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Company of Liars
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Emma Flanagan (emma89) This is the spoiler thread for Company of Liars


Emma Flanagan (emma89) I really enjoyed this except for the ending. When I got to the end it was a definite case of what the f*#k!! The ending really changes the tone of the book. I think it turns it from a dark historical to something more akin to horror. Narigorm turning up like that. It's like something out of a horror film.


Paul Its certainly catches you out. Up to that point its a delicate balance of superstition and mystery , leaving more up to you imagination.
I wonder if she wrote the book with a bit more experience would the ending be different. It was shaping into a sedate but good ending without the shock factor.


message 4: by Marcia (last edited Aug 13, 2015 04:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marcia | 437 comments Narigorm was certainly an awful girl. The ending for me also made me wander what happened to the other people left in the group.

The ending was a bit of a shock. I don't really like endings like that because it's as if the book is unfinished.

Narigorm reminded me of the female character (Rosalind) out of In The Woods who manipulated her family and people around her.


Marcia | 437 comments I agree with you Paul. The ending was shaping up to a good but sedate ending. The ending was really left field for me. I just wasn't expecting it.


Paul Her later books flow a bit better to the end I think. A lot of debut authors fudge their ending a little but a good editor should jump in.
Its a bit of a shame here as the book itself is generally so well written with a very decent cast, all well developed, some unlikeable but mostly all memorable


Emma Flanagan (emma89) Was this her debut?


Paul For all intents and purposes it was her debut. She had a short book published 14 years before hand by a tiny local press , the equivalent of a self published book.
This was her first novel.


Emma Flanagan (emma89) You really wouldn't think it. Yeah the ending is slightly off but it's not so off that it screams debut especially when you consider the overall skill of the story.


message 10: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I was surprised when I realised it was her first as well. Her style is very polished in this and her character development is very good


Susan | 4707 comments It's funny because I really liked the ending. It came out of left field and really tied the book together. Did we really think it was going to end on a pleasant note? I, too, wondered about the other characters but I think this is the ending that really tied all the loose threads together for me.


message 12: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Thats why I'm curious . I've read some rants on how bad ending is. I dont think it bad at all just a suprise.

By the way for any interested there is spinoff novella set on the journey called Liars amd Thieves that came out late last year if you want to revisit the characters ( Its quite short)


message 13: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) Its not really that it ended on a unhappy note which bothered me. Its a book set during the Black Death. And everyone lived happily ever after was never on the cards. I think it depends on what you expect from the book. If you go into it knowing its a thriller, the ending make sense. However if you go in with the view its historical fiction, which is what it feels like for the most part, it seems incongruous.


message 14: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul She definitely smudges the genre lines in this and other books moving between historical fiction , horror and thrillers sometimes all on a few chapters .


Susan | 4707 comments I agree it was a mixture of genres but that's why it was appealing to me. There was enough historical fiction to make it quite interesting to me and just a touch of horror that made it palatable. I wouldn't have liked any more horror than it was. I thought it was a great combination that certainly won me over to Paul's side, at least for one book. :)


message 16: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul We'll always have thos Susan ;-) ( don't forget Bernard Cornwell as well :-))


Susan | 4707 comments Oh yes. And I think we both liked the Genghis Khan series too.


message 18: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Thats very true.


Susan | 4707 comments I saw you were reading The Raven's Head so I looked it up. I think it is a little too supernatural for me. At least The Company of Liars is set in real history. Am I wrong on that, Paul?


message 20: by Cphe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cphe | 0 comments I'm another who, after a lot of reflection liked the ending. I didn't when I first read it.

For me it brought up quite a few questions primarily would Narigorm finish what she had started?

It, to my mind left the door open for another book.

I've gone on and bought another two books by the author because I quite liked her style.


message 21: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul So far I think you are right Susan. I'd say try Owl Killers which is more superstition than supernatural.


Marcia | 437 comments I agree. I don't think I would have liked the book as much if it had had a happy ending which is what it looked like it was going to do.

But the ending really does leave it up in the air as to what happens next. I'm not sure if it would be a good thing if the author wrote another book or not. I'm not that keen on sequels generally.

I really liked the way it was a mixture of different genres. I wasn't expecting it to be a thriller.


message 23: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul So far there is no indication of any sequel to the book so it may just be a case of the author leaving it up to our imaginations.


Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Emma wrote: "I really enjoyed this except for the ending. When I got to the end it was a definite case of what the f*#k!! The ending really changes the tone of the book. I think it turns it from a dark historic..."

I agree! It seemed to me the author was setting herself up for a sequel. The character of Naigorm (?) really annoyed me.


Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments I also was bothered by the liberty the author took in describing attitudes towards homosexuality which she admits were not historically accurate. Attributing so much of Jofre's behavior to his interior anguish seemed very modern. And a bathhouse- really??? As I said in my review historical fiction should be accurate or it's not historical. Anachronisms bother me the most. Many writers do extensive research into historical periods to assure accuracy.


message 26: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I'd say its common enough to apply modern feelings to a character in popular Historical fiction. Whats the bathhouse issue. I can't remember if there was a bathhouse in the book but it would be reasonably fair if there was as England was peppered with them.
I didn't think she was too bad with the Historical content, taking some liberties but nothing screamed out at me.
Naigorm was a bit irritating but I felt that was her purpose so it didn't get to me.


Marcia | 437 comments I also didn't like Naigorm but I don't think you were supposed to. She was, I thought, the center of the evil in the book. So manipulative like one of the female characters in In the woods.

Not sure if I would like to read a sequel to this book as I don't know where the author could take it.

As for the history for me know knowing much about how homosexuals were viewed in those times, I thought it was fine. I would think there would be significant hostility towards them mainly due to the religious fantasism and also the superstition. Fear of the unknown.


message 28: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I don't think there is any sign of a sequel anyway. There is a spinoff novella but its short enough.


Cathleen | 2409 comments Late to the conversation here, but I think the ending worked. It was a little bit of a surprise to see Narigorm standing there at the doorway, but if Maitland hadn't put something in about her, that would have seemed more odd and anticlimactic to me.

The two parts that seemed more like hiccups to me were Camelot's (apparently) seamless re-integration into her family and that the healer was the only person who sensed that Camelot was a woman.
I really, really liked her writing style and her plotting of the novel--and the way she used superstition, mythology, religious tradition to play with the idea of identity.


message 30: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I live Maitlands writing style and her plays on superstition and mythology. Her last book The Ravens Head was as good but so much darker.


Cathleen | 2409 comments I'm going to read more of hers. What would you recommend next, Paul?


message 32: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul To follow I'd say try the Owl Killers. Its all about superstition again surroundung a pagan cult and a convent.


Cathleen | 2409 comments Thanks, Paul. And more good news--it's at my local library.


message 34: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Its not one of her most recent ones so I thought it may be easier to get .


Jackie | 19 comments I really enjoyed Company of Liars another brilliant choice by Goodreads Ireland, I have picked this book so many times in the library but put in back down. It took me a while to read, I'am I admit not the fastest reader. I totally enjoyed the many characters and the historical depth of the novel. It really must have been a very scary time to live in, such a challenge to survive! I now want to read all of Karen Maitland book's, more to add to my ever increasing 'to read list'


message 36: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I've read most of her books ( two left to go) and its worth it :-)


Susan | 4707 comments I am relieved so many people liked this book. I nominated it for my in person book club and I can't wait to hear what those little old ladies think. It makes me smile just thinking about it.


Cathleen | 2409 comments Susan wrote: "I am relieved so many people liked this book. I nominated it for my in person book club and I can't wait to hear what those little old ladies think. It makes me smile just thinking about it."

And hopefully the little old ladies won't have nightmares about Narigorm ;)


Jackie | 19 comments Hi Susan I am going to get the ladies and one gent to read it in my book group, they will really enjoy it and it will give us lots to talk about, so many characters to love and hate!


message 40: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul The trick is to find a kid willing to dress up as Narigorm and get her to jump out at the end of the meeting. That'll get the old dears going ;-)


Susan | 4707 comments Paul, there are times when you really make me laugh.


message 42: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul But seriously if you do try it I never said nuffin ;-)


Louise | 82 comments I enjoyed this book for the most part. I agree that it feels more like historical fiction only to change to horror/thriller. I had a big dose of the heebie jeebies reading the last few chapters.
Infelt it was so predictable that narigorm was the curse. So predictable that i began to wonder was the answer going to be something completely different.
As for the ending, i thought it was a bit incongruent and not really all that good. It was ok. A disappointing ending.
Overall, an enjoyable book.


message 44: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul I knew the ending of this would divide the crowd .


Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Over a year later, I just have to add my comment that I liked the ending. I just couldn't believe that Naigorm would allow herself to be captured and killed as she as such a sneaky B**ch. So her arriving at the door for me felt almost inevitable.

I, on the other hand, would have ended the novel differently as I would have given one or more of the characters the plague. I like my dark endings!


Susan | 4707 comments Maria wrote: "Over a year later, I just have to add my comment that I liked the ending. I just couldn't believe that Naigorm would allow herself to be captured and killed as she as such a sneaky B**ch. So her ar..."

Perfect Karma.


Margo Maria wrote: "Over a year later, I just have to add my comment that I liked the ending. I just couldn't believe that Naigorm would allow herself to be captured and killed as she as such a sneaky B**ch. So her ar..."

You cruel woman Maria!! This is one of my all time favorite stories and I wouldn't change a thing! I loved the sense of inevitability
of the ending. I liked the fact that the characters escaped the the plague but couldn't escape the consequences of their lies. The novel combined 2 of my favorite genres, historical fiction and a bit of dark magic.


Damian | 1 comments Hello, just joined your little group. I will post in the introductions thread later today when I'm not sneaking 5 minutes at work.

Where in the book (if there are any) are the clues that Camelot is a woman? At the end she states that 'You have probably already guessed' but I honestly had no idea..


message 49: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul There are very few anyway. Only on rereading did I notice anything and only because I already knew.


Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments I guessed, didn't the blind lady in the cottage mistake her/him for a woman? Though I had already guessed at that point, can't remember why, i just remember thinking so that confirms it then. I think I went in expecting everyone to have a lie - from the title - so was looking for the clues to their lies.


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