The Grief of Stones (Cemeteries of Amalo, 2)

by Katherine Addison (Autor)

Hardcover, 2022



Call number



Tom Doherty Associates (2022), 245 pages


In The Grief of Stones, Katherine Addison returns to the world of The Goblin Emperor with a direct sequel to The Witness For The Dead... Celehar's life as the Witness for the Dead of Amalo grows less isolated as his circle of friends grows larger. He has been given an apprentice to teach, and he has stumbled over a scandal of the city--the foundling girls. Orphans with no family to claim them and no funds to buy an apprenticeship. Foundling boys go to the Prelacies; foundling girls are sold into service, or worse. At once touching and shattering, Celehar's witnessing for one of these girls will lead him into the depths of his own losses. The love of his friends will lead him out again.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MacBlaze
I first encountered Katherine Addison in the surrounding hype for the release of *The Witness for the Dead*, with a lot of people I respect recommending the “prequel,” *The Goblin Emperor*. Although I don't often pay attention to other peoples’ recommendations (tastes are so subjective) the
Show More
few times I have given in, I haven't been disappointed. And *The Golbin Emperor* was no exception. Then Addison continued the delightful experience, first with the *The Witness for the Dead* and now with *The Grief of Stones*.

And on another side note it wasn't until I finished *The Witness for the Dead* that I bothered to look at the copyright page and was delighted to find that Katherine Addison was a pseudonym for Sarah Monette, co-author with Elizabeth Bear of the powerful Iskyrne series. Bonus.

*The Grief of Stones* is a direct sequel to *The Witness for the Dead* (and spoiler alert: she sets up a book three!) in what is now called the *The Cemeteries of Amalo* series. It picks up pretty much right after *The Witness for the Dead* and I would recommend reading them in order. The main character, Celehar, a Witness for the Dead who has been in all three books, investigates another death per his calling and it soon becomes bigger than he had foreseen, taking him across the city and intersecting the lives of both the nobility and the destitute and abandoned. And of course along the way we learn even more about makes this most interesting man tick.

A combination of detective fiction, steam punk, fantasy and pure fun, the *The Grief of Stones* is a great read. My favourite kind of read in fact. The characters (especially Celehar) are sympathetic, mostly non-heroic and and just trying their best, and Addison deftly weaves the culture and history of her world around the "humanity" of the characters rather than getting caught up in how her complex world-building affects them. It is one of those books with a culture that hosts a rich and complex structure replete with confusing titles, indecipherable relationships and opaque hierarchies, but is one that you can just safely ignore as much of that as you please and be certain that the story will carry you along—it's the kind of writing I love when it's done well (and this most certainly is) because you know you can go back again and again and discover something new every time.

So go out, read the first two books, and get ready for the release of *The Grief of Stones*—you won't regret any of it.
Show Less
LibraryThing member macha
i love this exquisite Cemeteries of Amalo series, especially the voice of the narrator, which is so modest but so sharp. they're all basically connected stories about detective work, but backdropped by a Gothic fantasy world of elves and goblins, where magic is real and science is present, but
Show More
little difference is made between them. it's a novel of manners in which decorum and privilege prevail, but our detective lives in the cracks, and it's acutely reported. best written book i've read in six months, and the trouble is, i'm already greedy for the next one.
Show Less
LibraryThing member readinggeek451
Thera Celehar, Witness for the Dead in Amalo, returns. He is presented with an apprentice, a widow newly come into her calling, with no training. She proves helpful as he interrogates the dead--and the living--in a series of cases ranging from a lost scone recipe to murder, and worse. Celehar has
Show More
friends now, but is still pessimistic and depressive. He is also doggedly determined to do the best he can for all of his supplicants, be the cases large all small.

Well worth reading, but probably not the best place to start.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jennybeast
Delighted to see The Witness for the Dead as a series. Continues very much in the fantasy/mystery vein, with some really big new developments. I absolutely love how Addison's stories are so deeply embedded in character, and I look forward to seeing where this series goes from here. Immersive books
Show More
that seek to tackle and ameliorate social ills are totally my jam right now, and I found this one very enjoyable.

Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss.
Show Less
LibraryThing member foggidawn
Thara Celehar, Witness for the Dead, is called upon to witness for a woman who may have been murdered. This leads to him discovering some seriously shady goings-on at a foundling school. But investigating the school is outside the purview of his calling -- should he leave it alone?

This is the
Show More
second book in the Cemeteries of Amalo series, a spinoff from The Goblin Emperor. I'd recommend reading at least The Witness for the Dead before reading this one, as the fantasy world Addison has created is immersive and complex, and you'll want all of the context in order to enjoy the story. I found this book just as good as (maybe even slightly better than) its predecessor, and was pleased to note that the ending of this book sets up a third without venturing too far into cliffhanger territory.
Show Less
LibraryThing member rivkat
If we can’t have more adventures of our favorite Goblin Emperor, at least there’s more Witness for the Dead, now with an apprentice and investigating murders and corruption in his new location, including sexual exploitation of vulnerable teens. Obviously, some grim subject matter, but our
Show More
protagonist is as gentle and unrelenting as we expect.
Show Less
LibraryThing member quondame
A good story, well told, however, since I guessed what must be the problem with the foundlings the pacing for the plot's confirming of it caused the middle to drag, though the Werewolf Hill complications livened things right up again.
LibraryThing member bell7
Thara Celahar has another investigation on his hands when a marquis asks him to Witness for his dead wife, whose death was ruled a coronary but he says she was murdered.

It was a lot of fun to revisit this world and these characters and Celahar embarks on yet another set of interwoven mysteries.
Show More
There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and my one quibble is there is no list of characters or glossary for honorifics to help me along. But it was such an enjoyable ride following Celahar on his adventures and meeting new characters. The story wraps up well and leaves an opening for a sequel.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Dokfintong
As in the earlier offering featuring Thera Celehar, Witness for the Dead, this book is a series of linked vignettes . Not as fast-paced as the earlier book, here we learn more about society and religion while Katherine Addison plays around with language structures. There are few thrills in this
Show More
book. Nevertheless it is interesting.

NB This book is being listed as Cemeteries of Amalo 2, Goblin Emperor 3. I'm going to stick with Goblin Emperor in my catalog.
Show Less
LibraryThing member LisCarey
This is the direct sequel to Witness for the Dead, picking up Thara Celehar's life immediately after those events. Thara spends mornings in his office, waiting for petitioners for his services as a Witness for the dead, and has a steady enough traffic to make it not pointless. He responds to calls
Show More
from the Vigilant Brotherhood, or other authorities as necessary. He has cats who aren't his (he's very firm about that), but whom he feeds regularly, and a few friends.

But though he's settling in, he's also extremely depressed. This isn't new, but it's not getting better. He's caught in a conflict with a local religious authority, Dach'othalar Vernezar, who is angered by the fact that Thara is the only cleric in Amalo who isn't under his authority. Thara's presence in the city was request by Prince Orchenis, and he was appointed directly by the Archprelate. It's an uncomfortable position to be in, and it gives him powerful enemies.

The storytelling here is gentle, though the mysteries his petitioners bring to him are often quite brutal in their facts and impact.

Marquess Ulzhavel sends for Thara to investigate whether the seemingly natural death of his wife, Tomilo, was actually murder, after he finds a threatening note in her papers as he's sorting through them. Tomilo has been dead too long for Thara to be able to speak to her ghost, so he has to find other ways to investigate.

Subpreceptor Azhanharad of the Vigilant Brotherhood asks him to Witness for a a woman whose body was washed up in the canal. He gets faint impressions of her last moments; she was murdered. Very little else is left. He takes her earring, and sets out to see if anyone can identify her from that. They can. She's a soprano at the Vermillion Opera. This leads Thara to his friend, Iana Pel-Thenhior, the opera director. At least Thara gets cooperation in questioning everyone there.

He's also approached by someone connected, or formerly connected, to a boarding school for foundling girls, where something hard to pin down is wrong. Tomilo Ulzhavel was previously on the board, but had resigned after a conflict with another board member, but no one seems to know why. And yes, two seemingly separate mysteries are about to become intertwined.

Along the way, Thala Celehar is surprised to be sent an apprentice, a Witness in training, Othala Tomasarin. She's a widow who has discovered her ability to speak with the dead, and thus her calling, rather late, and has been sent to him to be trained, rather than being enrolled in the more conventional clerical training. At first he has no idea what to do with her, but he's a kind and decent person, and so is she, and they discover they can work together well.

It is, as I said, a gentle storytelling, and does not at first appear to be fast-moving, but a great deal happens in all that gentle storytelling. There's political intrigue, uncovering a child pornography ring, investigating a terrible disaster, and the slow but promising development of Thara's relationship with Iana Pel-Thenhior. It's not certain even at the end how far that will go; Thara still has tragedy to recover from.

It's a rich, rewarding story, with the steady and absorbing development of not just Thara, but his friends and associates, and the city of Amalo itself.


I bought this audiobook.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Karlstar
A worthwhile follow-up to Witness For the Dead. We are again following Thera Celehar, a Witness for the Dead, as he continues to unravel mysteries and have a bit of an undead adventure too. Thera is a good character and the world and situations the author creates are compelling.
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
As usual, an incredibly rich story. It's a murder mystery... or two, or several, but while that's what drives the story it's not what it's about. Celehar and those around him, the interactions and developing relationships of every sort are what make this so rich. The new Witness is fascinating;
Show More
Celehar's old opponent gets twisty, and messes himself up; we get to see more of the cartographers, the judicial Witnesses, and the opera (though not in-depth like the last book, for that last). We also encounter photographers, foundling girls and a couple schools for them, and university Scholars - the fabric of the city exposing new folds and patterns. I read it in one sitting, and I expect I'll read it again several times, and discover new aspects each time. The names continue to be very confusing - particularly as one family name showed up in two very different groups. But the relationship was eventually explained. Wonderful.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Glennis.LeBlanc
The sequel to The Witness for the Dead is just a good as that one. Short version is if you liked book one then book two is just as wonderful. In this book a grieving Marquis petitions for the death of his wife to be investigated even though it was 3 months prior, and everyone says it was a natural
Show More
death. In looking at everyone that might have had a grudge against her, he goes to a founding school and is passed a note from a student begging for help. At the same time this is going on he gains an apprentice, a widow who had the gift come to her later in life and has had no religious training or much use of her gift. What is happening at the school becomes a much larger mystery when the girl who passed the note is found to be murdered that night, but Celehar can’t see who did it with his gift.

There is the usual religious intrigue that seems to be part of his life but the murders get solved and the other crimes that come to light during the course of the book are also stopped. These are great mysteries set in a fantasy world and I hope there will be so many more to read in this setting. The audio of this is wonderful and has the same narrator as before.

Digital review copy provided by the publisher through Edelweiss
Show Less


Original publication date


Physical description

245 p.; 8.55 inches


1250813891 / 9781250813893
Page: 0.3773 seconds