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Thursday, November 11, 2010

What to Read Next: "Company of Liars" by Karen Maitland.

When I was in 10th grade, kids who were college bound all took a course called something like 'The History of Western Civilization.'  I don't remember all of what that course covered, but I distinctly remember how much I enjoyed studying about the Middle Ages.  Since that class many years ago I continue to be interested in reading books set during that period of history, and this was one of the initial attractions for me to Karen Maitland's novel, Company of Liars.

Company of Liars is set in England in 1348, the late Middle Ages.   Plague is sweeping across the country.  Camelot, a relic seller, is trying to travel north to escape the deadly disease.  Eventually Camelot becomes the leader of a group of nine who join together for the journey.  Each member of the group has a secret which shapes their fate.  Maitland makes it easy to guess some of these secrets, which is all the better for the reader to understand what is going on, but surprises arise nonetheless - all the way to the very end.

The atmosphere in this book is terrific and the story engaging.  Life in 1348 is presented in a manner that feels truthful as well as entertaining (and at times appalling or horrifying).  Company of Liars is recommended reading.


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