Cook, Glen 1944–
Cook, Glen 1944–
(Glen Charles Cook, Greg Stevens)
Born July 9, 1944, in New York, NY; son of Charles Albert (a civil servant) and Louella Mabel (Handy) Cook; married Carol Ann Fritz, June 14, 1971; children: three sons. Education: Attended University of Missouri, 1962–65. Hobbies and other interests: Stamp collecting, book collecting.
Home—4106 Flora Place, St. Louis, MO 63110. Agent—c/o Russell Galen, Scovil-Chichak-Galen Literary Agency, 381 Park Ave. S., Ste. 1020, New York, NY 10016.
General Motors Corp., St. Louis, MO, auto assembler at Fisher Body Plant, 1965–67, Chevrolet Army Ammunition Plant, munitions inspector, 1967–70, material controller, 1970–74, worker in grinding, plastic, and rework, 1974–76, material-control supervisor, 1976–77, truck assembler, 1977–88, auto assembler, 1989–91, worked in auto-electrical and electronics-systems repair, 1991–97. Military service: U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, 1962–72; served with Force Recon unit, 3rd Marine Battalion.
Prometheus Award for Best Novel nomination, 1986, for A Matter of Time.
SCIENCE-FICTION AND FANTASY NOVELS
The Heirs of Babylon, Signet (New York, NY), 1972.
The Swordbearer, Timescape (New York, NY), 1982.
Passage at Arms, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1985.
A Matter of Time, Ace (New York, NY), 1985.
The Dragon Never Sleeps, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1989.
The Tower of Fear, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.
Sung in Blood, NESFA Press (Cambridge, MA), 1990.
"INSTRUMENTALITIES OF THE NIGHT" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
The Tyranny of the Night, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.
Lord of the Silent Kingdom, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
"DARKWORLD" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
Doomstalker, Warner (New York, NY), 1985.
Warlock, Warner (New York, NY), 1985.
Ceremony, Warner (New York, NY), 1986.
"DREAD EMPIRE" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
A Shadow of All Night Falling, Berkley (New York, NY), 1979.
October's Baby, Berkley (New York, NY), 1980.
All Darkness Met, Berkley (New York, NY), 1980.
The Fire in His Hands, Pocket (New York, NY), 1984.
With Mercy toward None, Baen Books (Riverdale, NY), 1985.
Reap the East Wind, Tor (New York, NY), 1987.
All Ill Fate Marshalling, Tor (New York, NY), 1988.
The Cruel Storm (omnibus: includes A Shadow of All Night Falling, October's Baby, and All Darkness Met) Nightshade (Portland, OR), 2006.
"STARFISHERS" TRILOGY; SCIENCE-FICTION NOVELS
Shadowline, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1982.
Starfishers, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1982.
Star's End, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1982.
Passage at Arms, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1985.
"BLACK COMPANY" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
The Black Company, Tor (New York, NY), 1984.
Shadows Linger, Tor (New York, NY), 1984.
The White Rose, Tor (New York, NY), 1985.
Annals of the Black Company (omnibus; includes The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1986.
Shadow Games, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.
The Silver Spike, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.
Dreams of Steel, Tor (New York, NY), 1990.
The Black Company Goes South (omnibus), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.
"BLACK COMPANY: GLITTERING STONE" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
Bleak Seasons, Tor (New York, NY), 1996.
She Is the Darkness, Tor (New York, NY), 1997.
Water Sleeps, Tor (New York, NY), 1999.
Soldiers Live, Tor (New York, NY), 2000.
Glittering Stone (omnibus), 2 volumes, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2000.
"GARRETT FILES" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
Sweet Silver Blues, New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.
Bitter Gold Hearts, New American Library (New York, NY), 1988.
Cold Copper Tears, New American Library (New York, NY), 1988.
Old Tin Sorrows, New American Library (New York, NY), 1989.
The Garrett Files (omnibus; includes Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, and Cold Copper Tears), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990.
Dread Brass Shadows, Roc (New York, NY), 1990.
Red Iron Nights, Roc (New York, NY), 1991.
Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Roc (New York, NY), 1993.
Petty Pewter Gods, Roc (New York, NY), 1996.
Faded Steel Heat, New American Library (New York, NY), 1999.
Angry Lead Skies, Roc (New York, NY), 2002.
Garrett, P.I. (omnibus; includes Old Tin Sorrows, Dread Brass Shadows, and Red Iron Nights), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.
Garrett Investigates (omnibus; includes Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Petty Pewter Gods, and Faded Steel Heat), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2004.
Whispering Nickel Idols, New American Library (New York, NY), 2005.
Garrett on the Case (omnibus; includes Angry Lead Skies and Whispering Nickel Idols), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2005.
(Under pseudonym Greg Stevens) The Swap Academy, Publisher's Export Corp. (San Diego, CA), 1970.
Work represented in anthologies, including Clarion, edited by Robin Scott Wilson, New American Library, 1971; and Dragons of Darkness, 1981. Contributor to periodicals.
Glen Cook has worked a variety of jobs while doubling as an author of fantasy fiction. St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers essayist Gary Westfahl called Cook "the working man's fantasy writer" and observed that he "usually focuses his attention on the common people in his fantasy worlds, rather than the upper class." The 1989 novel The Tower of Fear, which marked Cook's debut in the hardcover market, was hailed by Booklist contributor Roland Green as "a thoroughly impressive effort" containing "grim but meticulous world-building," believable characters, and a "fascinating" plot full of political twists and turns.
Born in 1944, Cook briefly attended the University of Missouri before joining the working world. He got a job on the General Motors assembly line when he was twenty-one years old and stayed with the large auto-manufacturer in order to support his wife and growing family. Although he found time to indulge in his hobby, writing—Cook published his first book, The Swap Academy, pseudonymously in 1970—it was not until the early 1980s that he began turning out fantasies at a rapid rate.
Cook's first multi-volume saga is comprised of the novels collectively known as the "Dread Empire" books. This series began with the publication of A Shadow of All Night Falling in 1979 and has grown to include seven volumes. Set in an imaginary world containing warring regions with parallels to Europe, the Far East, and the Middle East, Cook's "Dread Empire" books were followed by both the "Starfishers" and the "Dark-war" trilogies. The latter features the unusual heroine Marika, a psychic canine creature who is captured and put into the service of a tribe of militaristic witches. As a Booklist critic commented of Doomstalker, the first novel in the "Darkwar" series: "its detailed characters and kinetic action are captivating."
In his fantasy novels, Cook's heroes are everyday people rather than the wealthy nobles, beautiful princesses, and dashing knights that are typical of the genre. His popular "Black Company" books follow a group of merciless mercenaries who fight for good or evil, depending on which side pays the most. The soldiers are haunted by questions regarding the group's origins, and their self-doubt tends to humanize them, making readers see that these soldiers fight out of necessity rather than by a moral choice of evil over good. The company's adventures are narrated by Croaker, a physician/soldier who heals his fellow company-members' battle wounds and who, while seemingly as cruel as the band he cares for, expresses an inner concern over the company's actions through his narration.
The first novel in the series, The Black Company, finds the group finishing up a job in the city of Beryl and taking up their next assignment—with a creature known only as Soulcatcher—only to realize that they are now in the employ of an evil force. Weaving ancient magic with down-and-dirty battle scenes, Cook's novel inspired West Coast Review of Books contributor Neil K. Citrin to comment: "Unless you're prepared to read for several hours, save this book for the weekend. It will grab you like a moray eel until the last page." Subsequent volumes in the "Black Company" series find evil growing in power, as the Dominator, the most evil of all creatures, prepares to walk once more among the living and turn the Earth into a world of chaos. Ultimately the evil sorceress who now controls the mercenary band, fearful that her petty tyranny will be overthrown, joins with the Black Company on the side of good in an effort to vanquish the Dominator. Reviewing The White Rose in Voice of Youth Advocates, Pam Spencer declared that Cook's "battle scenes are filled with guile and magic and make one want to leap on a flying carpet and unleash an arrow or two."
Cook began his "Black Company" series in 1984 intending it as a trilogy; readers enjoyed the fantastic setting and characters so much that the story has been carried through into several novels since its debut. Cook has even made a side trip from his "Black Company" saga with the "Glittering Stone" sub-series. In the first part, Bleak Seasons, the Black Company accepts a new leader as they work to fight the Shadowmasters, whose armies of demons are currently trapping the Company in the city of Dejagore, while at the same time, rival mercenary-bands within the city's walls wish to rid themselves of competition. While noting that a satisfactory reading of Bleak Seasons required fans to be familiar with the premise of the "Black Company" series, Voice of Youth Advocates contributor William J. White commented that "while seem[ing] somewhat experimental, playing with point of view shifts and non-linear narrative sequences, [Bleak Seasons] is among the best of the Black Company stories."
Volume two of the "Glittering Stone" series, She Is the Darkness, once again takes up the tale of the Company as the group moves closer toward discovery of its mystical origins when it reaches the city of Khatovar. It becomes a race against time once the Company's demonic enemies begin to kill off members as a way of preventing those origins from being revealed. Bill White, in Voice of Youth Advocates praised the novel's "complex and sophisticated story," and noted that the author "describes the villainy of the Company's antagonists with extraordinary power." Roland Green in Booklist called She Is the Darkness "wrenchingly realistic in both the details of war and the emotions of the characters."
In Water Sleeps, Sleepy now leads those who have survived a harsh existence in the magical stasis field that was placed on them in She Is the Darkness. Sleepy and her followers vow for vengeance against Radisha of Taglios and also plots to rescue their comrades who are being held as prisoners. Water Sleeps takes on an eastern flair and in their assessment of the novel, critics often commented on Cook's ability to portray the world of the Black Company in a realistic and convincing manner. Green commented on Cook's "rich, Indian-flavored society," while a Publishers Weekly critic acknowledged Cook's "exceptional richness of world building, exemplified in particular by its feel for Eastern religion." In Library Journal a reviewer concluded that "Cook's singular talent for combining gritty realism and high fantasy provides a hard edge to this popular fantasy noir series."
In Soldiers Live, the ninth "Black Company" novel, Cook seems to conclude the chronicles of ruthless mercenaries. In Soldiers Live the mercenaries decide to leave the land of Hsien warlords and return home to Taglios. During their venture home and through their crossing of the Glittering Stone a slew of enemies await them and numerous battles ensue. Upon arriving in Taglios the Black Company finds additional adversaries to overthrow, including Shadowcatcher and the Daughter of Night. Filled with detail and action, Soldiers Live was praised as another raw and convincing rendition conjured by Cook. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly depicted the novel as "dark and surprising" as well as "free of pretension, but rich in characters and world building." Likewise, Jackie Cassada, writing in Library Journal, cited Cook's "wry wit and flair for understatement," adding that the author evokes "a level of realism uncommon to the fantasy genre."
With Tyranny of the Night Cook brings a dark narration to the world of fantasy fiction. Robert M. Tilendis, writing in Green Man Review online, considered the novel a "distillation of everything that makes [Cook] a distinctive voice." Tyranny of the Night follows the antihero Else, a Praman who is sent to spy on the humans of the Patriarchy of the West who are in an armistice with the Pramans. While infiltrating the Patriarchy of the West, Else begins to have doubts and soon questions the faith he has been brought up with. Jackie Cassada noted in Library Journal that Tyranny of the Night is "timely and timeless," while Booklist contributor Roland Green concluded that the novel "promises to be a grim and sweeping epic."
Cook changes course slightly in his "Garrett Files" series, which features a hard-boiled private eye as its pivotal character. While Garrett's sleuthing techniques may be familiar to readers, his cases are more unusual: the mysteries he solves involve elves, magicians, trolls, witches, and evil demons. In Petty Pewter Gods, for instance, Garrett must find a key that has been hidden by the Earth's more powerful, dominant gods as a way to play a sort of "musical chairs" with less-powerful deities. The one who finds the key to the temple first gets to stay; the rest of the gods will be vanquished. And in Cold Copper Tears a beautiful blonde woman seduces the hapless P.I. into taking on her case, which results in him taking on both the mob and a cult of fanatics during his search for relics lost by his client. Praising Cook's melding of the mystery and fantasy genres, Kli-att contributor Karen S. Ellis commented on the book's "colorful" language, "creative euphemisms," and "earthy humor" in the novel. Several critics have also compared Cook's "Garrett Files" mysteries to those of writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett due to the wry sense of humor Cook conveys in telling his tales.
Other books in the series include Bitter Gold Hearts, Red Iron Nights, and Angry Lead Skies. Termed by Library Journal contributor Cassada as a "fantasy noir at its best" Angry Lead Skies finds Garrett asked by his friend Playmate to act as a body guard for an obnoxious child named Kip Prose. Under the protection of a reluctant Garrett, Kip is kidnapped by a group unidentified creatures and Garrett's investigation to find the young boy involves a slew of alien sorceries and flying crafts. Regina Schroeder, writing in Booklist, noted that Angry Lead Skies "has everything—beautiful women, beer, villains of all sizes, and lots of laughs." While Sarah Meador remarked in Rambles online that Angry Lead Skies includes "great mental images and interesting racial dynamics," she added that the action Cook heats up in the novel is so fast-paced that it takes on the quality of a "summer action film."
Biographical and Critical Sources
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
St. James Guide to Science-Fiction Writers, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Booklist, September 1, 1985, review of Doomstalker, p. 31; September 15, 1997, Roland Green, review of She Is the Darkness, p. 216; September 15, 1989, Roland Green, review of The Tower of Fear, p. 148; February 1, 1999, Roland Green, review of Water Sleeps, p. 966; April 1, 2002, Regina Schroeder, review of Angry Lead Skies, p. 128; June 1, 2005, Roland Green, review of Tyranny of the Night, p. 480.
Fantasy Review, December, 1984, p. 23; August, 1985, p. 17.
Kliatt, September, 1984, p. 25; January, 1989, Karen S. Ellis, review of Cold Copper Tears, pp. 19-20; March, 1996, p. 14.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1989, p. 1287; February 1, 1996, p. 181; July 15, 1997, p. 1074.
Library Journal, September 15, 1989, p. 138; March 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Water Sleeps, p. 112; July, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Soldiers Live, p. 146; April 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Angry Lead Skies, p. 128; June 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Tyranny of the Night, p. 65.
Locus, April, 1994, pp. 33, 48.
Publishers Weekly, September 23, 1988, p. 68; March 4, 1996 p. 59; September 22, 1997, p. 74; February 8, 1999, review of Water Sleeps, p. 199; August 7, 2000, review of Soldiers Live, p. 80.
Science Fiction Chronicle, May, 1996, p. 57.
Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 1984, p. 205; February, 1986, Pam Spencer, review of The White Rose, p. 393; April, 1996, p. 36; April, 1998, Bill White, She Is the Darkness, p. 53; April, 1997, William J. White, review of Bleak Seasons, p. 40.
West Coast Review of Books, July-August, 1984, review of The Black Company, p. 43.
Green Man Review Online, http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (June 3, 2006), Robert M. Tilendis, review of Tyranny of the Night.
Rambles Online, http://www.rambles.net/ (June 3, 2006), Sarah Meador, review of Angry Lead Skies.