Here are two new books from Mercer University Press that you need to check out! Both are available now in stores.
The Conjuror tells a mystical tale of power, corruption and tradition through the eyes of the Cherokee.
The Poisoned Table clevery combines real life history with a fictional tale, allowing you to be entertained and educated at the same time.
Within the tightly knit Cherokee community in the Smoky Mountains, a secret society of Snake Dancers is led by a group of elders, four of whom guard an artifact of incredible power. Guardianship has been passed from father to son for over 300 years.
Theses artifacts belonged to Kanegwa’ti, a medicine man who controlled the power of Uktena (an evil spirit) in order to protect the tribe. Even the four guardians cannot reveal what they guard. The tradition of secrecy was set up by Kanegwa’ti to prevent anyone from awakening Uktena and bringing destruction. Grady Smoker, one of the Snake Dancers, has spent decades tracking the other guardians in order to pinpoint the location of each artifact. In a misplaced effort to regain power for the tribe, he unwittingly becomes the vessel for Uktena.
Johnny, an outsider like Kanegwa’ti, has been under the watchful eye of the elders since he was a boy. Walker Copperhead is convinced Johnny is the long awaited Suye’ta, the next conjuror. While Johnny is committed to the Cherokee way of life, he isn’t buying into his new role.
It isn’t until he comes face to face with Uktena that he realizes all the Cherokee myths are true.
THE POISONED TABLE portrays a passionate rivalry between fictional actress Isabel Graves and real-life Shakespearian stage sensation Frances Anne “Fanny” Kemble.
In this tale of ambition, romance, and betrayal, Graves harbors early resentment, convinced that Kemble’s family theatre connections assured Fanny’s selection for the lead role in Romeo and Juliet despite Isabel’s superior beauty and talent.
The novel traces their unconnected adventures and acting careers in the Old and New Worlds, as well as their introduction to the horrors of American slavery and to romance with one of the wealthiest men in America, Pierce Butler, owner of Georgia cotton and rice plantations and master of more than 800 slaves.
Kemble, an ardent abolitionist, falls in love with Butler and marries him before she discovers his wealth derives soley from slave labor. Though glad to be separated from plantation life at her husband’s Philadelphia home, Kemble agrees to accompany him on his annual visit to inspect his Georgia investments. Butler assures his wife her apprehensions about slavery will be assuaged once she sees firsthand its humane daily operation. Instead, she is sickened and chronicles her visit in Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839.
This account, published in England in 1863, is sometimes credited with dissuading Britain from aiding the Confederacy. Within the novel is a play written by Graves’ lover. Set on a slave plantation, the plot portrays a dinner at the master’s table and the poisonous conditions which produce its bounty, resulting in an attempted murder. In the controversy following this play’s opening night, Kemble and Graves are again at odds, and their rivalry continues as they change places on the stage of theatre and of life.