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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
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Paperback : 752 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0857686666
- ISBN-13 : 978-0857686664
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 1.9 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Titan Books; First Edition (March 13, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The fluttering butterfly wings of this massive tome is a pair of binoculars aboard the RMS Titanic in April, 1912. Meticulously researched to ensure historical accuracy, debut author David J. Kowalski deftly depicts the famous ocean liner as it races toward an ill-fated iceberg. However, a mysterious man from the future seeks to avert the unimaginable disaster by merely handing these binoculars—an artifact from the distant future—to a stationed lookout, unaware that this simple action would drastically alter the world as we know it today. The Company of the Dead presents an America that is no longer United, where WWII never occurred, and most of the globe is ruled by either the German or Japanese imperial empires. Major Joseph R. Kennedy, ancestor of President JFK, having glimpsed the cataclysmic horrors that await this refurbished timeline, embarks on a mission back in time to right the wrong, to repair the rift in history and return the world to its rightful timeline.
Kowalski constructs an alternate history so convoluted that David Lynch would take a look at it and be, like, "Dude, what the f***?" It’s no surprise that it took Kowalski fifteen years to write this book. With two cups of military sci-fi, a dash of historical fiction, and a sprinkle of romance, this multi-genre thriller is epic in scope and rich in its ensemble cast of well-rounded characters—genuinely likeable for the most part, though the larger-than-life Maj. Joseph Kennedy seemed overly sanctimonious at times and so wholly bent on martyrdom that it was disconcerting. My favorite characters by far were Darren Morgan and Jonathan Wells, and not just because each of them made a hopeless attempt to save a tiny cat whilst aboard the sinking steamship.
Albeit dense with perhaps a few too many subplots, Kowalski's first effort is still quite enjoyable. The incredibly short chapters made the book easy to put down at any given moment and resume later. The compelling character dialogue is better than most movie scripts and goes a long way to maintaining the reader's interest. Would I recommend this title? Sure, just so long as you’re not daunted by the book's 750-page thickness, and you're willing to commit to it with the understanding that the payoff is almost entirely tucked away in the final 120-or-so pages. Indeed, the pacing is somewhat slow and some middle portions of the book probably could’ve been excised...but then again, it makes reaching the end all the more rewarding. In short, it’s a pretty good yarn. Laced with conspiracies and political intrigue, profound world-building, historical figures, time-travel paradoxes, and high-octane battles both on the ground and in the air—there’s something in this book for everyone.
While that book probably exists in The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski it`s lost under the weight of Far Too Many Words, A very strong beginning dissipates with Two Many Unnecessary Subplots and the rambling dialogue exchanges of way too many cardboard character's. Character dialogue is not the authors strong point.
By the time you reach Dr. Well`s exposition in the first 200+ pages you pretty much have the core plot done. This leaves you wading through 500 pages toying with the various time paradox's, i.e. if Dr. Well`s changes history, do we get a worse present ( a fractured and occupied America ) or the better one we now live in ? If these outcomes had been defined in perhaps 300 pages of tight to the point prose you would have a fine contribution to the genre.
As it stands now, this book needs a good editor as much as the 1912 Titanic needed a competent Captain, because in it`s current form , weighed down by far too many pages of subplots and boring character exchanges, it slowly spirals down into the black, crushing depths of the cold North Atlantic.
Maybe next time Mr. Kowalski, you do have a great talent. Paint with the Big Brush.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
I rarely give five star reviews but I couldn't justify giving anything less. I thought the characters well rounded and either likeable or dislikeable, depending on what the author wanted them to be. Some of them being based on real people.
I'm not sure if the alternative history portrayed by author would have happened in such a way had the Titanic not sunk on the day it did but it was an interesing slant never the less.
My only gripe is that it was not available as a hardback and only on kindle after I'd finished reading it. I understand Mr Kolwalksi is writting a new novel, I can't wait!