Writer: K.J. Parker
Pages: 440 (ARC)
The premise: what happens to heroes after the great big war is over? The Company follows five veterans, five friends, who colonize an abandoned island looking for a better life than the ones they made for themselves after the war. It's meant to be a utopia, but unexpected discoveries brew mistrust and hate among the colonists, and one of the veterans has a very deadly secret, and he's not sharing.
Buy the Paperback: this is a tough book to rate, but I had to pretend I didn't get a free ARC but instead bought the book, which will be released in the US as a hardcover. It's a good, solid book, well worth the read, but for my buck, if I'd had to buy it, I'd prefer a cheaper copy (in reality, I got it for free, so it doesn't get much better than that). K.J. Parker has definitely earned a spot on my "pay attention!" list, and I look forward to Parker's other books.
But this is not your traditional fantasy. Not by a long-shot. It's a historical without being history. It's a war story without a real war. And it's fantasy without being fantasy. Truly, it's a book that can be enjoyed across genres, provided said readers like historical, military, and uber-detailed fiction. Ultimately though, it's a character story, and sometimes the character functioned better as a group than an individual, but it was the individual that undone the group.
It's a good one, but a slow one, and at times, almost Shakespearean in its tragic scenes. The end is almost chilling, yet it fits. I never knew where this book was going, and every time I thought I'd figured something out, I was wrong. That was a nice thing. Definitely comfortable in Parker's capable writing hands, though Parker's work is not something I want to read if I'm in a really depressed or sad mood, as it might make me feel worse. :)
The full review, which does include spoilers, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: K.J. Parker's THE COMPANY