Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: A Novel of Mohenjo-Daro
Talk about exotic settings! We know so very little about prehistoric Indus Valley civilizations that the author has built her story from translations of seal inscriptions and archaeological findings. The decline of the River Cities is a mystery, but the historians specializing in the area believe that some major event caused a once flourishing civilization to gradually come apart. So Winter on the Plain of Ghosts is the very highest form of speculation, filling in with believable possibilities where no actual knowledge exists. It starts with a bang, a child in danger of being sacrificed to a cruel religion, and the first part of the novel has the most compelling pace. Once arrived in the city of Meluhha, the action revolves around the corrupt priesthood that controls the society, and it becomes less of a personal story and more of a saga. The saga, however, is chock full of sorcery, demons, dancing, storytelling, music, merchants and warriors and the ancient battle between good and evil. The priests push the common people too far. Revolution brews while the annual floods cause devastation, once when the waters rise and again when sickness arises from the heat and damp. There are barbaric atrocities, but there is kindness and beauty as well. History fans will enjoy this version of an ancient city, with its grounding in research, while those who just like a good fantasy will find the historical background no impediment to reading it as one.