Glen Cook – Dreams Of Steel

I must admit I am a fan of dark and gritty fantasy with plenty of sword and sorcery, be it more of the first or the latter, in it. Of course not all dark and gritty fantasy fits my glove. I have to go with my feeling and sometimes something I try out turns out to come short, but Glen Cook does know how to deliver and entertain.

As Shadow Games ended with a big cliffhanger I was happy to have its sequel Dreams of Steel (1990) at hand. Dreams Of Steel is the fifth book about the Black Company (although the sixth published), written by Glen Cook. Shadow Games connected the first series with the new storyline and set up the stage. In Dreams of Steel sticks at the style he began with in Shadow Games but again makes some changes in the narrative. Cook gives himself some new challenges this way and prevents the reader from going easy, if that might have been the case.

There is no introduction in Dreams Of Steel. Events develop from the climactic end of Shadow Games as this novel is about warfare more than ever. It is also a book about changing dynamics and numerous twists. Cook is having fun playing with his characters and the reader will enjoy this just as much. Strangely enough this book is about the Black Company but with little of the Black Company in it. An odd comment maybe, but telling more would be spoiling too much.

Just like the previous novel more new characters take the stage while the role of others is diminished. Fortunately many remain to provide a familiar setting. We get to learn a few characters better, but as usual for Cook the story takes precedent.

With just over 200 pages, this is another short novel, but the amount of events is large so we experience a tightly written story with short chapters. No reader will get bored easily with Cook. The main thing is that with this short of a novel, Dreams Of Steel should have been combined with Shadow Games to form one novel.

Although there is less of a cliffhanger at the end of this book, more or less similar to the endings of the first two books, many threads still remain open. Although one will read this book differently as one would have the first series, the story was just as strong. Another full recommendation.

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