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Karen Maitland lives in Lincolnshire and is the author of The White Room, which won an Author's Club Best First Novel Award. Her latest novel Company of Liars is published by Penguin (2008).
Desperate to outrun the Black Death ravaging England during the sodden summer of 1348, nine disparate souls band together in this harrowing historical, which infuses a Canterbury Tales scenario with the spectral chill of an M. Night Shyamalan ghost story. Maitland (The White Room) gives each of the travelers a potentially devastating secret. How did narrator Camelot, a glib-tongued peddler of false relics and hope, really come by that hideously scarred face? What is magician Zophiel hiding inside his wagon? And just who is Narigorm, the spooky albino girl whose readings of the runes are always eerily on target? As the nine strangers slog cross-country through the pestilential landscape, their number shrinking one by one, they come to realize that what they don't know about each other might just kill them. Despite Maitland's yarn-spinning prowess, her narrative occasionally stalls because of unrelenting grimness and an increasingly predictable plot--that is, until its gasp-out-loud finale. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'Irresistible' Sunday Telegraph 'An engrossing fireside read ... a compelling mystery' Daily Mail 'Combines the storytelling traditions of The Canterbury Tales with the supernatural suspense of Mosse's Sepulchre in this atmospheric tale of treachery and magic' Marie Claire 'Captivating, unforgettable, truly compelling' InStyle
Set in 14th-century England, Maitland's U.S. debut has nine strangers fleeing the plague. Each traveler tells a tale, revealing secrets of the troupe, one of which proves deadly. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.