Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Review of Liars

So, the list of excuses consist of a Lovely visit from Dave, Work, a Migraine, and a Computer Virus. I think that covers why I've not made a real post in almost a week (after posting about every day, too!). Personally, I think they're rather good ones and that you should forgive me.

Update: As my step-mum was, in fact, wandering around on April 1st muttering about ants, my dad decided to take a slightly different approach. He got home from choir practice, wandered into the kitchen, and started making a fuss about a cockroach wandering about the place. Naturally, my step-mum rushes into the kitchen only to see nothing. Which was followed by the traditional phone call to tell me she's driving two hours up here to kill me. ^_^

And now, on to the book!

Ruth (wellcat.com), lent me her copy of Karen Maitland's Company of Liars, billed on the back as a 'reinterpretation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.' I found that to be stretching it a little bit (though, to be fair, the basic premise was there), but I found the book to be phenomenal (in the way that I must now procure myself a copy of my own- and I've already spent my April book money!)

The story takes place in England during the Black Death. A wandering seller of 'relics' comes across a rune reading albino girl at a faire. (End Scene) Later, the solitary traveler's conscience forces him to accept two travelling companions, a court musician and his pupil (who are obviously trying to hide something about their past). Eventually the travellers are comprised of those three, a conjurer with a cart of something which he is irrationally protective of, a young man and his pregnant wife, a one armed story teller and, against the fervent wishes of the relic salesman, the albino girl and a healer.

Originally making their way to the next town or the next faire, the group finds safety in numbers along dark and dangerous roads, but ends up on a desperate mission to flee the tide of the Great Pestillence. All of them, at one point or another, do tell stories during their travels, mostly about themselves and who they were before they were part of the travelling band. All of the stories are obviously fantastically stretched from the truth- fabricated to entertain and hide the truth. Eventually though, their lies begin to destroy them, one by one.

I really, truly loved this book. From an historical perspective, it was brilliant (although I'm sure if you nit-pick it you'll find SOMETHING to gripe about- but that's true of all historical fiction), which is something that makes me happy. The dialogue was great, and I loved the stories that the company told. It was amusing that as soon as I crossed from the first half of the book into the second half the cast began to drop like flies! Overall it was a very believable story and I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone!

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