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The Company Paperback – 3 Sep 2009

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841495107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841495101
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,024,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Skilful plotting and rich scene-setting . . . leaves the reader wanting more (The Guardian)

Book Description

A breathtaking novel of war, friendship and betrayal from the author of the acclaimed Engineer Trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Nick Brett TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a Fantasy novel in very little but name. Yes it is not set in out `world' but this is about a group of individuals and is more about hidden secrets and relationships.
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.
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Format: Paperback
KJ Parker is a favorite - a terrific author proving that proper fantasy is about characters and themes, and not merely elaborate world-building.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This might be just the book to convince your friends who say they do not read fantasy novels since it has no magic, dragons, elves, hobbits, monsters etc. "Just" a story about people who experienced war in all its gruesome detail and are now trying to adjust to civilian life afterwards. Highest recommendation.
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By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
There's much to love about the way The Company is written, and a couple of the characters are well-rounded, interesting people. The descriptive scenes of battle are probably the high points -- for although this novel is set in the peaceful years after the war has ended, much of the plot revolves around the events of the war itself and the way it bound the men of A-Company together. The central theme is that this band of brothers have been betrayed (perhaps more than once), and the guilty party will be revealed by the end of the book...

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.
7/10
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By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
If you haven't heard of KJ Parker, then you've missed a treat. After all the Engineer Trilogy has been vastly popular with the fans and whils some would say it was long winded, it's been one that's gripped a new generation with a passion.

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.
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