A Fortress In Shadow

A Chronicle Of The Dread Empire

eBook, 400 pages

English language

Published June 12, 2007 by Night Shade Books.

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3 stars (1 review)

Collects the two Dread Empire prequels:

  1. The Fire in His Hands (1984)
  2. With Mercy Towards None (1985)

“They are not sword and sorcery tales. Neither are they the saga describing the quest of a protagonist for or towards something. They are military adventures borne out of real-life grittiness observed first hand, laid out against an Arabesque landscape.” – publisher blurb

2 editions

This was … “interesting”

3 stars

… which is what my father says when he is too polite to tell people he doesn’t like something, but will grant them it was worth making the experience.

I was pointed to this by an /r/AskHistorians thread extolling Glen Cook’s virtues in portraying pre-modern warfare. Like my father, I will grant that reading the novels is not an experience I regret as such. Unlike him, I will come out and say I didn’t particularly relish the experience either.

Yes, this is well written enough; yes, it probably felt very fresh and unconventional in the early eighties; and yes, Cook does have a good understanding of pre-modern warfare both at the battle and at the campaign level. If that is your thing, go for it. Me, I wish Cook also had an idea of the logistics and societal / economic conditions dictating the operations of pre-modern armies, which he obviously …


  • Science Fiction And Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Fantasy
  • Fantasy
  • Fantasy - Epic
  • Fiction / Fantasy / Epic