Living With Ghosts (US - Canada - UK)
By Kari Sperring (Website - Blog - Wonderlands)
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: DAW (March 3, 2009)
Alternate Blurb by Author (see number 17)
This highly original, darkly atmospheric fantasy novel immerses readers in a world where ghosts and other malevolent spirits seek entry into mortal realms—invisible to all but those who are not entirely human themselves. Drawn into the ancient city of Merafi, yet barred from entering by an ancient pact sealed in blood, these hungry haunts await their opportunity to break through the magical border and wreak havoc on the city’s innocent denizens.
And as a priestess and prince weave a sorcerous plot to shatter the pact and bring ruin on Merafi, only a failed assassin-priest who is now a courtesan, a noble lord married into the ruling family of Merafi, an officer of the city guard, a woman warrior who was the former lover of a now-dead lord, and the ghost of that lord himself stand between Merafi and the tidal wave of magic that may soon bring ruin flooding down upon the city.
The author says that this is a world set in a Paris like Three Musketeers era (I also read that she wanted to BE a Musketeer as a kid!) I love alternate history settings so that is plus number one for me! The second plus is that it is Dark Fantasy. Now, I am not sure if I love dark fantasy because there seems to be so much of it right now or if my love started with Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy but in either case I am finding myself knee deep in wonderfully dark novels lately and I am loving it. This appears to be another one that falls neatly into that category. It has not made much of a splash yet, the one review I found was mixed but claims that the author shows promise, and promise is good enough for me in a debut.
My eyes kept glazing over as I read the blurb, so I sought out the author's alternate blurb, which Mulluane referred to above. I hope Ms. Sperring doesn't mind if I re-post it here:
Gracielis wants to deny his strange abilities and ignore the ghosts that haunt him and the priestess who rules him. Thiercelin wants his wife to love him, but all her time and energy are devoted to the city of Merafi and its Queen. Valdarrien, slain in a duel, wants to find his lost love and to live again. And the soldier Joyain just wants a quiet life.Still a little scattered in focus, but overall, much better. The author is a historian who has written three nonfiction books, including The Four Musketeers, The True Story of D'Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis and Athos, and Princess Nest: Seductress of the English. I find it interesting that she writes about history, but chose to use a fictional world for her first novel. Maybe she needed a break.
But in the ancient city of Merafi, you don’t always get what you want. A dark fantasy of haunts, intrigues, star-crossed love, elemental powers, political rivalries and shapeshifters, set in a world a little like the Paris of The Three Musketeers.
This is an example of a book that does not hook me at first, but after a bit of digging, I find myself more intrigued.