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Advent Calendar 2016

December 1, 2016

It’s Advent season again. I don’t happen to be religious, but I do enjoy organized lists, so I thought I would do a literary Advent Calendar this year.
If you like that idea, Book Riot has a fantastic one! Every day they are posting a poem, essay, or a story. I’ll be focusing more on books than smaller works.

So, for our first day: A ghost story for Christmas
Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

At its heart, Ghost Talkers is a spy story set during World War I that has a very small twist on history. What if the Spiritualist movement had been right? Ghosts exist and mediums can, in fact, communicate with them.
That opens up an unprecedented pipeline of intelligence data from the front. The ghosts of dead Allied soldiers report to the Spirit Corps headquarters to give their reports.
Ginger Stuyvesant is one of the driving forces behind the Spirit Corps. She is a powerful medium, with a profound sense of duty and a keen intelligence. It is, therefore, not a surprise that she is the first to discover that there is a traitor working among the Spirit Corps. Unfortunately, a female American in the 1910’s is not considered the most reliable witness. So, Ginger has to rely on her own abilities, both mental and metaphysical, to unmask the traitor and block their plans to destroy first the Spirit Corps and then the Allied army itself.

Ghost Talkers is one of my favorite books this year. It hits so many of my personal buttons. I’ve been reading loads of circa-WWI murder mysteries in the last several years and I was beside myself when Mary said she was working on a story set in the period. This book has the attention to historical detail that I expect from one of Mary’s books. She doesn’t bash you over the head with how much she knows. Instead there are tiny details perfectly worked into the narrative so that you truly feel that you are there with Ginger, on the trains with the boys going off to war, in the trenches moments after disaster, and in the quiet dark moments snatched between barrages.
Mary’s characters become friends. You celebrate their triumphs and mourn their tragedies.
So, during this holiday season, may I introduce you to my friend, Miss Ginger Stuyvesant? I think you will be great friends.


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