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The Company of the Dead

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  550 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Can one man save the Titanic?

March 1912. A mysterious man appears aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage. His mission? To save the ship.

The result? A world where the United States never entered World War I, thus launching the secret history of the 20th Century.

April 2012. Joseph Kennedy - grand-nephew of John F. Kennedy - lives in an America occupied in the East by Greate
Paperback, 751 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Titan Books (first published August 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,824)
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Dec 16, 2011 David marked it as unread
Recommended to David by: Caris
Warning: This is a non-review review. If you are one of those priggish scolds who demands actual review reviews, pass this one by. I'm just not in the mood right now for one of those 'How dare you review a book without reading it!' lectures. It's a free galaxy, so go ahead and buzz off. (Who am I kidding? Nobody will notice the irrelevance of this review because nobody will notice this book.)

I am David Kowalski. No, not that David Kowalski—the world-renowned Australian gynecologist who writes al
It is the maiden voyage of the Titanic and one man aboard knows exactly what is about to happen. As he hands the man on watch a pair of unusual binoculars he tells him to keep a close eye out for anything. As the warning whistles blow the ship avoids a collision with an iceberg … only to hit another one three hours later. Three hours which were enough time to change the list of survivors and thereby change the course of history.

I really, really wanted to like this book. The premise of the story
Rachael Rodgers
This is the best book I’ve read in a long, long time…

The premise behind this book lies in the theory of chaos. This theory describes how a seemingly inconsequential event can change the way subsequent events evolve. In regards to the weather, it describes how the flapping of a single butterfly’s wing produces a tiny change to the state the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to diverge from what it would have done otherwise. The net effect being that markedly different weather conditions can even
I like playing with the idea of alternative histories, like Fatherland. In this case, the query is: what would have happened if the Titanic hadn't gone down? Or if it had gone down and different people had survived? That's the way the book opens, and it's fairly good (though the main character uses the F-word so much that one of the contemporary passengers asks why he's being so crude), but then the book cuts to the present, where the Confederacy is still around, and the Japanese occupy New York ...more
THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD is an alternate-history novel that centers around the sinking of the Titanic. At the start, a time traveler named Wells attempts to stop the well-known disaster from occurring. He doesn't succeed, but he does delay the event by three hours. This small change creates massive ramifications that drastically alter the future. America is no longer United, Hitler is a famous artist, and most of the globe is under the rule of either the Japanese or German empires. A young man na ...more
I actually rated this book 4.5 stars but decided to round it up since it is a fascinating read.

It is April 1912 and Jonathan Wells is travelling on the Titanic towards New York. Armed with knowledge that he shouldn’t be able to have he is on a mission to save the ship from the Iceberg that would make the ships maiden-voyage also her last. His action will have shocking results for the world, results Wells couldn’t have foreseen and doesn’t live to experience.
In April 2012 a newly build copy of th
At times I found this book a gripping and encompassing read, and then other times I just wanted Kowalski to get on with it.

The idea of what would happen if the history of the Titantic changed is interesting, and I liked the plays with history ideas.

The pacing could have been slightly better, and the sole female character better drawn - not been the object of lust for so many men.
Nathaniel Gritsman
Loved this book to bits. It's scope is truly huge.
As an historical fiction it's both fascinating in its exploration of an alternative (and fascinating) 20th century as well as presenting the most realized world I've yet to explore.
From there it segways seamlessly into an amazing thriller, with wild action sequences and an exploration of paradox which you'll never see coming. (at least I didn't!)
The book is excellently written, brilliantly plotted, and I read a blog somewhere that stated the alt
Matt Mitrovich
Just because something is improbable does not mean it is impossible. That is a common phrase you will find in David Kowalski's The Company of the Dead. Originally published in Australia, this award-winning novel is Kowalski first work to be published in the United States and a lot of hype has come with it, including praise from John Birmingham and S. M. Stirling. So does the novel deserve the attention it has been getting?

The story begins when a time traveler from OTL goes back in time to preven
Stephen Holak
Without a doubt, the best book I have read in the past year, and one of the best time-travel / alternate history works ever. From plot, to prose, to tone and intersection with actual historical events, this book is masterful.

I give it five stars; however, I do have one small critique: the main protagonist, Joe Kennedy, could have used a bit more character development, perhaps in the form of internal monologue or emotional reaction to events. We do get a decent sense of the man, but I closed the
Danielle Neldon
The last 50 pages were great-everything a time-travel novel should be. However, you had to force your way through hundreds of pages of boring military strategy to get to it. Not really worth it.
I'm hovering somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on this, so I guess it's a solid 3.5. Overall, I enjoyed it, but it had some definite pacing/editing issues. It could easily have been at least 200 pages shorter, and would have been a better novel for it. You figure out fairly early on where everything is headed, but it takes 500+ pages of meandering to get there. Instead of a tense climax and big payoff once you do get there, the pacing slows way down and stalls out for another 50+ pages. Someone so ...more
Patrick Nichol
Wow! What an epic adventure.
This is a truly satisfying read by first-time novelist David Kowalski, a rich alternate-history/time-travel tapestry sandwiched between a bloody war story.
One man from the future ends up on the Titanic on April 14, 1912 the night of her disastrous sinking. This man (named Wells in a literary in-joke)hands Lookout Frederick Fleet a pair of 21st Century binoculars to aid his watch.
These help Fleet sight an iceberg, warn the bridge, and help avoid disaster. But Titanic h
Paul Lunger
David Kowalski's "The Company of the Dead" is perhaps the most complicated alternate history story in the history of the genre & yet it's more than that & then some. The story begins with the premise that the Titanic doesn't sink when it's supposed to on April 15, 1912 due to the interference of Jonathan Wells who changes the when & leaves one rather important person alive after the sinking. Fast forward a century into a world where the US didn't enter WWI thus causing the Confederac ...more
This book needs to be a movie. A dumb, action packed, James Cameron (maybe that's just because he did Titanic) movie. If this thing only took 2 hours and was all Hollywood and action packed, I probably would have liked it. I wouldn't have loved it, but I might have at least liked it.

Instead, it is a 750 page monstrosity with little to redeem it except the moral of "don't do time travel, it fucks things up." I'm pretty sure (given the all knowing ghost dancers) that Kowalski would also want me t
Jun 12, 2012 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: World-savers
Recommended to Alan by: Chance
This squat, massive trade paperback has room enough on the spine to print the quote that drew me in... "A magnificent alternate history, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest maritime disasters" (Library Journal). Well, no. Magnificent, it's not. But... The Company of the Dead is well-timed, coming as it does upon the centennial of the Titanic's sinking, and it is for the most part suspenseful and compelling.

Time traveler Jonathan Wells keeps the Titanic from colliding with the iceberg
Feb 14, 2012 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Lee
Kowalski made a masterpiece here. The basis of the novel reels you in -- a man goes back in time to try to save the Titanic, and the future is altered greatly as a result. The backstory is detailed and solid, with plenty of interesting alterations to what actually occurred. It did mess with my head a bit, though; my historical knowledge, as limited as it had been beforehand, was jumbled with the 'reality' of the novel. The dialogue isn't boring, with plenty of description yet not so much to the ...more
What an interesting concept. A crazy time travel story which takes place in the present and the it e of the Titanic. A marvelous What if. I loved the begining of the story, my problem came in the middle where the book really dragged. After awhile I just didn't care about the alternate history timeline. The story in the past crackled though. I would have cut a few pages out if this book. I think it would have been a tighter, faster read. I still enjoyed it but be warned if long books are not your ...more
Guy Haley
Winner of two Aurealis awards when released down under back in 2007, The Company of the Dead is a subtle novel of counterfactual history.

In an alternative 2012, the world is about to be destroyed by war between the German and Japanese Empires. Joseph Kennedy, a cousin of JFK, discovers his entire reality is a should-never-have-been timeline created by the well-meaning meddling of an accidental time-traveller, and sets out to change it back.

Kowalski’s alternative Earth is lovingly crafted, inhabi
Feb 22, 2014 Saintjono rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with time enough to read it!
Shelves: goodreads-reads
As you can see from my rating, I thought this was a great book. It combines sci-fi concepts with alternate-history and the product is a well thought through, detailed and enjoyable story with twists and turns galore. I liked the characters,enjoyed the adventure and as a student of 20th Century History really appreciated the thought which went into creating this alternative world order.
There were just a couple of things which brought the rating down a little for me.
The first is the length of th
Shane Wilson
Read this a while back in the Aussie editon. This book blew my mind when it first came out. I was expecting escapism and a fair amount of cliche, just a chunky read.
Well, there's a lot of familiar tropes here, the titanic, Roswell, the Kennedys. But cliche? Nah. It takes a while to get in to it, but once I cracked the first quarter it was a smooth sail (pun intended). THis is a seriously fun, seriously entertaining read. It actually got me reading some histroy books too!
Apr 28, 2014 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
This book was definitely... sprawling. There was a lot going on. In the beginning it was confusing and I almost gave up. In the middle it was really exciting and I wanted to keep going. At the end it dragged a little bit, but still held my attention.

The book starts on the Titanic. Jonathan Wells travels back in time to stop the sinking of the Titanic. Joseph Kennedy (related to JFK) lives in a different version of America, which was dramatically altered by Wells' actions on the Titanic. (A secon
Amazing concept, really gets you thinking about the past, the present and the future and the ideas of fate or freewill
Anthony Burt
This is, to put it lightly, an epic and wondrous book. Its author, Kowalski, has crafted an intricate, thrilling alternate history time-travel thriller that begins aboard the doomed ship, Titanic. But this is merely the beginning of a tour-de-force of punchy - yet descriptively beautiful at times - story re-imagining world politics, war and the socio-economic impact of several key people's decisions.

The book begins with a man called Jonathan Wells aboard the Titanic. He's attempting to stop it f
Time traveller messes with the sinking of the Titanic, thereby changing the world. Some secret agents and military types from the new future discover their future is not the 'real' future and decide to go back and fix it all, knowing that it will destroy their world and everything in it.

This has a lot going for it. The new future is well crafted and internally consistent, the time travel aspect is almost as brain burning as Inception, and the action sequences are effectively chaotic. The writing
Goran Skrobonja
Now this book is a special case. It took me almost A YEAR to read it - which never happened to me before, with any other novel. Admittedly, it was almost exclusively bathroom reading, and there's only so many pages you can read on the can, but it's bloody huge. It's bloated.
I never fully accepted the phrase "less is more", and I like big books - I always have the feeling I am getting more for my money - but sometimes more is really too much. The Company of the Dead has it all - time-travel parad
Pamela (slytherpuff)
See more of my reviews at Bettering Me Up.

**I won this book from Goodreads as a First Reads giveaway**

I was really excited when I learned that I had won this book. Such an awesome premise and very timely as we remember the Titanic's sinking one hundred years ago. What would happen if someone went back in time and changed the course of history? One small change on the night of April 14, 1912 changes the world. How could I not absolutely love this book?

I'll tell you how. First of all, it was long.
Kerry Hennigan
What if all the millionaires who perished on the Titanic didn’t perish? What if some survived – what sort of future would they have wrought, and would we be any better off.

In The Company of the Dead author David Kowalski has amassed a cast of illustrious descendants of some of those people and sends them back in time to correct a past that was, itself, altered to the detriment of their own timeline.

There are some familiar names inhabiting past and present – Kennedy, Lightholler, Morgan and Wells
How would the world be different today if the Titanic did not sink? This question falls into the same alternate history category as "How would the world be different if the South had won the Battle of Gettysburg?" The answers to these questions always make for interesting reading to me, because it is fun to speculate.

Mr. Kowalski takes the saving of the Titanic as the center point of an interesting novel that combines time travel, science fiction, spy action, westerns, and a lot of conspiracy th
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Misspelled name on purpose? 2 26 Sep 01, 2012 05:51AM  
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