Glen Cook

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Glen Charles Cook (born July 9, 1944) is a contemporary American science fiction and fantasy writer, best known for The Black Company and Garrett P.I. fantasy series.

Quotes[edit]

The Black Company (1984)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Chronicles of the Black Company published by Tor ISBN 0-7653-1923-3
  • There were prodigies and portents enough, One-Eye says. We must blame ourselves for misinterpreting them. One-Eye’s handicap in no way impairs his marvelous hindsight.
    • Chapter 1, “Legate” (p. 11; opening paragraph)
  • Fools can make an omen of anything in retrospect.
    • Chapter 1, “Legate” (p. 11)
  • He was a lawyer before he worked his way up to pimping.
    • Chapter 1, “Legate” (p. 23)
  • I went back to staring tomorrow in the face. Better than looking backward. But tomorrow refused to shed its mask.
    • Chapter 1, “Legate” (p. 34)
  • He is blind to the dead, to the burning villages, to the starving children. As is the Rebel. Two blind armies, able to see nothing but one another.
    • Chapter 3, “Raker” (p. 79)
  • Consider little children. There are not many of them not cute and lovable and precious, sweet as whipped honey and butter. So where do all the wicked people come from?
    • Chapter 4, “Whisper” (p. 115)
  • “We all do that. In every day life it’s called making excuses.” True, raw motives are too rough to swallow. By the time most people reach my age, they have glossed their motives so often and so well they fall completely out of touch with them.
    • Chapter 4, “Whisper” (p. 115)
  • I grinned. “The unwritten law of all armies, Captain. The lower ranks have the privilege of questioning the sanity and competence of their commanders. It’s the mortar holding an army together.”
    • Chapter 5, “Harden” (p. 138)
  • Only this time it was just a brief rest, till the stars came out. They stared down with mockery in their twinkles, saying all our sweat and blood really had no meaning in the long eye of time. Nothing we did would be recalled a thousand years from now.
    Such thoughts infected us all. No one had any ideals or glory-lust left. We just wanted to get somewhere, lie down, and forget the war.
    The war would not forget us.
    • Chapter 5, “Harden” (p. 140)
  • The list of cities lost was long and disheartening, even granting exaggeration by the reporters. Soldiers defeated always overestimate the strength of their foe. That soothes egos suspecting their own inferiority.
    • Chapter 5, “Harden” (p. 160)
  • Evil is relative, Annalist. You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.
    • Chapter 6, “Lady” (pp. 192-193)
  • I could not get my feelings straight. I did not believe in evil as an active force, only as a matter of viewpoint, yet I had seen enough to make me question my philosophy. If the Lady were not evil incarnate, then she was as close as made no difference.
    • Chapter 6, “Lady” (p. 205)
  • I am not religious. I cannot conceive of gods who would give a damn about humanity’s frothy carryings-on. I mean, logically, beings of that order just wouldn’t. But maybe there is a force for greater good, created by our unconscious minds conjoined, that becomes an independent power greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe, being a mindthing, it is not time-bound. Maybe it can see everywhere and everywhen and move pawns so that what seems to be today’s victory becomes the cornerstone of tomorrow’s defeat.
    Maybe weariness did things to my mind.
    • Chapter 6, “Lady” (p. 208)

Shadows Linger (1984)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Chronicles of the Black Company published by Tor ISBN 0-7653-1923-3
  • All men are born condemned, so the wise say. All suckle the breast of Death.
    All bow before that Shadow Monarch. That Lord in Shadow lifts a finger. A feather flutters to the earth. There is no reason in His song. The good go young. The wicked prosper. He is king of the Chaos Lands. His breath stills all souls.
    • Chapter 1, “Juniper” (p. 223; opening words)
  • It was a day ripped full-grown from the womb of despair.
    • Chapter 5, “Juniper: Marron Shed” (p. 229)
  • You try your damnedest, but something always goes wrong. That’s life. If you’re smart, you plan for it.
    • Chapter 6, “Tally Mix-Up” (p. 232)
  • The essence of sorcery, even for its nonfraudulent practitioners, is misdirection.
    • Chapter 8, “Tally Close-Up” (p. 243)
  • Krage eyed us from a face of stone. “I help you with something, Inquisitor?”
    “Probably not. You’d lie to me if the truth would save your soul, you bloodsucker.”
    “Flattery will get you nowhere. What do you want, you parasite?”
    Tough boy, this Krage. Struck from the same mold as Bullock, but he had drifted into a socially less honored profession. Not much to choose between them I thought. Priest and moneylender.
    • Chapter 14, “Juniper: Duretile” (p. 283)
  • Shed swallowed. “That isn’t a plan that does much for my nerves.”
    “Your nerves aren’t my problem, Shed. They’re yours. You lost them. Only you can find them again.”
    • Chapter 15, “Juniper: Death of a Gangster” (p. 287)
  • “Best way out,” Elmo observed laconically, “would be to kill everybody who knows anything, then all of us fall on our swords.”
    “Sounds a little extreme,” Goblin opined. “But if you want to go first, I’m right behind you.”
    • Chapter 24, “Juniper: Shadow Dancing” (p. 326)
  • How to argue with sociopathic reasoning? Lisa was the heart of Lisa’s universe. Other people existed only to be exploited.
    • Chapter 29, “Juniper: Payoff” (p. 346)
  • My arguments were beginning to sound a little strained to me, too. I was in the position of a priest trying to sell religion.
    • Chapter 32, “Juniper: Visitors” (p. 365)
  • I do not believe in evil absolute. I have recounted that philosophy in specific in the Annals, and it affects my every observation throughout my tenure as Annalist. I believe in our side and theirs, with the good and evil decided after the fact, by those who survive. Among men you seldom find the good with one standard and the shadow with another.
    • Chapter 33, “Juniper: The Encounter” (p. 367)
  • Oh, ‘twould be marvelous if the world and its moral questions were like some game board, with plain black players and white, and fixed rules, and nary a shade of grey.
    • Chapter 33, “Juniper: The Encounter” (p. 367)
  • Nobody knew what the Company wanted. Various witnesses assigned motives according to their own fears. Few came anywhere near the mark.
    • Chapter 33, “Juniper: The Encounter” (p. 368)
  • Simple minds respond to simple answers.
    • Chapter 33, “Juniper: The Encounter” (p. 370)
  • I have seen it before. Little people have to hate, have to blame someone for their own inadequacies.
    • Chapter 33, “Juniper: The Encounter” (p. 370)
  • You mess with people’s religion and you mess with fire. Even people who don’t much give a damn. Religion is something that gets hammered in early, and never really goes away. And has powers to move which go beyond anything rational.
    • Chapter 38, “Juniper: The Storm” (p. 390)

The White Rose (1985)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Chronicles of the Black Company published by Tor ISBN 0-7653-1923-3
  • An old, tired man. That is what I am. What became of the old fire, drive, ambition? There were dreams once upon a time, dreams now all but forgotten. On sad days I dust them off and fondle them nostalgically, with a patronizing wonder at the naivete of the youth who dreamed them.
    • Chapter 2, “The Plain of Fear” (p. 456)
  • Bomanz had lived his lies so long he often lied to himself.
    • Chapter 7, “The Second Letter” (p. 476)
  • One’s own yesterday is a ghost that will not be laid. Death is the only exorcism.
    • Chapter 8, “The Barrowland” (p. 481)
  • Old folks called the winter a harbinger of worse to come. But old folks always see today’s weather as more harsh than that of yore. Or milder. Never, never the same.
    • Chapter 8, “The Barrowland” (p. 482)
  • Bomanz sighed. A man couldn’t get five minutes alone. What the hell did he get married for? Why did any man? You spent the rest of your life doing hard time, doing what other people wanted, not what you wanted.
    • Chapter 10, “Bomanz’s Story” (p. 491)
  • You know you’re getting old when everything aggravates you.
    • Chapter 10, “Bomanz’s Story” (p. 491)
  • Every time I see a mirror I’m amazed. I end up wondering who’s taken over the outside of me. A disgusting old goat, from the look of him. The kind I used to snicker at when I was twenty. He scares me, Stance. He looks like a dying man. I’m trapped inside him, and I’m not ready to go.
    • Chapter 10, “Bomanz’s Story” (p. 497)
  • You can’t get out of getting old. You can’t get out of having a relationship change.
    • Chapter 10, “Bomanz’s Story” (p. 497)
  • I said, “I am a soldier, grown old and tired and confused. I have been fighting since before you were born. And I have yet to see anything gained.”
    • Chapter 12, “The Plain of Fear” (p. 506)
  • “Can you read?”
    I nodded.
    “Rules are posted over there. You got two choices. Obey them. Or be dead.”
    • Chapter 28, “To the Barrowland” (p. 576)
  • The only exercise I get is jumping to conclusions.
    • Chapter 39, “A Guest at Charm” (p. 622)
  • No religion I ever encountered made any sense. None are consistent. Most gods are megalomaniacs and paranoid psychotics by their worshipers’ description. I don’t see how they could survive their own insanity. But it’s not impossible that human beings are incapable of interpreting a power so much greater than themselves. Maybe religions are twisted and perverted shadows of truth. Maybe there are forces which shape the world. I myself have never understood why, in a universe so vast, a god would care about something so trivial as worship or human destiny.
    • Chapter 39, “A Guest at Charm” (pp. 624-625)
  • “A teacher?”
    “Yes. He argued that we are the gods, that we create our own destiny. That what we are determines what will become of us. In a peasantlike vernacular, we all paint ourselves into corners from which here is no escape simply by being ourselves and interacting with other selves.”
    “Interesting.”
    “Well. Yes. There is god of sorts, Croaker. Do you know? Not a mover and shaker, though. Simply a negator. An ender of tales. He has a hunger that cannot be sated. The universe itself will slide down his maw.”
    “Death?”
    “I do not want to die, Croaker. All that I am shrieks against the unrighteousness of death. All that I am, was, and probably will be, is shaped by my passion to evade the end of me.” She laughed quietly, but there was a thread of hysteria there. She gestured, indicating the shadowed killing ground below. “I would have built a world in which I was safe. And the cornerstone of my citadel would have been death.”
    The end of the dream was drawing close. I could not imagine a world without me in it, either. And the inner me was outraged. Is outraged. I have no trouble imagining someone becoming obsessed with escaping death.
    “I understand.”
    “Maybe. We’re all equals at the dark gate, no? The sands run for us all. Life is but a flicker shouting into the jaws of eternity. But it seems so damned unfair!”
    • Chapter 39, “A Guest at Charm” (p. 625)
  • She is not one to disdain truth indefinitely only because it is unpleasant.
    • Chapter 42, “Homecoming” (p. 639)
  • This soiree must have been so big that if held today, we’d call it a war. Or at least a riot. On and on. So-and-so of such-and-such, with Lady Who’s-is, sixteen titles, four of which made sense. By the time the heralds finished proclaiming everyone, the party must have died of encroaching senility.
    • Chapter 43, “Picnic” (p. 643)
  • The light overcame the shadow. But as always, the shadow left its taint on the victors.
    • Chapter 43, “Picnic” (p. 645)
  • Slight gasp. “You grow too bold.”
    Didn’t I? “I’m sorry. Thinking out loud. An unhealthy habit known to be the cause of bruises and major hemorrhaging.”
    • Chapter 49, “The Invisible Maze” (p. 666)
  • Why do sorcerers always use languages nobody understands? Even Goblin and One-Eye do it. Each has confided that he cannot follow the tongue the other uses. Maybe they make it up?
    • Chapter 53, “The Recovery” (p. 677)
  • Dawn comes early when you wish it would not. The hours flash when you want them to drag.
    • Chapter 56, “Time Fading” (p. 686)

Shadow Games (1989)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus The Books of the South published by Tor ISBN 978-0-7653-2066-7
  • I guess each of us, at some time, finds one person with whom we are compelled toward absolute honesty, one person whose good opinion of us becomes a substitute for the broader opinion of the world. And that opinion becomes more important than all our sneaky, sleazy schemes of greed, lust, self-aggrandizement, whatever we are up to while lying the world into believing we are just plain nice folks.
    • Chapter 5, “Chains of Empire” (p. 30)
  • Are lovers ever honest?
    • Chapter 5, “Chains of Empire” (p. 31)
  • I began to back away.
    This is how I handle my women. Duck for cover when they get distressed.
    • Chapter 5, “Chains of Empire” (p. 31)
  • The staff came to enquire after my needs. They were revolting in their obsequiousness.
    A disgusting little part of me gobbled it up. A part just big enough to show why some men lust after power. But not for me, thank you. I am too lazy. And I am, I fear, the unfortunate victim of a sense of responsibility. Put me in charge and I try to accomplish the ends to which the office was allegedly created. I guess I suffer from an impoverishment of the sociopathic spirit necessary to go big time.
    • Chapter 6, “Opal” (p. 34)
  • Willow, if the gods thought half as much of you as you think of yourself, you’d be king of the world.
    • Chapter 7, “Smoke and the Woman” (p. 39)
  • “Given time we would have become less than indispensable and you would have started looking around for a way to shaft us instead of doing the honorable thing and paying us off and simply terminating our comission.”
    “That’s what I love about you, Croaker. Your unflagging faith in humanity.”
    “Absolutely. Every ounce of my cynicism is supported by historical precedent,” I grumped.
    • Chapter 11, “A March into Yesteryear” (p. 54)
  • “Truth is a deadly weapon,” Lady said.
    “Which is why priests and princes dread it,” I said.
    • Chapter 25, “Taglios: Scouting Southward” (p. 127)
  • It is not necessarily for mercenary soldiers to know what is going on. It is sufficient for them to do the job for which they have taken the gold. That had been drummed into me from the moment I enlisted. There is neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil, only our side and theirs. The honor of the company lies within, directed one brother toward another. Without, honor lies only in keeping faith with the sponsor.
    • Chapter 28, “Back to Scouting” (p. 148)
  • That damned rain had a personal grudge. It got no heavier but it never let up. Yet to east and west I saw light that indicated clear skies in those directions. The gods, if such existed, were laying on the misery especially for me.
    • Chapter 28, “Back to Scouting” (p. 148)
  • The Radisha kicked over a pile of books. “I’ve never felt so powerless. I don’t like the feeling.”
    Smoke shrugged. “Welcome to the world where the rest of us live.”
    • Chapter 29, “Smoke’s Hideout” (p. 153)
  • Never underestimate the power of human ingratitude.
    • Chapter 30, “Taglios Aroused” (p. 156)
  • I was learning that part of a captain’s job is to delegate. Maybe genius lies in choosing the right person for the right task.
    • Chapter 31, “Taglios: a Boot-Camp City” (p. 165)
  • Trouble came only where I expected it, from One-Eye, whose motto is that anything not nailed down is his and anything he can pry loose isn’t nailed down.
    • Chapter 38, “Invaders of the Shadowlands” (p. 194)

The Silver Spike (1989)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus The Books of the South published by Tor ISBN 978-0-7653-2066-7
  • He couldn’t handle what it meant to have somebody in love with you. Running away was the only thing he knew how to do.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 457)
  • Nobody had any ideas. The questions just sort of lay there like dead fish too ripe to be ignored and too big to shove out of the way.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 499)
  • The road can blunt the most iron will.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 503)
  • Bomanz could not get away from the bird, who, if he had been human, would have hung out in taverns masquerading as the world’s foremost authority, armed with an uninformed and ready opinion on every conceivable subject. His cheerful bigotry and who-cares ignorance drove the old man’s temper to its limit.
    • Chapter 21 (pp. 506-507)
  • Smeds did not give a rat’s ass who ran things as long as they left him alone. Most people felt that way.
    • Chapter 23 (p. 519)
  • He had learned self-control in a hard school. He had been married for thirty years.
    • Chapter 26 (p. 528)
  • Smeds did not like it. It was getting complicated. He did not like things complicated. Trying to untangle them usually made things worse.
    • Chapter 28 (p. 541)
  • She did not seem offended, so I added my secret philosophy of life: any dork who became a soldier for an idea instead of the money deserved to die for his country. You’re going to put it all on the table, six up with some other guy, it damned well better be for stakes you can carry away.
    • Chapter 36 (p. 560)
  • I told her I could not believe in her movement because it did not promise anything for the future except freedom from the tyranny of the past. I told her that what little philosophy I’d detected driving the movement totally ignored human nature. That if the Rebels ever did manage to topple the empire, whatever replaced it would be worse. That was the lesson of history. New regimes, to make sure they survived, were always nastier than the ones before them.
    • Chapter 36 (p. 561)
  • I’ve always known people for whom a goal was everything, who never thought nothing about the consequences of the goal achieved.
    • Chapter 36 (p. 562)
  • She wasn’t satisfied with the way things turned out. What the hell can you do with women? You can give them exactly what they ask for and they’ll cuss you because that ain’t what they really want.
    • Chapter 38 (p. 569)
  • Raven muttered, “You don’t have to be brilliant to be a god.”
    • Chapter 42 (p. 580)
  • Something he had heard some wise man say. About the three stages of empire, the three generations. First came the conquerors, unstoppable in war. Then came the administrators, who bound it all together into one apparently unshakable, immortal edifice. Then came the wasters, who knew no responsibility and squandered the capital of their inheritance upon whims and vices. And fell to other conquerors.
    • Chapter 58 (p. 629)
  • Public works which did not serve the rich and powerful had a way of dying of neglect.
    • Chapter 66 (p. 646)

Dreams of Steel (1990)[edit]

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus The Books of the South published by Tor ISBN 978-0-7653-2066-7
  • “That your solution to everything? Cut somebody’s throat?”
    “Always slows them down.”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 258)
  • Blade muttered, “Makes as much sense as the story of any other god. Meaning it don’t.”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 261)
  • Blade grumbled about the absurdities of the theological imagination and why didn’t people have sense enough to smother would-be priests in their cradles?
    • Chapter 10 (p. 261)
  • I don’t think she told any lies. She just forgot to tell the whole truth.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 263)
  • He hadn’t been religious. He’d believed that death was it. When you died you were dead, like a squished bug or drowned rat, and your immortality was in the minds of those you left behind.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 264)
  • Time is the enemy whose patience can’t be exhausted.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 270)
  • “I’ve been on my own before, Mather.” And I hadn’t been happy a moment. But happiness is a fleeting creature. It’s no birthright. Not anything I expect but something I accept when I tumble into it. Meantime, power will do nicely.
    • Chapter 14 (p. 276)
  • Half of confidence is the appearance of confidence.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 287)
  • I won’t bore you with their dogma. It’s repulsive and I’m not sure it was related to me truthfully.
    • Chapter 23 (p. 310)
  • “What do you want, Blade. Why are you doing this?”
    He shrugged, an uncharacteristic action. “There are many evils in the world. I guess I’ve chosen one for my personal crusade.”
    “Why such a hatred for priests?”
    He didn’t shrug. He didn’t give me a straight answer, either. “If each man picks an evil and attacks it relentlessly, how long can evil persist?”
    That was an easy one. Forever. More evil gets done in the name of righteousness than any other way. Few villains think they are villains. But I left him his illusion. If he had one. I doubted he did. No more than a sword’s blade does.
    • Chapter 23 (p. 310)
  • Good morning. I’m honored but I’m also pressed for time. If you have something to discuss please get to the point. I’m an hour behind schedule and didn’t budget time for socializing.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 323)
  • He winced. “You’ll start a civil war.”
    “Not if everybody behaves and minds his own business.”
    “You don’t understand. Priests consider everything their business.”
    • Chapter 29 (p. 331)
  • The resources would have to come from that absurd wall project. The city was too big to surround effectively. The project could not be justified. It was a tool for transferring the wealth of the state to a few individuals.
    • Chapter 29 (p. 332)
  • His problem is, he gets an idea in his head and he can’t get it out if it’s wrong, no matter what evidence you hit him with.
    • Chapter 55 (p. 405)
  • “They worship the goddess, Mistress. They think. But their heresies are revolting. They are worse than disbelief.”
    Why was he incensed? A prolonged exchange failed to illuminate me. No godless person can comprehend those minute distinctions in doctrine that provide true believers excuse for mayhem. It is hard enough to accept the fact that they really believe the nonsense of their faiths. I always wonder if they are pulling my leg with a straight face.
    • Chapter 58 (pp. 414-415)
  • Will, Lady. The Will will reign triumphant. My husband had said that often, confident that nothing could resist his will.
    He had believed that right up to the moment I killed him.
    • Chapter 60 (p. 419)
  • What do you do when old prophecies come true? I’ve never met a priest who honestly expected miracles in his own lifetime. For them miracles are like good wine, best when aged.
    • Chapter (p. 430)

External links[edit]

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