Book review: Chronicle of the Mound Builders

Chronicle of the Mound Builders

Chronicle of the Mound Builders

by

Elle MARIE

Publication Date: October 29, 2012
CreateSpace
Paperback; 416p
ISBN-10: 1479206652

Softcover cover received from the author
via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Chronicle of the Mount Builde

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

   hf-reading-challenge-2013 New Authors 2013

where are you reading

50 states
#24 – Missouri

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating system

I am again grateful to Amy for inviting me to host a post on this tour, as this was a wonderful opportunity to read another historical fiction, and yet a very original one. It is indeed rare to read a historical novel on Native Americans.

I was fascinated from the start by Chronicle of the Mound Builders. On a background of local jealousy and intrigues between authorities, archeologists and scholars, and precious information secretly held by contemporary Native Americans, young archeologist Angela finds an ancient codex. What’s strange and really exciting is that the Mississippian site she is digging at is supposed to be part of a civilization that did not develop any written tradition. So is this a hoax, or a text coming from somewhere else? As she starts translating it, she discovers it is written in ancient Aztec pictographs.

The book goes back and forth between Angela’s discovery and adventures, as she progressively unveils a dangerous secret, and chronicles of Aztec and Mississippi daily life, as related in the codex.

It was a fascinating way of learning about both civilizations in the 14th century, thousands of miles away from each other, and their religions (definitely not a very positive presentation of priests), their ways of hunting, cooking, their sports, their technique to make books, or even to make copper took-filling!

As I wrote to the author (who graciously answered right away!), I’m torn between the fascination I have for her creativity and the disappointment that this is historical fiction, not history, and thus to know that actually this codex does not exist, though its content is strictly based on what we know from these people. She made it up, integrating real Aztec pictographs, and she drew them in this book, as Angela explains how they work, both by sound and by meaning assimilation.  As I love languages but knew nothing about the Aztec language, that was awesome for me!

I enjoyed extremely the mix of historical facts, historical fiction, mystery, adventure, supernatural, and even a bit of romance.

If need be, this is another excellent proof that self-published books can be top quality.

And before I can read the sequel, because the last sentence of the book tells me more is coming, yeah!!,  my next step for now will be to visit the site of the Mound Builders myself, in Cahokia near St. Louis. I am so excited I will have the opportunity to do so next month. Hopefully nothing will happen on that day on Great Sun Mound and I hope the Ark will be peaceful as well. To know what I am talking about, you will just have to read the book!

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

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?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elle Marie Coming from a large family of readers, Elle Marie grew up with a love of reading. Her passion for reading led to a desire to write. 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. Extensive research enabled her to create a believable, engrossing world.

By day, she 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.

For more information and to buy the book, please visit the OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chronicle-Mound-Builders-Elle-Marie/dp/1479206652

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chronicle-of-the-mound-builders-elle-marie/1113712738?ean=9781479206650

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009Z6MXPK

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chronicle-of-the-mound-builders-elle-marie/1113712738?ean=2940015914061

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/chronicle-mound-builders/id631871824?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

***

Please visit the Tour to read other reviews of this book,
and for chances to win a copy!

Monday, May 13
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Wednesday, May 15
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Thursday, May 16
Review at The Book Garden
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, May 17
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, May 20
Review at Turning the Pages
Interview & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, May 21
Review at Words and Peace

Wednesday, May 22
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, May 23
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, May 24
Review at Bibliophilic Book Blog

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
HAVE YOU READ ANY OTHER HISTORICAL NOVEL
ON NATIVE AMERICANS?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

(2012) #50 review: The Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex:

The True Story of Obsession, Faith,
and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible

by

Matti FRIEDMAN

Narrated by Simon VANCE

Published by HighBridge Audio in 2012

7.5  hours

Received from HighBridge Audio through Audiobook Jukebox

THIS BOOK COUNTS FOR THE FOLLOWING READING CHALLENGES

         

        

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating system

Do you like a good mystery? Do you like “serious” books about things that actually happened? Do you have lots of commuting time? Well, these are three reasons you have to listen to this book!

I decided to teach myself Biblical Hebrew a few decades ago, with the desire to see what the text did actually say, cleansed from all adaptations to Western tastes. This, plus my fascination for anything bookish, made this book really intriguing to me. I had no idea I was actually plunging into a real mystery, still not completely resolved, and going for a really fascinating ride.

The author was just as unsuspecting when he started researching on the topic. He translates very well how things evolved, how one thing led him to another, deeper at each step into nothing less than an international nest of vipers.

If you read about the Aleppo Codex (commonly known as The Crown of Aleppo, or simply The Crown) a few decades ago, you probably learned it had been mostly burnt and lost. Well, the reality is quite different.

The end of the book is a bit sad, as the author reflects on the human condition and what its ugly characteristics made a people do to its own sacred book. But this good be a good invitation to reflect on our own behavior, at the social and personal level.

As I write this review, we know about terrible things happening in Aleppo. It is very sad to know that some famous very old neighborhoods of this ancient pearl of the Middle East have just burnt down. Another sad example of what we humans can do to our history and people.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE AUDIO PRODUCTION

What can I add to the magical name of Simon Vance? This narrator can do about anything, he is brilliant here for this non-fiction mystery. His tone is both very engaged, rendering the aspects of mystery of this incredible odyssey of a manuscript, and detached, as is more fitting for non-fiction. Only fabulous and very experienced narrators can attain this balance.  Besides, Vance embraces this narration with so much passion that I often had to remind myself that it was not Friedman’s voice I was listening to, but Vance’s.
I’m sure reading the book on paper is a very pleasant experience, but Vance’s narration adds spice to it, and makes it harder to stop listening until you reach the end of the book, though it is not the end of the story!

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

A true-life thriller about the journey of one of the world’s most precious manuscripts—the 10th century annotated Hebrew Bible known as the Aleppo Codex—from its hiding place in an ancient Syrian synagogue to the newly-founded Israel. Using his research, including documents which have been secret for 50 years and interviews with key players, AP correspondent Friedman tells a story of political upheaval, international intrigue, charged courtroom battles, obsession, and subterfuge. [HighBridge Audio]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matti Friedman

MATTI FRIEDMAN is an Associated Press writer. He lives in Israel. Here are many articles by him.

REVIEWS BY OTHER BLOGGERS
DWD’s reviews
S. Krishna’s Books

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
ANY OTHER NON-FICTION NARRATED BY SIMON VANCE
YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?
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