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The Decameron
G.H. McWilliam, Giovanni Boccaccio
Progress: 216/1272 pages

Company of Liars

Company of Liars - Karen Maitland I think the cover of this book first attracted my attention to it while browsing in my local bookstore. It stuck out from the crowd so I read the blurb and took it home with me (after paying for it, of course). It's a kind of medieval road movie with a bit of murder and mystery thrown in. Actually, there is quite a lot of murder and mystery in there but it doesn't really start until the second half of the book. The story is told by one person who, at the start of the story, is on a pilgrimage to a sacred shrine (I can't remember which one but it isn't that important). At each stop on the way, our narrator manages to pick up more and more travellers who are, for one reason or another, fleeing their past. The pilgrimage becomes a flight for everyone as the Black Death arrives in England and rapidly catches up with our band of frightened travellers. And then the murders begin...

I had to start this book twice, the first time I was in the middle of moving house so I couldn't get into it. But once I had picked it up the second time, I couldn't put it down again until I had finished it. So what did I like about it apart from the eye-catching cover? Well, I liked the beginning, which was actually describing the end of the book without giving anything away. I liked the fact that each new member of the group seemed to manage to worm their way into it, despite the wish of the pilgrim to travel alone. I liked that every single one of them had a secret which kept you guessing through most of the book. The descriptions were sufficient to set the scene but not so much as to get in the way. And the ending was almost 'Hitcockian' - predictable (yes, that was the authors intention) but still quite chilling.

What didn't I like about it? Well..hmm...I don't think there was anything.

This book is well worth the time if you like stories about the Middle Ages and the Black Death as well as murder mystery. I went on to read "The Owl Killers" on the basis of this book and will pick up her next two without further ado.