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The Company of the Dead Paperback – March 13, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; First Edition edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857686666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857686664
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A magnificent alternate history, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest maritime disasters.”  — Library Journal

“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. StirlingNew 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 

About the Author

David Kowalski is an obstetrician and gynecologist living in Sydney, Australia. Although he has written for many professional journals, The Company of the Dead is his first work of fiction and the winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Novel and Best Science Fiction Novel.

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Customer Reviews

After buying a Kindle, I revisited this book.
Thomas Miller
This is because Kowalski shows a deft hand with pacing and action while supplying a well-reasoned alternate history of the world.
Alchemist
The plot is drawn out and confusing and the multitude of characters never really capture your interest.
Robert V

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Rodgers on March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The premise behind this book lies in the theory of chaos. This theory describes how a seemingly inconsequential event can change the way subsequent events evolve. In regards to the weather, it describes how the flapping of a single butterfly's wing produces a tiny change to the state the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to diverge from what it would have done otherwise. The net effect being that markedly different weather conditions can eventually evolve.

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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Alchemist on March 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When sci-fi lovers think of alternate history, the authors that spring to mind are William R. Forstchen, Stephan Fry, Philip K. Dick, H. Beam Piper, and many others. The king of alternate history sci-fi, though, has to be Harry Turtledove, who has built an impressive career and body of work in that genre alone.
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.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on May 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD is an alternate-history novel that centers around the sinking of the Titanic. At the start, a time traveler named Wells attempts to stop the well-known disaster from occurring. He doesn't succeed, but he does delay the event by three hours. This small change creates massive ramifications that drastically alter the future. America is no longer United, Hitler is a famous artist, and most of the globe is under the rule of either the Japanese or German empires. A young man named Joseph Kennedy (ancestor of our famous, assassinated president), having glimpsed the even greater horrors that await this refurbished timeline, goes on a quest back in time to fix the rift in history and bring the world back to normal.

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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved this book to bits. It's scope is truly huge.
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.
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