In the Company of Ogres

Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 17, 2007

In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez

Eight of us of us gathered at the North Village library for this meeting. Our topic was In the Company of Ogres, the second novel by new Texas writer A. Lee Martinez. The story is a humorous military fantasy about a problem group of supernatural soldiers (amazons, trolls, ogres, etc.) commanded by a former bookkeeper named Ned, who keeps dying and getting resurrected. None of us had read any of Martinez’s prior work. Seven of us started and finished the book. Our eighth member said it looked like a “silly book” so she did not even try to read it.

We liked many things about this book. Several of us commented that it was fun and stupid. The blind oracle who sees and hears the future was a clever idea. One person found the names of the characters to be particularly amusing. We thought the eventual explanation for Ned’s never-ending resurrections was clever and original. Martinez writes female characters and their interactions well. We appreciated the scene where two women get in a big fight and then wash dishes together afterward. The amazon getting romantic advice and makeup tips from other women was priceless.

There were some problems. A couple of us found the prose was rough in places and needed better editing. One person got tired of Ned dying so much.

Overall we enjoyed this book. Several of us compared it favorably to early works of Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and John Moore. We think A. Lee Martinez is an entertaining writer with a lot of talent, and many of us plan to read more of his books in the future.

After the meeting, a few of us had a nice dinner at Houston’s.

— A. T. Campbell, III