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Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review copy provided by Tor Books.

Ginger Stuyvesant is an American medium serving the British army in WWI. In secret, she takes reports from recent casualties about the circumstances of their deaths and dispatches the information back to the front so that the survivors can adjust to where the Germans have moved their guns and troops, where danger is coming from where it has just been.

She and her fiance, Ben, discover evidence that the Germans have found out the Spirit Corps’ existence, a closely held secret–and what’s worse, it looks like a traitor within their own ranks is the source of the information. Ginger can talk to the dead and read auras, but knowing that the people around her feel angry, sad, guilty, or confused doesn’t tell her why they feel that way–so she and her allies have to embark on a great deal of painful and dangerous detective work for the sake of the war effort–and their own needs. Because it swiftly gets very personal–of course it does.

This was a fast read, very smoothly written. Ginger’s encounters with the misogyny of her time don’t make it a happy romp through an early twentieth century that never was, but anyone who writes a happy romp of the Great War is probably not paying attention. Ghost Talkers is doing things with Spiritualism and the Great War that I haven’t seen done elsewhere, and it’s a major interest of mine. Worth the time.

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