Oh the Black Company we meet again. It is nice to see you.
I will make it brief.
I feel like the second part of the Black Company saga is a definite improvement when compared to the previous one. Structure wise the plot is not as jumpy as earlier and easier to follow. We are given two parallel plots at the same time. One follows Black Company’s service for the Lady, centered around Croaker, the Company’s physician and historian. They are send to investigate a lead that might be connected to the return of Lady’s monstrous husband. The other plot line follows Maroon Shed, a horrible coward and low-life that gets tangled up in Company’s business as he tries to pay off his growing debts.
The more linear construction of the story is a definite improvement and allows to enjoy it more. Cook has some more fun with the characters as the plot which revolves more around solving a mystery and a cat and mouse game rather than military conquest allows him to put his characters in a bit different roles. Croaker becomes more of a leader and for a some time the Company becomes a group of detectives.
I have one major problem with the book, something that I have seen in a previous volume and continues in this one and the next one as well (as far as I read into it). The problem is that I do not know if it is Cook’s fault or the translator’s, since I am reading the Polish version of the book. Despite the fictional, fantasy setting of the book characters use terms and names that derive from real world phenomenas. Example? Existence of jellyfish called Portuguese man o’war or characters using Don Quixote as an example. Is it important overall? No. Is it annoying? Yes!
The series is still a pleasant read and to be honest I am curious how it evolves.
Three out of five creepy black castles.