The novel is narrated by a scarred old Camelot who has been on the road for years pedaling fake holy relics. The Camelot is soon joined by a diverse cast of characters including a pregnant woman and her husband, a musician and his apprentice, a magician, a healer, a storyteller, and a young girl who reads the runes. As the title suggests, each in the company is lying about something, though most of the lies are quite easy to figure out long before the truth is revealed.
Author Karen Maitland excels at setting the scene of the story – the historical details are grinded into the plot rather than left in lumps of exposition which makes for a vivid and compelling reading experience. There was also a tinge of the mystical and the occult in the narrative, which makes sense considering the superstitions of the time. Oh and it has one of the most chilling endings I’ve ever read (especially after going back to read the prologue again).
In a story set in this turbulent time, it’s no spoiler to say that death awaits some of the characters. But strangely enough, I was not emotionally attached to any of the characters (save Camelot) to be more than mildly concerned for them and certainly no one’s fate touched me so much that I had to shed any tears. I don’t know if this was because most of the characters were vaguely unlikable and spent a lot of the time bickering or if was something more intangible.
Thanks to LibraryThing for the Early Review copy. Company of Liars is out in hardcover now.