1926, New York. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. It’s the roaring twenties but not as history remembers it. Coal-powered cars line the streets of Manhattan, while zeppelins and biplanes occupy the skies. And the US is locked in a bitter cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe.
This is the alternate vision of the most opulent era of New York. A 1920s that provides the setting for Ghosts of Manhattan and Ghosts of War. It’s a darker version of history. One steeped in fantastical steampunk innovations and a dark undercurrent of supernatural treachery. Organized crime rules the streets, with speakeasies on every corner. And while a run-down police force battles mobsters and their protection rackets, the “Lost Generation” is drinking away the recent nightmares of the World War.
The United States finds itself locked in a diplomatic standoff with a British Empire who has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. The hub of both the excesses and power of the states, New York stands as a gaudy beacon for a country trying to drown its troubles in illegal gin. It’s a society on the brink of destruction, where any low level crook could be the tipping balance into lawlessness and disorder.
It’s a time in need of a hero.
It’s a time in need of The Ghost.
Book One in The Ghost series.
This was the first novel about the Ghost, and it really stemmed from my love of the Art Deco period, my penchant for comic books, my fondness for The Great Gatsby, and my love of early Twentieth Century detective pulps. It’s pretty much a fusion of all of those elements, with a dash of cosmic horror thrown in for good measure.
For me, Ghosts of Manhattan and Ghosts of War form a kind of two-parter, exploring connected themes and ideas, and allowing the Ghost’s backstory to unfold over the two books, exploring what happened to him during WWI to turn him into this strange amalgam of playboy and vigilante, with such a fractured, dangerous personality.
The recently reissued Titan edition of this book is significantly revised, with a handful of additional chapters and scenes.
“A glorious mash-up of alternate history, science fiction, supernatural horror and detective thriller.”
“The dirty love child of H.P. Lovecraft and Bob Kane’s Batman.”