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Author: Katherine Arden

Category: Historical fiction

ISBN: 9781529920048

RRP: 34.99


In a world torn apart by war, a brother and sister fight to find each other. The sweeping new novel from New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden.

World War One, and as shells fall in Flanders, a Canadian nurse searches for her brother believed dead in the trenches despite eerie signs that suggest otherwise in this gripping and powerful historical novel from the bestselling author of The Bear and the Nightingale.

January 1918. Laura Iven has been discharged from her duties as a nurse and sent back to Halifax, Canada, leaving behind a brother still fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Now home, she receives word of Freddie’s death in action along with his uniform -but something doesn’t quite make sense. Determined to find out more, Laura returns to Belgium as a volunteer at a private hospital. Soon after arriving, she hears whispers about ghosts moving among those still living and a strange inn-keeper whose wine gives soldiers the gift of oblivion. Could this have happened to Freddie – but if so, where is he?

November 1917. Freddie Iven awakens after an explosion to find himself trapped under an overturned pillbox with an enemy soldier, a German, each of them badly wounded. Against all odds, the two men form a bond and succeed in clawing their way out. But once in No Man’s Land, where can either of them turn where they won’t be shot as enemy soldiers or deserters? As the killing continues, they meet a man – a fiddler – who seems to have the power to make the hellscape that surrounds them disappear. But at what price?

A novel of breath-taking scope and drama, of compulsive readability, of stunning historical research lightly worn, and of brilliantly drawn characters who will make you laugh and break your heart in a single line, The Warm Hands of Ghosts is a book that will speak to readers directly about the trauma of war and the power of those involved to love, endure and transcend it.

‘A spectacular tour de force by one of my favourite authors …I love this book so much and want everyone to read it!‘ Naomi Novik

‘A marvellous novel. Visionary, imaginative and brilliantly written.’ Anthony Horowitz

Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden has always had a taste for wandering. She spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France.

Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrolment for a year in order to live and study in Russia. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature, and her studies included sojourns at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow.

After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii and worked every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and guiding horse tours to serving as a personal tour guide. During this time she wrote what became her debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale. After a year on the island, she moved to Brian on, France, and spent nine months teaching. She then returned to Maui, where she began writing The Girl in the Tower, the sequel to her debut, and officially launched her career as an author. Currently she lives in Vermont.

She is the author of the Winternight Trilogy for adults and the Small Spaces Quartet for children. The Warm Hands of Ghosts is her eighth novel.

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden



This story is set in Belgium in the dying stages of the First World War. However, it is also a story suffused with magical realism and the supernatural.

1917, Freddie awakens to find that he is entombed in a German pillbox. Buried alive but not alone. Entombed with him is a German soldier. Pointless to fight each other, they work together to try to dig themselves out of their makeshift grave.

1918, Laura, a combat nurse and Freddie’s sister, fears that the crate before her contains her brother’s possessions. The war has somehow managed to snatch both her parents away even here in Halifax when the SS Mont-Blanc exploded in the harbour. Laura’s fears are realised upon opening the crate. However, among the possessions are both of her brother’s dog tags and Laura is certain that her brother is still alive. Two timelines merge when Laura decides to travel to Belgium to find her brother.

The character of Faland shines in this novel. Whether he is a ghost, a spirit, or the devil himself. He roams the Forbidden Zone, revealing himself to soldiers offering them a blessed reprieve from their fears. Fears that he feeds on.

The Warm Hands of Ghosts is about the horrors of war. The damage and injury, both physical and mental, but it is also about the unbreakable bond between soldiers when a life is saved. Even between men who were once enemies.

Reviewed by Neale Lucas



Katherine Arden, authorKatherine Arden Burdine uses the pen name Katherine Arden. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the ‘Winternight’ trilogy and the Small Spaces Quartet. In addition to writing, she enjoys aimless travel, growing vegetables, and running wild through the woods with her dog, Moose. She lives in Vermont.

Visit Katherine Arden’s website

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