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Ghost of the White Nights (Ghost Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – October 13, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: Ghost Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reissue edition (October 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765340321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765340320
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,509,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This not-especially-thrilling thriller completes the trilogy that began with Of Tangible Ghosts and The Ghost of the Revelator. The most striking feature of Modesitt's alternative Earth is that scientists have discovered that the human soul is tangible and subject to mechanical manipulation. It can remain behind as a ghost when someone dies in anguish, and it can be removed to create an obedient zombie slave. In an effort to resist the Austrian Empire's schemes of world domination, the leaders of Columbia (one of the countries that share the North American continent) send Doktor Johan Eshbach (college teacher of environmental science, former secret agent and gifted amateur in ghost research) and his diva wife, Llysette, to negotiate a petroleum contract with a Russia still ruled by the Romanovs. Needless to say, Eshbach discovers that powerful forces are arrayed against him, and he's faced with untangling a confusing situation. The whole business seems rather perfunctory. Even when Eshbach is supposedly in danger, the author's prose trudges stolidly along. The idea of ghost technology is intriguing, but seems unimportant until the end. The characters appear most concerned about surviving faculty politics, picking concert selections and finding a good restaurant. While this may be true to life, it's not terribly compelling. Perhaps readers of the first two books will care enough about the characters to worry about whether the hero will outwit his opponents while his wife advances her singing career by performing before the czar. But probably not. (Oct. 25)two reprints, Empire & Ecolitan (Forecasts, June 25), and two other novels, The Shadow Sorceress (Forecasts, May 28) and The Octagonal Raven (Forecasts, Feb. 5).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Environmental scientist Dr. Johan Eschbach and his wife, the world-famous diva Llysette, travel to Romanov-ruled Russia for a cultural exchange and to investigate rumors of a deadly new technology controlled by the Russians. Modesitt's latest addition to the "Ghost" series (Of Tangible Ghosts, The Ghost of the Revelator) exhibits the author's graceful storytelling and unique vision. Fans of alternate history should enjoy this tale of deception and intrigue. A fitting addition for most sf collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

After spending years writing poetry, political speeches and analyses, as well as economic and technical reports on extraordinarily detailed and often boring subjects, I finally got around to writing my first short story, which was published in 1973. I kept submitting and occasionally having published stories until an editor indicated he'd refuse to buy any more until I wrote a novel. So I did, and it was published in 1982, and I've been writing novels -- along with a few short stories -- ever since.

If you want to know more, you can visit my website at

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Dorr on November 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book was described by Publishers weekly as:"This not-especially-thrilling thriller..." This is an awful way to begin the review of this slower, more thoughtfully paced book. The writing is good, the characters are compelling as always and the descriptions of the landscape and the surrounding situations are a pleasure to read. This book is a nice escape into a more civilized and slower paced universe than the one we inhabit.
There is not a lot of action, there is some and it is satisfying, but there is not a need for it. There is little moralizing or preaching. There is a constant theme of "protect the environment." But this isn't a bad thing and it is done pragmatically, not at all shrill.
It seems most reviewers focus on the idea of the tangible ghosts. That is not the important part of the book. What is important is the idea of family, and love.
I found this book to be very satisfying and finished it in 2 days.
If you enjoyed the first two books you will enjoy this one
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. M Simon on October 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you start by reading the Publisher's Weekly review, you might prefer a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to reading Ghost of the White Nights, and that would be a mistake!

The concluding volume of the Columbia-Ghost trilogy is Modesitt's best volume in the series. It is well-paced, start to finish, it has some interesting plot twists, and the hero, Johan Eschbach, is at his finest.

Fans of the series will already understand the basic premise. Columbia, an alternate-world semi-USA faces the twin threats of chronic oil shortages and Austrian Emperor Ferdinand's plots to dominate the world. Eschbach, spy, professor, war hero, and good guy who wipes the dishes and makes a fair salad, must handle both issues.

This time, Eschbach must broker a deal with a creaky Romanov regime, trading technology for oil. There is plenty of intrigue, and Modesitt really has the Russian character-- proud, paranoid, but ultimately somehow likeable--down pat.

It is a shame that Eschbach's ahem--itchy-ahem French wife is still along for the ride, fussing about every bowl of soup, but if you can get past that, White Nights isn't bad at all. Some odd plot twists like having Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel appear in the alternate universe as an insidiously smarmy US Ambassador to Russia, are a lot of fun, too.

White Nights is a significant uptick on the previous volume, Ghost of the Revelator, which had almost nothing in it but the French wife crabbing about the chow!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This earth is a lot different than that which contains science fiction readers of popular novels written by authors like L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Here Columbia is one of several nations that have carved out a segment of the North American continent. Columbia is actually what fans of Mr. Modesitt, Jr. would recognize as the eastern United States. In this alternate plane, scientists know how to remove the soul from the living host to create a zombie and that if the soul lingers after the individual dies in distress, a ghost exists.

Columbia desperately needs oil and feel Romanov's Russian Alaska is the solution. As part of a cultural exchange with Russia, Columbia sends critically acclaimed singer Llysette to Russia to perform for the Czar. Llysette's spouse Doktor Johan Eschbach, a professor of Environmental Science, accompanies her ostensibly to provide his beloved wife support, but actually to see what he can do to expedite an oil agreement. A former secret agent, Johan soon finds himself embroiled in stopping a dangerous plot for world domination from happening, one that will use new and very dangerous weapons.

The final novel in the "Ghost" trilogy, GHOST OF THE WHITE NIGHTS, is an engaging entry that focuses on an alternate world. The book wraps up the series nicely though fans will want more novels. The story line is at its best when delving into "modern" weapons systems and ghosts in the machine technology. However, long sidebars on Llysette's tour turn readers into ghostly zombies. Still the audience will enjoy the final tale as L.E. Modesitt, Jr. paints a realm that feels real from a historical and scientific basis.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on December 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Johan Eschbach is perfectly content with his life as a college Professor of Environmental Economics and the husband of Llysette, a classical singer. When his government calls both of them into service, Johan finds himself returning to a past that he had thought was long behind him--that of a spy and assassin.
In this powerful alternative history novel, Austria-Hungary, allied with Prussia/Germany, sits astride a conquered Europe with only Russia, Sweden, and the fading Ottoman Turks remaining to face it. With both conventional weapons and the ability to create zombie armies, Austria-Hungary is content to nibble away at its enemies. In America, Columbia (representing most of what is the United States and the maritime provinces of Canada in our reality) suffers under the energy blockade that Austria-Hungary now imposes. Under the cover of an artistic exchange, Johan is sent to Russia to negotiate oil leases in Russian Alaska.
Russia, still ruled by the Tsars, is a challenge to Johan. The rocket branch of the Russian military seems intent on foiling the oil deal despite the obvious benefits to all parties. Johan comes to suspect a threat to the entire world order--one that neither Russia nor Columbia is likely to survive. Yet what can one man do against the intrenched bureaucracy of a centuries-old state?
Author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. brings his emotionally compelling writing to a fascinating alternative history--one vaguely reminisent of Jules Verne, with its steam automobiles, dirigible travel, and its still-surviving Imperial heads of state, yet with a supernatural element of ghosts making their presence felt. Despite a few loose ends (what, exactly, was that bombing about), Modesitt delivers an exciting story with fully human characters.
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