Company of Liars

Company of Liars

by Karen Maitland

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Penguin (26 February 2009)
ISBN-10: 0141031913
ISBN-13: 978-0141031910

The year is 1348 and the first plague victim has reached English shores. Panic erupts around the country and a small band of travellers comes together to outrun the deadly disease, unaware that something far more deadly is,  in fact, travelling with them.

The ill-assorted company — a scarred trader in holy relics, a conjurer, two musicians, a healer and a deformed storyteller — are all concealing secrets and lies. And at their heart is the strange, cold child — Narigorm — who reads the runes. But as law and order breaks down across the country and the battle for survival becomes ever more fierce, Narigorm mercilessly compels each of her fellow travellers to reveal the truth … and each in turn is driven to a cruel and unnatural death.

“[Maitland] brings to life a medieval England of muddy streets and half-naked children fighting each other for pieces of dog dung to sell to the tanners, as sheep-stealers swing purple-faced from the gallows … She neatly catches the spirit of primitive superstition that governed every aspect of 14th century life and then rolls on with it for her own story-telling ends … Company of Liars is a richly evocative page-turner which brings to life a lost and terrible period of British history, with a disturbing final twist worthy of a master of the spine-tingler, such as Henry James.”–Daily Express, UK

“Transports readers back to the days of the Black Death … Paying homage to The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales, this is a gripping read … As a reader you are taken as close to the plague as you would ever wish to go.” —Bookseller

“Karen Maitland has dug into some obscure corners of medieval history to produce an almost parallel universe: a place where myth, magic, and superstition take over as the established order breaks down, but a world that nevertheless rings true. On top of that, she has fashioned a compelling mystery story that should appeal to a much wider readership than historical fiction fans … Compelling.” —Daily Mail, UK

About the author

Karen MaitlandKaren Maitland (born 1956 in England) is a British author of medieval thriller fiction. Maitland has an honours degree in Human Communication and doctorate in Psycholinguistics.Her works include The White Room published in 1996by Yorkshire Art Circus, Company of Liars, published in 2008 by Delacorte Press; The Owl Killers, published in 2009 by Michael Joseph; and The Gallows’ Curse published by Penguin in 2011.

She has worked as a writer and editor on a number of cross-cultural books including “Poems of Cultural Diversity” and “Cinders in the Wind”.

Maitland is dyslexic and resides in medieval city of Lincoln not very far from Sherwood Forest. – source:

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