Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Company of Liars: A Novel

Book No: 47
Title: Company of Liars: A Novel
Author: Karen Maitland
Genre: Historical Fiction
Completed: 8/31/09
No. of Pages: 480
Rating: 4/5*****

It is 1348 and the Black Plague is racing through England. In a desperate attempt to outrun death a disparate group of travelers band together hoping to make it to the North, away from the cities and ports that have become little more than ghost towns. As they slowly wend their way through the countryside and we get to know each traveler it becomes clear that none of them are what they profess themselves to be and each of them is guarding a closely held secret.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It works as an adventure tale as well as a suspense tale with a bit of a mystery as to every character’s secret, each of which is revealed one by one. The gritty descriptions of medieval life and the customs, beliefs and superstitions of the times added a great background to the saga of this company. Some of the secrets were foreshadowed a little too heavy handedly so that not all of them were a surprise, but the tension within the group is ratcheted up little by little so that you cannot wait to turn the page to find out what happens next. The last page of the book was deliciously eerie and although you might have suspected it coming it still has an impact. If you like your historical fiction detailed and steeped in the era in which it is set and filled with engaging characters, both good and evil, then this is the book for you.

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