Book Review: Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

334 pp.

Range of Ghosts has some fascinating world building wrapped up in an intriguing plot full of adventure and politics. The novel is set along “the Celadon Highway” a kind of analog to the historical Silk Road that linked most of Asia together with much of Europe in trade during the 12th and 13th centuries. An especially interesting aspect of the world building is that each empire or polity in Range of Ghosts has its own sky with radically different astronomical features. (As an example, the sky in Re Temur’s homeland has about a hundred tiny moons that each represents one of the male heirs of the Khagan, or “khan of khans.”)

Our protagonist is a young man named Re Temur who is caught in the middle of a succession crisis between his brother and his cousin. Though he is technically the next in line for the throne, he is on the losing side and has no support.

After some travelling, he meets up with another clan of his people and enters a relationship with a woman named Edene. Unfortunately, and unknown enemy with some serious powers of sorcery attacks the camp with an army of ghosts. During the battle, his lover is kidnapped by the ghosts and Temur rushes off to rescue her and somehow obtain allies against his cousin.

During his quest, he encounters a potentially powerful ally in the form of a wizard named Samarkand. (The wizard is also a former princess. This means she potentially has useful political connections and experience.) With Samarkand’s help, it seems that his plans to rescue Edene and take the throne might actually be feasible. Meanwhile, the leader of a cult (coincidentally the guy who had Edene kidnapped) is manipulating these and other events in secret for purposes of his own.

This is a book with many interesting twists and turns of plot. If you enjoy engaging characters and non-European fantasy settings this is possibly the book for you.  


Range of Ghosts (The Eternal Sky) on Amazon
Range of Ghosts (The Eternal Sky) on Powell’s Books


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Filed under Elizabeth Bear, fantasy, non-earth, Review: Book

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