With the whole of Europe balanced on the brink of war, an Austrian regiment is sent to the furthest frontier of the empire to hold the border against the might of Prussia. Their garrison, the ancient house called Pokoj.
But Pokoj is already inhabited, by a company of ghosts from every age of the house’s history. Only Drozde, the quartermaster’s mistress, can see them, and terrifyingly they welcome her as a friend. As these ageless phantoms tell their stories Drozde gets chilling glimpses not just of Pokoj’s past but of a looming menace in its future.
Meanwhile the humourless lieutenant Klaes pursues another mystery. Why are the people of the neighbouring village so surly and withdrawn, so reluctant to welcome the soldiers who are there to protect them? What are they hiding? And what happened to the local militia unit that was stationed at Pokoj before the regiment arrived?
The camp follower and the officer make their separate journeys to the same appalling discovery—an impending catastrophe that will sweep away villagers and soldiers alike. But to stop it would pit Klaes against his entire regiment and Drozde against the one man in the world she truly fears.
Perhaps neither of them can prevail. If they do, it will be with the help of the restless dead. . . .
ISBN: 9781771483124 eISBN: 9781771483131
Other CZP books by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey:
“The Careys nest smaller tales within the larger story and often jump around in time; it’s a good approach, backed by fast pacing and great characters . . . [The Steel Seraglio is] a thrilling tale.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Steel Seraglio brings its alternate world of struggle, politics and magic very much to life, transcending the more labored construct of symbol and metaphor in a fairy tale or fable retold only to make some kind of point.” —Locus
“With remarkable elegance, the Careys have enriched meta-fictional allegory into furious pop entertainment—full of sex, passion, violence, and magic. The Steel Seraglio is razor-sharp, cutting straight through the bullshit of bigotry to tell a fun, resonant story.” —Slant Magazine
“The Steel Seraglio is not a work of feminist or utopian theory. Nor is it a historical fantasy, a romance, a thriller, a poem, an allegory, or an epic. Rather, somehow, it is all of these things, mixed with a handful of gnomic utterances, a generous splash of the comic, and permeated by a deep understanding of what it means to weave a fairytale through with vision, to tell stories as a way of making meaning and making change, and to let those stories hang and fall. . . .” —Neon Magazine
“The Steel Seraglio is a masterful, engaging and utterly fascinating story by three wonderful writers. One can only hope they will collaborate again, as this project has proven how well they work together. The reader is really the winner here.” —SF Revu