The Company

The Company

by K. J. Parker

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316038522
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 09/24/2009
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 651,996
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

K.J. Parker is a pseudonym.

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The Company 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 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.
TerryWeyna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading and enjoying K.J. Parker¿s novella Purple and Black, I vowed to read more of this writer¿s work. Usually that means I acquire an author¿s work, and it sits on the shelves for months, even years. In this case, though, it meant that I picked up The Company within a month, and I¿m very glad I did.Parker is generally known as a writer of military fantasy, but I find myself questioning both terms of that characterization. First, while The Company is absolutely not set in this world, there is nothing magical or fantastical about it. But if we define fantasy to include ¿an historical novel not set on this world,¿ then we¿ve got a fantasy here, and I guess we must be satisfied with that. I also don¿t see this as a military novel. Certainly, all the characters served together in a very long war, and their relationships with one another were formed in military college and through their careers as soldiers. Parker also frequently recounts incidents from the war in episodes interleaved with the present day. But war is not the core of this book. Rather, this is a sort of buddy novel, a novel about how men work together and about the dynamics of male friendship. It is rare to find a novel that discusses how mature men relate to one another. It can be done in comedy: buddy movies are a dime a dozen, and Neil Simon comedies explored the notion in both ¿The Odd Couple¿ and ¿The Sunshine Boys.¿ But an art work focused on the relationships between older men is otherwise a rare creature.The Company is about five war veterans who band together to form a farming colony on an uninhabited island at the urging of the senior officer of their group. This man, General Teuche Kunessin, has always wanted to be a farmer, and he wants to do it with his closest friends, who shared the dream with him during down times between battles. When they first discuss the idea after Kunessin¿s return from a longer military career than the other four followed ¿ an idea that seems flat-out crazy to the four junior members, who nonetheless follow their leader ¿ all but one of them is unmarried, which is obviously not a viable plan for a colony that is to have a future. In short order, the four unmarried men are paired up with spouses by the local matchmaker, making it clear that this is the type of society in which women are more commodities than people.Kunessin finances the entire plan single-handedly, though the question of where the money comes from (other than a long military career) is a secret he guards carefully. Kunessin believes he has planned everything, down to the last barrel of nails, but too many years of military thinking has dulled his instincts for farming. The voyage to the island is bad enough, but the fire that devours most of the supplies shortly after the ship has left them behind casts the entire enterprise in a different light. Almost every moment from that point forward is about surviving in a hand-to-mouth existence. Each of the men handles the situation in his own way, both individually and as a member of the group (and sometimes how a man relates to the group is contradictory to what he does as an individual). The men always mean more to each other than they do to their wives; while at least one of the men comes to like, if not cherish, his wife, they are really seen by the men as having little more status than the indentured men who have been brought along to help with the heavy work.Whatever the men do, problems arise. Interference from the government, an unlucky bit of good luck (that makes sense in context), and never-ending hunger dog the group as it attempts to make a go of farming in the face of all the odds. But secrets carefully hoarded by each of the men slowly creep to the surface, and the survival of any of those on the island is far from assured. The Hobbesian notion that life is nasty, brutish and short is inherent in the project.Parker¿s style is straightforward and workmanlike, however complex the story might be. Pa
bigorangemichael on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting premise, let down by the novel's execution. Could have been better.
Ancientgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 times of war, as well as to to the effect of their past history on their wartime behavior and experiences, as well as to the impact of their military experiences on their post-war lives. Part of the reason I don't go in for military tales, fictional or otherwise, is the small place that is allotted for women within them. When five soldiers from A Company decide to colonize a small island, wives are rounded up for them, mostly to prolong the survival of the community, which is conceived of as a farming settlement. This is probably consistent with real life colonists, who either plundered the local population (here there isn't one) or brought along women as helpmates, yes, but also as breeding stock, more often than lovers in the romantic sense. That doesn't mean this will sit well with those of us biologically predisposed to identify with the breeding stock, who are accorded much less importance than the "brothers-in-arms." Thankfully, the women here are not bimbos, and have distinct personalities, and those with useful skills seem to be respected for them. That doesn't change the fact that the women are second class citizens here, though not the only ones, which seems appropriate for this sort of setting. It's really a book that would be fun to discuss with a group of historians or anthropologists or tear apart with a group of feminists; the kind of book that makes me think, but doesn't make me smile.*
spotzzzgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like some of the other reviewers, I wasn't really sure how this was fantasy or science fiction, as it could have been as easily set in our world after one of the many wars of the 19th century. Overall, the book felt not fully fleshed out- all the characters were stark in their one-dimensionality, and the world building felt woefully incomplete- why should I care about this great big war that is supposed to inform all the characters and their actions, when there is almost no information given about it? There were momentary flashes of humor, like when the men are forced to take wives in a cattle market sort of ceremony, but overall, it was a dark and rather depressing read, especially after the group moves to the island and begins their troubles with the hired servants over the gold, and then tries to take on the government. A very grim book, overall.
jes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting read. Not a book I would have ordinarily picked up, but it was in the early review copies. I requested it because I have a friend who is interested in starting his own government on an island, and the summary reminded me of him. Turns out, it's nothing like what he has in mind, and I liked the book all the more for it.It's the story of 5 guys who were in the army together, interwoven with stories of their past. They were line-breakers - the group who were sent to break through the enemy's line of pikes - and they were ridiculously good at it. I had some trouble keeping track of all the different characters - by the end, the 5 guys were mostly distinct in my head, but that didn't really happy until the last quarter of the book. The story was interesting enough despite that to keep me up late several nights reading it, because I wanted to know what would happen with the present-day story of the five packing up and moving to the island, and also what happened back when they were in the army (which is always lurking beneath the surface).The book is graphic in places - not surprising, given their role in the army, but still, I found myself skimming some of the details. If you're someone who doesn't like descriptions of violence, this may not be the book for you. If you like stories where every character is flawed and complex, and the mysterious past very much informs the present, I found this a fun read and you might as well.
rivkat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿m pretty sure I hate Parker¿s worldview, which structures the plots of her work and paints a picture of humanity as universally selfish, wretched and petty, with love only making people worse and heroism an illusion. However, there¿s this: She was looking at him. ¿If he wants you to go off somewhere with him, will you go?¿ ¿Of course not,¿ he replied too quickly. ¿My life¿s here now, and besides, I¿m through with all that.¿ ¿. [H]e¿d never really lied to Enyo, not that he could remember. ¿. If he wants me to go off somewhere with him¿well, of course. Immediately, without hesitation, if needs be, without stopping to put on his shoes. That went without saying. But the situation would never arise, since what could General Teuche Kenessin possibly want him for? Where the case is so hypothetical as to be absurd, normal criteria of truth and falsehood can¿t be made to apply. He was sure she realised that. It was like asking him, if there was a fire and you could only save one of us, me or it, which would it be? To which the answer was, that¿s why I don¿t keep it here.So: beautifully constructed prose about horrible characters. Justice doesn¿t exist; claims to justice are always self-interested and fundamentally unbelievable. Luck is always bad, unless it¿s good only because someone else gets horribly hurt, thus serving the interests of the POV character. Parker paints gorgeous portraits of charnel houses. This one¿s about war veterans who go off to an island to try to create their own society. It doesn¿t go well. I have three more books by Parker, but I¿m not sure I¿m even going to try. I know Thuvia disagrees with my original "maybe Parker is trying to say something about societies without God," but now I'm wondering if these books are the cry of someone who doesn't believe in God and therefore thinks that there is no grace, kind of the opposite of Joss Whedon's take on Objects in Space.
SonicQuack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Company is a simple tale, best presented as a short story rather than a drawn out novel. The premise is simple enough, the start of a new colony and the political and social troubles that might be expected. However, the frequent telling of the characters back-story actually is a long winded way of explaining how the relationships between the main characters were forged. Ultimately, although most of the book centres upon the five ex-soldiers who are establishing the new village, there is little emotional tie to them. When the inevitable issues begin to take root in their Company it is easy to feel less than concerned, for most of the characters are flawed, with little reason to offer compassion. It's a straightforward story, easy enough to read and digest. The fantasy setting is irrelevant, for this is a character piece, albeit not engaging enough to stand out.
Porter26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book had an interesting set-up and something about the story compelled me to keep reading, but ultimately I felt the story didn't go anywhere... or at least I was disappointed with where and how the story ended. I would probably read another book by this author but would not recommend this book.
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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.