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The Company Man Paperback – April 11, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The company in question is McNaughton Western Foundry Corp. which, by 1919 (when the novel takes place) has become the world leader in technology. It is so powerful that it averted World War I by threatening to cut off production of products (like airships) that could be used militarily. Credit for McNaughton's innovative technological breakthroughs is given to Lawrence Kulahee, an eccentric inventor who died in 1904. The company continued to grow despite his death, as did the former fishing village of Evesden, near Puget Sound, now a thriving metropolis with smokestacks and slums and dozens of murders each month. One of the murders -- of a man found floating in a canal -- prompts police detective Garvey to contact Cyril Hayes, who plays a murky role in McNaughton's security force. As Hayes tries to determine whether the nameless corpse is affiliated with McNaughton, he's assigned to investigate the union movement, which is suspected of sabotaging the corporation's factories. The lovely Samantha Fairbanks is asked to keep an eye on Hayes, who has a problem with opium and alcohol. Notwithstanding his addictions, Hayes has an unusual talent: he can establish a telepathic connection with people that grows stronger the longer he's in contact with them.Read more ›
However, despite the untold power and wealth residing in the company, the city has a seedy and destitute side to it. And down those dark streets walks the company's odd fixer Cyril Hayes. He possesses the power to create a kind of telepathic bond with anyone he spends time with, eventually being able to charm them and more or less read their thoughts. In the past he's ferreted out industrial spies and secret-sellers, and now he's trying to figure out both how and why a trolly car of eleven unionists pulled into a station with everyone on board completely slaughtered. Helping him is his new organizer/researcher/librarian/assistant, Ms. Fairbanks, and together with Cyril's policeman friend, Detective Garvey, they form a very odd heroic trio.
Unfortunately, about halfway through, the inventiveness starts to wear thin on the book, and the supernatural element starts to become more and more prominent. The mystery of the union murders starts to shift into a kind of X-Files conspiracy and before too long, the hint of alien mumbo-jumbo starts to poke though.Read more ›
It is a science fiction of a different bent. A combination of SCI FI, gritty noir, and almost steampunk. It takes place around 1920 on the west coast of American in a city fueled by fantastic technologies but mired in poverty and dark secrets. While this is an alternate history story, it is written a lot like the old 1930's and 40's SCI FI, social philosophy, and detective novels/movies many of us grew up on. The story has a nostalgic feeling that is overshadowed with knowledge from today. The reader finds herself sometimes a step ahead of the book's characters based on what we know today, but then deliciously falls behind the characters' understanding as the plot progresses and new twists unfold.
The three main characters in the book are very intelligent and special. They are definitely a product of their times. They exhibit what I would call an old fashion sense of honor and romantic vision, while still fighting their own internal demons. The main character of the three (though all are dominant to the story) is uniquely gifted and terribly tortured by this gift. The secondary characters are of course less resolved, but still distinct. And the bad guys have many grey edges.
The plot is convoluted but never confusing. While I figured out where some things were headed, I still found myself surprised and happily confounded. There are internal and external battles, moments of great sadness, horror, and death, but also a theme of strong friendships, duty, honor. And Mr Bennett's poetic style of writing, his beautifully descriptive prose, overlays wonderfully over the entire setting. I won't forget this book, these characters, this city, or this world any time soon.
A different but fantastic read. I loved it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
in my opinion the characters twists and turns became somewhat challenging to follow as they seem to just pop up out of no where and in many instances, a dialogue went on with a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chet
More than once while reading this book, I wanted to run around and DEMAND that everyone read not only The Company Man but everything else written by Mr. Bennett. Right now. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kindle Customer
The book grabbed me from the beginning, with an amazingly rich picture of an alternate version of the early 20th century. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jeffrey Peterman
Starts off strongly and the book moves along nicely until the last act which feels too rushed and neat, like the author was sick of the characters all of a sudden.Published 15 months ago by Duncan Mckenzie
Very cool book. I don't think I'm the first to describe it as kind of steampunk noir. I came across a rec for this exactly when I was in the market for something that stood out... Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. Allis
Too predicable. (X did it. Pag x ohh look he did) Too much world building not enough character building.Published 19 months ago by Travis C
Cyril Hayes is a Company man for the McNaughton Corporation. In this alternate Earth tale taking place in the 1920's, McNaughton is the largest company in the world, and Hayes is... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Spoon