Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force. Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.
Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…
Once again, Kowal takes an innovative premise and executes it superbly, imaginatively marrying history with a fresh fantasy concept. Though the romance between Ginger and Ben is bittersweet, the story never becomes maudlin — in fact, it’s absolutely riveting. The story moves briskly as Ginger struggles to identify a spy in the English army, revealing itself as an engrossing amalgam of romance, historical fiction, fantasy and mystery. I only have one caution: When you start , Ghost Talkers, clear your schedule — you won’t be able to put it down.
—RT Reviews 4.5 stars - Top Pick
American Ginger Stuyvesant is able to channel the spirits of the dead. Her skills, along with those of other psychics, are being put to use by a special branch of the British Army known as the Spirit Corps during World War I. Working out of a base in Le Havre, Ginger leads one of several circles whose members take intelligence from deceased soldiers who report what they saw on the battlefields. One day a fighter checks in who has been killed by a British officer, not a German enemy. Ginger has a hard time getting her male superior officers to take her seriously, but she is tenacious as she pulls on the threads of a mystery that threatens the whole of the Spirit Corps. VERDICT Hugo Award–winning Kowal (“The Glamourist” series) has a good feel for the era, creating a premise and setting that make this a refreshing historical fantasy.
Kowal’s depiction of spiritualism is richly imagined, and its complications and consequences are thoughtfully considered. Her depiction of the Western Front includes diverse characters often neglected in wartime stories: the many people who help Ginger include women young and old, people of color, and disabled veterans, all of whom are dismissed by the British men in charge. The well-drawn characters and the story’s gripping action and deep emotion will captivate readers.
—Publisher's Weekly -- Starred Review