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Thursday, May 23, 2013

On Tour: Chronicle of the Mound Builders by Elle Marie - Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Elle Marie is now on tour with CLP Blog Tours with her book, Chronicle of the Mound Builders. Please visit her tour page on CLP Blog Tours for more blog stop.

Chronicle of the Mound Builders
by Elle Marie

Genre: History, Fantasy, Mystery
Format: ebooks
Connect with Author: Website
Archaeologist Dr. Angela Hunter discovers an ancient codex at a Mississippian Indian dig site in the St. Louis area. Knowing the Mississippians, or Mound Builders, had no written language, she is determined to solve the mystery of the 700-year-old, perfectly preserved codex.

In the early 1300’s, an Aztec family is torn apart. A judge rebelling against the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice is cursed and escapes his enemies with his 12-year-old son. They travel from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River to settle in the thriving community of Migaduha, modern-day Cahokia Mounds, Illinois.

Angela recognizes the symbols as Aztec pictograms and begins to translate the story. However, other forces also want the codex and will do anything to get it. Can she learn the secrets of the chronicle before the tragic events of the past are repeated today?

I received a copy of Chronicle of the Mound Builders by Elle Marie from CLP Blog Tours as part of the blog tour.

Chronicle of the Mound Builders by Elle Marie was able to grab my attention from the very beginning. I later found out that two stories were told in the book. The first one was about Dr. Angela Hunter who found the codex in the sealed jar, and the other one was about Chipahua and his son, Tototl, who escaped from his enemy after his wife and daughter was murdered before his eyes as part as their practise to sacrifice human for their god.

It was confusing at the beginning where the characters were introduced as there were many of them. It was hard for me to understand what was going on at first when the stories switched back and forth between Angela and Tototl. But after a while, I got used to it and began to enjoy the story a little bit more. 

I liked Angela’s character. She was intelligent, dedicated and she had a good personality. I enjoyed reading the part where Angela was translating the codex. It was interesting to see the translating process from the pictograph. I get to learn a little bit about symbols and other thing like excavation. 

Chronicle of the Mound Builders is a good read with a mix of history, mystery, fantasy and a little bit of humor. I would recommend anyone who enjoys archaeology stories.

Buy the Book!

Book Excerpt 
Angela sat in her office, deciphering the mysterious chronicle. After returning from their trip to Tavern Rock the day before, the team had worked hard at the dig. Angela stayed until after sunset, accomplishing as much as possible while daylight held out. She felt she could spare a few hours to work on the codex today.

Like the previous two sections, the third also began with a title page. There were four symbols, grouped into pairs. She examined the first pair.

Although that upper left drawing looks like a pillow, I think it’s the Aztec symbol for stone. I’ve seen it in other codices. The panting tongue on the animal below could indicate a dog.

She looked up the word for stone – ‘tetl’ – and the word for dog – ‘chichi’. She rolled the words around on her tongue. Tetl-chichi. After some searching, she found the word ‘teochihua’ in her Aztec dictionary, which had a similar sound. It meant ‘he blesses it’.

That sounds nice, thought Angela. Maybe this chapter will be about a religious ceremony, like blessing a temple. Now let’s see what the next word could be.

The simple square represented a sheet of paper or book. I know what that is. The Aztec word for book is ‘amox’. The symbol below the paper was a common one, representing a house or calli. A temple was a ‘teocalli’ – god house – and a school was a ‘tepochcalli’ – learning house – in the N├íhuatl language.

Let’s combine those sounds and see what we get. Amox-calli. It could be literal – book house, maybe referring to a library. Alternatively, the symbols could represent the sounds of the words. Angela found the word ‘amocualli’ in her reference, meaning bad or evil. That’s pretty close.

How do those concepts go together? she wondered. He blesses it – evil. But a blessing would be good, not evil.

She closed her eyes and thought hard. Perhaps the word for evil describes the type of blessing – an evil blessing. So the phrase might mean ‘he gives an evil blessing’ or ‘he curses it’.

Angela gasped. This chapter is about a curse!

Author Bio:

Elle Marie started writing at the urging of her husband, who always believed she was destined to be an author. After first publishing a nonfiction book, Living the Thin Life, she turned to fiction.

A visit to Cahokia Mounds sparked a fascination with the mysterious Mound Builders, about whom so little is known. What was their culture like? How did ordinary people live in the 14th century? What caused the civilization to vanish, seemingly overnight? She put her imagination to work and came up with a story line that put it all together.

By day, Elle works in the information technology field at a large financial services firm. She is a graduate of the Missouri University of Science & Technology and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband. Chronicle of the Mound Builders is her first novel.

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