|4 out of 5 stars|
Every step of the way the Company is hounded by shadowy figured and carrion-eating crows. As they march every southward, through bug infested jungle, rivers dense with bloodthirsty pirates, and cities, dead and living, haunted by the passage of the Company north, their numbers grow until they are thousands strong.
But always they are watched--by the Shadowmasters--a deadly new enemy: twisted creature that deal in darkness and death: powerful, shadowy creatures bent on smothering the world in their foul embrace. This is the first round in a deadly game, a game that the Black Company cannot hope to win.
A smattering of the Black Company still remains and they have decided to head back to their beginnings, heading south to the legendary city of Khatovar. They are in search of the lost Annals of the Company, so you may be sure that this operation is being headed by our cranky Annalist, Croaker.
Croaker isn’t sure that he likes being in charge, but he shows an aptitude for it, thinking up sneaky surprises for the enemies that they encounter and showing that knowing some history gives a leader a good grasp of the many things that can go wrong. He informs the reader that “I guess I suffer from an impoverishment of the sociopathic spirit necessary to go big time.” He is selling himself short.
Finally, I see why so many other readers love Lady. She is down, but not out. She still has the governing touch and retains buckets full of knowledge about battle, administration, and politicking. And she’s not afraid to use it. A peek at the next book reveals that she will take up the pen as Annalist and I can hardly wait to get her take on things.
Book 258 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.