“A fantastical ghost story and a suspenseful military mystery . . . A daringly original fantasy novel” from the authors of The Steel Seraglio (Publishers Weekly).
1740. With the whole of Europe balanced on the brink of war, an Austrian regiment is sent to the furthest frontier of the empire to hold the border against the might of Prussia. Their garrison, the ancient house called Pokoj.
But Pokoj is already inhabited by a company of ghosts from every age of the house’s history. Only Drozde, the quartermaster’s mistress, can see them, and terrifyingly they welcome her as a friend. As these ageless phantoms tell their stories, Drozde gets chilling glimpses not just of Pokoj’s past but of a looming menace in its future.
Meanwhile the humorless lieutenant Klaes pursues another mystery. Why are the people of the neighboring village so surly and withdrawn, so reluctant to welcome the soldiers who are there to protect them? What are they hiding? And what happened to the local militia unit that was stationed at Pokoj before the regiment arrived?
The camp follower and the officer make their separate journeys to the same appalling discovery—an impending catastrophe that will sweep away villagers and soldiers alike. Perhaps neither of them can prevail. If they do, it will be with the help of the restless dead . . .
“The House of War and Witness burns slow to start, but by the end it burns fiercely. It’s a compelling, accomplished novel, deft with its characters and interesting with its themes.” —Strange Horizons