Company of Liars Kindle Ý Company of Epub /

Company of Liars DeceptionAt the onset of the black plague in 1348 a group of travellers band together to seek refuge against the disease and journey northwards to a safe location Each member of the group has a hidden secret and one in particular has something sinister to conceal The secrets they each reveal are shocking and illustrate the type of characters they are and the backgrounds they each come from Karen has a wonderful ability to capture not only the characterisation but the interaction and underlying motives within the group As each secret is revealed one by one the group start dying Must the killer be amongst them or are they being hunted? The final secret is a surprise and keeps you guessing right to the endThe plot is engrossing and holds you in a spell the characters are superb and the pace is perfect The sense of time and daily living conditions are vividly brought to life The wonderful writing creates such magnificent images of landscape hardships and a constant atmosphere of foreboding Karen has this wonderful ability to characterise the landscape and give it its own mesmerising role in the storyThe Black Plague between 1348 and 1350 would kill over 15 million people over one third of the population of England Amongst this great plague was set a supernatural and religious supposition One graphic testimony can be found at St Mary's Ashwell Hertfordshire where an anonymous hand has carved a harrowing inscription for the year 1349 Wretched terrible destructive year the remnants of the people alone remainIt’s just a pity that a novel like this comes to an end and the only thing left to do is seek out another Karen Maitland book She is definitely the ueen of the medieval historical thriller This book is well and truly rooted in my favourites shelf and Karen is one of my favourite authors In this extraordinary novel Karen Maitland delivers a dazzling reinterpretation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales an ingenious alchemy of history mystery and powerful human dramaThe year is 1348 The Black Plague grips the country In a world ruled by faith and fear nine desperate strangers brought together by chance attempt to outrun the certain death that is running inexorably toward themEach member of this motley company has a story to tell From Camelot the relic seller who will become the group's leader to Cygnus the one armed storyteller from the strange silent child called Narigorm to a painter and his pregnant wife each has a secret None is what they seem And one among them conceals the darkest secret of all—propelling these liars to a destiny they never saw comingMagical heart uickening and raw Company of Liars is a work of vaulting imagination from a powerful new voice in historical fictionLength 17 hours 40 minutes I read this book some years ago however I still remember how atmospheric this novel is It is perfect for those of us who are interested in the Middle Ages but not the rulers but people of lowly birth their attitudes to religion and the role superstitions played in those days A very good read indeed Enjoyed this historical novel A mystery tale of a band of travelers in The Middle Ages travelling through England to escape the upcoming pestilence Entertaining read The ending unexpected at least for me Will definitely try of this author As usual probably to follow For those who like historical fiction recommendedAnd for those who don't know this book yet many have read it here I see Midsummer's day 1348 On this day of ill omen plague makes its entrance Within weeks swathes of Engeland will be darkened by death's shadow as towns and villages burn to the ringing of church bells While panick and suspicion flood the land a small band of travelers comes together to outrun the pestilence travelling through the ravaged countryside amongst others a scarred trader in holy relics a conjuror two musicians and a deformed storyteller But when one of their number is found hanging from a tree the chilling discovery confirms that something sinister than plague is in their midst And as the runes warn of treachery it appears no one is uite what they seem least of all the child rune reader who mercilessly compels each of her companions to tell their stories and face the conseuences Oh dear I am so glad I wasn't born during the Middle Ages Karen Maitland makes you feel like you are there with all the superstition filth disease and hypocrisy of the church that defined the time The poor suffer mightily The company that we find ourselves with are traveling merchants of a sort the homeless and wretched who have come together for safety against the weather the pestilence plague has broken out and vicious robbers that roam the landThis is no Canterbury Tales with humour along with the suffering; there is nothing funny about these travelers They are all hiding from their past and the lies they tell are to protect themselves from society the church or the law If there is one criticism I would level at the book it is that after the author has made you scoff at the superstitious nonsense they believe in she ends the tale with the supernatural The Holy Relic Swindler’s TaleIt is I suppose comforting for some to believe that the social issues of today’s Britain are perennial that there is a national character perhaps which continuously muddles through the same problems over and over This is one explanation for Karen Maitland’s imagined world of England in the Middle Ages The way she portrays the state of the nation from immigration to the condition of the roads; from sexual harassment to fake news suggests that the problems we have to deal with have a constancy that define the countryI further suppose that without such presumed continuity there wouldn’t be much of a market for her type of historical fiction In order for a story set in the 14th century to be comprehensible there has to be something than geography which connects us culturally to that distant era So Maitland projects our fears and anxieties into the past not unlike much of sci fi projects them into the future Among other things in the latter such a literary tactic allows for some familiarity about the problems as well as creativity in imagining their solutions or their ultimate conseuencesBut there is a clear difference between historical fiction and sci fi We already have and are the solutions to the problems of the past So the genre of historical fiction can only work if it can suggest how we arrived where we are If there’s not much sociological variation from where we started the setting of the story is uaint but largely irrelevant and from a literary perspective fraudulent an unintentional parody Why not set the tale in Ancient Rome? Or Victorian England? Or contemporary New York City? The allusions to things like xenophobia commercial fraud knife crime child and substance abuse and the English Summer weather could be made where and whenever ’Plus ça change plus c’est la meme chose’ would seem sufficient to get the point across Casting faux historical references in terms of a sort of hippie Canterbury Tale with neither the wit nor the elegance of the original is therefore of dubious merit Dropping in archaic period terms like ‘camelot’ and ‘kirtle’ don’t do much to divert attention from the Hobbesian misery of the lives of the characters solitary nasty brutish and short These characters inhabit a land of superstitious sualor in which the principle recreations are alcoholism and GBH Whatever secrets they might be hiding seem insignificant in light of their existential reality which has little to do with their place in historyIt could be that I’m being unfair Perhaps the Company of Liars is an allegory about the 21st century rather than a projection to the 14th Could it be that we can only recognize the extent of our depravity by considering it in terms of some distant condition? If so The book might have some merit Otherwise it is a tedious journey to nowhere Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians to name just one parallel story is a far superior alternative established firmly in a time and place with no pretensions to period color and conseuently much honest I've read multiple novels about the Plague Year of Wonders Doomsday Book probably others I can't think of right now This was a completely different experience The Plague is in some ways huge and in other ways a minor character A nod to the Canterbury Tales this is the story of a motley group of travelers thrown together in their desperate attempt to escape the ravages of the pestilenceI found this to be a total immersion experience It doesn't wallow in medieval language but the vocabulary and ideas are faithful to the period The characters have great depth as people but also effectively showcase some controversial issues without the narrator or the author taking a modern stanceOne of the things I liked best about Company of Liars is its lack of hysteria The travelers are understandably afraid of the Plague and of the many other dangers of their time and many terrible things happen along the way honestly this isn't a spoiler what would you expect of a Plague novel anyway? but the storytelling is honest and totally lacking in melodramaAlthough I initially balked at the first person narration it turned out to be completely appropriate and much emotionally compelling than third person would have beenWhile it had a slow start by the time I was a few chapters in I was completely hooked and burned through this at top speed Highly recommended Karen Maitland is officially my current favourite author Company of Liars is set in 1348 with the plague spreading throughout England causing chaos and fear It's everyone for themselves The story is told through the unreliable narrator Camalot As the band of misfit travellers trudge through the country to find sanctuary and safety each harbour a personal secret and are prepared to do anything to conceal it The story is peppered with aspects of fairytales myths and legends making the travellers' journey chillingly atmospheric Maitland also explores medieval thought that merges religious and superstitious belief for the old ways Her extensive research is spot on as it explores the different perceptions understanding and presentation of truth through a historical lens Set in 1348 England nine strangers form a group and travel together to escape the spreading pestilence The narrator Camelot is a seller of religious relics He is joined by a magician a musician the musician’s young apprentice a storyteller a fortune teller a midwife and an artist and his wife The fortune teller a peculiar child reads runes and she foretells of impending malevolent events The travelers tell tales around the nighttime fire revealing parts of the past though not always the truth Gradually their secrets are discovered Superstitions of the era influence the journey They believe in witches and the supernatural They think a wolf or werewolf is following them Dramatic tension is maintained by wondering what evils will befall the group The narrative is driven by the seuential uncovering of secrets The tone is eerie The reader will feel a sense of foreboding We know something bad is going to happen and are waiting for the axe to fall I do not usually enjoy scary stories but I uite enjoyed this one It is well crafted I was drawn into the storyline of each character and interested in their journey It reminds me of a darker version of The Canterbury Tales sans Middle English verse which I am sure is intentional on the author’s part Okay let's start with the negative just to get it out of the way I had read several reviews on Goodreads complaining about the ending before I even picked up the book so all through the last chapter I kept thinking Whew That's not such a bad ending I can see how it might not please everyone but I actually kind of like it That was uite a relief considering I adored the book most of the way through and it had already gone down a bit in my estimation by the final chapter My relief lasted until the final page and then BAM I suddenly knew exactly what those reviewers were talking about So yes add me to the ranks of disconsolate souls bemoaning the ending It was formulaic and rather ugly with a cliched side of leave 'em hangin' and just UGH Such a let down I found myself desperately trying to make the ending work in my head so it wouldn't spoil the book for me And there is at least one interpretation that fixes it if Camelot can be viewed as an unreliable narrator Which I think one can make a fair argument for It was after all a very superstitious era and Camelot clearly believes many of the folk beliefs and tales The aspect of the plot which seems to actually contain supernatural elements could be a fantasyskewed reality he creates as he along with the rest of Europe struggles to grasp the horrible reality of plague and the violencetragedy it inspires If viewed as manifestations of Camelot's troubled psychosis and perhaps as metaphorical instead of literal those aspects of the book I disliked actually add power to the story So I shall choose to go with that interpretation Just humor me okay???ANYWAY the ending was not enough to ruin this dark Medieval fairytale for me I love well written historical fiction complete with gritty historical detail and strong characters and this book is a splendid example Maitland has a brilliant grasp of Medieval British history and I loved the way she wove in all the superstition and belief interror of the supernatural that plagued people in that era especially as they struggled to understand and prevent plague The characters are for the most part wonderfully engaging I grew deeply attached to many of them sucks for me and wanted to jump inside the book to throttle others so I definitely think Maitland excels there Overall I loved it


About the Author: Karen Maitland

Karen Maitland has recently moved to the wonderful county of Devon and has a doctorate in psycholinguists She is fascinated by the myth and magic of the Middle Ages which she draws on for her novels She experienced the medieval lifestyle for real when she worked for eighteen months in a rural village in Nigeria living without electricity plumbing or sanitation Her first medieval thriller wa


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