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The Company of the Dead Paperback – March 13, 2012
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“Time travel, airships, the Titanic, Roswell: from these well-worn bones, Kowalski builds a decidedly original creature that blends military science fiction, conspiracy theory, alternate history, and even a dash of romance.” — Publishers Weekly
"An excessively exciting reading experience." - Tor.com
“***** A clever mix of sci-fi thriller, epic alternate history tale and intelligent spy adventure.” - Sci-Fi Now
"David Kowalski’s alternative Earth is lovingly crafted, inhabited by plausible characters all its own." - SFX
"A book that fans of science fiction/alternate history almost owe themselves to read." - Fandom Post
"Up there in the top echelon of time travel fiction." - The Daily Rotation
"If you are a history buff, if you’re interested in the story and fact behind the Titanic, enjoy alternate realities or just a darn good sci-fi novel, then The Company of the Dead will absolutely blow you out of the water. You’ll wish that you could go back in time and read it again and again." - 8 Days A Geek
"[The Company of the Dead] combines conspiracies, time travel, science fiction, and historical drama into an exciting, action-packed adventure that you'll have a hard time pulling yourself away from." - Forces of Geek
"The writing is tense, confident and pacy while the story itself is involving and very much action packed with descriptive verse and a real depth...complete with a powerful ending, recommended." - SF Book Reviews
"A virtuoso performance, a near-perfect blend of speculative fiction and adventure story>" - Open Letters Monthly
"Exciting action, twisty and ingenious characterization, and complicated time-travel plotting deftly handled" — S.M. Stirling, New York Times bestselling author of The Tears of the Sun
"This vivid sci-fi-military-thriller packs a lot of punch." - Geeks of Doom
"An excellent piece of alternate history/Sci-Fi literature. As a lifelong history buff I was totally engaged and often found myself marveling at how wonderfully Kowalski had woven together his historical tapestry." - Famous Monsters
"Think an alternate history Indiana Jones-style adventure wedded
to a complicated time story." - Sci Fi Movie Page
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Top Customer Reviews
The "flutter of butterfly wings" in this book is the presence of a pair of binoculars aboard the Titanic. Meticulously researched to ensure each detail is historically correct, the ocean liner steams its way towards the iceberg. However one character seeks to avert the disaster we know as the sinking of the Titanic with all of its catastrophic loss of life. By handing these binoculars to the lookout aboard the Titanic, this character causes the world to diverge from its previous path, evolving into a world that we would not recognize today.
I loved this book. True, it's a big read with a complex plot, but as you work your way through its 744 pages, you come to understand the characters and you appreciate why Kowalski has won numerous awards for his work, including the prestigious Golden Aurelus award. He seduces you with the sheer beauty of his writing, then ruthlessly ties you to the pages with the adventures he relays.
I highly recommend this book.
According to the acknowledgments, it took first-time author Kowalski nearly fifteen years to write this novel, and it shows. The alternate history he constructed is so intricate that it was astonishing. I started the novel with giddy amazement, ever more impressed as I turned the pages. I couldn't begin to imagine the detail, the thought, the mind-bending effort it must have taken not just to plot the book, but also to establish it firmly in a completely new and believable world. I tip my hat to Mr. Kowalski.
So why the two stars?
I read this book on my Kindle, and I didn't bother reading any reviews before I bought it. The product description alone was enough for me. Because Kindles don't list page numbers exactly, I didn't know that this book was -- in its printed form -- 751 pages long. That doesn't really matter to me; if a book is good enough, I'll read a thousand pages and gladly. Unfortunately, the middle five hundred pages or so are a convoluted mess that serve only to delay the entire story.Read more ›
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Turtledove about a thousand years ago in Iowa, when his Lost Legion series was making its big debut and that soft spoken professor of Byzantine History impressed me to no end. I knew he would be a big banana in the sci-fi, fantasy genres.
Let me tell you, ladies and gentleman, Harry Turtledove has some serious competition heading toward him at warp speed and his name is David J. Kowalski.
We all have heard about the butterfly effect: a butterfly flaps its wings in China and a week later there's a hurricane in Florida. Chaos Theory, the sensitive dependence on initial condition. A minute change in a nonlinear system that can result in large changes to a later state. It's what drives the argument concerning time travel and provides the fuel for a good portion of sci-fi novels and movies and it is this theory that propels In the Company of the Dead.
Imagine the scene: it's April 15, 1912 and the RMS Titanic is on it's maiden voyage in the north Atlantic, moving far too fast, on its way to New York City. The air is freezing and the deck watch is keeping a weather eye out for obstacles as the great ship plows through growlers (a small iceberg broken off from a larger iceberg or glacier). A mysterious passenger approaches the watchman and offers him a set of binoculars, an artifact from one-hundred years in the future. That is the premise of the book; the first domino to fall and it changes everything.Read more ›
As an historical fiction it's both fascinating in its exploration of an alternative (and fascinating) 20th century as well as presenting the most realized world I've yet to explore.
From there it segways seamlessly into an amazing thriller, with wild action sequences and an exploration of paradox which you'll never see coming. (at least I didn't!)
The book is excellently written, brilliantly plotted, and I read a blog somewhere that stated the alternate timeline was constructed with the help of a noted 20th century historian, which should tell you all you need to know about how interesting this world Company of the Dead drops you into.
The author manages to sink you into the world, exploring it thoroughly without ever resorting to jarring info dumps.
I read it and it instantly went into my top 10. I'll leave it at that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I slogged my way through this book till the end. I should have tossed it aside after about 50 pages.
It is slow, confusing and way, way too long. Read more
With new authors in the now well ploughed fields of science fiction/fantasy alternate history scarce on the ground, I had high hopes of discovering another wonderful first book by... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Nostromo
David Kowalski's "The Company of the Dead" is perhaps the most complicated alternate history story in the history of the genre & yet it's more than that & then some. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Paul L.
This book was recommended to me knowing how much I love time travel stories. Yes there is time travel in this story but not enough for my enjoyment. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stephanie Bacque
I loved the premise of "The Company Of The Dead", mixing the tragedy of the Titanic in with an alternate reality spin, blending in real characters from history with... Read morePublished 11 months ago by John D. Rayner
Any book whose cover bears the words "Alternate History" will immediately catch my eye. If that cover also has a picture of the Titanic then I no longer have any choice... Read morePublished 12 months ago by John D. Cofield
You really have to be a scifi fan to enjoy this book.... it was good, but a complicated storyline.Published 13 months ago by badpenny65