Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the perfect locale for a treasure hunt.
When it coincides in the year of the Luperci festival, the magic
world is turned upside down, and the feast of forgiveness turns into
a fight of wickedness. This Mardi Gras festival is like non ever seen
before or will ever see in the future.
Experience sibling rivalry at its finest as two sisters square off against
each other for control of the book of roots. Unite with our hero,
George Genois, as he is drawn deeper into the realm of magic
and the forces of good and evil. If he thought his adventures with
Mamuska and Ophelia were harsh before, then he is in for an even
wilder time with these sisters. Each sister wants him as an ally, but
George is interested in righting a wrong done only to him. Does
George get his revenge?
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A Small Corner of Mt. Olympus
It was a picture perfect day in the eastern corner of Mount Olympus. Giant white clouds lazily drifted pass each other flashing peeks of a brilliant blue sky in between each cloud puff. The sun's rays provided welcomed warmth to the residents from the previous night's chill. It was otherwise, a beautiful, serene day in the region of the demi gods, with the exception of a heated conversation that ensued between Ayida, goddess of the demi gods and mother of the great serpent god Dumballah, and Mamuska, the voodoo high priest of the swamp. Mamuska always went to Ayida for guidance. Usually, she was supportive of his activities, but this time she was angry with him and argumentative. Nothing he could say would improve her disposition.
"You can't take her back to the ssswamp with you." Ayida hissed. Her serpent traits were more pronounced when she was upset, and right now, she was not happy with a number of issues in the demi god's world. Mamuska's insistence of taking Ophelia with him was adding to her discontent.
"Ophelia isss uncontrollable, essspecially in the mortal world. You promissssed me you would control her and you have not fulfilled that promissse," Ayida replied.
"I-I know," Mamuska said, "I really have tried to rein her in, but she has ways of making me do what she wants." He held his head down and shook it from side to side.
"If allowed to accompany you, ssshe will only bring more unwanted attention to usss. We can't have that. All of the magical creaturesss are under a watchful eye right now. Thisss isss too sssignificant of a year for the magic world. We ssshouldn't have to deal with her ssshenanigansss, too. Ssshe mussst ssstayhere." Ayida said softer now but still forceful enough to get her point across, but Mamuska was determined to sway her to his way of thinking. Without much thought or concern for his own safety, he continued.
"You know I have to go back. Look at me. I am weak and I need to be rejuvenated. Only Dumballah and his wife Aeida Weido can make the exchange when I am in this depleted condition. Ophelia can help speed up the process if they don't want to spend too much time down there among the humans. We won't have to be there for very long. Once the transfer takes place, we will return here, to our celestial home where you can keep an eye on her."
Before Ayida spoke again, dark clouds lined overhead, a crack of lightening flashed through the sky and low sounds of thunder rumbled through the air. Her long, silky white hair flew out and around her head and face with the rhythm of the wind. The sky-blue eyes that once looked at him in admiration were now turned into dark, black pools of fury. Mamuska knew he had pushed too hard and had angered her beyond control. He decided to remain silent before she unleashed her full power on him. When she finally spoke, the cloud that was her home began to dissipate.
"YOU are allowed to return to the mortal world, but your wife, Ophelia, must remain here with usss. No further discussion and NO negotiation. I am unyielding on this point."
The words were said with such force and vileness that even Mamuska began to shake a little. Ayida flew away from him before she did something she would regret later. She had always liked Mamuska, but he was weak when it came to THAT woman, and it disgusted her. It would take some time but she would reveal her true self to him and when she did, he would be free of her forever.
With a heavy heart, Mamuska returned to his piece of heaven and his devoted wife. Not too far from Ayida's home amid the gently floating clouds and a brightly lit sky, Ophelia sat relaxing and enjoying one of her quiet moments on Mount Olympus. She saw the turbulence that was stirred up not too far away and knew his meeting was over. Her beloved would soon be home. She anticipated he would be uneasy after that meeting and had a cup of herbal tea waiting for him when he arrived. He looked drained and tired. It must have been some meeting to make him look this weary, she thought. Without saying a word, she pointed to the cup of tea resting on the table opposite her and returned her gaze to the wide-open space. Thankful for the silence, Mamuska took a seat next to her and ran his finger around the rim of his cup before he picked it up and took a sip. He felt so guilty that he couldn't look at her.
Is there an easy way to tell her? He thought. He picked up the cup and pretended to take a sip of the refreshment, and then he put the cup down again. He glanced at his beloved wife sitting next to him and thought how lucky he was to have her in his life. There was no life for him without her in it. How can I leave her here? She is my rock. I need her by my side. She looked so beautiful and innocent sitting there staring at the sky, but looks were deceiving. Beautiful, definitely, but innocent, well that was another issue. He lowered his eyes to his cup again. There were no leaves left in the bottom of the cup for him to read. Did she anticipate bad news from the meeting and remove them before I could read them? Maybe she read them already and knows the answer but is waiting to see if I will tell her the truth. Ugh!
He couldn't imagine what she was thinking sitting so serenely. But, her tranquility would not be long lived once he told her of his current situation and the decision not to include her in his travel. He had better say something soon or she would pry into his inner thoughts and find the truth before he could gently break it to her. He cleared his throat in order to speak, but instead he softly sighed, reached for her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. When she looked up at him, he smiled at her half-heartedly.
Although Ophelia could read his thoughts, she didn't want to invade his privacy this time. Besides, he looked like he was on the verge of saying something woeful and she wasn't in any mood to deal with bad things. The day started out pleasant and she wanted that feeling to last as long as possible, but this lengthy brooding was getting on her nerves.
Restraint! Control! She said to herself to stay focused. She would wait until he was ready to discuss whatever was troubling him. Smiling sweetly at him, she welcomed the touch of his hand and gave it a soft squeeze in return. He looked at her with love-filled eyes and it made her heart ache to see sadness hidden in his gaze. Impatience mounted until it finally got the better of her.
"What is troubling you my dear? You have been out of sorts for days now." Pouting like a child not getting its way, she continued.
"I can't stand seeing you this way. It can't be that distressing. Just, tell me!"
That was the most loving, comforting tone Ophelia could muster. Why waste time with polite conversation when she could get what she wanted using her favorite tool, magic?
He shook his head only slightly to clear his thoughts, trying to avoid the inevitable. As he looked up at her again, he was met with an impatient stare almost on the verge of vexation. Her serene countenance had changed. Better get to it, he thought, before she explodes.
"This is the year of the centurial creole moon, when the entire magic world comes out to take advantage of its powers. There is no better time for me to rejuvenate than this year and during the pre-vemal equinox." He paused, not sure whether to explain what that was or to wait for her to ask, but when she didn't respond, he continued.
"It has been a century since we were last in our earthly home in Louisiana." And the repossessing ceremony, he thought but before he could finish his statement, she blurted out.
"Are we going home?" Excitement exuded all around her and she began to fidget. Her eyes lit up in anticipation of his answer.
"You have preserved your new body very well. But I fear this body that I took on has not been nearly as kind to me. My powers are not as strong as they could be, and this body is weak. I need ... we need to return to our home in the swamp so I can rejuvenate." He didn't feel good about lying to her, but he was too exhausted for another battle on this topic. He would figure out a plan that would keep her in this home while he was away, just not right now.
Ophelia jumped up from the table, excited about the news. Absorbed in her own plans, she completely ignored her despairing husband.
"I can't wait to be in the swamp again, to enjoy the anonymity and respect that our mystical position commands from the locals." Objects floated pass his head into her hands. She inspected each one as if she was looking for something in particular. In a casual tone, her conversation continued.
"It's not that our time in this immortal world hasn't been great, but I really love being among the mortals. I feel so alive there. When do we leave for home? I have much to do in the way of preparation for the journey." She asked.
With eyes bulging almost out of their sockets and the ligaments in his neck strained to their limits, he shouted as the objects continued to fly pass his head.
"No magic! No magic!" The sternness in his voice brought her back to the present. She looked puzzled but remained quiet, waiting for a continuation or explanation of his outburst. He refused to make eye contact with her, and she could tell he had something heavy weighing on his mind. She decided not to pry into his private thoughts less she learns something she really didn't want to know.
She looked so happy. He didn't have the heart to tell her she was forbidden to return to the earthly world. There had to be a way for him to sneak her out of this home without Ayida 's knowledge. It was just a short trip. They wouldn't be gone long and he just couldn't refuse her anything so trivial. He would find a way to take her with him.
It took a few moments to gain his composure, but he was satisfied with his decision. When he spoke again, it was less emotional but more determined.
"No magic, my dear. Please. No magic."
Louisiana – 1925 two days before Mardi Gras
Ophelia looked around their earthly home. Everything appeared to be just as it was when she and her husband left it over a hundred years ago. Glad to be back among the humans, she immediately began making plans to find a new body to possess. This one was a century old and frankly, she was tired of gazing at that reflection in the mirror. Change was always better, she thought. It kept the romance alive in her marriage and more important Mamuska in check with her desires and wishes.
Standing at the back of the little room, she was able to take everything into view at once. This was home to her not that pristine, colorless palace that Mamuska wanted her to call home. She brushed her hand over the shelf of the cupboard at the back of the hut and was surprised to find no trace or print where dust or grit would have been displaced from her action. The hut looked well-kept, probably too clean to her, for not having someone living in it for years. Perhaps this was the result of her husband planning ahead for their trip. She smiled sweetly and mouthed under her breath, he thinks of everything.
She glanced at the fireplace and noticed it was exactly as she had left it. The iron kettle for boiling water still hung over the now dead embers. The wood pile next to the hearth hadn't been replenished. Odd, she thought, he readied the hut for their return but forgot to bring in wood for the fireplace?
"Hmm," she hummed, but continued to inspect the room looking for other signs of a possible intruder. A strange feel came over her. Her skin began to crawl as she slowly regarded everything in the room. Suddenly, her eyes flew up to the ceiling at the space directly above her head, but there was nothing physically present. She was sure she had sensed something possibly hovering over her head. Just then, Mamuska walked into the room his arms filled with kindling and logs. He gave her a quick smile and went about his business of placing the logs on the grate to build a fire. Hiding her feelings of discomfort, she gave him a loving smile then walked to the dark room at the back of the hut.
Every day, for the past five decades, George spent his time searching for a way out of this harsh place, the swamp, and back to civilization. And, every night he spent in the swamp, he lost a little more of his humanity until the line between George, the human, and George, the beast, became very thin.
As fate would have it, Saturday before Mardi Gras, was his lucky day. He stumbled upon the hut, in the clearing, near the water's edge where he first met the old man and woman. He was filled with excitement because he knew where he was now. George was certain he had visited this spot a couple of times during his many explorations of the area but this time it was different. This time, it revealed its true identity to him. Not far from the hut, he could see the road that he had taken, too. Everything just magically appeared.
He eagerly ran to the road. To his surprise, some of his trail markers were still there but hidden under the brush. It took him most of the day but the markers guided him back to the city. Darkness came quickly this time of year. He arrived on the edge of town just at dusk. The trail ended behind an old shotgun styled house. Dilapidated shutters partially covered the windows. Paint peeled in strips along the sides of the house and the detailed art carved cornices were missing parts of the design. The house appeared to be abandoned and a perfect place to take refuge.
Once George relaxed, the Luxican stirred. Satisfying its hunger became the primary focus. There was an abundance of its favorite meal, essence of human beings but George needed to be careful not to bring unwanted attention upon them. He waited until night was fully upon him before he allowed the complete transformation into the light beast. Under the cloak of darkness, the Luxican could swiftly move about. It hunted in nearby alleys and along the swamp's edge until it was full.
Once it was satisfied, it returned to the house and rested under a large over grown honeysuckle bush. There was not much space between the bush and the fence, but it was cozy and provided ample enough shelter, and a perfect hiding place. It was a reminder of the tight quarters of its crudely made home in the swamp. It had spent the last hundred years there and didn't know any other place as home. But George, the human, spent the entire time looking for a way out of the swamp and back into civilization.
Time passed quickly, but time had no meaning to it once it was in this transformed state. It had been resting under the bush since it returned from feeding and had no idea how long it had been there. Off in the distance, a faint ringing sound roused its attention. The only thing it could see was a small light traveling with the sound toward him. The Luxican remained motionless. Waiting and watching, the light came closer and closer. The light stopped just shy of the bush and twinkled brighter as it called to the Luxican. The sound was various clicks and clacks and pings made from the rapid beating of the wood nymph's wings. The Luxican was able to clearly understand the meaning of each sound.
"Come out. I won't hurt you," the little voice spoke but the Luxican didn't move.
"We have been waiting a long time for you."
The Luxican moved out from under the cover of the bush not wanting to get too close to the shape but wanting to get a better view of it. It looked around for another figure but didn't see one. It looked around the yard as if looking for someone before he spoke.
"You said WE, who else is with you?"
"No one right now but my name is Airie, and I am the nocturnal version of the witch who lives here. She has been cursed and there are three of us that inhabit this space, but not all at once." She giggled and the sound was pleasing to the Luxican. "You will meet the other two women tomorrow. The prophecy states that you will come to help break this spell." She paused to take a breath. He was about to ask a question when she stopped him.
"It's late and you need a place to rest. All of your questions will be answered by the witch in the morning. Now, follow me."
She swiftly flew over the fence and into the yard never once looking back to see if the Luxican was following her. The Luxican was hesitant but agreed that it needed a place to reside in the city and it was in no position to actively seek a residence. So, it floated over the fence after her maintaining a safe distance if it needed to make a hasty departure.
Excerpted from "Creole Moon – The Book of Roots"
Copyright © 2015 Suzon Tropez Holmes.
Excerpted by permission of Toplink Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the year of the Luperci festival, a time for forgiveness in the magic world. Mamuska, a voodoo priest wishes to return to the mortal world to find a new body to inhabit for his ritual of renewing. He wishes to take his wife Ophelia with him, but the serpent goddess, Ayida, forbids him to do so. She sees a darkness within Ophelia that hints at danger and instability. Mamuska is reluctant to tell his wife of this decree by the goddess, so he doesn't and takes her with him. Returning to the swamp, their old home, he begins the process of searching what it is that he needs. While he is on his quest for power and renewal, George Genois is out with his alter being inside, for revenge. He remembers the pain and suffering that he endured at the hands of Ophelia and his alter being wants payback. He is taken in by an old woman who seeks his help with her own quest. She is looking for the other half of a book that she lost long ago. She wishes to right a wrong was done to her, and to break free of the predicament that she has found herself in. She knows that it will not be an easy task ahead of her. The clock is ticking as she seeks the book of roots. She must find it before her sister, who is evil, finds it. Can they succeed in what it is they quest for or will the world be lost to evil? Creole Moon: Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes is a dark fantasy novel full of magic, priests, gods and goddesses, and a desire to be free. This is the first book that I have read by this author. When I started reading this book I had no idea that it was book two in a series. While I do feel that there are some parts and things that I am missing from not reading book one first, this book is an enjoyable story to read. The characters are interesting, and for a minute it is a bit tough to fully grasp what is going on, but once you get into the flow of the story it really engages you in. I like that the author gives us the backstory on Sephora and her evil sister. For me, this is one the most engaging parts of the story. It's interesting to read about the jealousy of one and the complete love of another. The backstory truly helps to set the stage and explain how things came to be between the two sisters, and why the story is going in the direction that it is. While I enjoyed this story, I still feel that there were some elements that I missed out on from not reading the first book first. Plus, this book could use someone going over with a fine tooth comb to catch the editorial errors that are throughout. There are spelling errors, and a few minor editorial issues as well. Despite these minor issues, the book is good. None of these issues are to the point that they will distract or detract from the overall story itself. I enjoyed this book overall so I am rating it 4 out of 5 stars. With the spelling issues taken care of I will more than happily rate this book higher, but for now, this is the rating I'm giving it. It is a unique story and I like the voodoo, the gods and goddesses, and the other unique elements of this story. It is interesting and different from other stories in this genre. For me, this makes this book and series and appealing read. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite Creole Moon Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes is a mesmerizing story that is well-crafted for fans who love their stories distilled with magic and featuring compelling characters and a strong conflict. In this spellbinding story, two sisters are poised against each other, fighting to gain control of the legendary and magical Book of Roots. The reader follows the path of George Genois whose experience of magic pulls him deeper and deeper into an intricate plot, and while he is out for some revenge, the two sisters opposing each other want to win him over to their side. But does he have what it takes to right a wrong once done to him? Who really owns the power to control the book? I was grabbed from the very beginning of this story by the author’s great skill in creating setting. With powerful prose and an exceptional way with words, the author captures unique and relevant elements of the setting. The world of the characters is filled with mystery and readers will feel enticed and drawn to the power of the swamps. Readers are introduced to an interesting cast of characters, including goddesses and demi-gods, witches, humans, and many others. The plot is intricately done and readers will be keen to find out what happens to the characters as they follow the intense drama. S.T. Holmes’ Creole Moon Book of Roots is a compelling blend of mystery and fantasy, a story that is gripping and entertaining.
Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite Creole Moon Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes is an amazing whirlwind ride that begins in the heavens with Mamuska being told to leave his wife Ophelia behind when he returns to earth. As if that was going to happen. He just could not abandon her, so they both returned to the Louisiana Bayou country after 100 years. Awaiting their return is George, who is their reluctant servant of sorts when he is not the swamp beast known as the Luxican. In the meantime, the arch rival goddess twins, Sephora and Vollera, have possessed bodies of women to help them search for the coveted Book of Roots. It's been 100 years since they have all been to New Orleans and they return to a changed city, just in time for Mardi Gras during prohibition. George is assisting an old woman named Marie, Sephora's present host body, as she searches for the clue to find the book. There are surprises in store for the twins when they learn that George can read their thoughts, just as they can read his. George in his human form struggles constantly internally to keep the beast from emerging. When the sisters finally meet and confront each other, spells and voodoo chants start flying in abundance to gain an advantage in victory. S.T. Holmes does a remarkable job of moving this story along, with the quest being slightly interrupted by the histories of how the twins became not only rivals, but arch rivals. I was instantly reminded of the series introduction to the Adventures of Hercules, depicting the gods of Olympus and their pettiness. Only this author's version goes way beyond that, as if their lust for power is on steroids. Holmes's story telling and descriptions of New Orleans at that time are just so vivid that I felt as if I were there. The internal struggle for George to keep his inner beast at bay kept me on edge every time his eyes began glowing green. Creole Moon Book of Roots is a suspenseful work of art that really delivered on all levels for me. This is an entertaining read that keeps you on the edge of your seat as each of these well developed characters aspires for superiority. All I can say is, "Wow! Well done."
Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite Creole Moon Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes is a supernatural novel written by S.T. Holmes, a tale that involves magic, witchcraft, and voodoo. With a fascinating setting in New Orleans, the story follows a conflict between two sisters, Mamuska and Ophelia, both fighting to win George Genois, the protagonist, as an ally. But there is more at stake than George, and it is what lies in the swamps. George Genois has suffered a lot of harm, thanks to an evil done to him earlier. Now he is about to get his revenge, but can he master what lies deeper in the realm of magic? And which of the two sisters can uncover the secret to controlling the magic Book of Roots? S.T. Holmes’ novel is brilliantly plotted and written in a style that is engaging. The prose is excellent and the author’s style and precision are elements that readers will immediately notice. Engaging conversations are scattered throughout the narrative. The author has the gift of creating scenes that are emotionally charged, evoking images that will delight readers. Here is one of the images that capture the atmospheric nature of the writing: “Before Ayida spoke again, dark clouds lined overhead, a crack of lightning flashed through the sky and low sounds of thunder rumbled through the air. Her long, silky white hair flew out and around her head and face with the rhythm of the wind.” Creole Moon Book of Roots is pure delight, a little gem of a book that will draw readers in. I enjoyed the well-developed characters as well as the author’s storytelling skills.
Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite It was the year of the Creole moon, the time of year best for beings of magic to regenerate and recharge. This time, however, it fell in line with a festival and a prophecy. Long ago this prophecy was woven, the prophecy of the Luperci, and already the signs are there to see. A priest had placed a hex on all magic, and events suggest its end is nigh. If there is any hope of saving magic, the Book of Roots must be found before the Mardi Gras day ends. This is the only chance to reverse the spell, and if they fail all will be lost. Clues litter the path, guiding the way. There are two who seek to possess the book, those of good and those of evil. Old enemies surface, stirring thoughts of revenge amidst what will prove to be the most spectacular festival ever seen. Book of Roots is the second book in the Creole Moon series, and while it is clear that the events of the previous book would add to a reader's understanding of what came before, author S.T. Holmes easily supplies any information the reader would need to enjoy this as a standalone story. I really enjoyed the treasure hunt/quest aspect of this book. Filled with magic, mystery, adversaries, revenge, schemes, and a ticking clock counting down to disaster, it doesn't get more gripping than that! This is a book filled with atmosphere, and you can really picture yourself amidst the bustling streets, or hunting down the next part of the riddle. The ultimate sibling rivalry with the highest imaginable stakes and a side helping of revenge are all presented in a well written and engrossing manner, addressing the internal and external struggles of all the characters involved.