Before last summer, I was just a normal grad student from California, but then I went to Europe to track down my grandmother's family and my life changed forever.Mistaken for Ruli, a runaway princess who, it turned out, was actually my cousin, I was drugged, abducted, and taken to Dobrenica, a tiny and very unusual little kingdom in Eastern Europe.The handsome man who kidnapped me was Alec, Ruli's fiance, the man who was slated to rule Dobrenica. Like so many things in this odd little kingdom, their marriage would have a magical component―for when certain members of two royal lines married at a particular point in time, Dobrenica...vanished.The solution should have been simple, right? Find Ruli and bring her home. Except Ruli didn't want to come home. Alec and Ruli disliked each other, and to complicate matters further, Alec and I...well, I've always been a romantic at heart.In the end we all did the "right thing." Brokenhearted yet resolute, I returned to America, but I just couldn't seem to forget Alec or Dobrenica.But then I learned that though Ruli and Alec had married, Dobrenica was still in our world. Still in my world. The magic had failed, and no one knew why.So back I went, but my trip became even more dangerous than it was the first time. I expected personal conflict and politics, even sword fighting. I was also prepared for Dobrenica's ever-present specters. But I was not prepared for murder, mystery, or the chillingly real presence of the undead.
Before invasion, Turtle Island-or North America-was home to vibrant cultures that shared long-standing philosophical precepts. The most important and wide-spread of these was the view of reality as a collaborative binary known as the Twinned Cosmos of Blood and Breath. This binary system was built on the belief that neither half of the cosmos can exist without its twin. Both halves are, therefore, necessary and good. Western anthropologists typically shorthand the Twinned Cosmos as "Sky and Earth" but this erroneously saddles it with Christian baggage and, worse, imposes a hierarchy that puts sky quite literally above earth. None of this Western ideology legitimately applies to traditional Indigenous American thought, which is about equal cooperation and the continual recreation of reality.Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath examines traditional historical concepts of spirituality among North American Indians both at and, to the extent it can be determined, before contact. In doing so, Barbara Alice Mann rescues the authentically indigenous ideas from Western, and especially missionary, interpretations. In addition to early European source material, she uses Indian oral traditions, traced as much as possible to their earliest versions and sources, and Indian records, including pictographs, petroglyphs, bark books, and wampum. Moreover, Mann respects each Indigenous culture as a discrete unit, rather than generalizing them as is often done in Western anthropology. To this end, she collates material in accordance with actual historical, linguistic, and traditional linkages among the groups at hand, with traditions clearly identified by group and, where recorded, by speaker. In this way she provides specialists and non-specialists alike a window into the purportedly lost, and often caricatured, world of Indigenous American thought.
When vengeful spirits begin to swarm, Xandra discovers the truth behind her parents' continued existence. As a new enemy descends, she must find a way to keep them safe or be forced to let them go.
"Valuable, well-presented study examines background, rites and ceremonies, and social organization of Orisha religion, 'arguably the most purely African cultural practice left on the island.' However, worshipers combine, in varying degrees, elements fromfive traditions - African, Catholic, Hindu, Protestant, and Kabbalah - to form an 'Afro-American religious complex.'"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.