Shadows Linger is the second book in a fantasy series by Glen Cook. It details the further exploits of the Black Company, a centuries-old band of mercenaries in the employ of the Lady, the ruler of a vast empire. The book alternates between two separate stories that eventually merge together.
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In one, the Black Company continues crushing the Rebels in its usual, ruthlessly effective way. Then, it is sent all the way across the empire to deal with a new threat. Centuries before, the Lady had betrayed her husband, the Dominator, (both being extraordinarily powerful wizards). Initially unconscious and buried alive, he is now partially awake and seeking to free himself. The task of stopping him eventually leads the Black Company to the remote northern city of Juniper.
In the other narrative, Raven, a deserter from the Black Company, is raising money by selling dead (and not quite dead) bodies to the mysterious residents of a black castle. He tells his accomplice, debt-ridden innkeeper Marron Shed, he needs the money to leave the port city come spring and hide himself and his deaf ward Darling from those searching for her. As bad luck would have it, the city in which they are stuck for the winter is Juniper.
Croaker, the Black Company's doctor, spots Raven. He has guessed why Raven deserted. Darling is the reincarnation of the White Rose, who in the past overthrew the Lady and the Dominator. She was unable to kill the couple, only render them unconscious. The Lady later freed herself (but not her husband) and reestablished the empire.
It turns out that Raven, by supplying bodies, is inadvertently helping the Dominator's escape attempt. Croaker and a few trusted confidants try desperately to keep the Lady from learning about the White Rose, while at the same time, they try to foil the Dominator's scheme. Ultimately, they succeed at the latter, but fail at the former and are forced to flee from the Lady. They find the White Rose and, ironically, become the mainstay of the Rebel cause.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a gritty story. Nobody is purely good or evil (except possibly the Dominator).
Best scene in story:
It's interesting how much evil Raven does without a qualm in his good cause.
Opinion about the main character:
Croaker is a decent man, given the "Company" he keeps.