The Black Company (novel)
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''The Black Company'', released in May 1984, is the first novel in Glen Cook's ongoing series, The Black Company. The book combines elements of epic fantasy and dark fantasy as it describes the dealings of an elite mercenary unit—the Black Company—with the Lady, ruler of the Northern Empire.
The Dominator is an extremely powerful wizard who has the ability to turn his most bitter enemies into his loyal servants, even those nearly his equal in magic. The most potent of his victims are called the Ten Who Were Taken, or just Taken for short. With his wife, the Lady, whose magical skill is second only to that of the Dominator, he founded an empire unrivaled for evil. It was overthrown by a rebellion led by the White Rose, but neither she nor the rebel wizards were strong enough to kill the Dominator, the Lady or the Taken. The best they could do was to render them unconscious and imprison them. Their prison was a place called The Barrowland.
After four centuries, the wizard Bomanz awakened the Lady during a spirit walk into the Barrowlands, in an attempt to learn from her. She manipulated him, won her freedom, and subsequently trapped Bomanz in a quasi-undead spirit state between dimensions. She then unleashed the Taken, but betrayed the Dominator, leaving him where he was, and proceeded to resurrect the empire. As with the old, so it was with the new - a rebellion broke out, spearheaded this time by the Circle of Eighteen. The Circle is made up of magicians not individually as strong as the Taken, but usually united in their goals. The Taken, on the other hand, battle each other as much as they do the rebels.
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