Company of the Dead
Date of publication: March 2012
How wonderful it would be to go back, change history and prevent tragedy: no Hitler, no Holocaust. In The Company of the Dead Jonathon Wells tries to do just that, starting with an attempt to avert the sinking of the Titanic. However change is not always for the better and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This science fiction come thriller bounces from 1912 to a 2012 quite different from the one we inhabit now. With Germany and Japan deadlocked for world domination Joseph Kennedy and John Lightoller aided by a secret army of ghost walkers and thwarted by a malign intelligence agency seek to ensure the best possible outcome in an imperfect world. This fast-paced and complex plot delivers an exciting read which raises some fascinating philosophic questions: What if the course of history however flawed is better than the alternative may turn out to be? Is history shaped by events or personalities? What is fixed and what can be changed? When you have started to meddle with time just where do you draw the line?
Although the sinking of the Titanic serves as a starting point for this novel it is only part of an involved story involving real people whose lives turned out quite differently. The plot and characters are well-developed and stand-alone but a working knowledge of twentieth century history helps the reader enjoy some of the ironies inherent in Kowlaski’s alternate world view. If conspiracy theories are your bag then this will be a rich treat. Winner of the 2008 Golden Aurealis Award and the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.