This is the collected first three books of Glen Cook's "Black Company" series, chronicling the adventures of a famous mercenary company in grim world threatened by all sorts of darkness. Although the series was continued, the first three books are an effectively self-contained trilogy.I first read them in college. And back then (so long ago!) they seemed terribly dark - almost unbearably so. How times have changed; compared to some of the torture-porn that's being put out under the fantasy and science fiction labels, the Black Company seems almost as tame a Curious George.*Well, not really. But it is much less horrible than I remembered, in retrospect. It's also much better than I remembered. While not necessarily a deathless classic of the genre, the books are very well written, well-paced, and exciting. Yes, there is some darkness, but this series would be a good addition to the library of any fantasy fan from mid-teen to adult. And if my memory serves me, the Black Company books did break new ground in fantasy, extending the "dark" trend previously exemplified in Michael Moorcock's Elric books.---------------------------* - I'm talking about you, David Wingrove: you should be in prison, along with Jack Chalker's corpse and some of the contributors to the Wild Cards series.