"Shadows of Ghosts" is described in the publicity material as an allegory of the events that led up to the Civil War. That this is so is quite evident, but the story is much more than that.
The obvious storyline is quite simple. A Prince is secreted away for four years while his father's kingdom is in civil war over the issue of slavery, specifically that of 'Centaurs.' After four years the king is assassinated and the Prince must flee to safety so that he can take the throne before the throne is usurped.
The story however runs much deeper, dealing with a variety of issues.
There is the issue of friendships which defy socio-economic and political boundaries and that of children not being held accountable for the actions and beliefs of their parents. Issues of trust, truthfulness and honesty run throughout the story, as do matters pertaining to betrayal and making amends.
Issues of racism and apartheid necessarily make an appearance as one might expect, and are dealt with quite well.
But there are also two particularly sublime issues to be found in the storyline. One is the need for leniency and forgiveness in relationships in order for healing and restoration to occur. The other, which concerns 'revolution' touches on the effects of unbridled greed. I personally think that many are there who have fought for revolution only to introduce a government no different to that from which they sought freedom.
The book is very well written, with excellent dialogues and effective descriptive narratives and it is I think, from a 'primary text reading' perspective, a great story for children. Its full beauty however is to be found in the way it presents all of these other issues, and under cover of the primary plot, teaches children to rise above both the baser instincts of man (prejudice) as well as inhumane (biased) political and social ideology.
From my perspective this is really a book about 'ethics' and I would heartily recommend it to everyone.
Stefan Haucke has always been fascinated by history, literature, and world cultures. He has traveled to over twenty nations. He has an affinity for folktales, fairytales and urban legends and has successfully worked as a deck hand, a shepherd, a dispatcher for an emergency services unit, an electric meter reader, and as an office manager. He currently resides in Colorado near the city of Denver.
An Excerpt is provided on the author's website
Shadows of Ghosts
by Stefan Haucke
$12 at BarnesandNoble