Monday, February 8, 2010

Water Sleeps - Glen Cook

"In those days the Black Company did not exist."

I started reading Glen Cook early last year when we came across the first two omnibus books during a Borders B2G1 sale. He has quickly jumped up into my top 5 list for Fantasy writers and competes with Robert Jordan, Joe Abercrombie, and Tad Williams for that elusive top spot. I'm sure most fantasy writers are just chomping at the bit to know who's at the top..... I bet with my vote they go from no-names to best sellers. *sarcasm* But, I have to say that he has created a fantastic epic with incredible depth. We're heading up my Glen Cook reading for the year with books nine and ten from the Black Company storyline.

Glen Cook writes from the perspective of the keeper of the Annals of the Black Company. Water Sleeps find Sleepy as the keeper since the horrible fate which befell the Company in the previous book. Each new Annalist writes in a different manner. It's become a little subtle in the last couple iterations, but each one has their own feel. Book One starts off with Croaker, who's rough around the edges and reminds you that this is a troop of soldiers. This write-it-how-you-say-it approach to dialogue gives you a sense that these guys are just normal. I'll admit that the first few chapters of the first book gave me pause on if I really liked the series. Once I got past that, it sunk in and you could see the genius behind the writing.

Cook also brings a deep sense of the land and people that fill the book. You see the influence of Eastern religions - primarily Indian gods and sects - on the different cultures in the current books. Each character will act on their station in life and belief system. This isn't something that's always brought up with fantasy novels.Even magic is not your normal run-of-the-mill D&D type stuff you would expect. There's magic in this realm; It's not controlled by the worship of some god. It is also pretty darn potent, but incredibly humorous!

Water Sleeps by Glen Cook is the ninth book and currently available new in omnibus with book ten. If you are interested in picking up the Glen Cook books I would highly recommend starting at book one. It will not make enough sense to pick up this book and find yourself so far from it's origins(and yet so close) that you aren't able to enjoy a fantastic story. Good and Evil is relative. Be prepared to walk Neutral more than anything else.

Rating: 8 of 10 caffeinated beverages! Yes, my highest rating, thus far! Please don't start with this book. And anyone looking for a different read that hasn't touched on Fantasy yet, but wants to.... take up Glen Cook and The Black Company. I don't believe you can go wrong with Cook's perspective. ---- Also expect to be reading the review for Book Ten coming up in the next few weeks sandwiched somewhere between Tad Williams, Robert Jordan, and Treasure Island.

"But don't be surprised if I don't feel as generous when light and warmth return to the world. Darkness always comes, but the sun also rises."