The White Company
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The White Company

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,694 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Afterword by Peter Glassman. Young Alleyne Edricson journeys to France in 1366 to join the White Company, a bold band of archers, and is swept into a series of exciting adventures. Written by the creator of Sherlock Holmes and illustrated by one of America's most distinguished artists, this lavishly illustrated deluxe gift edition is available once again. A Books of Wonder...more
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published May 20th 1988 by HarperCollins (first published 1891)
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A delightful and strange adventure story in the vein of The Three Musketeers or The Scarlet Pimpernel, but also an early foreshadow of the Mannerpunk genre which grew out of Peake's Gormenghast books.

The well-researched text creates a believable world which is undoubtedly (and delightfully) removed from the modern. Not only does Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame) create a fairly accurate portrait of ever-warring Feudal Europe, but at least proposes a psychological type for the soldiers of the time....more
_The White Company_ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is equal parts boy’s own adventure and historical fiction of the Hundred Years’ War. It reminded me very much of the spirit of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, though it’s been so long since I read the latter story I wouldn’t want to draw too many specific comparisons. The story is that of a young aristocrat, Alleyne Edricson, who leaves the safe confines of the abbey where he was raised in order to see the world for a year before deciding on the path his...more
An Odd1
If reading online (I prefer illustrated books) uses to define words (and find words), but other sources at:

Some words are not in the dictionary, such as "none-meat", although "none" is 3pm. "Bouvary", like piscatorium, Doyle defines himself, saying "or" ox-farm, fish-pond. Definitions were added to my blog list as I noticed them, not alphabetical, so you'll ha...more
Having read not only the Sherlock Holmes body of work, but the Professor Challenger stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was somewhat surprised to discover that the good doctor also wrote historical fiction. Indeed, The White Company takes place in a rather intriguing part of European history known (somewhat erroneously) as the Hundred Years War. The White Company is the story of a cloister-raised young nobleman who discovers that his father was wise in establishing his legacy in giving him a ye...more
I read this book many years ago.

I remember that Doyle was disappointed this book wasn't as well received as his Holmes mysteries. Even though I young reader, I found this book seems too English, to serious and too self-aware. Oh, it's a good story and Doyle told it well. It just seemed that the reader was too aware of him trying. Of course, we shouldn't be. We should be impressed in the world and the story and pay no attention to the insignificant man behind the curtain. We shouldn't even be aw...more
Steffanie Anderson
A challenging read but well worth the trouble. Conan Doyle never fails to capture humanity at its best and most cleverly comical.

Thanks to my Dad for the recommendation.
This is my favorite most favorite book of all time ever. I love it for its adventure, its sweetness, its badass women (unusual for the time and even moreso for Conan Doyle,) its fun characters, and the fact that since it was originally a magazine serial, while it's exciting and fun it is episodic enough to put down when you want to do trivial things like sleep or go to work.

What I didn't realize until I reread it as an adult is how funny it is. VERY dry humor, but there's a laugh in every line i...more
There is nothing better than a motley crew of adventurers setting out on a journey. They laugh, they tell stories, they meet travelers on the road, get into fights, get ripped off by con name it, there's something new around every corner. Conan Doyle did an amazing job with this novel - a mix of Canterbury Tales, the adventures of R.L. Stevenson, with the attitude of The Three Musketeers. Lots of chivalric fun! Is there any such thing as a Landlubber Swashbuckler? Loved it.

Almost forg...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
AN excellent tale of high adventure during the Hundred Years' War. In the Scott mould, although without Scott's epic lift. Still, Doyle is a great storyteller with an eye for the sort of detail that brings this far-away era to vivid life. And it isn't all action, all the way, in between the big-ticket combat scenes we're treated to a panorama of vignettes of 14th-century life as our heroes travel from the English countryside to France and then Spain in search of battles to be fought.
This story is exceptionally balanced! It has all the elements I look for in a good adventure story and more that I consider surprising bonuses. Things I look for that were present: action, adventure, romance, humor. Things I was not expecting but was pleased to find: an excellent interweaving of languages, and a critical viewpoint of things even our heroes hold dear. This "two sides of the coin" perspective is tricky to work into a Knight-tastic story, and I really appreciate the way in which it...more
I suppose I should have read this as a boy, or not at all, but I have a weakness for bracing, politically incorrect boys' books from the past. Sadly, this one proved both unconvincing and enervatingly slow-moving, and I abandoned it after twenty pages or so.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I read this after I read Ivanhoe. The two books take place in the same time period, and are full of adventure. I liked this one too.
Aug 07, 2011 Bill rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Men who like historical fiction
It started slow, but as I got into it, quite enjoyable and the last chapters quite moved along. I ended up enjoying very much
This was so hard for me to get through. I'm not sure if it was because I was reading it for a school project or what, but I found this book SO hard to finish. The plot seemed slow to me and I guess various events in it seemed choppy and random, but I'm going to blame about a quarter of that on my reading schedule with this book.

As far as Doyle is concerned, I think that this was some of his best and I think I would say most vivid writing. His main character left a great deal to be desired though...more
Chivalry is alive and well in The White Company. In it a man's word is worth something, and his actions are worth even more. It is also a very bloody story indeed with lots of swordplay and arrows flying.

I mixed reading the book and listening to an audio narration. The narration by voice actor Nick Rawlinson gives the story a somewhat different feel and especially colors the character of Sir. Nigel. The book makes it clear that Sir. Nigel is not physically impressive at first sight. Rawlinson re...more
Leah Cossette
The White Company is the story of Alleyne Edricson, a highborn orphan raised in a monastery. Upon reaching manhood, Alleyne is allowed to leave the monks who have been his whole life and seek out his fortune in the world. And so the pious young man meets with an assortment of colorful characters and adventures all leading him to the titular White Company, a band of archers setting out to wage war in the name of the Black Prince.

The story, if it can be called that, is told in an episode format, e...more
Jan 22, 2010 K. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: chivalric knights errant & adventure lovers
A few, sorrily disjointed, thoughts.

Wow--felt like reading Sir Walter Scott.

Fun book. Truly a "boys" book--moreso than I found I could take--almost. Filled with battles, blood and descriptions of armor and weapons, ad nauseum.

Set during the 100 years war.

Super characters, unique and whimsical.

Was the age of chivalry really like that? Seriously, there was a passage that talked about how the knights would take a vow to do some great feat of arms for their ladies, and that an eye-patch would b...more
Gary Hoggatt
Everyone has heard of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. What many readers aren't aware of is that in addition to detective fiction, Doyle also ventured into historical fiction. Doyle's 1891 historical novel The White Company is one of his early efforts in this genre, and I found the medieval adventure great fun.

Beginning in England in 1366, during the Hundred Years War, the novel begins with our protagonist Alleyne Edricson venturing forth into the world for the first time....more
When I read this book, I really thought it could be made into a tv show and then movies. The beginning of the book is written in small scenes, Alleyne has just left the monastery and has entered the world. Observing the different aspects of life, he recognizes the harshness and beauty of life all around him, but still colors everything he sees with his monastic upbringing. Each scene is a small story, you get Alleyne's view (and eventually that of his companions); it is left to us as the reader...more
Matt Kelland
I was fascinated to read this book for the first time since I was about 12 or 13, and see it in a whole new light. The opening took me back to my days growing up in Hampshire: I remember all the places Doyle mentions - Hordle, Boldre, Lymington, and so on. It was a great nostalgia trip.

After a few chapters, though, I got fed up with the faux medieval language: it's all "hast", and "quoth", and "by my hilt!" and "in sooth". And nobody ever speaks if they can help it - they all cry, or exclaim or...more
Ian Connel
The White Company is a fun, if very sequential, tale of adventure. A young man leaves the monastery and finds himself a squire in The White Company, a troop of free soldiers and archers under the command of Sir Nigel, who is the epitome of chivalrous and courageous behavior. If you like King Arthur stories, you will enjoy it.

Doyle creates perhaps too much detail, demonstrating an extensive knowledge of the period and customs. This is immersive in parts and tedious in others. The characters aren...more
Vibina Venugopal
I had abandoned this book way back in my school days as I was tired of checking dictionary and bit irritated asking for my parents help with certain words and sentences..Now back home for a short vacation somehow this book attracted my attention, with its old tattered pages this classic invited me into its magical world and oh boy was I captivated!!! you bet ...Though I still needed some help with certain words it was a real treat..
For a man who was famous for his iconic Sherlock Holmes this one...more
Bev Hankins
According to the blurb on GoodReads, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle considered The White Company his best work and characterized it as "worth a hundred Sherlock Holmes stories." Um. Okay. Who am I to argue with a knighted author? One of his readers, that's who. And I say give me Holmes any day.

So, The White Company is a tale of knights and squires and derring-do set against the backdrop of the Hundred Year's War. There are adventures and wars and jousting and ladies' honor to be defended and brave men t...more
I read this as a kid probably at least 30 years ago and liked it for its entertainment value without knowing anything of the history. So having recently finished Sumption's second volume history of the Hundred Years War covering the same period - 10 years after Poitiers in 1366 - it was time to re-read for comparison.

The book stays fairly faithful to the actual characters and occurrences with the exception of the demise of the White Company in Spain.

The heroic character of Nigel Loring appears t...more
Let me just start by saying that I am not good with sentences containing "thee," "hath," or "quoth." So I will admit that when I first opened this book, I groaned. But sitting on an airplane with little else to do, I persevered, and discovered something unexpected. This book is fantastic.
I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan, but I didn't know that I was a historical fiction fan. I was expecting boring historical discourses, not pirates, archers, and epic battles. There was plenty of action to keep me going...more
This is the best Historical Fiction I have ever read. I think Conan Doyle was a genius and this, to my taste, is his best work. Set in the 100 years war, it follows the exploits of a young man free from the cloisters for the first time and out to make his way in the world. The characterisations are both hugely likable and insightful, the plot is very entertaining, and the setting drew me deep into the narrative. It is occasionally very funny, always witty, and frequently observant (if a little c...more
BJ Haun
I had started this book a few years back, moved on, and recently decided to come back and finish this one off.

I kinda wish I would have just left it in my "might get back to again someday" pile. I am usually a quick reader and can knock out a book this size in a few days, but it took me two weeks to slog my way through The White Company. When I finished the book this afternoon, my thoughts were not on the ending, but rather I joyfully thought to myself "I made it! It's finally over!" as though I...more
Ugh, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not make a good impression with this, the first of his books that I decided to pick up. Blah. I have to say that he makes Tolkien look brusque. If you ever thought there was someone who was long winded, try reading this and you'll want to listen to that other person talk all freaking day.

Anyway, the plot wasn't bad. The story was alright, but it should have been about a hundred pages shorter to get to the point. Maybe a hundred and fifty. Not a book that sucks you...more
Gavin Strawn
To a teenage boy who had always dreamed of the fighting as a chivalrous knight, of the stories of friendship and the honorable fight, the White Company was a work of magnificence. It combined the specifics that one could desire without flooding the reader with the exact particulars of the time while creating a story that engaged the reader.

Following the main character, Allyne, as he grows from a soft, monk bred boy to a war hardened squire, Doyle writes what his mother, a professor of European H...more
The writing style is very evocative of the era the story represents, and it has aged well as a piece of Literature, if not necessarily well as a story, though it has its moments. The character development is somewhat haphazard and contrary, but the plot is a solid beginning-middle-end with appropriately placed conflict. Plenty of predictable outcomes and deus ex machina, though for a piece of its time, that isn't exactly a dealbreaker.
It's solid. Nothing special if you just want to be transporte...more
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Arthur Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, was Irish. They were married in 1855.

Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname (if that is how he meant it to be understood) is uncertain. His baptism record...more
More about Arthur Conan Doyle...
A Study in Scarlet  (Sherlock Holmes, #1) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #3) The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, #5) The Complete Sherlock Holmes The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II

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