Company Of Liars by Karen Maitland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is the Dark Ages, a time of superstition, lawlessness and disease. A trader in holy relics does good business at a market fair and takes pity on a strange, white-haired girl who is beaten by her master. The trader offers her food which she greedily acepts but this is a good deed that will not go unpunished. Narigorm, for such is the name of the girl, attaches herself to Camelot (as traders in holy relics were then known) and to the other travellers who gather around him.
The little band of men and women moves from town to town, fleeing before the Plague which has arrived in England from the continent and is spreading over the land but something as deadly as the Black Death shadows them. Narigorm is a diviner whose readings always come true, sometimes in unexpected ways but as the band moves around the country, Camelot begins to think Narigorm is much more.
As the members of this travelling band get to know each other better, disguises are either dropped or are torn away to reveal true identities. And one by one, the members of the band begin to die; they are either murdered or they take their own lives.
This was a fabulous book. I’d classify it as a literary horror where the tension slowly builds, creeping up on you on silent feet. Ms. Maitland accomplishes the difficult task of bringing the Middle Ages vividly to life.
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