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Witches of Cahokia

by Raymond Scott Edge

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642,209,064 (4.63)1
A pair of skeletal remains is uncovered at a road construction site in Alton, Illinois. Archaeologists Daniel and Lauren French need to determine if the constructions should continue when a dozen more graves are uncovered, each containing female remains. An underground student-anarchist cell and the local Native Americans cause the research of the site to close down. Daniel and Lauren want to find out who these women were and what their remains can tell us about ancient beliefs, culture and even migrations patterns.… (more)

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A witch is someone with magical powers. Sometimes, the most magical power is the power of knowledge. Snow Pine is called a witch because she has extensive knowledge of plants and how they can be used to heal. She’s a foreigner and a strong woman who doesn’t fit into the society of the Trading People. Sure she can predict the movements of the buffalo and heal the sick and wounded, but the only power she uses is knowledge.

“Witches of Cahokia” is the story of Snow Pine and the women she shares her knowledge with, but it’s also the story of the archeologists who discover the remains of the long line of women who followed in Snow Pine’s footsteps. Daniel and Lauren French are the archeologists in charge of the dig. Not only does the head of their department not believe their theories about the findings but they also have a student-anarchist group trying to sabotage the dig.

Raymond Scott Edge weaves the stories of the past and the present together to give the reader a delightful experience. He shows the dig and the thought process behind the theories as well as the story of what really happened to Snow Pine and the Sisterhood. It’s a story rich with Native American culture and stories. It’s a story that will captivate readers and have them rooting for the characters to overcome the hardships put before them.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. I especially enjoyed reading the Native American stories. Even though there are two stories with separate plots, both are fully developed and the characters in each are interesting and dynamic. I would recommend this book for high school and up, especially for anyone interested in history or Native American culture.
  bookaddict33 | Feb 13, 2012 |
The book "Witches of Cahokia" by Raymond Scott Edge is really 2 books in one, as it alternates between the stories of Snow Pine and the Sisterhood during ancient times, and the 21st century discovery of skeletal remains at a construction site in Alton, Illinois. The author shows his writing skill by fully developing both stories and making sure both are complete by the end of the book without rushing through the ending to tie things up.

Daniel and Lauren French are professors and researchers at the same Illinois school they attended for their graduate studies in Archeology. Now married, they share a passion for their work and are excited by the discovery of female skeletal remains in their hometown. As they prepare the site for excavation we, the reader, are introduced to Snow Pine, a foreign woman in a new land who just doesn't quite fit in with the natives she now lives among. Eventually she strikes out on her own, moving to a nearby cave, and begins to teach the local woman about her heritage of healing herbs which brings the women together forming a Sisterhood that will last generations.

I really enjoyed this book and how the author was able to weave the two stories together in a way that kept me interested until the very end. I also appreciated the factual incorporation of the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois as it brought an air of authenticity to the novel that made the story even more exciting to read.

This book is beautifully written with well-developed and engaging characters that had me rooting for their successes and tearing up over their failures. I highly recommend this book to those interested in Native American culture and archeology as well as those who enjoy a well-written book with compelling characters and hope the author continues to write as he definitely has a talent for it. ( )
  CaApril | Jul 22, 2010 |
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. ( )
  crazypsychobooklover | Feb 3, 2010 |
Witches of Cahokia
By: Raymond Scott Edge
ISBN 978-0-979473722
We have all heard there are two sides to every story. In the book Witches of Cahokia the reader alternates from early Native America life to a modern day Archeological study of the same area. Snow Pine, a foreign woman in an Early Native American culture fights to save a people she has grown to love. Using her knowledge of herbal remedies and desire to keep the tribes from destroying themselves she begins one her missions. Daniel and Lauren French local Archaeologists, fight to preserve Snow Pines’ home and historical evidence from being contaminated and ultimately destroyed.
I enjoy both Native American cultures and Archeology so reading this book was a double treat! Native American people have such a mystery about their lives and practices. They also have such a great respect for the earth and all her inhabitants. I love how most of them call people (other than their enemies) friend or a family term. Being an animal lover any culture that holds animals in high esteem are my kind of people.
As I mentioned before I also enjoy the study of Archeology. Science and history have always been of great interest to me. Uncovering new information on ancient societies gives us a better understanding of our ancestors. The more we study older cultures the more we can realize we aren’t that different. We want to protect our families, prosper and improve our knowledge of new technologies. First people from all around the world have given us a glimpse of their daily lives through artifacts and their remains.
This book is well written and easy to follow. It kept my interest throughout the entire work. Even though the book switches back and forth from ancient to modern times it is done with ease. I would have to give kudos to Raymond Edge for the ability to carry two stories each having a strong storyline.
I would recommend this book anyone who joins reading about ancient cultures. There are a few sections that we would not be appropriate for younger audiences. It would be acceptable for high school students to read. I would edit some chapters if I were to present to middle and elementary aged students. I feel that everyone would be enchanted by the story. ( )
  teaching2learn | Jan 16, 2010 |
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A pair of skeletal remains is uncovered at a road construction site in Alton, Illinois. Archaeologists Daniel and Lauren French need to determine if the constructions should continue when a dozen more graves are uncovered, each containing female remains. An underground student-anarchist cell and the local Native Americans cause the research of the site to close down. Daniel and Lauren want to find out who these women were and what their remains can tell us about ancient beliefs, culture and even migrations patterns.

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