The Captain’s Log – ghost talkers (Mary Robinette Kowal)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I had heard of this author before but had never read any of her work.  However when I heard the premise for this alternative history/fantasy set in World World I, it was immediately added to me ports for plunder list.

So basically the idea of the book is that if mediums could talk to ghosts, then how would the military have used this ability in times of warfare?  Why setting up a “Spirit Corps” of course.  The soldiers are trained so that when they die, their ghosts report to the mediums to give current information of troop movements and other intelligence.

The main character, Ginger, is a medium in the Spirit Corp who speaks with the soldiers in their final debriefing before these ghosts are dismissed from duty.  I thought Ginger was a fantastic main character – feisty, compassionate, stubborn, intelligent, etc.  I loved her fiancee, Ben.  Their relationship was the highlight of the book for me.  I adored the tenderness of their relationship and yet the realistic ideas that couples get annoyed with each other and have to deal with reality.  The setting of the war was poignant for their relationship.

I also found many of the secondary characters in the novel to be wonderful.  I loved the other members of Ginger’s circle.  Helen and Mrs. Richardson were two particular favorites from the circle.  Oh and I adored Cpl. Patel.

The major conflict in the novel is trying to keep the mediums safe from the Germans.  But when it appears a traitor might be in their midst, it is up to Ginger to determine who it is and stop them.  The mystery of the traitor was super predictable to me but apparently no one else.  That was a small flaw in the novel for me.   But it did not ruin the book for me at all.

Overall I found the ending of how Ginger deals with the traitor to be wonderful.  I was sad to read about the stories of the dead soldiers and the waste of life but how the author handled the ghosts was a particularly nice touch, one I won’t spoil.  I highly recommend this book as long as ye are okay with death and war in stories.  I think Mary is a great author and created a wonderful story.  I loved the historical notes at the end of the novel too.

Side note: The author is a professional puppeteer!

I will certainly be reading more of her books in the future.

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

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…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mary Robinette Kowal – Author

To buy the book go to:

ghost talkers – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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3 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – ghost talkers (Mary Robinette Kowal)

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