The Company Paperback – 3 Sep 2009
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Skilful plotting and rich scene-setting . . . leaves the reader wanting more (The Guardian)
A breathtaking novel of war, friendship and betrayal from the author of the acclaimed Engineer Trilogy.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A group of retired elite soldiers decide to move to an Island (with new wives and some `workers') to set up a new life and society. What initially seems a good idea starts to come unstuck as gold is discovered on the island and past secrets start to catch up with them.
In essence the author takes the scenario of a group who were tight knit during a war, but then puts them in a different situation. Suddenly people on whom your life used to depend are seen in a different light...
I was looking forward to this, the premise and characters looked interesting, but in the end I found it a struggle, often picking up something else instead. I feel bad about that because this is a worthy and well written book but it just didn't grab me and the motivations of some of the characters were not overly clear and it became hard to engage with them. So, three stars. Just.
Parker combines gritty philosophy with extraordinarily well-developed characters to create disturbing, existential stories. Amongst other things, Parker is also a proper horror writer - eschewing cheap, graphic reveals and instead building unbearably tense situations 'off-camera'.
Whomever he or she is, Parker is a hell of a writer.
Happily, The Company, newly released in the UK, is up to Parker's standard level of brilliance.
The Company is a tightly-plotted thriller about a handful of ex-army men trying to found their own escapist, Utopian paradise. Think J.G. Ballard crossed with Joe Abercrombie - extraordinarily flawed and angry men trying to build a perfect world (for them).
The existentialist connections go much further than Ballard as well. The veterans are forced to confront Kafkaesque bureaucracy, Camusian internal struggles and, eventually, the discovery that, as Sartre put it, "hell is other people".
Literary name-dropping aside, there's something pleasantly surprisingly about a book about fantasy warriors that features neither fantasy nor warfare. The Company is about the lingering effects of war - physical, mental and moral. This book could easily have been set in the present day, but by abstracting it from the 'real world', Parker has made it more about the people than the politics. The reader has connection with the war that these soldiers fought - instead, we're forced to draw our own conclusions, shed our prejudice and treat them like real people. An impressive task for a "fantasy" novel.
The Company is a beautiful, sad, difficult novel - and one that shows the full value of fantasy when it comes to exploring difficult themes.
The Company is set in a fictional land with fictional nations fighting medieval warcraft. Apart from that, there is little to mark this out as a 'fantsay' novel. It almost belongs in the 'historical fiction' section.
Although the initial chapters are pacy and interesting, dealing with the reunion of the soldiers long after the war, once it settles down things bcome much slower and ponderous. The middle section of the book wasa real slog for me and, unfortunately, I felt very let down by the ending once I eventually reached it. Two or three of the main characters are extremely well fleshed out but many of the others, who should be just as important, remain indistinguishable from each other. None of them were particularly engaging or charismatic: none really grabbed my attention. Similarly, the ongoing series of domestic mishaps made for poor interludes compared to the interesting bits set back in the war.
So after reading this I probably wouldn't want to pick up another novel by this author. It wasn't bad -- just not rewarding for the amount of effort it took to complete.
Here in KJ's latest release is something of a nvoelty as its a standalong which examines what happens to soldiers after a long and bloody war and what they do to acclimatise themselves back into society. Well written, with a spartan descriptive style that allows for a greater realism with a band of misfits who only seem at ease with each other which allows for a tale tha generates an adventure for all who read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have no earthly idea how I am supposed to put my thoughts about this book into words.
On the one hand, it's K J Parker, full of the expected black humour, sudden... Read more
I find KJ Parker is an author who consistently turns out a good read. I want to be entertained as well as having the brain exercised. KJP really writes a good battle.Published on 17 Aug. 2011 by wickiwizard
This is unusually straight-forward for Parker, it doesn't have his normal enormously complicated plots and intricate manoeuvring. Read morePublished on 14 Jun. 2011 by plot hound
I am a big fan of K.J Parker, I have read all his books. I especially loved the Scavenger Trilogy, great story, great books. Read morePublished on 20 July 2010 by David, North Yorkshire
I was a huge fan of Devices and Desires when it came out. The combination of wit, murky real politik, solid engineering detail and the downright English Gentleman politeness and... Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2010 by J. P. B. Webster
Having been a little disappointed with the Engineer Trilogy, I found this book to be a wonderful return to form. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2010 by M. Lee
The Company is a simple tale, best presented as a short story rather than a drawn out novel. The premise is simple enough, the start of a new colony and the political and social... Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2010 by SonicQuack
The first fantasy book I've had time to read in a while and I'm a bit 'so so' on whether I should have chosen something else. Read morePublished on 29 Jan. 2010 by A. Gothorp