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Sea of Ghosts (The Gravedigger Chronicles #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  608 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
When the last of the Gravediggers, an elite imperial infiltration unit, are disbanded and hunted down by the emperor they once served, munitions expert Colonel Thomas Granger takes refuge in the unlikeliest of places. He becomes a jailer in Ethugra - a prison city of poison-flooded streets and gaols in which a million enemies of the empire are held captive. But when Grange ...more
Hardcover, 430 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Tor Books (first published March 18th 2011)
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Neal Asher
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
The sea bottles are bubbling away under the sea, each seemingly a gateway into another world, steadily raising the sea levels with brine whose touch will turn your skin to shark skin. The artefacts of a recently fallen alchemic and magical dictatorship lie under the poisonous waters for anyone brave enough, or insane enough to retrieve them. Steamships and sorcerous weapons abound, along with other fascinating devices in a steam/punk/fantasy world. Dragons are addicted to what can only be descri ...more
Ranting Dragon
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stephan

First in Alan Campbell’s new Gravedigger Chronicles, Sea of Ghosts is a mix of different genres. The novel starts as an adventurous work of low fantasy with steampunk elements, but soon moves into completely new territories of paranormal and even epic fantasy, with scientific elements that expand to make this novel resemble something I can only describe as ‘epic science fantasy’. All the while, Sea of Ghosts reads like a marine adventure written by Clive C
Петър Панчев
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: Бард
Светът в книгата на Камбъл е мрачен и зловещ
Цялото ревю тук:

Рядко съм срещал книги, които описват толкова тъмен и безрадостен свят. Алън Камбъл изважда на показ чудовищна действителност, наситена с мрачни краски и залята от отровите на една победена и поробена цивилизация. През по-голямата част от книгата имах чувството, че ставам свидетел на една колосална трагедия, напомняща много на мрачните прогнози за бъдещето на самата Земя. Дори започнах да се съм
Христо Блажев
В отровните морета удавници бродят:

Камбъл описва един бавно потъващ в отрова свят – загубилите властта си магьосници и драконови ездачи, наричани унмери, са разпръснали в моретата безброй шишенца, от които неспирно изтича отровна киселина. Морското равнище постоянно се повишава, но недотам бързо, че да предизвика достатъчно тревога – вместо това кралствата си воюват помежду си, а като отделен орден са се позиционирали хаурстафите, които са победили унмери
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
(review when read on original publication/review copy 2010)

I have finished the book yesterday too (full rv 2011 around publication date) and I was mixed; the writing style does not chime with me many times and the characters in the book are pure stock with no depth - eg the frightened but very powerful girl, the honor, duty, bla..., officer relegated by caricature emperor Hu to exile...

Also there are so many over the top action sequences that happen because they need to happen...

There were momen
Metodi Markov
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Нова поредица с обещаващо начало. Интересен свят и идеи, с нетърпение почвам втората част.

Море с цвят на кехлибар и вкус на киселина, бряг покрит със стотици хиляди ключове, изнесени от безчет удавници...

И дракони естествено, при това гладни, бронирани и безумни понякога.
Калоян Захариев
Книгата ми хареса, въпреки че трудно може да се нарече шедьовър. Действието се развива в мрачен свят, който търпи последиците от война отминала преди 300 години. Загубвайки я унмерите - могъща раса на магьосници, отравят моретата със своите ичусаи - малки шишенци, които бълват безкрайно количество "саламура". Водите прииждат и поглъщат островите малко по малко, обричайки на смърт всичко живо. Всеки изложил се дори за кратко на отровната вода започва да се трансформира в Удавник - полуинтелигентн ...more
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit. Just, wow.
This book is rich in detail. But not in a long winded and unnecessary way.
The world was so well thought out, half sinking under poisonous seas, half ravaged with war.
The magical elements whilst remaining beautiful and colourful also border on science fiction. A pairing I do so happen to love.
This book starts out with a band of wartime heroes turned mercenary survivors - aka the Gravediggers. They're a witty, violent and close nit bunch. But then they're split up, we follow
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a massive let down. Massive. And looking back, I don't know why I was surprised. I have experienced Campbell's writing once before, and came out of it feeling distinctly 'meh'. However, from the moment I heard about this book to the moment I started reading it, I was captivated by the ideas that he presented. It's just a shame that he let it down. Three Stars.

Plot : Four Stars

In concept, this was a five star book, however it's execution felt just like that; an execution.

Set in a worl
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Goodreads removed the review for some reason...

I stumbled across Campbell’s Sea of Ghosts back in May, and what caught my initial interest was the cover. A man in heavy diving gear trudging out of the depths with some fierce looking weapons strapped to his back – but the book dropped further and further down my list while more books were added. It returned to my attention at the words of Stefan of Civilian Reader and after jumping through some hoops to get
Radi Radev
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Въпреки, че пише в жанр фентъзи, Алън Камбъл е автор силно ориентиран към науката. В „Море на призраците” той е успял да вплете няколко страници от негови много напредничави разсъждения относно космологията на различните светове.
Книгата започва много увлекателно. Запознаваме се с една своеобразна вселена – в нея съществуват момичета, неуязвими за куршуми и сачми, дракони берсеркери и магия, много магия. Там морската вода изгаря, а ако е в по-голямо количество променя човеците в нещо неузнаваемо.
Историята не е нещо изключително ново или нечетено досега: един разжалван Гробар (нещо като спец.оп. войник), който открива, че има дъщеря с малко по-особени способности (и която разбира се всички искат да използват). А после се оказва и че дъщерята не е точно това, което трябва да е (нищо неочаквано тук - книгата те подготвя за това). Това са и двамата главни герои в книгата. Има още няколко (богатият иманяр, опасната медиумка и още множество други интересни герои), но те не се развиват като ге ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whoaaa! WHAT` I`ve just finished reading?!

This one was one of the best fantasy adventure book read in the past years.

The wholse scenario it`s absolutely brilliant with a world in wich the powerfull Magi race has been subdued by the traitor Guild of Psychics and the whole Planet has gone in a distructive state. Now from the war all the sea is contaminated,there are a lot of things free out there, but the most amazing thing is that people can actually live under water (in something like an undyi
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love a dark world. and this book's setting is GRIM! Poison seas cover the earth, dooming any one even touching the brine , to a painful conversion to a sea creature and/or death. and the seas are rising! Artifacts of a defeated magical race wait under the toxic sea for anyone brave, or desperate enough to plunder search for them. a decadent empire, a militant order of telepaths, rule the remnants of a world doomed to a toxic watery death. only a disgraced soldier, an opportunistic 'trove' hunt ...more
Peter Greenwell
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Fast-paced action, weird and wacky steampunk settings, and it is occasionally gripping material. What it also possesses is a litany of characters who never transcend cardboard, periods where the writing is pedestrian (some poor editing at play too) and as with Campbell's prior three books, his imagination gets the better of him and logical flow goes out the window.

The good outweighs the bad - just, and it is a guilty pleasure of a read.
Veselin Nikolov
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Много добро фентъзи, от онези, в които светът е по-интересен от действието. Представете си морета от саламура, в която бродят зомбита, няколко различни категории магьосници и всичките герои - луди за връзване.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lite seg i början men blev grymt bra sen. Vill ha näsya bok....nuuuuuu!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
An extremely atmospheric description of a dystopian world. The setting is very well realised, the environment nicely described and the pace enjoyable and filled with well spaced and constructed plot turns. I like the characters, the depth of their strengths and flaws is refreshing and unusual. I could barely put it down and couldn't wait to read the sequel. Lost one star for slightly overwhelming bleakness.
Sachin Dev
Originally reviewed here: ( with a bit more pontificating, if you please :D)

The first in the Gravedigger Chronicles, Sea of Ghosts brings to us another gloriously created world – where the sea-levels are rising and waters have turned toxic – “brine” a substance left over by the last inhabitants of this world before humans. A race called Unmer who were defeated by the human slaves with their psychic telepathic Haurstaf witches – who now keep the Unmer under control. But the
Campbell Mcaulay
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The sea is toxic and gradually rising and the world reduced to a few isolated island archipelagoes. Society is brutal, exploitative and feudal. Thomas Granger is a hunted man and his daughter is a valuable political and scientific commodity. Read on...

I picked this up on no more than a whim after spotting it's rather striking cover art on the "recommended" section at the bookshop and, a few short days later, I put it down again, pretty much blown away. OK, so I'm no steampunk afficionado so I gu
Perry Watson
This book blew me away, mostly thanks to its excellent worldbuilding. In this world, humanity was formerly enslaved by the Unmer, a race of evil sorcerer types. When the Unmer were overthrown by the Haurstaf, an order of human telepaths, the Unmer threw millions of magic bottles into the ocean, enchanted to constantly spray out poisonous brine that turns human skin into "sharkskin," and ultimately renders those fully immersed in it into the Drowned, a sort of aquatic mindless zombie.

It's a bleak
Natasha M.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lianne Burwell
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I always find it interesting comparing North American SF to the UK SF. Some people would say 'it's just SF', but there is a definite difference in tone. For one thing, I tend to find UK SF a little darker in tone, the worlds a little stranger.

In Sea of Ghosts, you get both. The Unmer are sorcerors who controlled the world for a very long time. Then their human slaves rose up in rebellion, mainly aided by a guild of female telepaths who now control the surviving Unmer. But in a final stroke of ve
Nick Brett
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an intriguing fantasy novel which keeps the reader guessing as to where it is going. A bit of steampunk, weird magic and fresh ideas assault the reader from almost the first page. Set in an intelligently crafted world where the sea is rising and heavily toxic, there are a number of key protagonists: a resourceful officer on the run from the Empire, a cunning treasure hunter, a witch and a young girl with some very strange abilities.

What is interesting about this is that you can see where
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fantasy
'Sea of Ghosts' fits into multiple genres - fantasy, steampunk, and even includes some elements of science fiction. The author has managed to create a unique fantasy world, something different from 'standard fantasy'; it's sometimes bizarre, and there's a constant sense of danger and fascination. The whole story has a dark and suspenseful atmosphere. About half-way through the book, I just couldn't stop reading. The urge to find out what happened next was overwhelming. I very much look forward t ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I finished Alan Campbell's Deepgate Codex back in 2010 and thought that it was wondrously strange and fun. Now he's got a new series going called the Gravedigger Chronicles. This first book takes place in a whole new, fascinating world. One of the things that's great about this author is that he doesn't fall back on a faux-medieval world like so many countless other fantasists. He creates a new world from scratch. The main character in this story is Thomas Granger, a colonel in an elite infiltra ...more
Brian Steele
This book started out amazing. The first chapter alone was one of the most captivating, original, and bizarre things I've read in some time. Unfortunately, it descended into a somewhat boring tale far too quickly.

Campbell has created a unique world, a fantasy universe based more off 17th century Europe than the middle ages like we see in traditional fantasy. There is a odd, almost steampunkish element, along with the aspect of a flooded earth. Sadly, there are almost too many alien concepts thro
Cassiopeia's Moon
Feb 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cover buy.

I love the cover. Then I began reading, and what a disappointment. I couldn't care for Granger, I couldn't picture the world inside my head, nothing was explained.

Some bits here and there were interesting, but mostly the story couldn't grip me and every time I picked the book up I'd forgotten what had happened and had to reread the previous pages. During my reading I often zoomed out and couldn't keep up with all the twist and turns.

Almost nothing got an explanation. What is
Ivan Bogdanov
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книгата наистина е леко досадна, но то е заради опита на автора да съчетае няколко жанра.
Официално - като постановка на света, като начина на развиване на действието и прочие е фентъзи. От друга страна, авторът прави дълги отклонение в стил спейс сага.
Ноо това, което ме порази е колко много теоретична физика има в тази книга - спинови двойки, фотони, маса и енергия, преобразуването им. Май това е и единствената книга, в която съм видял употребата на "ентропия".
Припомних си знанията от университе
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I was a huge fan of the Scar Night series, and this book in comparison is a bit of a letdown.
That being said, I still enjoyed the read immensely. Even for Campbell, he took the "everyone is an asshole" theme that he's known for and truly utilize to his advantage. The worldbuilding is amazing, and it's hard not to visualize everything. Many characters have their amusing quirks and as I said, "everyone is an asshole".
It's not his best book by any means, but I love regardless.
My biggest issue is ho
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I was born in Falkirk, Scotland, and grew up there, before moving on to to study Computer Science at Edinburgh University. After graduating, I worked for DMA Design, Visual Sciences and Rockstar, developing video games: Body Harvest for the Nintendo 64, Formula One 2000 for the Playstation, and the Grand Theft Auto series on the PC and PS2. After we'd finished Vice City, I left to pursue a career ...more
More about Alan Campbell...

Other Books in the Series

The Gravedigger Chronicles (2 books)
  • Art of Hunting (The Gravedigger Chronicles, #2)