cover image The Warm Hands of Ghosts

The Warm Hands of Ghosts

Katherine Arden. Del Rey, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-12825-1

Arden (The Bear and the Nightingale) blends a meticulously researched WWI epic, an eloquent family saga, and a touch of the supernatural in this breathtaking historical fantasy. Nurse Laura Iven returns home to Halifax, Nova Scotia, after being wounded on the Western Front and honorably discharged from the medical corps. When she learns in early 1918 that her soldier brother Freddie—her last living family member—is missing and presumed dead, she’s overwhelmed with questions, so she volunteers to return to Belgium, where she’ll work at a private hospital and seek answers in her limited spare time. The narrative shifts between Laura’s perspective and Freddie’s own, a year prior, as he falls in with a mysterious and potentially mystical new friend, adding captivating depth and tension to an already intriguing premise. Arden’s carefully constructed plot makes each unexpected twist feel as inevitable as it is shocking. Through resonant prose, she literalizes the apocalyptic qualities of WWI while dwelling in moral complexity and delivering vibrant, fully fleshed-out characters. The interwoven supernatural elements lend the historical details greater weight. The result is a powerful page-turner. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Feb.)