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The White Company

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  2,945 Ratings  ·  170 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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J.G. Keely
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.
Debbie Zapata
May 31, 2017 Debbie Zapata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
A long time ago, I read The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. And last year I read a collection of his poetry called Songs Of The Road. But The White Company, published in 1891, was the first of his historical novels for me, and now I can't decide whether to continue here sounding somewhat scholarly or to simply let my feelings take over.

So first the Somewhat Scholar. This book is based loosely on certain events in the life of a real true knight in shining armor by the name of Sir Neil Loring, c
_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
Feb 08, 2013 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2014 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
I loved this one. I'm very happy I discovered this pearl by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an author I've come to appreciate after reading all the Sherlock Holmes short stories and novellas available.
I was surprised to read Doyle engaged with a historical novel, and at the depth of his research. Also the writing style is quite different from the elegant, yet very fresh style employed in the Sherlock Holmes stories, it aims to capture the spirit of the time portrayed, which is the earlier part of the Hu
Jul 09, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This very much follows the same storyline and tropes as the prequel, "Sir Nigel," to the point that it feels more like a rehash of the plot. What I'm noticing is that you like one or the other depending on which you read first, for both novels are too similar to offer something different. Perhaps that this one has a group of characters as the protagonists, and not just Loring as in the other novel, and that its more adventure-focused, which makes sense as this is an archer's company at war.

Sep 23, 2012 Sylvester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Daniel Polansky
It's kind of interesting to read totally mediocre genre stuff of previous generations, just sort of as an artifact. But this book is basically pretty stupid. Doyle has done his homework and there are some interesting bits about monks, but it's mostly pure melodrama, and the characterization is shoddy as a tree house made by drunken children. It's basically just a bit pile of shit, but I didn't mind it while I was reading it.
An Odd1
Dec 29, 2011 An Odd1 rated it really liked it
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
Oh, what language did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle use! What vocabulary! Verily, it was a delight to read such writing, even though I had previously never read anything by this author. It was recommended to me here, probably based on the Bernard Cornwell's books I read. The edition I read was the original, unabridged text, as stated inside by the publisher.

Since the story takes place in the context of the Hundred Years War, differently described and yet similar to said Cornwell's works. Arthur Conan D
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
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.
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.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Young Alleyne has had a sheltered up-bringing in a monastery, learning how to read and paint, but knowing very little about normal life in Medieval England. When he ventures out into the world as a young man, he finds a place as squire to the famous knight, Sir Nigel, the leader of the White Company, a band of English archers. They march to war with Spain, and Alleyne is determined to win glory, love, riches, and honor without losing the saintly virtues that the monks taught him as a child.

I lov
Jan 22, 2010 K. rated it it was amazing
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
Evan Oliver
Jan 05, 2016 Evan Oliver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-twelve
This book belongs in The Twelve, the twelve books a man should read every year. It is one of the best stories I've ever read, and it gets better every year.

First thing that stands out is Sir Arthur's (He's a knight people, refer to him as such) images of manhood. There is Hordle John, the rough backbone of manhood, strong and innocent, with simple dreams and a joy in life that escapes many. Then there is Samkin Aylward, The Soldier with a heart of gold covered by a rough exterior. Brave and loya
Christopher Taylor
This is one of my favorite books, a real treasure to discover, if a bit hard to find these days. John F Kennedy listed it as one of his all time favorites as well. It would be magnificent to see a good film made from this book.

For those who have only read Sherlock Holmes stories, you're in for a treat with this novel. Doyle was a grand historical fiction writer, and preferred those books over his Holmes stores, which he viewed largely as a meal ticket.

The White Company follows the adventures of
Jun 26, 2016 Helen rated it really liked it
Very very good. Once I got past the beginning, and started enjoying the characters (and realized it wasn't about the Crusades!) I read it with pleasure. I can't say I was hooked, but I did look forward to reading it each time it was on my schedule. Memorable characters, vistas and incidents. Very well researched for historical accuracy, apparently, both in the text and the illustrations.
Jul 31, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining enough, in a Boys Own Adventures way. England, or more specifically, Englishmen knock the foreigners for six while displaying the time honoured virtues of their respective classes. Oddly paced with the most interesting parts of the story coming in the final two chapters, much of it happening off-stage.
David Roark
Nov 17, 2016 David Roark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book... It is fun sometimes to read stories with this grander, more eloquent way of speaking, and to read of the honor, pride, and courage of the warriors. It was cool to see Alleyne's development throughout the story, and I liked the character of Aylward as well. Hordle John is sort of the Little John parallel of the story. Interesting book!
Oct 05, 2010 Bill rated it liked it  ·  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
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.
Mercedes Rochelle
Arthur Conan Doyle’s foray into historical fiction captured my imagination decades ago, and I’m glad to say my enthusiasm hasn’t faded on the second reading (or is it the third?). To me, Doyle has the uncanny ability to instantly drop us into a different era, largely through the dialog of his unforgettable characters. The White Company is the sequel to his lively Sir Nigel, and takes us to France during the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s unemployed soldiers wreaked havoc on the countryside b ...more
Will  Justus
Jan 23, 2017 Will Justus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Wonderful Adventure

This is a delightful romance in the vein of Ivanhoe, though more praising of the common man and aware of the quirks of chivalry. The characters are memorable and instantly beloved by the reader. Humor, daring, and love are the rich spoils to be had in this exceptional novel.
May 30, 2017 Craig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This "story" mostly feels like Doyle just wanted to show off his knowledge of medieval Europe. There are some good parts, but they are so few and far between that I can't recommend reading the whole book.
Mar 12, 2017 Ricky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of some rag-tag knights fighting for chivalry and honor in the 100 years war. Overall, an entertaining yet not completely mindless novel, similar to Ivanhoe but in slightly more modern English. I was left craving more pasties and flagons of cider, along with a small desire to set out on some quest for glory.
The story was well written with excellent, but not overwhelming, historical detail. Sir Nigel was by far the best character, and I'm pleased to learn from Wikipedia that he has his
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.
Mar 13, 2017 Barry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bit slow to develop.
Stephen Cagle
Apr 27, 2012 Stephen Cagle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Arthur Conan Doyle...

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“Streams may spring from one source and yet some may be clear and some be foul.” 7 likes
“Holy men? Holy cabbages! Holy bean-pods! What do they do but live and suck in sustenance and grow fat? If that be holiness, I could show you hogs in this forest who are fit to head the calendar. Think you it was for such a life that this good arm was fixed upon my shoulder, or that head placed upon your neck? There is work in the world, man, and it is not by hiding behind stone walls that we shall do it.” 6 likes
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