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The White Company

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,397 ratings  ·  206 reviews
"Now order the ranks, and fling wide the banners, for our souls are God's and our bodies the king's, and our swords for Saint George and for England!" With that rousing proclamation, twelve hundred knights ride into battle, accompanied by the stalwart archers known as the White Company.
Fueled by their appetite for glory, this motley crew of freebooters stands united in the
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 7th 2004 by Dover Publications (first published 1891)
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Pramod Nair
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is without doubt one of the masters of the crime fiction & detective novels genre. Doyle’s great detective ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and his stories redefined the entire genre of crime writing. But Doyle was also a prolific writer in other areas like science fiction, romantic adventures, historical fictions and poetry.

The White Company’ is one of the best historical novels from Doyle set in the backdrop of medieval England, France and Spain during the fourteenth century with
J.G. Keely
May 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 18, 2014 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
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.

Arthur Conan Doyle alle prese col romanzo storico: un racconto medievale, con tanto di cavalieri, duelli, complotti ed una spolverata di horror.

Ho colto il suggerimento della parola del mese per scoprire questo libro, abbastanza piacevole da leggere e storicamente accurato (almeno per le mie conoscenze).

I personaggi non sono sempre credibili nei comportamenti, ma ciò non toglie che ACD riesca comunque a creare un’atmosfera medievale realistica, con momenti intriganti e colpi di scena.

Il finale è
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Philliber
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written in 1891, long before the hyper-sensitivities of the more extreme egalitarianism and high-brow "tolerance" of the 21st Century. This historical-fiction about a small sliver of the 100 Years War deftly plays out the rags-to-riches rise of Alleyne, or more accurately, from cloister-to-Gold Spurs. Much of the turns-of-phrase reminded me of Howard Pyle's Robin Hood, penned around the same time.

The major characters - whether men or women - are humorous, noble, brave and gallant. The storyline,
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing historical fiction by Sherlock Holmes’ creator

Modern readable prose tells a late Medieval era tale of the adventures of a young English squire who goes to war in Spain with the Company of an eminent knight, Sir Nigel. Is forgotten how clear a writer Doyle is. This is a rousing tale. A bit gruesome in a few bits about battles. I enjoyed it.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A good read to have something in English passing in front of your eyes.
Nothing has surprised me a lot, except for the knights of England being holy,
and other of France, Spain, etc are good to be used for the advancement of English ones when the first ones are slaughtered, or simply slained amidst a battle. The plot is quite childish.
Evan Oliver
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jackie Carreira
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An often overlooked and little known book by Conan Doyle, totally overshadowed by his Sherlock Holmes books. However, for me this is my favourite of all his works, and I believe it was his favourite too. Full of adventure, wonderful language, humour and ingenuity. I absolutely loved it. One of the few books I've read three times and loved by everyone I've ever recommended it to. It's often out of print, but if you find a second hand edition, grab it!
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book! I've read it multiple times, and will continue to re-read it. It's a brilliant mix of historical fiction, adventure, romance, and humor. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle considered this to be this best work, and, personally, I'd agree. I just wish someone would make this into a film!
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 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 rated it liked it
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.
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Sir 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 re
“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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