Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Company of Liars

by Karen Maitland


The Black Plague is devastating England in the year 1348.  In a desperate effort to outrun the Plague, Camelot, a peddler with a scarred face who sells false religious relics and hope, sets out on a cross-country trip.  He is joined by nine strangers, each of whom seems to have a devastating secret.  Among the travelers is Rodrigo, a minstrel; Jofre, his pupil; Zophiel, a magician; Adela and Osmond, an artist and his pregnant wife; Pleasance, a midwife herbalist; Cynan, a young man with a swan arm; and Norigorm, an albino soothsayer who reads runes.

As they travel cross-country through mud and rain, avoiding pestilent villages and superstitious villagers, they gradually reveal their stories. But as their journey progresses, their number decreases one by one, with Camelot's journey's end being the original home, which gives a startling revelation.

Company of Liars is an intricately-plotted, gripping story.  It is full  of twists and turns, with a final twist.  The characters are intriguing and complex. There are grim scenes of the bleak and devastated landscape with famine, and superstitious, terrified inhabitants. Maitland has done comprehensive research in the medieval customs, garments, guilds and religion.  The reader is caught up in the spirit of the times.

Highly recommended....well worth a first and then second read to absorb what was missed the first time.

The Book

Delacorte Press
Suspense  / Historical Mystery/ medieval England 1348
More at
NOTE: 2nd review, for reviewer Bev Rowe's take on this title, check here

The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2009
© 2009