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Beschreibung des Verlags
“A fantastical ghost story and a suspenseful military mystery . . . A daringly original fantasy novel” from the acclaimed authors of The Steel Seraglio (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
In 1740, an Austrian infantry company more than two hundred strong arrives at the Prussian border. Their orders: to defend the town of Narutsin when war—inevitably—breaks out. But they don’t get the warm welcome they’re expecting. If anything, the locals seem strangely secretive, and the soldiers who previously garrisoned in the village have disappeared. Fearing the villagers may be consorting with the enemy, the commander orders his prim young lieutenant Klaes to investigate . . .
On the outskirts of town, in a dilapidated manor known as Pokoj, the road-weary soldiers make their home for the winter. Accompanying them is Drozde, a camp follower and entertainer who possesses a very special talent: she can see and communicate with the dead. She’s the only one who knows that the crumbling mansion is far from empty. It’s teeming with ghosts—and they know her.
Each spirit tells Drozde how they became a part of Pokoj’s sprawling history, hinting at its future as well as its past. As she listens to their tales, it becomes apparent that the story of the manor hasn’t yet ended—and that she and Klaes have their own parts to play in the horror that is to come . . .
“All of the characters come alive on the pages—even the ghosts. . . . A compelling, accomplished novel.” —Strange Horizons
“Delightfully odd . . . Subtle horror and extra special creepiness . . . A fine example of what the Careys are capable of.” —Starburst
In 1740, a company of Austrian soldiers arrives at Narutsin, a village on the Prussian border. Lodged in Pokoj, a ramshackle ruin of a house, they discover that the previous garrison has vanished and the villagers are strangely unwelcoming to their protectors. While Lieutenant Klaes attempts to ferret out the facts behind the locals' hostility, Drozde, the quartermaster's mistress, discovers that Pokoj teems with ghosts, "unhoused creatures, delivered out of time in a second birth that was more painful than the first." Untethered to linear time, these talkative wraiths are maddeningly obscure in their intimations of a horrific incident on the horizon that threatens the lives of everyone in the town. The Careys (The Steel Seraglio) have constructed a fantastical ghost story and a suspenseful military mystery. The novel's true strength lies in its characters. Klaes is more hapless than heroic, but his humanity shines through, particularly when he's faced with his superior's murderous rage. Drozde, the true beating heart of the novel, is a fierce survivor, resourceful and independent in a world that values neither quality in a woman. As the pair strives to solve a puzzle straddling the real and the supernatural, the Careys deliver a daringly original fantasy novel.