Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Eden Moore Series #1)

( 45 )

Overview

Although she was orphaned at birth, Eden Moore is never alone. Three dead women watch from the shadows, bound to protect her from harm. But in the woods a gunman waits, convinced that Eden is destined to follow her wicked great-grandfather—an African magician with the power to curse the living and raise the dead.

Now Eden must decipher the secret of the ghostly trio before a new enemy more dangerous than the fanatical assassin destroys what is left of her family. She will sift ...

See more details below
Paperback
$13.36
BN.com price
(Save 16%)$15.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (47) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $6.00   
  • Used (36) from $1.99   
Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Eden Moore Series #1)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

Although she was orphaned at birth, Eden Moore is never alone. Three dead women watch from the shadows, bound to protect her from harm. But in the woods a gunman waits, convinced that Eden is destined to follow her wicked great-grandfather—an African magician with the power to curse the living and raise the dead.

Now Eden must decipher the secret of the ghostly trio before a new enemy more dangerous than the fanatical assassin destroys what is left of her family. She will sift through lies in a Georgian ante-bellum mansion and climb through the haunted ruins of a 19th century hospital, desperately seeking the truth that will save her beloved aunt from the curse that threatens her life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Haunting. Mesmerizing. Unforgettable. Adjectives cannot adequately describe the singular narrative brilliance of Cherie Priest's debut novel.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds -- a contemporary ghost story with elements of southern gothic, supernatural mystery, and dark fantasy -- follows an orphaned girl's harrowing journey into adulthood and her desperate quest to find out who she really is. Growing up with her aunt and uncle in the mountains of Tennessee, Eden Moore is never truly alone. The “mixed race” girl is infrequently visited by a trio of ghosts, three long-dead sisters who counsel and protect her. But no one can guard Eden from a lunatic who believes she is the next coming of her great-grandfather, an infamous African sorcerer whose followers have somehow found a way to resurrect his spirit. When the life of Eden's beloved aunt is endangered, she embarks on a journey to uncover the roots of her decidedly inbred family tree. From the ruins of a Tennessee sanitarium where her mother died to the halls of a decrepit Georgia mansion to the gator-infested swamps of southern Florida, Eden's investigation leads her to the terrible truth…

Priest's Four and Twenty Blackbirds is one of those exceedingly rare literary gems that will not only engage and challenge readers on a cerebral level but will also masterfully manipulate their emotions. Lyrical, poignant, and brilliantly understated, Priest's debut novel is a genre-transcendent storytelling tour de force. Fans of writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Peter Straub will absolutely fall in love with this spellbinding novel -- and with Cherie Priest, who is undeniably one of the most exciting new authors to come along in years. Paul Goat Allen

From the Publisher
"Cherie Priest kicks ass! Four and Twenty Blackbirds is lush, rich, intense, and as dark and dangerous as a gator-ridden swamp."

—Maggie Shayne, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Twilight

"Fine writing, humor, thrills, real scares, the touch of the occult . . . had me from the first page. I read straight through. An absolutely wonderful debut, and a book not to be missed."

—Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author of Haunted, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds

"Cherie Priest has created a chilling page-turner in her debut novel. Her voice is rich, earthy, soulful, and deliciously southern as she weaves a disturbing yarn like a master! Awesome-gives you goosebumps!"

—L.A. Banks, author of Minion and The Vampire Huntress Legend Series, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds

"Spooky and engrossing, this revenge play is as sticky as a salmagundi made from blood and swamp dirt. Priest can write scenes that are jump-out-of-your-skin scary. This is the first installment in what I can only hope will be a long and terrifying friendship."

—Cory Doctorow, author of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds

"Wonderful. Enchanting. Amazing and original fiction that will satisfy that buttery Southern taste, as well as that biting aftertaste of the dark side. I loved it."

—Joe R. Lansdale, Stoker- and Edgar-winning author of The Bottoms, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds

"Breathlessly readable, palpably atmospheric and compellingly suspenseful, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a considerable debut. It's written with great control and fluency, and it looks like the start of quite a career."

—Ramsey Campbell, World Horror Grand Master

"Cherie Priest has mastered the art of braiding atmosphere, suspense and metaphysics into a resonant ghost story that offers even more than what you hope for."

—Katherine Ramsland, bestselling author of GHOST: Investigating the Other Side, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds

"Southern Gothic at its best. An absorbing mystery told with humour and bite."

—Kelley Armstrong, author of Industrial Magic and the Otherworld series, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds

"Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a rare bird, the novel you wish you'd written yourself—excellent!"

—C.J. Henderson, author of The Things That Are Not There

"Four and Twenty Blackbirds is an extraordinary first novel-heck, it's an extraordinary novel, period. It's a ghost story and a voodoo mystery-and like any good Southern Gothic, it has a healthy obsession with race and inbreeding. But Blackbirds is more than the sum of its traditional parts. Cherie Priest's writing, while decidedly capable of giving you the creeps, is infused with a refreshing spunkiness and interesting, believable characters . . . . Fans of supernatural horror should keep an eye on Cherie Priest!"

—SciFiDimensions.com

Heather Graham
"Had me from the first page. I read straight through. An absolutely wonderful debut, and a book not to be missed."
L.A. Banks
"Cherie [Priest's] voice is rich, earthy, soulful, and deliciously southern as she weaves a disturbing yarn like a master! Awesome!"
Katherine Ramsland
"Cherie Priest has mastered the art of braiding atmosphere, suspense and metaphysics into a resonant ghost story."
Cory Doctorow
"This is the first installment in what I can only hope will be a long and terrifying friendship."
C.J. Henderson
"Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a rare bird, the novel you wish you'd written yourself—excellent!"
Joe R. Lansdale
"Wonderful. Enchanting. Amazing . . . will satisfy that buttery Southern taste, as well as that biting aftertaste of the dark side."
Kelley Armstrong
"Southern Gothic at its best. An absorbing mystery told with humour and bite."
Maggie Shayne
"Cherie Priest kicks ass! Four and Twenty Blackbirds is lush, rich, intense, and as dark and dangerous as a gator-ridden swamp."
Ramsey Campbell
"Breathlessly readable, palpably atmospheric and compellingly suspenseful, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a considerable debut."
SciFiDimensions.com
"Four and Twenty Blackbirds is an extraordinary first novel—heck, it's an extraordinary novel, period.... keep an eye on Cherie Priest!"
Heather Graham
"Had me from the first page. I read straight through. An absolutely wonderful debut, and a book not to be missed."
L.A. Banks
"Cherie [Priest's] voice is rich, earthy, soulful, and deliciously southern as she weaves a disturbing yarn like a master! Awesome!"
Katherine Ramsland
"Cherie Priest has mastered the art of braiding atmosphere, suspense and metaphysics into a resonant ghost story."
Cory Doctorow
"This is the first installment in what I can only hope will be a long and terrifying friendship."
C.J. Henderson
"Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a rare bird, the novel you wish you'd written yourself--excellent!"
Joe R. Lansdale
"Wonderful. Enchanting. Amazing . . . will satisfy that buttery Southern taste, as well as that biting aftertaste of the dark side."
Kelley Armstrong
"Southern Gothic at its best. An absorbing mystery told with humour and bite."
Maggie Shayne
"Cherie Priest kicks ass! Four and Twenty Blackbirds is lush, rich, intense, and as dark and dangerous as a gator-ridden swamp."
Ramsey Campbell
"Breathlessly readable, palpably atmospheric and compellingly suspenseful, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a considerable debut."
SciFiDimensions.com
"Four and Twenty Blackbirds is an extraordinary first novel--heck, it's an extraordinary novel, period.... keep an eye on Cherie Priest!"
Publishers Weekly
The classic Southern gothic gets an edgy modern makeover in Priest's debut novel about a young woman's investigation into the truth of her origins. What Eden Moore digs up in the roots of her diseased family tree takes her across the South, from the ruins of the Pine Breeze sanitarium in Tennessee to a corpse-filled swamp in Florida, and back in time to the Civil War, when the taint in her family bloodline sets in motion events building only now to a supernatural crescendo. Priest adds little new to the gothic canon, but makes neo-goth chick Eden spunky enough to deal with a variety of cliche menaces a scheming family matriarch, a brooding Poe-esque mansion and a genealogy greatly confused with inbreeding that would have sent the genre's traditional wilting violets into hysterics. Eden is a heroine for the aging Buffy crowd, and her adventures will play best to postadolescent horror fans. Agent, Lantz Powell. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
Blackbirds is a modern version of the Southern Gothic novel, with at least four and twenty standard horror elements: ghosts, scary mansions, knife-wielding heroine, maniacal cousins, inbreeding, crazy old women, insane asylums and so on. Traveling from hilltops in Tennessee to swamps in Florida, Eden Moore, the young heroine, hits the highpoints of the horror genre as she goes. Eden is the daughter of a woman put in an insane asylum to hide the fact that she is pregnant. She is raised by her aunt and her aunt's husband and by three ghosts who talk to her throughout her childhood. As she becomes a woman, she sets out to uncover her past for herself. The plot is a little intense for the prepubescent reader, but great for the high school student familiar with Poe and Hawthorne. The echoes of the classics, blended with the modern edgy heroine who has no maiden-in-distress characteristics, make an interesting contrast for the reader who knows the classics of American literature. The ending is a little too neat and therapeutically modern, especially after all the drama of the previous events, but it's a good story nonetheless. KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Tor, 285p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Nola Theiss
Kirkus Reviews
Girl in search of her true parents unearths disquieting family murders in a murky horror debut set in the mountains of Tennessee. Of uncertain parentage, with a racial makeup somewhere between black and white (her teenaged mother died in childbirth while incarcerated in Pine Breeze mental asylum), Eden has a gift for divination. While growing up with Aunt Lulu and Uncle Dave on Signal Mountain, she gets in trouble at school and in town because of her psychic visions. She sees three sisters pursued and killed by their father, Avery, and comes to identify herself with Miabella, who was Avery's youngest, favored daughter. Meanwhile, in the world of the living, young Eden is stalked by her delusional cousin Malachi Dufresne. His mother, Tatie Eliza, is steeped in the cult of a certain 19th-century practitioner of black magic, John Gray, who was eventually killed by priests. It turns out that Avery was also a follower of Gray, and someone has tapped into Avery's destructive power. Unless Eden can find an elusive book of spells, Gray's followers will emerge again from obscurity. With the help of Harry, a priest turned servant who knows the whole story of Eden's ancestry, Eden takes off on a road trip. In Highlands Hammock State Park she stumbles onto a coven of cultists who are still trying to raise John Gray. Kidnapped at the swamp site by misguided Malachi, who believes she's on the dark side, Eden finally manages to conjure angry Avery and attempts to restore peace to the restless ghosts. Wildly contrived and oddly chilly, despite all the ranting and raving.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765313089
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Series: Eden Moore Series , #1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 646,798
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Four and Twenty Blackbirds was Cherie Priest's first novel, followed by Wings to the Kingdom, and Not Flesh Nor Feathers, completing her trilogy of Southern Gothic ghost stories featuring heroine Eden Moore. Priest is also the author of Fathom, Dreadnought and Boneshaker, which was nominated for a Nebula and Hugo Award, won the Locus Award for best science-fiction novel, and was named Steampunk Book of the Year by steampunk.com. Born in Tampa, Florida, Priest earned her master’s in rhetoric at the University of Tennessee. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Aric, and a fat black cat named Spain.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

I. Eden

"Draw me a picture of someplace you've been that you liked very much," Mrs. Patterson suggested, pronouncing each word with the firm, specific articulation peculiar to those who work with children. "It can be anyplace at all-an amusement park, a playground, a tree house or your bedroom. Maybe you went on vacation once and visited the beach. You could draw the ocean with seagulls and shells. Or maybe you went camping on the mountain. You might have gone down to the waterfall for a picnic, or up to Sunset Rock. Pick a place special to you, and when you're finished, we'll put your pictures up on the bulletin board in the hallway."

I cringed, staring down at the blank sheet of coarse cream paper. Before me was a plastic tub filled with fat, fruit-scented markers, ripe for the choosing. While the other kids at my table dove into a frenzy of scribbles I stalled for time, popping the lid off each color and sniffing for inspiration.

Red is for cherries. Purple is for grape. Green is for . . . I didn't recognize the scent.

But green is for . . . yes, green is for water.

I jammed the lid onto the back of the marker and began to scrawl a wide pool across the bottom half of the sheet. Green is for water. And for alligators. I picked up the yellow marker (supposed to be lemons, but smelled like detergent) and drew two periscope eyeballs poking up through the swirls. Then I outlined them with black (licorice) and drew a long snout with two bumps for nostrils.

Brown. Brown was chocolate.

I sketched tall, thin trees that reached up past the top of the page. And snakes. Brown is for snakes. Wrapped around one trunk I placed a spiraled serpent with a wide open mouth. I gave him a strawberry pink tongue shaped like a "Y".

But I was missing something. I chewed on my thumbnail and tapped the brown pen. A house. A brown house set on blocks for when the water rose too high, with a cherry red canoe tied to the front porch just in case. A brown chocolate house, made of flat boards with a sloping gray roof that let the fresh rain water run into a barrel. Gray is for . . . A gray roof.

And gray is for . . .

Gray is for . . .

Mrs. Patterson's hands fluttered into my vision. "My goodness, Eden. What a vivid picture you've made! Now where is this?"

"Gray is for ghosts!" I blurted out.

For a moment the other kids were quiet, but then a few began to giggle. The giggle traveled halfway around the room, then died of shame under our teacher's withering frown.

"Class," she addressed it as a warning. "Eden has drawn us a very good green swamp with alligators and snakes, and a house."

I sank down into my chair and repeated myself more softly. "And gray is for ghosts, Mrs. Patterson. I haven't put the ghosts in yet."

Mrs. Patterson understood. Small and frail, she was a shriveled and sweet black woman who'd emerged from retirement to figurehead my kindergarten class. She made cookies every night before she went to bed because she knew some of her kids didn't get any breakfast before school. She crocheted all twenty of us little sweaters during the winter and took us to the city pool for free all summer. She was simply kind, but all the same, she terrified me.

Not on purpose, of course. She wouldn't have scared me deliberately, but whenever I saw her tiny, wrinkled hands I thought of dead birds; and every time she breezed by my desk they were flapping their bony, naked wings.

I think my fear hurt her feelings, or perhaps she thought something terrible was going on at home for me to be so silent and frightened all the time; but all was normal in our household so far as normal goes. I was raised by my Aunt Louise and Uncle David. They had no children of their own, so it was just me and that was just fine.

Everything was fairly ordinary until I started school. Until then I'd never had much interest in doodling, finger-painting or any of the other sloppy activities of early childhood, but once I entered the hallowed halls of elementary school, people handed me crayons and watercolors at every turn. Suddenly there was construction paper, glitter glue, popsicle sticks, yarn and paste. We used ink to make thumbprint caterpillars and paper bags to make cartoon hand-puppets. We had sidewalk chalk to make Van Goghesque night scenes on black paper or hopscotch squares on the four-square courts outside. Our educators wanted us to expand our brains, to think outside the box-to look inside our gray-matter nooks and bring forth art. Most of the time, it was fun.

So although I was deathly afraid of Mrs. Patterson and her skinny, swift-moving hands, I sought her approval, and I wanted to fit in. I crafted the standard benign animals out of modeling clay and rainbow scenery from felts, and I usually got gold foil star stickers or smiley faces on these uniform endeavors. But anytime we had free-thought art projects things got iffy. Any time I had to delve too deep into my imagination I found myself confused and unnerved. The "someplace special" project was no exception.

When I was finally done, Mrs. Patterson dutifully tacked it up on our bulletin board with the rest, though she discretely sent it to the lower left corner.

When the classroom emptied for gym or for recess, I don't remember which, I lingered behind and stared at my creation with a morbid intrigue. My elderly teacher sent the class ahead with one of her colleagues and she stayed behind, letting the door quietly close us into privacy.

"Who are they?" she asked. "Who are the three gray ghosts looking through the trees? You didn't give them any faces."

I concentrated-tried hard to focus. I could hear their voices, sing-song and sad, but sometimes fierce. Sometimes demanding. Always close.

"Do you know who they are?" she asked again, the same non-threatening tone she always used on me, like I was a stray cat on the verge of fleeing before she could slip me some cream.

"They're . . . " the memory flitted fast, and was gone. "They're sisters who died. He killed them."

"That's very sad."

"No, it's very angry-they're angry he did that to them. They loved him and he killed them." The words fell across my lips, dropping down into a pile at my feet and accumulating there before I could make sense of them. "Now they stay in the swamp, because he cut them up and threw them into the water for the 'gators and the birds to pick apart. And their blood turned the green water black, but I didn't do that part because I don't like licorice."

"You don't like . . . oh. I see. The markers."

"Yes. The markers." My whisper trailed away to something less audible, and I realized how foolish I sounded. With a flash of paranoia I turned to her and almost took one of her scary bird hands, then changed my mind at the last moment and folded mine together, praying to her instead. "But you can't say anything to anyone. If you do, they'll send me to the pine trees, like they sent my mother, and you won't let them do that to me, will you, Mrs. Patterson?"

"No, Eden," she assured me after a perplexed pause. A quick light brightened her face for a moment but then her forehead wrinkled again. "No one's going to send you to the pine trees. No one's going to send you away."

Mrs. Patterson tried hard to understand, but how could she have known? I didn't know either, back then, that you're not supposed to remember those things at all, those traces of the lives you've had before; but I've carried them with me as long as I can recall. Sometimes they rise out to meet me in subtle ways-in the gentle fears and convictions that old ghosts bring when they haunt you from the inside out. But sometimes they manifest in visions, in nightmares, or in kindergarten art projects.

I went back to drawing bubble-gum butterflies and marshmallow puppies. Mrs. Patterson invited the social services people to come and observe me, but I put on a good show. I could give them what they wanted. Eventually she gave up trying to corner me and seemed to accept the undercurrent of madness that ran beneath my crayon creations.

But once in awhile the three ghost women would cry, and I'd find myself inserting their six searching eyes into plastic-wrap windows, or cotton ball clouds, or watercolor trees.

I wanted to make sure they could see me.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The changing of the guard 1
2 Defining success 15
3 The rules of the game 22
4 Indie, major or DIY 28
5 Organizations and networking 36
6 Setting up success 40
7 Licensing your music for film/TV 56
8 Music publishing 71
9 Publicity, marketing, and promotion 78
10 The pitch 100
11 Touring 104
12 The online wars 113
13 Retail and direct sales 119
14 House concerts 129
15 The age barrier 132
16 Crossing over to film, books and beyond 135
17 The long ride down 137
18 Straight talk on DIY 143
19 End game 164
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

I. Eden

"Draw me a picture of someplace you've been that you liked very much," Mrs. Patterson suggested, pronouncing each word with the firm, specific articulation peculiar to those who work with children. "It can be anyplace at all-an amusement park, a playground, a tree house or your bedroom. Maybe you went on vacation once and visited the beach. You could draw the ocean with seagulls and shells. Or maybe you went camping on the mountain. You might have gone down to the waterfall for a picnic, or up to Sunset Rock. Pick a place special to you, and when you're finished, we'll put your pictures up on the bulletin board in the hallway."
I cringed, staring down at the blank sheet of coarse cream paper. Before me was a plastic tub filled with fat, fruit-scented markers, ripe for the choosing. While the other kids at my table dove into a frenzy of scribbles I stalled for time, popping the lid off each color and sniffing for inspiration.

Red is for cherries. Purple is for grape. Green is for . . . I didn't recognize the scent.

But green is for . . . yes, green is for water.

I jammed the lid onto the back of the marker and began to scrawl a wide pool across the bottom half of the sheet. Green is for water. And for alligators. I picked up the yellow marker (supposed to be lemons, but smelled like detergent) and drew two periscope eyeballs poking up through the swirls. Then I outlined them with black (licorice) and drew a long snout with two bumps for nostrils.

Brown. Brown was chocolate.

I sketched tall, thin trees that reached up past the top of the page. And snakes. Brown is for snakes. Wrapped around one trunk I placed a spiraled serpentwith a wide open mouth. I gave him a strawberry pink tongue shaped like a "Y".

But I was missing something. I chewed on my thumbnail and tapped the brown pen. A house. A brown house set on blocks for when the water rose too high, with a cherry red canoe tied to the front porch just in case. A brown chocolate house, made of flat boards with a sloping gray roof that let the fresh rain water run into a barrel. Gray is for . . . A gray roof.

And gray is for . . .

Gray is for . . .

Mrs. Patterson's hands fluttered into my vision. "My goodness, Eden. What a vivid picture you've made! Now where is this?"

"Gray is for ghosts!" I blurted out.

For a moment the other kids were quiet, but then a few began to giggle. The giggle traveled halfway around the room, then died of shame under our teacher's withering frown.
"Class," she addressed it as a warning. "Eden has drawn us a very good green swamp with alligators and snakes, and a house."

I sank down into my chair and repeated myself more softly. "And gray is for ghosts, Mrs. Patterson. I haven't put the ghosts in yet."

Mrs. Patterson understood. Small and frail, she was a shriveled and sweet black woman who'd emerged from retirement to figurehead my kindergarten class. She made cookies every night before she went to bed because she knew some of her kids didn't get any breakfast before school. She crocheted all twenty of us little sweaters during the winter and took us to the city pool for free all summer. She was simply kind, but all the same, she terrified me.

Not on purpose, of course. She wouldn't have scared me deliberately, but whenever I saw her tiny, wrinkled hands I thought of dead birds; and every time she breezed by my desk they were flapping their bony, naked wings.

I think my fear hurt her feelings, or perhaps she thought something terrible was going on at home for me to be so silent and frightened all the time; but all was normal in our household so far as normal goes. I was raised by my Aunt Louise and Uncle David. They had no children of their own, so it was just me and that was just fine.

Everything was fairly ordinary until I started school. Until then I'd never had much interest in doodling, finger-painting or any of the other sloppy activities of early childhood, but once I entered the hallowed halls of elementary school, people handed me crayons and watercolors at every turn. Suddenly there was construction paper, glitter glue, popsicle sticks, yarn and paste. We used ink to make thumbprint caterpillars and paper bags to make cartoon hand-puppets. We had sidewalk chalk to make Van Goghesque night scenes on black paper or hopscotch squares on the four-square courts outside. Our educators wanted us to expand our brains, to think outside the box-to look inside our gray-matter nooks and bring forth art. Most of the time, it was fun.

So although I was deathly afraid of Mrs. Patterson and her skinny, swift-moving hands, I sought her approval, and I wanted to fit in. I crafted the standard benign animals out of modeling clay and rainbow scenery from felts, and I usually got gold foil star stickers or smiley faces on these uniform endeavors. But anytime we had free-thought art projects things got iffy. Any time I had to delve too deep into my imagination I found myself confused and unnerved. The "someplace special" project was no exception.

When I was finally done, Mrs. Patterson dutifully tacked it up on our bulletin board with the rest, though she discretely sent it to the lower left corner.

When the classroom emptied for gym or for recess, I don't remember which, I lingered behind and stared at my creation with a morbid intrigue. My elderly teacher sent the class ahead with one of her colleagues and she stayed behind, letting the door quietly close us into privacy.
"Who are they?" she asked. "Who are the three gray ghosts looking through the trees? You didn't give them any faces."

I concentrated-tried hard to focus. I could hear their voices, sing-song and sad, but sometimes fierce. Sometimes demanding. Always close.

"Do you know who they are?" she asked again, the same non-threatening tone she always used on me, like I was a stray cat on the verge of fleeing before she could slip me some cream.

"They're . . . " the memory flitted fast, and was gone. "They're sisters who died. He killed them."

"That's very sad."

"No, it's very angry-they're angry he did that to them. They loved him and he killed them." The words fell across my lips, dropping down into a pile at my feet and accumulating there before I could make sense of them. "Now they stay in the swamp, because he cut them up and threw them into the water for the 'gators and the birds to pick apart. And their blood turned the green water black, but I didn't do that part because I don't like licorice."

"You don't like . . . oh. I see. The markers."

"Yes. The markers." My whisper trailed away to something less audible, and I realized how foolish I sounded. With a flash of paranoia I turned to her and almost took one of her scary bird hands, then changed my mind at the last moment and folded mine together, praying to her instead. "But you can't say anything to anyone. If you do, they'll send me to the pine trees, like they sent my mother, and you won't let them do that to me, will you, Mrs. Patterson?"

"No, Eden," she assured me after a perplexed pause. A quick light brightened her face for a moment but then her forehead wrinkled again. "No one's going to send you to the pine trees. No one's going to send you away."

Mrs. Patterson tried hard to understand, but how could she have known? I didn't know either, back then, that you're not supposed to remember those things at all, those traces of the lives you've had before; but I've carried them with me as long as I can recall. Sometimes they rise out to meet me in subtle ways-in the gentle fears and convictions that old ghosts bring when they haunt you from the inside out. But sometimes they manifest in visions, in nightmares, or in kindergarten art projects.

I went back to drawing bubble-gum butterflies and marshmallow puppies. Mrs. Patterson invited the social services people to come and observe me, but I put on a good show. I could give them what they wanted. Eventually she gave up trying to corner me and seemed to accept the undercurrent of madness that ran beneath my crayon creations.

But once in awhile the three ghost women would cry, and I'd find myself inserting their six searching eyes into plastic-wrap windows, or cotton ball clouds, or watercolor trees.

I wanted to make sure they could see me.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great Start to a New Series

    Pulled me in from the first page and kept me there until I finished the book. I liked it so much I went ahead and ordered the next two books in the Eden Moore series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2007

    Home town girl makes good

    I came upon Ms. Priest by accident and was instantly interested being from Chattanooga myself. That it was gothic horror cinched it. From the first chapter I was pulled into a world, where I almost felt like I was talking with a friend, being told an old family ghost story (we all have them here in the south). The characters were interesting and I found myself unable to put the book down. The tone was on the money for the southern nuiance and I cared about these characters. I'm anxious to read the next in the series (especially since I worked at the battlefield and spent my teen years there hearing about old 'Green Eyes'). I truly enjoyed this story. If you want a taste of true southern gothic and a page turner, this is your piece of pie. Write On Ms. Priest !!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2006

    Talented story teller and gifted writer

    Cherie Priest is an amazing writer. She mixes excellent story telling with mystery, suspense, horror, and a dark sense of humor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    Four and Twenty Blackbirds

    Keeping track of the names in the family tree was a little difficult. However, the author gave very good descriptions of the characters and engrossing details of their surroundings. The author held my attention at each episode, however there were some questions about the story that still leave me guestioning its significance. For example: The mysterious 'Book'! Whatever happened to it????? The story goes into deep detail about the characters efforts in trying to retrieve this special 'Book' and then the author drops the subject as if it never was mentioned in the story. Then there's a part in the story that the heroine boldly (& stupidly) drinks some smelly mysterious unknown liquid that was found in a vial in a relatives house in which she felt impending harm to herself - a stretch on the imagination. I wish the author had given explanation on the relationship with 'John Gray' (the sorcerer) and the heroines grandfather 'Avery'. You're left with another void trying to figure out what caused Avery to turn evil. Even with the unaswered questions, the author has a easy to read writing style and the book is a good past time read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Good read

    This book was interesting and hiiked me frim the start. I couldnt put it diwn once i started. The characters were interesting and likeable, although the family tree was pretty confusing. The ending was odd and left me with questions, but overall a very good and satisfying read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Frustrating!

    I read book 2 first (Wings to the Kingdom) and really liked it. I naturally assumed this one would be even better. Wrong. The premise is strong, the characters are intriguing and Priest is a talented writer. However, this book needed a skilled editor to keep the story moving where it stalled and to develop certain plot lines more effectively. And the errors! Embarrassing that certain spelling/grammatical mistakes, typos, and worst of all, s cene conflicts were not caught/corrected. So overall a respectable effort by Priest, but I can't really recommend it unless you've nothing better to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Very good

    Was hard to putdown. Certainly will be seeking out her other books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    Well done.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Worth your time for sure

    It's a good, interesting, book. Not much more to say than that. And after you read this one, read the second one. That one's also a winner. This book will keep you turning the pages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Highly recommended.

    You're lucky to come across this book, don't let this opportunity escape you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2006

    Four and Twenty Blackbirds

    Maybe I missed something, but there were a few unanswered questions after reading this book that left me hanging... ex: What happened to the 'mysterious book' that was so diligently being sought after by some of the characters in the book? The author holds you captive and then drops the subject as if it was never mentioned in the book. What was the point? Also, it would have been nice to have some explanation on how and why Avery turned to the 'dark side'. Finally, some things the heroine did was a bit unrealistic (like drinking some smelly stuff from a vial she found and had no idea what was in it!?!?!). Overall, the book was not a bad pasttime read. I credit the author on keeping the level of suspence high.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2005

    Awesome tale!

    This book is just great! I loved it..read it in one sitting. Cherie Priest is an excellent writer and I hope she writes lots more books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    enchanting horror tale

    Eden Moore lives on Signal Mountain overlooking Chattanooga raised by her maternal family especially Aunt Louise since her mom died in childbirth. She sees ghosts especially three spirits who are always there for her. Eden knows the trio is her mom and her aunts. These deceased sisters struggle to keep the child safe initially from a God fearing killer who wants her dead before she can follow the path of her evil wicked great-grandfather a necromancer and mage who cursed the living and enlivened the dead. --- The threesome knows that something even more dangerous is coming for Louise and then Eden. They try to reach out to Eden to warn her, but she fails to fully comprehend what her mom and aunts want her to know. Eden realizes she must confront something very evil without the aid of her beloved Aunt Louise or Uncle Dave. Thus she slips away heading to a family mansion and other Antebellum ruins in Georgia seeking what she does not know only that she must find this unknown to save what is left of her family. --- Besides making believers out of readers that ghosts do exist, the key to this enchanting horror tale is that the readers never know what to expect next yet when that subsequent event happens it seems very obvious. The cast is terrific especially the preadolescent heroine who holds the thriller together. Contrasting the mortal heroine and otherworldly guardians to the assassin and the malevolence add depth to a must read journey of adventure. Readers will enjoy traveling into a world filled with nineteenth century supernatural curses trying to destroy twenty-first century offspring. --- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    Wonderful new writer!

    Such an intriguing story but a very talented writer. The story flows smoothly from beginning to end, keeping you guessing as to what comes next.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2003

    A Fabulous Read!

    For those looking for a wonderful dark addition to their literary collections, this is the book for you! The flow of visions of this piece of finely written fiction is perhaps one of the best of this past season. I couldn't put it down from the first page until the very last. It was an evening of pure joy as I reached its conclusion. Fine work, Ms. Priest! I look forward to your next book and all that you put forth for us undying fans to enjoy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    This is an All Nighter kind of book

    This is a wonderful book. It kept me up all night because I just HAD to find out what happened next. It kept me in suspense until the very last chapter. Very well written with characters that keep you on your toes. It's been a long time since I have enjoyed a book this much. I highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    WOW! An amazing book!

    Once I started I could not put it down. Every word in the book has meaning, it leads somewhere that is pointed out on a future page. This book was very compelling and flowed easily from the first page to the last. I can't wait to see what this creative and talented author comes up with next!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2003

    Fast-paced, gripping quest

    Cherie Priest's first novel is an intensely vivid, surprisingly gripping, first-person quest. We meet her heroine, Eden, as a young girl who, to put it simply, sees ghosts. Over the course of this quick novel, we learn why she sees ghosts, what they're trying to tell her, and what she's got to do about it. The story takes Eden on a journey from her native Chattanooga, TN, south in search of the relatives and relics she's discovered are the keys to the secrets locked inside her. A movie adaptation would be almost unnecessary; Priest is that good at creating a rich, clear mental image in the reader's mind, of the people and settings that make up her world. Nonetheless, I think this novel would make a fantastic movie, and I'll look forward to seeing it reach the screen. (I'd bet the visuals in my head won't be far from whatever a skilled director makes of this tightly woven story.) Very little is obvious from page one, and the fact that Priest manages to incorporate some "Aha!" moments alongside the "well, of course..." revelations she's allowed the reader, makes this a monumentally satisfying read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2003

    A stunning book that should be in every home

    This book is simply one of the most pleasing books to read that I've laid my hands on. It works on all levels, its a crime novel, a horror novel, a thriller, suspense. Whichever genre of book that you enjoy there is something to enjoy here - with a fluid and easy writing style that makes you turn the pages - and means you won't put this book down until you're finished. The well developed characters lead you along a twisting and mysterious path, never quite letting you see the end, but letting you glimpse its shadow through the trees. This is the kind of book that wins awards. Three words - Buy This Book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2003

    Super first book

    A superb first novel by this very talented author. The story is suspenseful and intriquing. It holds your interest from start to finish with an imaginative and unique ending. Highly recommended!! Hope to see many future works by this up and coming author!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)