I wanted to like this. I really did, because I’ve always admired Cook as a writer. And, as Cook pointed out through Croaker in the first novel, it isn’t like the Black Company is a merry crew of innocent saints with hearts pure as the driven snow. I know Croaker’s sworn brothers are for the most part a bunch of murderous, rapacious assholes. But damn if he didn’t lay it on thick in this book.
I’m sure Cook had reasons for not wanting to follow Suvrin, Tobo, Arkana, and Shukrat beyond the Shadowgate after Soldiers Live, but I would rather have read about one of their misadventures than have my face rubbed in what a bunch of misogynistic assholes the Black Company were while in service to the Lady. Likewise, I suspect Cook had his reasons for writing the old crew the way he did, but his characterization of old hands like One-Eye and Goblin in this book is jarring after reading the original books of the north.
I could have put up with all of crap if the ending had been worthwhile, if there had been a revelation that would have cast the series from Shadows Linger onward in a whole new light, but instead we got a cop-out, and that was the worst part.