Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: "Company of Liars" by Karen Maitland

Before we talk about this book at all take a nice long look at this book cover. It is my favorite book cover of all time. Just looking at it you know you're in for a scary, kick ass book. I'd like to give whoever designed it a laurel and hardy handshake (Blazing Saddles reference,anybody? Anybody?)

The Company of Liars takes place in Middle Ages England. It's not a good time to be alive, frankly.Plague is ripping it's way through the European continent and quickly making it's way to (what will become) the UK.

Our narrator,Camelot, is aware of this and tries his best to stay ahead of it. He is a peddler of religious relics that frequents fairs and festivals and has an incredibly nomadic existence. He decides that is goal is to get as far north as he can to a popular shrine and hopes that the upcoming winter will kill the plague before it reaches him. The narrator is aware that he sees the same strange child appear at several fairs and it unnerves him.The child is a little girl named Narigorm. (Which I think is a weird name for this character.It sounds like a Japanese game show character.Whatever.Make your own choice about that one, its a personal preference). She reads runes and tells fortunes and shit gets really strange when she is around.

As Camelot travels north he is joined by a strange assortment of fellow travelers and they become a sort of Chaucer-like band of misfits traveling on the same path. Among is a painter and his very pregnant wife, a mysterious one armed man who makes his living as a storyteller, a midwife,and a musician and his young apprentice.Camelot is NOT comfortable traveling with this many people, especially strangers and one of them being heavily pregnant.They aren't together long when strange things start happening. It seems like a wolf is stalking them at night. Narigorm starts to predict terrible things will happen to the group.People start dying.Slowly all of the lies that they tell themselves and each other slowly come unraveled and their truths laid bare. The whole time they continue to travel north as the plague starts creeping up the English coast and into the countryside.

Also it rains and is cold and is miserable the whole time.Hooray England!

The best way that I can describe my emotions reading this book is gleefully scared. I was so excited to hear what happened next but I was scared as to what was going to happen next, especially once people started dropping like flies.

I give this book 4 out of 5.When I finished reading this book I started instantly recommending it to everyone I knew.A lot of people are miffed about the ending, but I think those people want everything spoon fed and explained to them and sometimes I think that's okay but sometimes I think it's decidedly less fun.

Read this book. Be scared and thrilled all at the same time!


  1. Apparently the cover art was by a design house that specializes in book covers, Gray318. Put that under the category of jobs I didn't know existed. Also this is a thing that exists:

  2. Gray 318 gets the highest of high fives from me, because it's a beauty.
    If you'd like the exact opposite of the book cover archive may I suggest:

  3. Wesley, I found you via The Book Blogger List. How do I submit a book to you for review?

  4. Hi Bob-
    Since the blog is new Im still in the process of working on my review policy. I'm hoping to have it up soon!

  5. Thanks for the response, Wesley.
    I understand about new blogs… blundering about establishing mine.
    Would you be interested in reviewing this book: ?

  6. Hi Bob-
    I'd really to have the review policy in place before I accept things.
    If it meets the requirements I'd love to take a look at it.
    Thank you!


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!