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Historical Fantasy Audiobook Review: Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal 

audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she's just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


* * *
 Mary Robinette Kowal is a unique author. At a glance she is a gentle writer who lulls you into complacency until she twists a knife into your heart. As a result I was frustrated and at the same time in awe while reading Ghost Talkers.

Despite my trouble with some of the accents ( as Mary herself narrated the book and her Scottish, for example, was appalling), this was a superbly atmospheric book. A great sense of the mannerisms of the era, the exhaustion of fighting a senseless war, horrendous losses of life and an urgency to push through all the obstacles to prevent a catastrophe made Ghost Talkers a gripping read.

BEWARE ONE SPOILER OF SOMETHING HAPPENING RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING! Sorry, it's vital for the story that I mention it.

Ginger is a medium and as one she sees and feels through the eyes of dead soldiers who report for duty straight after their deaths to relay important information from the front. Her fiance, Ben, is an intelligence officer and very often absent on his secret missions, so when she sees a suspicious death and her superiors don't take her report seriously, Ginger writes to him and asks for help. Imagine her horror when not long after she sees a ghost of Ben who refuses to cross over before they find his killer.

It's a very well-paced read and what makes it scarily realistic is a sense of casual brutality. Ginger ends up being almost alone at the front trying to find Ben's murderer and as a woman she has very little clout and almost no protection. There are no obvious villains just normal people who are prepared to do unspeakable things serving their countries, and I find that much more chilling.

Overall, a fantastic listen, a likable heroine, a tearjerker of a love story and a book full of memorable, engaging characters. Recommended!

* * *
Мэри Робинетт Ковал - уникальный автор. На первый взгляд она кажется нежным, робким писателем пока не воткнёт вам нож в сердце да и ещё его и не прокрутит пару раз! Поэтому читала я эту книгу и в раздражении и в восхищении.

Несмотря на проблемы с некоторыми акцентами (Мэри - сама  рассказчица на аудио и некоторые акценты у неё вышли очень слабо: например, шотландский) книга эта оказалась безумно атмосферной: с прекрасным описанием манер эпохи, изнемождения от продолжительной и очень разрушительной войны, шока от бессмысленной гибели миллионов людей и стремления во что бы то ни стало предотвратить катастрофу.

Джинджер - медиум, которая видит и чувствует смерти призрачных солдат, которые поступают к ней в Спирит Корп, чтобы доложить об обстоятельствах их гибели. Когда одна из описанных смертей оказывается подозрительной и от её доклада отмахиваются начальники она пишет своему жениху, Бену, который работает офицером разведки и очень часто находится на фронтовой линии, с просьбой помочь. Вообразите её ужас, когда Бен вскоре оказывается одним из призраков в её очереди!

Бен останется с Джинджер пока не отыщется его убийца, и Джинджер втихомолку оправляется на фронт, чтобы ему в этом помочь. Ожидайте трогательную, тихую любовную историю, очень быстрое динамичное действие, занимательных второстепенных персонажей и леденящую атмосферу обыденной жестокости, которая делает эту книгу очень реалистичной. Здесь нет профессиональных злодеев, есть обычные люди, которые идут на любые преступления во имя своих стран. И от этого очень страшно.

Рекомендую, замечательная книга!

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