The Ghosts Of Heaven By Marcus Sedgwick

I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.

The Ghosts Of Heaven By Marcus SedgwickThe Ghosts Of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
Published by Macmillan on January 6, 2015
Genres: Young Adult

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick's gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.


I never know quite what to expect when I read a Marcus Sedgwick novel, and once again, he has written a book that I really enjoyed, but have a hard time explaining.  The Ghosts Of Heaven is written in four parts that are interconnected and all have a common thread, if you will.  That common thread is a spiral.  Spirals occur in nature, both in large objects and on a microscopic level, and the imagery of the spiral runs through every story.  Since each section is independent, you could start in the middle, or at the end, or read through from page one until the end, as I did.  Each section has its own story, but still shares something with the other sections.  I think it’s one of those books that you find something new inside every time you read it.  I also loved the way, if you read it from beginning to end, it starts with pre-history and ends far into the future.  The first story begins before people had written communication and the last story is about a man on a long duration space flight.  While these stories may seem to have nothing in common with the other, the way they connect is quite brilliant.

Reviewers throw around the term “haunting” a lot when describing books, but I can’t think of another word that describes these stories as well.  Each section stayed with me long after I finished the book and I found myself noticing spirals everywhere, both in nature and in man-made structures.  So, in that respect, it was haunting me, in a way.  Independent of the unusual structure, I genuinely liked each story and found them to be entertaining and dark.  The Ghosts Of Heaven was interesting, absorbing, and unlike anything I’ve read before.  If you are looking for a book that will truly make you look at things a little differently after you’ve finished reading, then The Ghosts Of Heaven deserves a place on your reading list for 2015.





About Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the South-east of England. He now divides his time between a small village near Cambridge and the French Alps. Alongside a 16 year career in publishing he established himself as a widely-admired writer of YA fiction; he is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Branford-Boase Award for a debut novel (Floodland), and the Booktrust Teenage Prize (My Swordhand is Singing). His books have been shortlisted for over thirty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (four times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times). Marcus was Writer in Residence at Bath Spa University for three years, and has taught creative writing at Arvon and Ty Newydd. He is currently working on film and other graphic novels with his brother, Julian, as well as a graphic novel with Thomas Taylor. He has judged numerous books awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Costa Book Awards.He has illustrated some of his books, and has provided wood-engravings for a couple of private press books.


7 responses to “The Ghosts Of Heaven By Marcus Sedgwick

  1. I’ve only completed the first story and loved it, but I’m a bit stuck in the witch trials one, my feminist self always rages against them and find it more and more difficult to read those type of stories…
    Great review Kate!

  2. I’m happy you enjoyed this one! I, unfortunately, did not like it at all. 🙁 But I am happy I am more of a black sheep with this one!

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