vietor was born to read the Black Company.
However, now that I have finished the entire series, I look back at this one as my favorite. Johnathan Davis does an excellent job as the narrator, and it is a worthwhile departure from Croaker's voice and tale. I liked the new characters (notably toad killer dog's POV), and the plot was concise and interesting. This did feel like a later insert (which it was chronologically), but it flowed with the overall arc well.
If you only read the Books of the North, and SS, that may be good enough. The Books of the South and especially Glittering Stone slow the plot waaaay down, and although you find out more history of the Company, they just aren't as good as these four ~10 hour books. The plot just flies by.
If you've ever wondered what Mcconaughey doing an impression of the Dark Knight sounds like this is the book for you. The narrator does get easier to tolerate as the book goes on, but he is constantly prone awkward pauses in the middle of sentences. It's like he's reading commas in places that shouldn't have them.
That being said, the book is good enough to suffer the narrator.
The narrator could have dropped the cheesy southern accent.
"A nice little spin-off"
Story – 4/5
This is a nice little spin-off from the main Croaker story arc; following Darling, Raven and Silent instead. This book can probably be read as either book 5 or 6, given that it is a spin off, and book 4 left us with a very open end. I chose to read it as book 5, as it is set in the same period of time as book 4, and was published in this order.
There is a lot of fighting and battles between evil and….well…not so evil… in this book and it all builds up very nicely throughout until the final couple of hours, where it will have you hooked like I was. The “grey” characterisation that Glen Cook employs is prominent once again and very nicely done – the only black and white characters seem to be the Dominator and Darling. The prose is excellent, but concise and the entire story is very fast paced as a consequence. A very nice addition to the Black Company books.
Performance – 4.5/5
Jonathan Davis may have been a change of narrator from the first 4 books, but this is fine, as it is not from Croaker’s perspective any more. I actually found him to be equally as good as Marc Vietor, the only negative being that his reading could have been a little quicker.
His voice acting is excellent and distinctive, and he adds to the dark tone of the story very nicely. If you are not a fan of strong American accents though, you may want to listen to the sample before purchasing.
Overall – 4/5
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