Review: The Ghosts of Heaven

ghostsAuthor: Marcus Sedgwick
Release Date: 6th January 2015



A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

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.


“To seek the rational where there is only irrational might itself be an act of madness.”

I was ready to mark this as DNF about half way through but I kept going because I thought I might prefer the next part and so on and so on…but looking back, I couldn’t possibly rate it less than 4 stars!?

The most exciting thing about this book for me was the range of genres, I love historical, sci-fi and mystery/thrillers so all of the storylines kept me hooked – It was a bonus that they got better as the book progressed (I was boring and read it in order).

First quarter: A cavegirl goes to witness her tribe’s ‘magical’ ritual but it takes a bad turn (Not the most interesting but very well written in my opinion).

Second quarter: A young girl from England is accused of witchcraft after her Mother dies (Predictable, but I am fascinated by the witch trials so this was my favourite of the four).

Third quarter: A widowed doctor starts work at a new asylum and becomes intrigued by a ‘mad’ poet (Very slow and drawn out but worth it at the end).

Final quarter: Follows a crew member on a spaceship from the future that is on a mission to relocate humans to another planet. The mission means he is only allowed to be awake for 12 hours every 10 years (Not what I was expecting at all, but very enjoyable!)

The best parts: 
– The range of different stories!! Everything from historic to sci-fi, and each one was true to their genre.
– Each story was written completely different. The poetic style of part one improved the pace, and the journal in part three made it more personal and fit perfectly with the story to build suspense.
– The small links between each of the stories were a nice touch.
– So complex that you can really get stuck in!

– I feel the characters were a bit…boring? I didn’t/still don’t care for any of the characters that were featured. They all felt very basic and that made it harder for me to invest in each story.
– Each part starts really slowly and then picks up at the very end which meant I started to zone out at the beginning of the last few stories until I knew the twist was approaching (which is not really how you should be reading a book.).
– Not a problem for me, but if you’re not a fan of some of the genres you may get bored during those stories which would be a shame.

I can understand completely why this book has such mixed reviews, I’ve certainly never read a book like it before. It’s very unique and although I’m still not 100% convinced I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to someone? CONFUSING.



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