Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Company of Liars Hardcover – September 30, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$4.67 $0.01

The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton
"The Muse" by Jessie Burton
From the author of The Miniaturist comes the story of two young women—one in 1960s London and one in 1930s Spain—and the mystery that links them together. Learn more | See related books
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Desperate to outrun the Black Death ravaging England during the sodden summer of 1348, nine disparate souls band together in this harrowing historical, which infuses a Canterbury Tales scenario with the spectral chill of an M. Night Shyamalan ghost story. Maitland (The White Room) gives each of the travelers a potentially devastating secret. How did narrator Camelot, a glib-tongued peddler of false relics and hope, really come by that hideously scarred face? What is magician Zophiel hiding inside his wagon? And just who is Narigorm, the spooky albino girl whose readings of the runes are always eerily on target? As the nine strangers slog cross-country through the pestilential landscape, their number shrinking one by one, they come to realize that what they don't know about each other might just kill them. Despite Maitland's yarn-spinning prowess, her narrative occasionally stalls because of unrelenting grimness and an increasingly predictable plot—that is, until its gasp-out-loud finale. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Imagine a sinister version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, overlaid with a touch of And Then There Were None. Far from the royal court’s pageantry, nine outcasts form an unlikely band that, beginning on Midsummer’s Day, 1348, journeys across England in an attempt to outrun the Black Plague. Camelot, a disfigured peddler of fake relics, narrates; others include an expectant young couple, an Italian minstrel and apprentice, an ill-tempered magician, an herbalist, a storyteller with a swan’s wing for an arm, and an albino child rune reader whose predictions are uncannily prescient. Each reveals his story; each hides a dark secret that proves his undoing. Maitland excels at describing the bleak, devastated landscape of a pestilence-torn country, with its rampant famine and superstitious, terrified inhabitants, although the pace approaches that of the travelers, trudging endlessly through the mud and muck. Likewise, some revelations are signposted too clearly. But interspersed in the cheerless realism, there’s much to absorb about medieval folk customs, garments, guilds, and religion. These details, plus the intriguing characters and burgeoning suspense, keep pages turning. --Sarah Johnson

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341691
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clan Lindsey VINE VOICE on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A lot has been made of this book being a re-telling of The Canterbury Tales. It isn't. There are some superficial similarities, but that is all. This is however a very wonderful character-driven book and I enjoyed it thoroughly, much more so than I ever did Chaucer. This book follows a group of people as they slowly accrete around the narrator, the "Camelot" who is an itinerant peddler of bogus religous artifacts. The time is 1348 and the Black Death has made its way to England's shores. The Camelot decides to make his way north and inland to try and get as far away as possible from the Southern ports where the plague first appears.

Along the way the Camelot picks up a rag-tag bunch of company; a misanthropic magician with his malformed fetus display, to a master and apprentice musician, an eerie young fortune-teller, a healer, a story-teller, and an artisan and his wife. The plague dogs their heels as the group face incessant rain, privation and starvation as they try, in wretched circumstances, to stay beyond the curtain of death sweeping England. The book powerfully conveys what England was like at this time, the prejudices, the fears, the strange beliefs, the greediness of the priests, the squalor, the filth and the terror and horror of the Black Death.

Despite this grim backdrop, the tale is powerfully compelling as the story focuses not upon these grim external conditions, but upon the goodness and hopes of the characters themselves. None of the characters are quite who they claim to be and all have secrets they desperately wish to keep. Over the months they travel together, eat and sleep together, face misfortune and disaster together they learn more about their companions until all the secrets are fully revealed in turn, often with dire consequences.
Read more ›
2 Comments 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Company of Liars is, for most of the book's roughly 500 pages an engrossing, entertaining, and even educational read. A historical novel combining a Canterbury-Tales like structure (it's slight and shallow but there) and a medieval-mystery like plot, it entertains while the motley group of Chauceresque pilgrims gather by ones and twos into a single group (some more willingly than others), it educates while this group troops through the muck and death of 14th century plague-ridden England, and it engrosses while its members are knocked off one by one. Unfortunately, while it still garners a recommend, it doesn't sustain any of these three aspects through the whole of the book.
It's narrated by Camelot (or "a" camelot since the name is also a general descriptor of those who sell holy relics), whose voice is pleasant and endearing enough to happily carry us through the novel, though at times it felt like the voice wasn't wholly of the 14th century. Camelot introduces himself and his profession, then the arrival of the plague, which is the impetus for Camelot's decision to head north and inland in order to find a place to escape the plague until the oncoming winter kills it off (ahh, the optimism). Soon enough Camelot is successively joined by a pair of musicians--a master and apprentice--, a deformed storyteller, a traveling conjuror, a pregnant woman and her lover, a healer, and a strange 12-year-old girl who reads the runes and tells the future.
The travelers are all trying to escape the plague but they have other reasons for flight as well, reasons that will remain their own for some time. Meanwhile, not all are happy about their forced accompaniment and there is a lot of tension, strive, and even violence between the various members of the band.
Read more ›
2 Comments 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I was fully prepared not to like this book given my distaste for marketing tricks like the one used by the publishing house to compare Company of Liars to Chaucer's CT. So imagine my surprise when I read the first page, then the second, then third, and didn't stop reading until I had finished the novel in two sittings. If you want to know what life was like in the fourteenth century, you'd do well to read this book. It requires its fair share of suspending disbelief, given that one of the protagonists reads runes and makes accurate predictions throughout the novel, but aside from that this is the real thing. I felt like I was joining the characters on their daily struggle to find adequate food and shelter. And when members of the party die, I really felt for them, which to me is the sign of a great book. Five very solid stars.
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nine hapless, homeless people grudgingly band together in their quest to outrun the "pestilence" as well as their pasts. Mix in disfigurement, fear, hidden truths, famine, and a heavy dose of superstition, and you've got a novel that is part historical novel and part mystery. Author Maitland, writing of course for the modern reader, does a creditable job injecting accuracy in detail and ambiance, and her characters fairly jump off the page. Nine different motives, some soothsaying, and a series of ominous deaths keep the pages turning, and Xanthus the spunky horse provides some relief in this dark tale.
Recommended to those who enjoy an intelligently written story set in medieval times.
4 Comments 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews