In a network of lines that enlace

20-something Londoner with a tendency toward book ranting.

An absorbing piece of historical fiction

Company Of Liars - Karen Maitland

I’ve not read much historical fiction; what I have is limited to a particular historical figure, and I attributed my interest to this. So picking up a novel where my knowledge of the time period was limited was a little a daunting. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it.

Turns out it was brilliant.


It’s an exceptionally gripping storyline that keeps you guessing. Each character is hiding a secret, or in some cases a multitude of them. Although I did guess some revelations, the majority were a surprise and subtly written. The way historical fact and fiction were woven together was fantastic and not forced. I did not feel that the writing or the characters acted out of the time period.


What was most intriguing was the way superstition and magic were used. The 1300’s were a time of extreme superstition, and this was prevalent through the writing. You’re never sure what you’re seeing; if it’s truly magic, or just a logical reaction and belief of the time period. It’s fascinating to see an author exploring the role of superstition in everyday 14th century life. Discussions regarding the Church and the role of priests were also extremely interesting, and added to the depth and reality of the novel.


This is a truly interesting and absorbing read, and has opened up a new genre of writing for me. I’m excited to try more historical fiction very soon.

Currently reading

Dangerous Women
George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois
Progress: 201/800 pages