Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Witches of Cahokia A Fascinating Story

Witches of Cahokia
Author: Raymond Scott Edge
Publisher: Redoubt Books
ISBN: 978-0-9794737-2-2

Based on the Indian Settlement and Burial Mounds of Cahokia Mounds in Cahokia Illinois, this "reality-based" fiction novel is a true find.

The story consists of 2 archaelogists, Daniel and Lauren French of Southern Illinois University. The Frenches are both teachers and researchers, who met and married during grad school and are now affliated with the same university they once attended as students. Residing in nearby Alton Illinois, they are called in by the University when a construction crew working on a new road stumbles upon what appears to be the skeletal remains of 2 Indian females. As the Frenches investigate the burial site, they discover that it appears to have been the burial site of dozens of ancient indians, strangely all female.

This novel alternates between the current day study of the remains and the story of the group of women that have been laid to rest there.

These Indian women span numerous generations of women gifted with healing and shamanistic abilities, and their stories are a fascinating study of healing herbs, ancient Indian medical practices, and local indian lore. Standing on it's own, these tales would make a fascinating educational and imaginative read.

Add into this the discovery, recovery and research of the burial ground by the Frenchs and their students; and the story comes full circle with the ongoing learning of a truly fascinating part of American and local Illinois history.

But this inventive author doesn't stop there; add to the mix an underground student anarchy cell determined to halt progress on the roadway and what they consider to be the destruction of indigenous flora, fauna and landscape. Working with other far-flung underground cells; these groups conspire to place stolen achealogical finds from other international sites at this burial site, thereby muddying both the waters of research and the economy of the local area, as well as the ongoing infrastructure of the new roadway. Can the University's archaelogical dig continue in the face of these intrusions? And will we ever truly learn what actually began here so many generations ago?

The author, Raymond Scott Edge, has written a beautiful story mixing Southern Illinois Indian cultural heritage, the migratory study of ancient tribes, current academic research and an educational organization's "political" infighting and relationships. I look forward to reading the other work of this author; and hope he has plans to continue this line of research and sharing of local indian lore.

Readers will find themselves drawn into these story lines, and the book offers wonderful characters and believable plot lines to hold the reader enthralled and enraptured from beginning to end. Bravo to Raymond Scott Edge for a novel that is truly innovative, entertaining and educational.

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