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Company of Liars (2008)

de Karen Maitland

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1,5471068,510 (3.73)165
In 1348, as the Black Plague holds England in it's grip, nine strangers attempt to outrun death. Each member has their own story to tell and each has a secret.
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» Mira també 165 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 106 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Set in the style of the pilgrim story (think Chaucer's Canterbury Tales), Maitland weaves together the lives of 9 strangers. Each has a story to tell, as well as many lies, and it is often left up to the reader to figure out which is which before the big reveal. Many are easy to figure out, but a few keep you guessing (sure but not quite sure) right until the grande finale.

The story is set during the great outbreak of the Plague in England, so the story has a definitive macabre and menacing feel from the outset. The host of characters survive (or avoid) the Plague, but this only serves to make their deaths less expected and drives home the fact that even without infectious disease the Middle Ages were a dangerous time. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 26, 2021 |
Plus a half star because it was very engaging, but I did get a bit impatient towards the end. Started well and gave a convincing view of the madness and panic at the breaking down of civil society as the plague spread but ultimately the characters did not really convince me, particularly the ones who survived. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Part of my -YourShelf- bundle #1
I'll admit straight away that the prologue to Company of Liars almost put me off reading the book. I can't even say what it was I objected to, but there was something about it I didn't like, but I kept going. And once the story proper took hold I was glad I did.
I really enjoyed the writing, Maitland kept me turning the pages and reading on, even when I should really have clocked back into work. The story itself I''m not 100% sold on, parts of it are excellent. The first two thirds are really good. But it sort of sputters a bit in its finale.
[spoiler]I think maybe I objected to the Narigorm as witch aspect of the story. The rest of it was so real and probably historically accurate that to have such a fantasy element play such a large role threw me. If I'm reading fantasy I like to know that, right from the start, and this didn't really signal that at all. But that's more of a flaw with my reading than the book.[/spoiler]
I'm certainly interested in reading more by Maitland, especially her novel The Owl Killers which I think is about a town of women in medieval England.
And there is plenty to like in this book, the characters are well drawn, the story well told, and for such a big book, over 500 pages, it is an easy read, and a relatively quick one.
So all in all, I'd count that as two successes for the curators at -YourShelf- ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
This was a book given to me by someone who thought I might like it. Not an author I would have usually chosen, so it made it all the more enjoyable that I found it not only very readable, but also informative about the events of that year. The story reminded me a little of the Canterbury Tales, but there was a good storyline and enough to keep you with the plot through the whole book. I will have to search out a couple more from this author. ( )
  CliveUK | Sep 20, 2020 |
The Company of Liars, by Karen Maitland, blends elements of The Decameron, The Masque of The Red Death, with And Then There Were None, and a little bit of a darker Canterbury Tales, for a story of friendship, secrets, and betrayal in plague-ridden England.

Our narrator is a camelot, a trader in religious relics, and an experienced traveler with a soft heart for other travelers in need. These includes a young couple expecting a baby, two traveling musicians, a story-teller with a swan’s wing for an arm, and a creepy white-haired child with uncanny rune-reading abilities. The company all have secrets, as you might expect of rootless travelers in plague times, but they’re not the secrets you might first expect. At times, they’re also not expressly spelled out in the text, forcing the reader to ask “but then why did he — oh!” and realize a bit more than was actually written. The company hopes to escape the plague, and individually restart their lives in new places, but can anyone really outrun the past?

Reading this right now, the novel’s biggest suspense came from the spread of the plague. As the company travels, they’re constantly rerouting, and avoiding villagers where there may be sickness, and finding signs that the plague has been through a town. This is a supernatural story, but the spreading disease is very, very real.

These days, it barely means anything to say I stayed up late reading. I’m furloughed from my work, so I don’t have to be up to teach classes, and sleep is elusive anyway. But I stayed up to finish this one, and other people’s plague secrets were a really solid distraction from the ongoing reveals about the spreading virus. ( )
  TheFictionAddiction | Aug 12, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 106 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Every historical novel has its “Aren’t you glad?” moments. In COMPANY OF LIARS, a jewel of a medieval mystery by Karen Maitland, those would be the times when you realize how lucky you are not to be living in England in 1348, when three separate plagues broke out among a population already beaten down by the deprivations of the Hundred Years War.

afegit per y2pk | editaNew York Times, Marilyn Stasio (Oct 31, 2008)
 
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The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression.
It is possible to lie, and even to murder, for the truth.


Alfred Adler, psychiatrist

Wir haben die Lüge nötig ... um zu leben.
We need lies ... in order to live.


Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher
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In memory of my great-aunt, Jane West. A woman of infinite compassion, who taught me to love nature, history, and stories.
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'So that's settled then, we bury her alive in the iron bridle'.
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In 1348, as the Black Plague holds England in it's grip, nine strangers attempt to outrun death. Each member has their own story to tell and each has a secret.

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