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Company of Liars Paperback – 26 Feb 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (26 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141031913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141031910
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Irresistible' Sunday Telegraph 'An engrossing fireside read ... a compelling mystery' Daily Mail 'Combines the storytelling traditions of The Canterbury Tales with the supernatural suspense of Mosse's Sepulchre in this atmospheric tale of treachery and magic' Marie Claire 'Captivating, unforgettable, truly compelling' InStyle

About the Author

Karen Maitland lives in Lincolnshire and is the author of The White Room, which won an Author's Club Best First Novel Award.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Maitland on 1 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Well, I only put it down an hour ago, and I already miss it. An absolutely Brilliant book, with very few flaws, remarkably well crafted and executed by the author, Miss Maitland (And an Outstanding Name Too!), It never disappoints.

The story is told by an old 'Camelot', a storyteller, who is travelling England when the Pestilence hits the Country, soon after leaving a village,the Camelot meets a couple of Musicians, Jofre and Rodrigo, and the three form a small troupe, along the way, the troupe is expanded to a Company of Nine, which is when the adventure and excitement of the story really start to take hold.

A gripping and innovative yarn, I cannot recommend this book highly enough to fans of historical literature, and don't get me wrong, this book is REAL literature. The author really brings the landscape and characters together very vividly and captivates the reader throughout.

I find it hard to believe that it's follow up, The Owl Killers, will be disppointing either, in Karen Maitland, I have discovered a Gem.

Know So.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 18 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD
It has been a while since I enjoyed an audiobook as much as this one. it was an excellent combination of well written book and skillful narrator (David Thorpe). And although I would be hard pressed to identify the accent used by Mr Thorpe for Camelot, the lead character, it had an air of authenticity.
The book is set at the time of the plague and although it is not primarily about the plague itself, it does paint an excellent picture of the atmosphere of fear, suspicion and despair that prevailed at the time.

Camelot is wandering the byways of England, keeping body and soul together by selling 'relics' from saints and other holy men. At a time of such loss, these keepsakes are popular to ward off evil. Camelot prefers to travel alone, but he gradually acquires a motley band of companions, who help and hinder each other along the way. It was the interaction of these characters, along with a certain amount of magic or witchcraft, that grasped my attention and pulled me through the story. Each of these companions has something to hide (hence the title) and as we travel with them, their secrets are gradually revealed.

I was wondering how the author was going to wrap it all up at the end, but I wasn't disappointed, the ending was quite clever and certainly unexpected.
The first book I've read by Karen Maitland, but I sincerely hope it won't be the last.
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105 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Historical novels are the love of my life (apart from my wife and kids that is), and this is very probably one of the very best I've ever read.

The year is 1348, when the plague laid most of Europe waste. Camelot is a seller of fake relics, and when the plague reaches England he decides to try and outrun it, heading north. Along the way, he picks up other misfits until they make up a company of nine: the Venetian musician Rodrigo and his pupil Jofre, the one-armed storyteller Cygnus, the painter Osmond and his wife Adela who is with child, the conjuror Zophiel, and the midwife Pleasance who has a remarkable, white-haired child with her: Narigorm. Together they set out trying to outrun the plague.

What happens next is an incredibly engrossing story, told with gusto. This is one of those novels that keep you up at night, unable to stop reading, eager to know what'll happen next. England during the plague is described in such telling and colourful details that the place comes alive, and you cannot help but feel 'this is surely how it must have felt like in reality'. England in the grip of the plague swiftly descends into chaos, and lawlessness becomes the rule. And through this bleak landscape, rain constantly pouring down, the nine companions trudge on and slowly get to know each other better.

Before long it becomes clear that each of them has a secret to hide, and none of them is what they make out to be. All have have been beaten down and trodden upon by life's mishaps, and - sometimes for the best of reasons or quite simply because they had no other choice - are now living a lie, haunted by their past.

550 pages of superb entertainment for the price of barely two packs of cigarettes, what are you waiting for?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ms. L. M. Edwards on 6 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
My mum bought herself Company of Liars and as soon as she had finished it insisited that I should read it too, well I am very glad I did. Company of Liars is one of those books that won't let you rest until you have devoured the very last word on the final page. A beautifully formed plot with a hint of menace ever present, surely one of the most awe inspiringly heinous characters ever created in the form of Narigorm, and an omniscient narrator you feel you can really trust in the form of the scarred Camelot. Add in two beautiful Venetian musicians, Rodrigo and Jofre, a zealous conjuror named Zophiel (which means 'God's Spy') and his tempermental horse Xanthus, a young couple, Osmond and Adella, on the run and expecting a new addition to their family, a story teller named Cygnus with the wing of a swan and an unfortunate wise woman named Pleasance and the group are complete.
I must admit to feeling slightly let down by the ending of the book as the story had bowled along at such a pace and then ended rather abruptly leaving, i my mind anyway, a number of questions unanswered. I would have liked more interaction at the end between Camelot and Rodrigo, but then you can't have everything. The final final twist at the end (the one that you don't guess) really gives you the shivers!
Karen Maitland analyses the human nature in this book, the telling of lies and the subsequent impact, the nature of hope, fear and belief both personal and as administered by the church.
I have reccomended this book to family and friends and would not hesitate to reccomend it to Amazon customers, superb!
And a final word, try and translate Rodrigo's line in Italian on page 368, future events will become clearer!
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