David J. Kowalski: The Company of the Dead

With the current interest in the Titanic, and the construction of the Titanic II, this novel becomes almost fitting given the situation.

The Company of the Dead is an alternate history fiction novel that follows a series of main characters as they attempt to right the wrongs of time travel. Based on the actions of one character, Dr Johnathon Wells, the fate of the world is altered resulting in an America no longer united but distributed amongst the Japanese and Germans. There is no American-British alliance. It becomes clear that if Kennedy, Lightoller, Malcom, Hardas, Morgan (and many others) don’t attempt to go back in time and stop Wells from altering the course of the future, America as they know it will become one giant wasteland.

I really loved the concept of this novel and it really drew me in. Kowalski has an impeccable writing style that brings words to life, painting vivid pictures. As with any historical fiction novel, there is a lot of “info-dumping” which I was fully aware would be the case. However, I found that the amount of information imparted to the reader during the middle of the novel caused the narrative to drastically slow down in pace resulting in my mind wandering and questioning whether the events of that section were really needed. That being said, the beginning and ending were quick to read through providing more action-packed moments and setting up the story whilst the ending resolved a lot of questions that had left me confused throughout.

I have always been a big fan of novels that provide multiple character narratives; Game of Thrones being one of them. With The Company of the Dead I found that the amount of characters became a bit confusing at times as I tried to piece together conversations and who was who based on past chapters. Though this was the case, the characters were very relatable and interesting. They all possessed their flaws and have developed above and beyond those flaws by the end of the novel, allowing multiple characters to feel redeemed by the end.

As mentioned, I felt like much of the middle of the narrative could have been left out. The narrative felt drawn out and long-winded and I could clearly see how it could have been condensed, though I also understand why there is so much going on. I gave this novel a 3/5 stars over on Goodreads.


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