Synopses & Reviews
A supernatural love story set in Imperial Russia.
"There's something not right about you," said Ana. She wasn't teasing him. She was concerned about what she detected behind his eyes. This made Calder's skin tingle. "You're not telling me something."
She was uncanny. Calder silently prayed she could not see how he had broken his Vows and upset her world and his own.
"You're lonely," she told him. "It must be hard to pretend all the time."
He felt a wave of sadness, sudden and deep.
"Don't be afraid," she told him. "Everyone has a secret. I'll keep yours."
Calder is a Fetch, a death escort, the first of his kind to step from Heaven back to Earth.
The first to fall in love with a mortal girl.
But when he climbs backward out of that Death Scene, into the chaos of the Russian Revolution, he tears a wound in the ghost realm where the spirits begin a revolution of their own.
"Whitcomb (A Certain Slant of Light) revisits the hereafter with this ambitious fantasy that dips into Russian history to explain why Princess Anastasia and Prince Alex's remains were not found alongside the rest of the slain Romanov family: they were spirited away by Calder, a Fetch, who attends the dying and escorts souls to heaven. Calder is a hugely empathetic figure, abandoned as a baby and killed at age 19, but he errs, first by falling in love with a Romanov, and then in taking the dying mystic Rasputin's body as his own in order to pursue her, causing a major rupture in the spirit world. To heal the wound, he, Anastasia and Alexei (here called Alexis) travel the globe in search of a lost key. The story, riveting until this point, loses its focus as they begin their trek. Whitcomb's inventive vision of the afterlife almost makes up for the plodding pace of the narrative it's an ultimately comforting place where souls see their deepest regrets woven into tapestries and their contributions displayed in the form of a garden only they can interpret. Ages 12 up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] fascinating, intricately structured vision of the afterlife....The rich descriptions, particularly of the exquisitely imagined afterlife, are exceptionally drawn, as are the sympathetic characters and the unusual premise." Booklist (Starred Review)
Calder is a Fetch, a death escort, the first of his kind to step from Heaven back to Earth. But when he climbs backwards out of that Death Scene, into the chaos of the Russian Revolution, he tears a wound in the ghost realm, where the spirits begin a revolution of their own.
About the Author
Laura Whitcomb grew up in Pasadena, California, where she lived in a mildly haunted house for 12 years. She has taught English in California and Hawaii. The winner of three Kay Snow Writing Awards, she was once runner-up in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest for the best first sentence of the worst science fiction novel never written. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her dog Maximus.