I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott.
There are things we know for sure gravity, that’s a good example. With a few exceptions, most of us would say the earth is round. And white light breaks into colors if you run it through a prism. We know these things even if we don’t know why they should be true. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether gravity will pick today to stop working; I feel pretty comfortable that it will simply be there. It never would occur to me to look under the hood of gravity. I’m not Isaac Newton. Now, this was a complicated guy. He was deeply reclusive, kept obsessive records of his sins (my personal favorite: “Punched my sister”), and that story about the apple falling on his head? He made that up himself. Yes, he wrote his own press. But he had the kind of mind that demanded to know how things worked, and when the answers weren’t acceptable, he made up better ones of course many high school students wouldn’t thank him for coming up with calculus. But did you know Newton was a very committed alchemist? Bet you didn’t learn about that in school. The line between good science and bad science is the spine of Ghostwalk, which begins with a drowning and ends with a ghost, but how are they related? There are two timelines here, both set in the ancient city of Cambridge, and the characters seem to drift back and forth between the 17th and 21st centuries, as if moving through time was just the latest mystery to be solved.
Rebecca Stott lives in Cambridge and this is her first novel.