The Company

The Company

3.4 15
by K. J. Parker
     
 

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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

Overview

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 that they've brought with them rather more than they bargained for.

For one of them, it seems, has been hiding a terrible secret from the rest of the company. And when the truth begins to emerge, it soon becomes clear that the war is far from over.

With masterful storytelling, irresistible wit, and extraordinary insight into human nature, K.J. Parker is widely acknowledged as one of the most original and exciting fantasy writers of modern times. THE COMPANY, K.J. Parker's first stand-alone novel, is a tour de force from an author who is changing the face of the fantasy genre.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This exquisitely written novel by a pseudonymous popular author blends gritty military fantasy with the 18th-century "island story" tradition. Seven years after the end of a war between unnamed countries, four friends who fought together have settled back into civilian life. Then their former leader, Kunessin, now a celebrated and embittered general, turns up and reminds them of their old pledge to retire together to a peaceful island. Better yet, he's found a suitable place and will fund the venture. A local matchmaker finds women smart and desperate enough to be colonists, and they marry the ex-soldiers in a group wedding that sets the tone of the book: humorous, grim and utterly unromantic. The would-be republicans soon reach the island and settle in, but the discovery of gold in a stream changes everything. With inexorable emotional logic and an eye for detail, deftly weaving in flashbacks to wartime, Parker carries the reader on a headlong gallop to the powerful conclusion. (Oct.)

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Library Journal

The war is long over when Gen. Teuche Kunessin finally returns to his homeland of Faralia, but he's not there to stay. Five surviving comrades from A Company, their last-minute arranged brides, and a motley batch of indentured servants soon make their way to the island of Sphoe, where they hope to settle and become gentlemen farmers. Such a transition won't be easy: these legendary survivors have seen too much, hold differing ideas about the postwar command structure, and carry some dark secrets. The unusual plot gracefully blends developments on the island with flashbacks from the war in a deftly paced mix that's brimming with psychological insights. Parker ("The Engineer" trilogy, the "Scavenger" trilogy) nails the rough banter among longtime comrades and the restless nature of soldiers who experienced too much violence and never expected to come home. There's not the tiniest hint of magic in this muscular stand-alone fantasy, a fine bridge to the genre for action and historical fiction readers. Strongly recommended for all fantasy and popular fiction collections.
—Neil Hollands

Kirkus Reviews
A stand-alone military fantasy from the pseudonymous Parker (The Escapement, 2007, etc.). Finally, a long debilitating war is over, though we never learn what the fighting was about. General Teuche Kunessin returns to Faralia to contact the other surviving members of A Company: Muri the tanner, farmer Kudei, fencing teacher Alces and store owner Aidi. During the fighting, they'd promised themselves a new life after the end of hostilities. Kunessin tells them he's acquired an entire island, Sphoe, from the military (by not entirely legal means) complete with buildings and harbor; the place is ideal for colonization. Kunessin has already bought a ship, supplies and equipment-with money embezzled, we learn later, from his fellow soldiers. After debating whether to simply buy slaves, they acquire legitimate wives and servants and set sail. However, conditions on the island aren't quite as anticipated: most of the buildings are ruinous; worse, the army has left a garrison, and Kunessin must persuade them to quit the island. After the ship sails, taking away the garrison, to fetch more supplies, a fire destroys most of their flour and seeds. The ship won't return for months, so it's either starve or build a boat to reach the mainland. After backbreaking labor, the boat leaves. Meanwhile, in a vast and unwelcome complication, those waiting on the island discover gold in the nearby river. Interspersed with the colonial saga are passages detailing the company's war exploits, wherein we learn that one of the company is a traitor. The situation turns uglier yet. Burly, sometimes brutal, often enlightening, but the plodding and monochromatic narrative may be a hurdle too high for the usual fantasycrowd.
From the Publisher
"This exquisitely written novel by a pseudonymous popular author blends gritty military fantasy with the 18th-century island story tradition... With inexorable emotional logic and an eye for detail, deftly weaving in flashbacks to wartime, Parker carries the reader on a headlong gallop to the powerful conclusion."—Publishers Weekly on The Company"

I have reviewed books before that I thought might someday be found to have achieved greatness.... But I am trying to be precise in my use of the word when I tell you that K.J. Parker is writing work after work that demands to be placed in that category. " —- Orson Scott Card on The Engineer trilogy"

Imagine Lost meets The Italian Job...a masterfully planned and executed book, one that builds on ever-revealing characterization and back-story, leading slowly yet inexorably to its final conclusion." —- SFF World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316071277
Publisher:
Orbit
Publication date:
06/16/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
420,040
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

K.J. Parker is a pseudonym.

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The Company 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
CplWoody More than 1 year ago
I thought it was great all they way up to the last 10 pages. The ending wa anticlimactic at best.
katieoscarlet More than 1 year ago
This book took forever to finish simply because I kept putting it down and delayed picking it back up except I finally wanted to finish it just to be done with it. The story takes place I would guess in the 1600's, before guns as the characters used bows, arrows and swords and wore chainmail. The main characters were in a war together but afterwards, after much time apart, come together again to populate an island with wives. The only interesting part of this book is the ending however it does leave questions to be answered. Read this if you have alot of patience.
aimee1 More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what book those other bitter,crab-apples reviewed, but It certainly wasn't "The Company" by KJ Parker (the cover of the book is not what sold me; the cover is not even particularly eye catching). What sold me on "The Company" was KJ Parkers well written military fantasy that had me hooked at the book store. This book is a rich multilayered story that mirrors the complexity of the abandoned island, where few things are what they seem. A genre bending story packed with intellect, friendship and betrayal.
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I bought this book for husband. He liked it. It was good, he said. He is now watching a basketball game. He said he found the characters to be confused and their names hard to pronounce.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The war ended seven years ago. Many soldiers left the military to return to civilian life. This includes four friends who never see one another anymore as that reminds them of comrades who died when the Confederation needed them now stoic over being alive but struggling with adjustment as many other vets are doing too. Their former commanding officer General Kunessin visits the quartet to remind them of the pledge they made while still uniform. They honor their vow to settle on a peaceful utopian island that Kunessin has found for them. He will fund their colonization. The men find wives financially desperate enough to willingly marry them in a group exchange of vows and accompany them to Kunessin¿s paradise. Everything is fine until gold is discovered. --- THE COMPANY is a dark gripping military fantasy that is a parable on the life of vets when the war is over. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as the audience gets a taste of how society turns its back on those who risked their lives when they are no longer needed for combat. The island is their escape from a reality they cannot readapt to, but even there society intrudes once gold is found as once again they are expendable. K.J. Parker will have readers pondering whether we are truly doing all we can for vets and their families. --- Harriet Klausner
Grifffy More than 1 year ago
K.J. Parker sets this story in a fictional land and centers around a group of 6 men infamously known as the Line Busters. The Line Busters were a famous company of men that were sent in to a battle to "bust" the enemy's lines to allow the pike men following them to break through the line and rout the enemy. The main characters of this book are the most famous line busters who survived more than 30 encounters where previous line busters would last one or two. Sound exciting? I thought so too but that's where the excitement ends. You are spoon fed bits and pieces about the Line Busters encounters in the war and most of the novel attempts to explain what happened to the line busters after the war. One of the Line Busters has found an Island that was forgotten by the government and being familiar with the paperwork and lack of oversight, decides he will take ownership of the land and achieve his life long dream of being a farmer. However he can't do it alone so he sets off to get the rest of his line buster crew to join him. The novel goes on to explain how the line busters handle women and marriage, indentured servants to do the heavy lifting while adding in a few unexpected twists along the way. The Novel reads like the Oregon Trail software games of years ago where you have to equip your team with all of the essentials they'll need and handle the aftermath of unexpected events such as storms, floods or fires. A better example of this genre would be Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy. Finely crafted characters mixed in with a subtle fantasy angle and exciting plot twists make this a must read trilogy.
ThePinkFloyd More than 1 year ago
After reading this book's synopsis on the flap, you'd think that this would be an engaging, interesting fantasy read....but, boy, would you be mistaken. There are just so many things wrong with this book, the main ones being: the story is meted out in baby spoonfuls, giving us tidbits of the characters' pasts (which aren't interesting and too far between to boot), the story takes much too long to get going (they actually get to the island about halfway through the book, with boring build-up to keep you "entertained" until then). But the biggest problem with the book is the characters: these 5 main fellows maybe the most boring, ill-crafted characters in any book I have ever read. Not only are they not interesting, but it's hard to tell them apart, which is also due to the ridiculous names in this book (Now, I love fantasy, and understand the concept of creating fantastical names, but these were retarded: my favorite was Proiapsen (what?), another bad one was Achaiois) But the main thing is you just don't care about them: there is nothing engaging or interesting about them, and you find yourself wondering why the author chose these characters to carry a book. The characters are horrible, the story slow and lousy, and the writing is bleh at best. Save yourself 25 bucks and steer clear of this novel and read the much better fantasy out there.