7 Book Conundrum

A disaster strikes your home, and you have to get out quick. You’re risking leaving a lot of things behind, but the important parts of your life–your family and pets–are already safe. You only have a few moments to grab at most seven books from your shelves and run. What will those seven precious books–the backbone of starting over–be? Here are my choices. Consider sharing your own.


Forgive the condition of some of these; my books have been through a lot with me, which is why it’s nearly impossible to make this decision. This is a background anxiety I believe a lot of us with large book collections likely possess, and I wanted to interrogate mine a bit. If you had to pare it down and start over, where would you begin?

The Appeal of Conan the Barbarian

Art by Esad Ribic. Image taken from Goodreads @ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43440238-conan-the-barbarian-2019–1

Conan is a character continually returned to in prose, comics, and films since his first appearance in 1932. Created by Robert E. Howard, a man who found it difficult to reconcile his views of the world with modern life, Conan is the ultimate misanthrope. Conan despises civilization and prefers a life in the wild, though he continually drifts back for wine, women, and opportunities to hone his craft and shed some blood.

I’m not saying I wish the world were exactly like the ancient age of Conan, but can you honestly say you’ve never just wanted to get away from it all and experience a version of the world entirely different from the urban jungle-dominated landscapes that can be seen on every continent except Antarctica?

What does speak to me on a level my life experiences and education push back against is the idea of riding free and making your way in life at the point of your sword. Friends, wealth, adventure, booze, sex are all there waiting for you, without the burden of a structured life to go with it all. I have to say, a life in fur briefs and an Atlantean sword at my hip beats the office grind any day.


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Image taken from Pixabay @ https://pixabay.com/photos/death-darkness-dark-hood-hooded-164761/

The Black Company – A Complete Reading Chronology *Updated*

Note: Update(s) at bottom. 

Good day, everyone! With all the new content from our contributors, I thought it was time I released a little something myself while I continued to work on my other column ideas for the Thoughts. For today, I thought another short post about the Black Company books by Glen Cook was in order. I’m not going to stop until I make readers out of some of my followers and friends.

Moving forward from what I started with my post on Croaker awhile back, I wanted to present all of you with an accessible reading chronology for the series, being as I found it difficult to keep straight what order some books should be read in. There doesn’t seem to be that much out there about the series these days, what with it wrapping up over a decade ago.

1. The Black Company (1984) – The first book in the series is a classic unto itself and is a great introduction to Glen Cook’s world.
2. Shadows Linger (1984)
3. The White Rose (1985)

Cover image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/91/The_White_Rose.jpg
Cover image from Wikimedia.

The first trilogy of books, often called the Books of the North, have also been collected in The Chronicles of the Black Company.

4. The Silver Spike (1989) – This one is a bit of a misfit. It chronicles the adventures of a side group of characters after the company parted ways at the end of the third book. Various lists place it as either first or last in the second trilogy. I actually read it in between the following two books.
5. Shadow Games (1989)
6. Dreams of Steel (1990)

The second trilogy of books, often called the Books of the South, have also been collected in The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company. These stories, generally speaking and avoiding spoilers, explore the adventures of the Black Company as it seeks to return to the lost city of Khatovar far to the south from which its original incarnation emerged centuries earlier.

7. Bleak Seasons (1996)
8. She is the Darkness (1997)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia and comes from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/83/She_Is_The_Darkness.jpg
Cover image from Wikimedia.

These books, the first two of the four-part Glittering Stone, have also been collected in The Return of the Black Company.

9. Water Sleeps (1999)
10. Soldiers Live (2001) – Here’s to hoping the last book is as hopeful as its title suggests.

The last two books of Glittering Stone have also been collected in The Many Deaths of the Black Company.

Cover image from http://jacketupload.macmillanusa.com/jackets/high_res/jpgs/9780765324016.jpg
Cover image from MacMillan.

There are also a few short stories set in the same world. I’ll admit, though, I’m not familiar with them but plan on adding them on after I complete the novels.

1. “Raker” (1982) – Apparently, this is an early version of an early chapter from the first book.
2. “Tides Elba” (2010) – Appeared in Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery.
3. “Smelling Danger” (2011) – Appeared in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2.

Glen Cook has also talked about two more possible novels in the series if he can get around to writing them.

A Pitiless Rain – Forthcoming with little known.

Port of Shadows – Forthcoming with little known.

I hope this list will be helpful to any of you looking to get into this classic fantasy series. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

UPDATE (5-24-19): 

I was curious to see an uptick in traffic to this old post, so I wanted to go ahead and make some additions to it on releases since I first wrote this list:

“Shaggy Dog Bridge” was released in 2013 in Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy, and is set between Shadows Linger (Book Two) and The White Rose (Book Three).

“Bone Candy” was released in 2014 in Shattered Shields. It takes place after “Tides Elba,” which takes place after The Black Company (Book One), but before Port of Shadows (Book One-and-a-Half).

“Bone Eaters” was released in 2015 in Operation Arcana, edited by John Joseph Adams of Lightspeed Magazine. It is set right after “Shaggy Dog Bridge” before The White Rose.

Port of Shadows was released on September 11th, 2018. It is set between The Black Company (Book One) and Shadows Linger (Book Two), so feel free to read it whenever!

At this point, we’re still waiting on A Pitiless Rain and any other short stories that may come about. I know this addendum isn’t the most convenient way to absorb this information, so I will be remaking this post in the near future. Either way, I hope this helps out new readers!


If you’re a fan of books and hot beverages, check us out at Blue Spider Books. And check out our blog here!

Thoughts – 7-8-14


An image of my haul from my first trip to the amazing flea market in Mobile, Alabama with my girlfriend and the kids. This shows my progress through collecting the Black Company and Dune books back at that time. I really need to review that comic one of these days.

Thoughts on Future Readings – Sci-Fi Novels


Hello, everyone. For my last thought of this week, I thought I’d just leave all of you with a big picture of a lot of the science fiction novels I still mean to read. As with my fantasy books, my “to be read” pile is huge and rarely gets smaller.

What do you all think of it? See any of your own favorites or books you mean to read included here? Let me know your thoughts below. (And pardon the relative low quality of the image. You guys know how cell phones can be.)

Thoughts – 6-19-14

I don’t get the same things out of reading and writing that other people do. I always seem to be the odd one out in any literary discussion because of my differing interpretations and appreciations of written works.

I still don’t know why it’s a taboo in literary circles to disagree with the majority. I rather enjoy knocking the majority off its high horse. These sensibilities also extend to other media for me.

Thoughts – 6-16-14

Where has the summer gone? It’s like time is accelerating… again.

My training tells me there is no such thing as a bad piece of writing. I’ve grown to wonder at the opposite, that there is no such thing as a good piece of writing. All writing is flawed and inspires conflict, whether within us or around us. A piece of writing’s effectiveness lies in how its audience reacts to the conflict and uses it.


Thoughts on Future Readings: Fantasy Novels

Fantasy Books

Here is a (somewhat decent) picture of a sampling of the books in my constantly growing “to be read” pile. These are primarily fantasy novels, and also mostly the first of a longer series.

Right off the bat, I know Frank Herbert’s Dune is science fiction, but I decided to include that here being as I’ve been working on putting together his entire original run of Dune books before his son took things over. I believe I’ll revisit that in a future post. Additionally, I know A Knight of the Word isn’t the first book in that Terry Brooks series, but it’s all I have currently. I’m actually really interested to see how those books work into his Shanarra series.

As you can see, I also have a couple of Brandon Sanderson firsts in the pile (and arguably a third with the first Wheel of Time book present). I also have a few other bits of required reading for fantasy fans here: Donaldson, Eddings, Weis & Hickman, Goodkind, and Rothfuss. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I have not already read some of these, but things are what they are.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about some of these books–The Briar King and Acacia both cropped up in the same bout of research that exposed me to Glen Cook’s Black Company books, so I’m remaining hopeful those may be equally enjoyable for me. I also don’t know much about A Song for Arbonne or The Wayfarer Redemption, but I stumbled across them both at reduced prices (the former marked down at a book store and the latter for sale at a combination coffee shop/used book shop). I trust I’ll also derive enjoyment from them. And I’m also looking forward to getting into that Warhammer collection that my lady snagged for me awhile back.

Here’s what I have for now. What do you all think of my growing pile of fantasy novels? I’m a big fan of The Black Company and A Song of Ice and Fire, and I’m not ashamed to admit I was a huge fan of R. A. Salvatore when I was younger. What are some of your favorite fantasy books? And which ones have you yet to read but mean to? Are any of them also in that picture above? Let me know in the comments below. Tweet me @quaintjeremy.