The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's notoriety lies primarily in his Sherlock Holmes stories, which remain the quintessential crime and detective novels of the twentieth century. However, before his days of penning detective fiction for zealous audiences, Doyle found inspiration for his novel "The White Company" in an 1889 lecture on medieval times. He had read over a hundred volumes on the period of Edward III and the Hundred Years' War, and called this novel "the most complete, satisfying and ambitious thing I have ever done". "The White Company" is a romantic adventure story, set in England, France and Spain in 1366-67, about a free company of archers who exhibit the chivalry, nobility and strength that appealed greatly to readers in the industrial age. Like those of Doyle's time, readers today will lose themselves in the exciting adventures of Sir Nigel, Alleyne Edricson, Sam Aylward, and the entire company of mercenaries.

About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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The most famous fictional detective in the world is Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. However, Doyle was, at best, ambivalent about his immensely successful literary creation and, at worst, resentful that his more "serious" fiction was relatively ignored. Born in Edinburgh, Doyle studied medicine from 1876 to 1881 and received his M.D. in 1885. He worked as a military physician in South Africa during the Boer War and was knighted in 1902 for his exceptional service. Doyle was drawn to writing at an early age. Although he attempted to enter private practice in Southsea, Portsmouth, in 1882, he soon turned to writing in his spare time; it eventually became his profession. As a Liberal Unionist, Doyle ran, unsuccessfully, for Parliament in 1903. During his later years, Doyle became an avowed spiritualist. Doyle sold his first story, "The Mystery of the Sasassa Valley," to Chambers' Journal in 1879. When Doyle published the novel, A Study in Scarlet in 1887, Sherlock Holmes was introduced to an avid public. Doyle is reputed to have used one of his medical professors, Dr. Joseph Bell, as a model for Holmes's character. Eventually, Doyle wrote three additional Holmes novels and five collections of Holmes short stories. A brilliant, though somewhat eccentric, detective, Holmes employs scientific methods of observation and deduction to solve the mysteries that he investigates. Although an "amateur" private detective, he is frequently called upon by Scotland Yard for assistance. Holmes's assistant, the faithful Dr. Watson, provides a striking contrast to Holmes's brilliant intellect and, in Doyle's day at least, serves as a character with whom the reader can readily identify. Having tired of Holmes's popularity, Doyle even tried to kill the great detective in "The Final Problem" but was forced by an outraged public to resurrect him in 1903. Although Holmes remained Doyle's most popular literary creation, Doyle wrote prolifically in other genres, including historical adventure, science fiction, and supernatural fiction. Despite Doyle's sometimes careless writing, he was a superb storyteller. His great skill as a popular author lay in his technique of involving readers in his highly entertaining adventures.
Published July 1, 2004 by 436 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Education & Reference, Science Fiction & Fantasy, War, Crime. Non-fiction

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The creator of Sherlock Holmes took so much greater pride in a series of carefully researched historical novels that posterity has largely forgotten that he tossed his best-loved hero into Reichenbach Falls in order to head off the temptation to revive him.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The White Company

A Patchwork of Books

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Nov 26 2014 | Read Full Review of The White Company

The Paris Review

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle, was the first grown-up book I ever read—and it changed my life.

Sep 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The White Company

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