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For the character with the same name, see Raker

"Raker" was a novelette which was the first published story of Glen Cook's Black Company series. It appeared in the August 1982 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which was 2 years before the appearance of the first novel, The Black Company. A trimmed and otherwise slightly rewritten variation of it became Chapter 3 of the first novel.

In the table of contents of the magazine, "Raker" is actually classified as a "novelet" [sic] as opposed to a short story. The magazine also contains one other novelette and seven short stories, all by other authors.

Context[]

In a 2009 interview (external link), Glen Cook revealed that "Raker" was originally intended to be the first of a series of novelettes. But, the other planned stories were ultimately not published as novelettes for the reason he describes:

Firstly, the Black Company started out to be a single book, that would be a novel made up of a series of novelettes. Only one of those got published independently before my agent sold the book to Tor. The editor there did not like the characters at all. But she said she couldn’t get the book out of her head. So we got drunk and rowdy and worked out an agreement that I would make it a trilogy. But the time I finished THE WHITE ROSE I knew where the story would go from there, vaguely, all the way to the end of GLITTERING STONE. Which I expected to be one book the size of the others, but which needed six, some very fat.

Comparison with chapter 3[]

The most significant difference between the "Raker" novelette and Chapter 3 of The Black Company is the omission of surplus expository background details in the novel. The novelette notably contains a large paragraph outlining the backstory of the Dominator, the Lady, and the Ten Who Were Taken. Whereas, in the novel, this contextual information is dispersed in other chapters.

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