Social Justice Atheist Geekery

Book Review: Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher at BEA 2016.

A great read – MRK takes her strength at character and relationships and applies it well to World War I. Where before she has used her Glamourist Histories to tell various types of plots (including a heist novel featuring Lord Byron), now she tackles the wartime spy thriller. It’s a fast-paced, exciting story, and I appreciated that she took time to address PTSD (“shell shock” in this context) and its consequences for mediums channeling the spirits of hundreds or thousands of soldiers who have just died traumatically.

The elements of spycraft and codes/code-breaking reminded me of Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, scaled back to 1916 instead of the 1940s.

The use of ghosts for communication and spycraft at times was reminiscent of Timothy Zahn’s Conquerors’ Saga, one of my favorite series. That might not be as widely known as Cryptonomicon, but I liked it. 🙂


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