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The Company

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,078 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Hoping for a better life, five war veterans colonize an abandoned island. They take with them everything they could possibly need - food, clothes, tools, weapons, even wives.

But an unanticipated discovery shatters their dream and replaces it with a very different one. The colonists feel sure that their friendship will keep them together. Only then do they begin to realize
ebook, 432 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Orbit (first published October 2nd 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,957)
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Alrighty. I'm calling it quits on this one. I just really can't muster up the interest in this to go ANOTHER half book. Nothing has happened... nothing IS happening... and from a lot of comments and reviews, it looks like the only happening to occur is at the very end, and I'm just not that patient.

So. Not that this is a bad book, but I just can't bring myself to keep plugging away at it for 48% more percent for maybe a little payoff. I just need SOMETHING more to keep me interested.
Oct 23, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: fof-reads
So how do I review this? Hmmm. I think I'll begin by warning off those that might want to read this without any expectations going in. I won't post spoilers per se, but I will be addressing the flow of this book, beginning to end.

That said,

What in the actual fuck? There, I feel better for having said that. Truth is, after finishing that I wanted to tear my copy to shreds, stomp on them, and kick the scraps into a firepit with the heat of a thousand hells blazing through it.

So yeah. What the holy
Dec 30, 2011 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is tough for me to review. I've read so many mixed reviews prior to reading it and I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm pretty sure whoever provided the cover blurb or the book being a cross between LOST and Italian Job, hasn't actually read the book or watched the show or the movie. This is a story about war, about the bond between men and what it can and can't endure. It's very well written with vivid descriptions and realistic dialogue, this is also one of those books that really lets ...more
Apr 09, 2010 Yoon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Like the Engineer trilogy, this novel is an ambitious failure: great opening, fascinating developments, a massively underwhelming ending. That being said, Parker excels (as usual) in examining the nasty interactions between men, formerly linebreakers of A Company, now devoted to fulfilling former general Teuche Kunessin's dream of a farm on an island. Sadly for Kunessin, he may have (for the moment) escaped the government, but he can't escape what he brought with him. Darkly cynical and depressi ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Rosemary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
K.J. Parker's "fantasies" make George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones seem like happy tales full of rainbows, kittens, and shiny cheery people. If you want grit, grime, and loss of all hope in your "heroes," then this is the book smouldering on the shelf, waiting to suck you in, chew you up, and spit you back out with a satisfied hiss.

If you're a writer, then you will weep in sheer mad jealousy at Parker's ability to twist the knife and slowly build to a conclusion both inevitable and surprising.
Sep 19, 2015 Tosan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. My first 5 star novel of 2015. The mixed reviews are not surprising because KJ Parker's style is very divisive and not for everyone. This book knocked me on my ass. In less than 500 pages, he created multiple characters that are fully formed (Teuche, Aidi, Fly, Muri, Kudei, Enyo, Merin and Dorun) with their own identities, motivations and existential crises and as usual I never knew where we were headed. Each character and their path will stay with me for a long, long time.

There are a coup
Gamma Mouse
May 12, 2011 Gamma Mouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Other people help themselves to penknives and inkwells; if they’re feeling really daring, they might liberate a keg of nails or a few lengths of timber. You steal bits of geography.”—“The Company”

Throughout the course of English literature, islands have often been used as settings, mainly because they serve as the perfect microcosm for civilization and society. Jonathan Swift established this tradition in “Gulliver’s Travels,” using the various island inhabitants Gulliver encounters to satire t
Jan 31, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: friendship, war
(Re-posted from

This book was ruined for me by an offhand comment I saw after reading it. ‘Hey,’ the comment said, ‘wouldn’t The Company have been a really awesome horror story?’

And damn it. Because, yes, The Company would have made a truly awesome horror story. Now, instead appreciating it for what it was, all I can think about is what it could have been. Which is stupidly unfair of me. It’s like going to a Chinese restaurant and then getting upset because
Jan 19, 2009 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Company by KJ Parker
Published by Orbit UK, October 2008
448 Pages
ISBN: 9781841495095
(ARC copy received.)

So: the war’s over, the soldiers return home – what happens next?

K J Parker’s latest standalone novel examines such a situation, not often looked at but one clearly relevant in a Fantasy world: what happens to soldiers after the war is over?

The basic story here (though to be fair, KJ’s stories are rarely basic) deals with a company of men, skilled in their wartime efforts, who all (or near
Jan 14, 2010 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant writer, intriguing premise, and a "fantasy" novel that includes no magic or supernatural components. The fantasy is simply the abandoned island that a group of war veterans colonize in hope of building their own personal utopia. Unfortunately, each of their visions is not quite on the same page and the "situation" is a breeding ground for each of their true natures to be fully realized. KJ Parker has probably the grimmest view of the human soul I've yet to encounter. This is not for an ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Dawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2014
Wtf. The ending.. I mean the whole thing. Nothing was really happening, but it wasn't bad throughout. I kept reading gladly because I was sure it would pick up and something surprising would happen. But then that ending. Wtf.

Apr 12, 2015 dwd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KJ Parker writes the best books I’ve ever read in which almost nothing happens.

So… context. This is only the second full length Parker novel I’ve read and I’m only just beginning to wrap my head around what (s?)he’s doing. Read Sharps a year ago and loved it, though the ending was a little underwhelming. Worked my way through Parker’s collection, Academic Exercises, which was amazingly good. And now this.

Like Sharps the ending of The Company is a bit underwhelming. The marketing description is
Jun 02, 2010 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I picked this book up because I was searching for something different from what I've been reading lately, and since I was in the 'fantasy'/'sci-fi' section at my local Borders...I happened across this book. What really caught my attention was the blurb on the cover from some reviewer from SFF WORLD saying, "Imagine LOST meets THE ITALIAN JOB...". Being a fan of LOST and having enjoyed (at least) the remake of THE ITALIAN JOB, I figured, "why not?" and bought it.

When I started reading T
Nov 10, 2008 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of military fantasy or historical novels
I must confess, I am not normally one who enjoys reading about war and the military, not even in a fantasy setting. If you do, I think you'll find The Company a fascinating read, and even if you don't, the book is well-written and thought-provoking. Although set in a fantasy world, there is no magic here, and the novel seems to offer a realistic depiction of the process of coming home from war in any pre-industrial world. Parker provides a lot of insight into the bonds formed among soldiers in t ...more
Oct 31, 2009 Brad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Having enjoyed the Engineer's Trilogy I was looking forward to this book, K.J. Parker's first stand alone novel but in the end I was sorely disappointed. First off the character's names were all unpronounceable and that made it difficult and annoying to keep track of who was who and the details of their lives. Second, all the characters were irredeemable so that at the end I did not really care what happened to them. Third, this book was slow going. It took me the same amount of time to read thi ...more
Leif Anderson
Jan 26, 2011 Leif Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just like the engineer trilogy, Parker has produced another of those damn novels where I can't describe it to my friends without actually describing the whole background of the story.

"What'ca reading?"
"A book."
"Well, not exactly... See there was this war, and during the war, this group of dudes were a really close knit group, because-"
"Wait, so it's historical?"
"No, the war never happened."
"Alternate history?"
"No, this is a different world... There are... lots of islands..."
"Oh, so fan
Page turner that goes nowhere and you finish it with a feeling of pointlessness and why did I bother. Still an interesting read and worth for the suspense, but it could have been so much better...

Now on reread: getting used with KJ Parker' style, getting to love her (??) novels and reading and rereading all previous 9 plus the P&B novella brought me back to this one and this time I really loved it and fully appreciated it; I still think Scavenger is the best of her work overall and I would
G. Brown
Sep 17, 2014 G. Brown rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
At the end of the book, I tossed it down and said out loud, "Surely, you must be joking."

The book gave no reply, but something tells me that Parker was not joking when he wrote this confused novel.

Okay, this is ostensibly a fantasy. It's taking place in a strange world which seems very much like Earth in the early 19th century but for the complete absence of gunpowder. The society is too developed to be medieval, but for some reason everyone still uses weapons from the 14th century. Okay, what
Thomas Irish
A well crafted, and beautifully written book shaped ball of frustration. I can't lie, I absolutely loved this book and I burned through it. The characters are enjoyable, the setting is fantastic, and seriously an author who gives us a glimpse of PTSD traumatized dopplesoldners (double paid soldiers, a reference to soldiers who were used to break the enemy pike formations) deserves mad props in my opinion. Let alone that he crafts such complex characters, who interact in a group in such a delight ...more
Dan Smyth
Feb 03, 2016 Dan Smyth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book of KJ Parker's that I've read. The first, after the Engineer trilogy, which I thought was absolutely amazing. This one was pretty good for me. It still showcases the great handle that Ms. Parker has on character. I think that for me though, this was a great example of how a publisher can ruin a story for a reader. I thought the cover was amazing, but the catch phrase on the front, "The war is never over," along with the cover-page summary, made me think that the story was ...more
Janet Ursel
Parker's writing is powerful, especially in the beginning, when he evokes the bonds between men in a marvelously indirect way. He creates an enormous amount of sympathy for the men and Kunessin in particular and made me very curious as to what would come of them and their project to form a colony. He then takes the rather unusual tack of whittling away that sympathy, by gradually turning over one rock at a time and exposing the nasty creatures underneath, until about two-thirds of the way throug ...more
Joe Slavinsky
A somewhat bizarre story of 5 men, who were soldiers together, in a medieval setting. The last of the five retires from the army, years after the others have been demobbed, with plans to get the group together, buy an island, and live together happily ever after. Needless to say, it doesn't work out that way. The characters all have different personalities, which don't necessarily mean that they would ever get along, let alone be an elite fighting force together. I'm not panning this book, as it ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Ethan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First off, the cover blurb on my copy reads "like Lost meets The Italian Job" and that can't be farther from the truth. All it has in relation to lost is that part of it takes place on an island, and there are some flashbacks, and the only relation to the Italian Job is there is some gold in the story.

On the whole I found The Company fairly disapointing. It is well written and the characters are interesting on their own but I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen or the plot to k
Ted Cross
Sep 01, 2014 Ted Cross rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
From the myriad reviews and quotes from famous people raving about this author, I was expecting something really good. Instead what I got was one of the most poorly written fantasy books I've ever encountered. This was worse than many self-published books I have read. Head-hopping all over the place, even within the same paragraphs. Terrible transitions, such that you will read for several pages thinking that you are reading about one character only to suddenly learn it is a different one altoge ...more
May 09, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I absolutely love Parker's work, I found this book to be lacking....something that Parker's other books didn't seem to lack. All in all, brilliant characterization, and a wonderful, thought provoking plot.

Read my full review here:
Apr 16, 2015 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-fantasy
Excellent book - this is such a great and fast read (for me at least)

I will start with something negative, and finish with the positive.

Negative - I hate the characters names - Very difficult to remember when away from the book, and too fantastical to remember in a few mere days.

Positive - Action, adventure, intrigue, mystery, military action - this has an entire gambit of fun and enjoyable pages of reading. The story did not end the way that I expected (which is a good thing, as far as predicta
Aris Hardin
Jul 03, 2014 Aris Hardin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't care a lot for this book. It took a while to get going, and once it did, it just wasn't that great. Then all of a sudden, it's just over. It was like Parker's mom yelled "KJ! Come to dinner!" So he just wrote a very quick ending and ran down the stairs for dinner.
Ibrahim Z
Jan 21, 2014 Ibrahim Z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2014
It started off pretty promising, but it seems like the author lost their place in the story and couldn't decide what to do. About 2/3rds of the way in, the plot drops out from under it. It actually ends with "forever and ever, amen."
Kenneth Sharp
I have no earthly idea how I am supposed to put my thoughts about this book into words.

On the one hand, it's K J Parker, full of the expected black humour, sudden character death, canny characterisation and well told doing of minutia in a medieval fantasy setting. The plot follows five war veterans who, unable to really integrate back into society, leave in order to colonise a former military base on the island far from home. But in building a new life, old secrets are unearthed and flour goes b
Chris Jarvis
Jan 29, 2010 Chris Jarvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down. Thoroughly entertaining reading about Parker's usual flock of thoroughly nasty characters.
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Flights of Fantasy: October 2014 - Fantasy: The Company by K. J. Parker 31 44 Oct 27, 2014 11:07PM  
  • An Evil Guest
  • The Book of Knights
  • Bloodheir (The Godless World, #2)
  • Maske: Thaery
  • Nobody's Son
  • The Alteration
  • Salvage and Demolition
  • Beyond the Shadows, part 1 of 2 (Night Angel, #3.1)
  • Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service--A Year Spent Riding across America
  • Spirit: Or, The Princess Of Bois Dormant
  • Spaceman Blues: A Love Song
  • Echo City
  • The House of the Stag (Lord Ermenwyr, #2)
  • The Book
  • City of Ruin (Legends of the Red Sun, #2)
  • Thunderer (Thunderer, #1)
  • Camp Concentration
  • Women of War
K.J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt. The author's true name was revealed on 21 April 2015.

According to the biographical notes in some of Parker's books, Parker has previously worked in law, journalism, and numismatics, and now writes and makes things out of wood and metal. It is also claimed that Parker is married to a solicitor and now lives in southern England. According to an autobiographi
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“It’s the way my mind works, when it works at all. Things to do today: settle down, achieve serenity, live happily ever after. Tick the box and move on.” 1 likes
“Aidi nodded. “Lying to yourself’s always a problem,” he said.” 0 likes
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