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The Company of the Dead [Paperback]

David Kowalski
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

23 Mar 2012
A mysterious man appears aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage. His mission? To save the ship. The result? A world where the United States never entered World War I, thus launching the secret history of the 20th Century. In April 2012, Joseph Kennedy nephew of John F. Kennedy lives in an America occupied in the East by Greater Germany and on the West Coast by Imperial Japan. He is one of six people who can restore history to its rightful order even though it would mean his death, and the deaths of everyone he loves. A magnificent alternate history, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest maritime disasters of the 20th century.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books (23 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857686666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857686664
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Imaginative, monolithic, action-packed... The reader will not be disappointed." --Bookseller and Publisher

"A magnificent alternate history, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest maritime disasters." --Library Journal

"Time travel, airships, the Titanic, Roswell: from these well-worn bones, Kowalski builds a decidedly original creature that blends military science fiction, conspiracy theory, alternate history, and even a dash of romance." --Publishers Weekly

"For readers who love in depth twists and turns this exquisite piece of alternate history fiction ticks every box." --Starburst Magazine

"An excessively exciting reading experience."

"Time-hopping adventure for the thinking man... Easily one of the best thrillers in years... A compulsive read that we cannot recommend enough... A clever mix of sci-fi thriller, epic alternate history tale and intelligent spy adventure. Five stars." --Sci-Fi Now

"David Kowalski's alternative Earth is lovingly crafted, inhabited by plausible characters all its own." --SFX Magazine

"The writing is tense, confident and pacy while the story itself is involving and very much action packed with descriptive verse and a real depth... complete with a powerful ending, recommended." --SF Book Reviews

"The Company of the Dead is a virtuoso performance, a near-perfect blend of speculative fiction and adventure story." --Open Letters Monthly

"Kowalski gives you some really fun and thrilling chases, fights, and...mind-bending thought exercises on time and causality."

"If you are a history buff, if you re interested in the story and fact behind the Titanic, enjoy alternate realities or just a darn good sci-fi novel, then David J. Kowalski s The Company of the Dead will absolutely blow you out of the water. You ll wish that you could go back in time and read it again and again." --8 Days a Geek

"A fascinating read. --Shropshire Newspaper

The Company of the Dead is an essential read that, despite being based around an infamous maritime disaster that everyone is familiar with, has an ending nobody will see coming. --Alternative Magazine Online

About the Author

David Kowalski is a medical practitioner, working in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Sydney, Australia. He has published numerous articles in various medical journals and textbooks. The Company of the Dead is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing 27 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading a review of this book on io9 it sounded just up my alley - time travel, alternative history and a lot of thriller thrown in. But I'm abandoning my read about half way through, something I rarely do.

The story itself is fine, with interesting ideas on how things might have worked out differently in the twentieth century, and a large cast of characters who, on the surface, should provide us with a rollicking run through said story. But it just doesn't work out that way. I can't believe other reviews here that say the characters are well rounded. The characters are ciphers, plain and simple. There's no actual protagonist, no internal monologue. The characters belonging to Kennedy's entourage are interchangeable. I'm half way through the book and I can't tell you why Kennedy cares about re-establishing the USA (before he sees the future), why he supposedly inspires blind loyalty from everyone who served under him or what his life was like. The modern captain of the Titanic is British but shows no difference in outlook to the CSA characters. There is a character who as far as I am aware is black and is good at killing people - that is it. What's it like to be a citizen of the CSA or to live in New York under the Japanese? No idea apart from that they have more sushi restaurants. Other than New York, places are hardly described, to the point where I had to keep flicking back to work out how they were suddenly somewhere else.

The whole thing is made worse by the splitting up of the multi-angled story into tiny chunks. Chapters end with no reason other than it seemed like the author wanted to move on to another viewpoint, often after a couple of pages. I found that the longer chapters were much easier to read.

I appreciate that this is a debut novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of the most original examples of military science fiction melded with alternate history I've encountered, "The Company of the Dead", David J. Kowalski's debut novel, is the most imaginative fictional recounting of the RMS Titanic's ill-fated maiden voyage I have ever encountered. It is also an exceptional time-travel science fiction novel, memorable for Kowlaski's masterful plotting and fine, descriptive prose that deserves recognition as among the very best ever written. Kowalski's fertile imagination has no bounds, mixing conspiracy theory, RMS Titanic, New York City, Roswell, New Mexico, gigantic military airships armed with planes and nuclear bombs, heroic 21st Century American Indian warriors manning tanks and artillery guns, and more than a hint of romance, within a realistic, alternate 20th Century and 21st Century historical science fiction novel. This is a latter day Jules Verne science fiction novel, mixed with ample detours through familiar speculative fiction literary terrain inhabited by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and Harry Turtledove. Kowalski is so effective in his storytelling that readers will almost believe that they are with his protagonists, walking the decks of the Titanic or coming under intense enemy fire in the Nevada desert by an invading army; he excels in taking us on a grand adventure that spans not only an entire continent but also decades of time. I have stumbled upon very few alternate history science fiction novels of recent vintage which approach the ample realism and considerable attention to detail which Kowalski demonstrates in "The Company of the Dead"; without a doubt, his literary debut deserves to be remembered as among the finest in contemporary Anglo-American speculative fiction literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Enjoyable Alt History Tale 15 Sep 2012
Don't let the Titanic fool you. This book is not a centenary cash-in, but an intelligently construed time-travel/alt history/military fiction tale, where the Titanic's first cruise plays a central role. And it's a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The events start when a rather ordinary man from our timeline is whisked back in time to the early 1910s and sets out to prevent the disasters that he knows are about to come, starting with the sinking of the Titanic. The resulting timeline is indeed different, but not in the way expected. Then, in 2012, this new world is faced by a new kind of disaster which a mixed cast of characters try to prevent. And everything and everybody keep getting back to the Titanic.

It's better not to describe the world of The Company of The Dead in any detail because deciphering its nature and history are the two greatest pleasures one derives from reading the book. A work of alternative history has to present a credible argument for how its history unfolds. Also, depending on the nature of the work, the new history has to be reasonably realistic. In all these respects The Company of The Dead delivers. And the plot captured my interest from the beginning and held it until the end. Characters are many-sided and credible enough to keep the book being merely a straightforward thriller.

Yes, I hugely enjoyed the book. It's so well conceived and formed it's hard to believe this is the author's first book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor 3 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book, its a brilliant idea and the start of the book is enjoyable. I found the rest of it virtually unreadable though- characters have no consistancy (several of them could easily be the same person, why do they suddenly behave completely out of character? odd...), the short chapters jump from scene to scene, he has a really sparse writing style thats very hard to get into- and frankly it bored me rigid everywhere between the titanic scenes at the start and those at the end. Some people may love it, clearly from the reviews on here some really do- but not for me! Its a shame as there are some fantastic ideas here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I am so glad that I did buy it as I found a ...
Have been pondering whether to get this book for some time now, particularly after reading the negative reviews. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Slowjocrow
2.0 out of 5 stars The company of the dead
I was looking forward to reading this as it was about the titanic and time travel but found myself having to skip past a large chunk of it as it was very dull with far too many... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr James Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Sinks in the middle
I really wanted to give this 5 stars not least for its ambitious plot and for the author's knowledge of his subject. The opening chapters and the closing chapters are brilliant. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jennifertapir
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable
Like many of the previous reviewers I was sucked in my the time travel and alternate history aspect, unlike some of the other reviews I found the book unputdownable. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Roger the Dodger
3.0 out of 5 stars The Company of the Dead
This was purchased with Carpathia by Matt Forbeck as I have an interest in Titanic. This was told in at least two time zones and was always easy to follow. Not one to keep.
Published 18 months ago by rt456gt
2.0 out of 5 stars You can skip the middle 350 pages
Seriously. You can miss out the entire middle section of this book and not miss a thing. It's just one long runaround, augmented by a series of confusingly written action scenes,... Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2012 by Christopher Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternate history - or was it?
Pay close attention at the start. You will know things you think you don't, but don't rely on what you think you know. It may not be enough. Read more
Published on 14 July 2012 by Dick Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for Titanoraks
I bought this book based on Amazon's description as I have a lifelong interest in the Titanic. However, the actual Titanic only features at the beginning and end of the book with... Read more
Published on 15 May 2012 by Purple Unicorn
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious Blockbuster
The novel pulled me right in, and the opening chapters made gripping reading. An alternative history is created when a time traveller interferes with the sinking of the Titanic,... Read more
Published on 26 April 2012 by J. Chilvers
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Very good interesting alternate story. A very good read. Would and have recommended this (my daughter has it on Kindle).
Published on 26 April 2012 by nan
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