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Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

Company of Liars (2008)

by Karen Maitland

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1,4481027,861 (3.74)157
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Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
the voice actor for my audio edition was great . The interconnected stories and characters are worth spending time with . ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
Company of Liars - Maitland
Audio performance by Maxwell Caulfield
4 stars

You would expect a 14th century plague story to be dark and disturbing. So much desperation, so much death. This book is not so much a plague story as the story of an itinerant group of people who slog through the drowning English countryside in a desperate attempt to outrun the plague’s advance. Each of the nine travelers is keeping a secret. All are running from things as deadly to them as the plague. It seems that fate throws them together and fate moves them along. But the hand of fate may have some sinister help. This is solid historical fiction with paranormal elements that tip it to suspense and horror.

There are brief human interludes in which many of the characters come to care for each other. Their lives are richly described. I enjoyed the storytelling that occupied their long evenings of rough camping. I wished them all well and hoped for a happy ending. Not that it made the slightest difference to the outcome.

Audible has two versions of this book. I was very happy with Caulfield’s performance. His narrative voice is pleasant. He made each character voice distinct with appropriate accents. ( )
  msjudy | Aug 14, 2018 |
Plus a half star because it was very engaging, but I did get a bit impatient towards the end. Started well and gave a convincing view of the madness and panic at the breaking down of civil society as the plague spread but ultimately the characters did not really convince me, particularly the ones who survived. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
Company of Liars
4 Stars

The year is 1348 and the Pestilence has come to England. Among those fleeing the spread of the deadly disease are a company of nine travelers, each possessing a unique gift and each concealing a dark secret, but none is darker than the one that may spell the destruction of them all…

Note: Although the publisher claims this is a reimagining of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales, there is no resemblance between the two other than a group of travelers sharing their stories. While Chaucer’s classic is vastly entertaining in its own right and well worth the read (if one can cope with the Old English), it is not necessary to read it in advance of this book.

Company of Liars is a dark and disturbing tale of the secrets people keep and the lies they tell. The rich historical detail concerning the social, cultural and religious beliefs of medieval England along with the twists and turns of the plot make Karen Maitland’s writing style gripping from the first page to the last.

Each of the characters is more fascinating than the next and while some of their secrets are obvious, others are virtually impossible to guess due to the well concealed clues and hints. The primary antagonist is exceedingly creepy and their actions truly horrific given their identity.

Unfortunately, the audiobook narrated by David Thorpe proved impossible to listen to as he spoke too slowly (even speeding up didn’t help) with long gaps between paragraphs. Thankfully, the switch to the Kindle version was more successful.

In sum, this book made me very grateful that I did not live in the Middle Ages and I look forward to reading more of Maitland’s work. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
A group of medieval strangers escaping the plague in England by moving from place to place, slowly learning more about each other and the secrets they hold. This book ha a combination of a mystery, horror, pilgrimage, and fantasy elements. The characters hold on their superstitions appropriate for the time period that create fantastic stories and drama between the characters. As the story unfolds and characters backstories and motivations get revealed, there is always a general wondering on who is telling the truth. I loved this book as I have loved similar books, such as Canterbury Tales and Hyperion. ( )
  renbedell | May 10, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
Every historical novel has its “Aren’t you glad?” moments. In COMPANY OF LIARS, a jewel of a medieval mystery by Karen Maitland, those would be the times when you realize how lucky you are not to be living in England in 1348, when three separate plagues broke out among a population already beaten down by the deprivations of the Hundred Years War.

added by y2pk | editNew York Times, Marilyn Stasio (Oct 31, 2008)
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The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression.
It is possible to lie, and even to murder, for the truth.

Alfred Adler, psychiatrist

Wir haben die Lüge nötig ... um zu leben.
We need lies ... in order to live.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher
In memory of my great-aunt, Jane West. A woman of infinite compassion, who taught me to love nature, history, and stories.
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'So that's settled then, we bury her alive in the iron bridle'.
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Book description
Haiku summary
The plague has arrived.
The liars' company flees.
Secrets are revealed.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385341695, Hardcover)

In this extraordinary novel, Karen Maitland delivers a dazzling reinterpretation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—an ingenious alchemy of history, mystery, and powerful human drama.

The 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 them.

Each 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 coming.

Magical, heart-quickening, and raw, Company of Liars is a work of vaulting imagination from a powerful new voice in historical fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:18 -0400)

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In 1348, as the Black Plague holds England in it's grip, nine strangers attempt to outrun death. Each member has their own story to tell and each has a secret.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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