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The Ghost of the Revelator Hardcover – September 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312864264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312864262
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,023,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Following up on the inventive Of Tangible Ghosts, L.E. Modesitt Jr. takes us back to his balkanized, techno-colonial vision of America, an alternate history in which the English colony at Plymouth failed long ago and New France, Columbia, Quebec, and the Mormon state of Deseret scheme and scrap for control of the continent and its resources. A land of dirigibles and difference engines, Modesitt's eerily refined world is compelling and coolly original, a place where you still drive to work in a car--albeit steam-powered--but think nothing of waving good morning to the zombies raking leaves off your lawn.

The protagonist of Tangible Ghosts, college professor and former secret agent Johan Eschbach, is back in this espionage thriller, now married to world-class singer and fellow former spy Lysette duBoise. Amidst intrigue and having barely survived an attempt on their lives, the two head off to Salt Lake City after Lysette is invited to sing there by Deseret's Mormon government. Of course nothing is quite as it seems: the situation quickly becomes complicated as Austro-Hungary tries to derail any cooperation between Columbia and Deseret, and a fanatic splinter group kidnaps Lysette to force Eschbach to summon the ghost of the Revelator, no less than Joseph Smith. With its smooth and measured action and its novel and well-developed characters and setting, Ghost of the Revelator is a rich, rewarding read. --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

Like the portions of pasta, chocolate and wine that figure heavily in the diet of retired spy?now amateur chef and university professor?Johan Eschbach and his diva wife, Llysette, too many themes weigh down the fragile story line of Modesitt's new installment in the couple's battle with evil bureaucracy in a contemporary alternative North America. Eschbach's singular expertise with the "ghost technology" introduced in Of Tangible Ghosts now involves him and Llysette in dastardly plotting among the nations of New France, Mormon-dominated Deseret and Dutch-settled Columbia, all scheming to replace their steam-driven economies with syn-fueled military might. Intriguing ethical issues of ghost raising and zombie-izing seem to evaporate here, because Modesitt gets bogged down in environmentalism, two-career marriage angst, the eternal professorial woes of apathetic students and conniving administrators and the perils of an alternative Latter Day Saint theocracy. Too dependent on its predecessor for the comfort of new readers, Eschbach's current adventure is flavored minimally with science, limited chiefly to dirigibles and Stanley Steamers, while Llysette's pseudo-French dialogue ("Little she holds back") is as cloying as too much Bearnaise. All told, Modesitt reveals little that's new or savory here.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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 www.lemodesittjr.com.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If John Le Carre tried his hand at alternate history the result might be similar to The Ghost of the Revelator. Maybe -- assuming Le Carre grafted elements of science fiction and fantasy onto his creation, enjoyed opera, and was feeling particularly quirky. As with the best Le Carre, Modesitt's characters live in shades of grey, struggling to make ethical decisions in a world where good is ambiguous but evil can be absolute.
Professor Johann Eschbach, hero of Tangible Ghosts, is a newly tenured professor of Natural Resources at Vanderbraak State University, former Subminister for Environmental Protection, and former highly successful covert operative for the Spazi, a state security agency every bit as warm and cuddly as its nickname. Not surprisingly, Eschbach is far more enamored of his retirement from government service than his former employer despite his "insurance policy".
The one bright spot in Eschbach's life is his recent marriage to Doktor Llysette duBois, a once famous opera singer who came to the university in exile after the fall of old France. Between the Ghost books and his acclaimed Spellsong Cycle fantasy series, Modesitt demonstrates extraordinary interest in and insight into the character of beautiful, supremely talented sopranos.
Revelator's world, although contemporary, diverges from our own by presuming changes in a few key historical events, particularly the failure of the English colony at Plymouth and the early death of George Washington. The result is a North America which is far more politically fractured than in our world. Columbia, Eschbach's Dutch-Anglo home, is bordered to the south by New France, to the north by Quebec, and to the west by Deseret -- a Latter-Day Saint republic that still permits polygamy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Craig Milo Rogers on November 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This was an enjoyable return to the world of "Of Tangible Ghosts". It tries to stand alone from the first novel, but doesn't quite succeed; certain character and background details are repeated (and repeated...), while others are omitted. His treatment of an evolved Mormon society is interesting, particularly in comparison the one in the author's novel "The Parafaith War". I look forward to future stories in this series that explore some of the other cultures in this world-line, such as the New French.
About my only other complaint is that the main ghost (you knew there had to be one from the title) appears quite late in the story, and doesn't have the depth of character of the first novel's. I enjoyed the ghost construction details -- kinda like building a Web page on steroids.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on January 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
[paired review with Of Tangible Ghosts]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Johan Eschbach, retired from an eventful career in service to
Columbia as a naval aviator, Spazi agent, and cabinet minister,
now teaches environmental economics at Vanderbraak State
University in New Bruges (New Hampshire in OTL). Doktor
Eschbach lost both his wife and daughter in a political murder --
he himself was badly wounded -- and he would like nothing better
than a quiet life in this academic backwater. But that would make
for a dull book, and he is soon caught up in a murder
investigation, love affair, political intrigues, and secret military
research into "deghosting".

Doktor Eschbach's solution to the ensuing tangle is
"rather appalling and not entirely credible" [note 1].
--------
"A land of dirigibles and difference engines, Modesitt's
eerily refined world is compelling and coolly original, a place where
you still drive to work in a car--albeit steam-powered--but think
nothing of waving good morning to the zombies raking leaves off the
lawn." -- Paul Hughes, Amazon.com

Ghost of the Revelator picks up Doktor Eschbach and his new
wife Llysette Du Boise as her singing career is taking off, and
as the messy ending to "Tangible" comes back to haunt Eschbach.
The story unfolds slowly, but the same wonderful details of
everyday life that enlivened the first book -- lunch at a favorite
cafe, icy roads, dense, lazy, occasionally sharp students, petty
academic politics, politicians who can "smile and smile and be a
villain" -- make the trip worthwhile.
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