In the Company of Liars


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Give as a Gift Send this book as a Gift! Book Rating 3. Duration: 17 hours 41 minutes. Similar Titles. As I mentioned in the introduction the plague sets the stage but other than that it is not that important in the books. The author does not feel the need to go into great detail on the horror of the plague. She mentions the effects of course, we get to see bits and pieces as the company travels, but mostly they try to avoid it, and they are reasonably successful in that.

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The company's main concern is how to survive on their meagre resources in a country where crops are failing and people are not selling what little they do have. Tensions within the company flare often but striking out on their own may be death sentence to any who try. In the mean time the reader is mostly occupied with trying to puzzle out who is hiding what.

As the title suggests all the company's members are liars. They are hiding things from the others and from themselves sometimes.


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Most of them have done things they are not proud of in the past. One by one their secrets are revealed, usually with painful consequences. It could have made an interesting puzzle but the author makes sure to drop hints well in advance of revealing the secrets. Not all of them are equally subtle so in some cases the reader gets plenty of warning.

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Company of Liars

The author adds quite a bit of historical detail to the story. Everything from customs in the villages they pass though to the religious details that governed society. One thing that struck me in particular are the descriptions of the road fare the company lives on. A lot of it consists of sticking everything they can gather or kill into a pot and boiling it until they are reasonably sure it is dead.

Quite palatable when you are on the brink of starvation no doubt. These details of medieval cooking are used very effectively by the author. My feelings on Company of Liars are mixed. And one among them conceals the darkest secret of all—propelling these liars to a destiny they never saw coming.

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

So, I looked it up and saw her previous books, and remembered being vaguely curious about them before. Company of Liars is that sort of read that proves difficult to review. But things went downhill once I sat down to review it. Looking back, Company of Liars has, I believe, many problems. I am conflicted about it. England, — the Plague is spreading around the country and nine strangers are trying to outrun it.

All of them have secrets to keep and a lot to lose.

Amongst them, Camelot, a relic-seller that trades in hope and the person who narrates the story; Cygnus, a storyteller who believes his own tales; Osmond, a failed painter and his very pregnant wife Adela and Narigorm, a strange albino girl who reads Runes and foretells darkness. They travel together, for there is safety in numbers, but as they walk across England, their past catch up with each one of them. When fear, despair and eventually death start to befall them, the group realises that there might be worse things than the Plague.

I personally think this is a gross misrepresentation of Company of Liars as there is very little to connect both works beyond their Medieval setting. Company of Liars reads more like a tale of psychological horror with the odd unexplained, paranormal element and the setting — time and place — are intrinsic parts of it.

The fear and paranoia brought by the spreading plague as well as certain medieval customs and beliefs compound to form with the particular tale of this particular group of people a gripping story. It is a relentlessly dark story too — with violence, as well as terrible deaths and loss. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story and especially how it ended. Upon reflexion, I was never sad though, there was always a degree of emotional disconnect with the story.


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I think this is important when considering this book — so many deaths, so many horrible things happening and I was never sad. For a book about the Plague and psychological torment, I would expect to feel a certain amount of sadness especially considering how some of the characters suffer terribly. It reminds me of another Plague book — Doomsday Book by Connie Willis which is also full of death and loss but in its case: so, so heartbreaking Agnes!

For example, Narigorm read Runes which, as far as I know, is a Germanic thing?

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