Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #20: Barer of the Ghost Nation by John Steiner

Barer of the Ghost Nation (Book Three of the Squad V series)
by John Steiner

Wanniukaga is the last of his people. No one else carries on his cultural traditions. It was the end of the world for the healer and spiritual leader. He is four hundred years old, and he is not alone. Afflicted by vampirism from those who slaughtered his nation, Wanniukaga is further burdened with the spirits of his people inside his mind.

Shattered by hard economic times St. Louis lays atop an older city whose people died out centuries ago, save for Wanniukaga who wanders its urban decay to this day. Locked in a struggle to preserve his people's traditions and adapt to accelerating change the healer must balance his many personalities. Two homeless teenagers befriend and help Wanniukaga through difficult times against other vampires responsible for the death of his people, evade religiously motivated amateur vampire slayers and confront a hardhearted Squad Five operator stepping outside the rules of his unit. 

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win one of FOUR e-copies (PDF or Kindle)! Drawing 4/4/13***


The Ghost Nation went into a slouch with arthritic moving fingers offering a caregiver’s touch. His voice, too, poured heavily with sympathy, though the child couldn’t understand his words. “Easy little wanderer. No Wendigo spirit will harm you here.”
Despite his similar appearance to what he knew must’ve traumatized the boy Wanniukaga’s calmed the child with his voice and grandfatherly posture.
As he stood, the elder yielded to East Wind, who then turned to a stunned Kera. “I think you should take him inside and keep him warm.”
“Wha–!” she could barely get out. “It’s as if you weren’t you for a moment!”
Nodding slowly East Wind acknowledged her confusion. “We’ll talk about that later. You were right last week in that café. My name is East Wind Speaks.”
Ushering her swiftly inside with his hand, East Wind turned around and listened to the cold night breeze. Eddying currents wrapped around brick and concrete corners with hands of stalking bogeymen peeking from behind cover. Gusts skipped over rooftops as owls scouring the ground below for a fleshy meal, often producing long hooting sounds over metal tubes stabbing up from buildings. Subtler prowling currents brushed against aged sidewalk and cracked asphalt the way wolves once swiftly trotted and bounded across these lands.
Whirling his head around, East Wind sought out Jordan without finding him. A sharper scratch of gravelly dirt drew East Wind’s attention once more to what lay ahead. Taking a few steps forward he suspected that sound to be a distant footfall.
“Elder?” East Wind muttered just over his own breath.
A shuffle entered the Ghost Nation’s slower more carefully picked pace. Wanniukaga began a prayer meant to address evil spirits. “These are the lands of my fathers and their fathers before them. Here your vile seed will not sprout. To you and your kind there lay only barren and parched dust. I summon the Wind to silence your voice that you cannot whisper away the spirit of our people. I draw on the Earth to confound your feet and make you stumble. I call to the Water to wash away your filth and erase your path from the land. I hold the Fire to burn out your cold savage heart. Against my nation you will wither in winter.”
In answer, Wanniukaga heard only unintelligible gruff rasps. He knew the sound of wendigo unmistakably. More than fifty feet away two wendigo came forth from a pile of white man’s refuse, likely searching for rats, to see who had spoken. Unable to sense the strength of Wanniukaga’s medicine, which would’ve stolen their will, the pair of soulless unfortunates took off straight at him. Their bare feet pounded hard over rough asphalt, telling the healer and holy man they only recently lost their souls to the Wendigo spirit.
Reaching into a belt pouch, Wanniukaga encapsulated fire powder in his palm and fingers.

***Please leave your NAME & EMAIL for a chance to win one of FOUR e-copies (PDF or Kindle)! Drawing 4/4/13***

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  1. Wow sounds fascinating! Thanks for the giveaway
    tobihelton at gmail dot com

  2. Usually I'm not into vampire stories, but I love Native American mythology and this sounds so unique. I WANT IT!!

  3. I would love to read this!


  4. I have always been fascinated by Indian lore and love it when this is woven into a fictional story. Thank you for sharing this treat of a read with us.

  5. Very unique! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! LOL Of course, only if I win.


  6. Each of the Squad V novels deals with real world issues, and "Barer of the Ghost Nation" has a couple main themes. The first is the internal debate among modern American Indians about the importance of preserving their traditions, but also adapting to the society around them so they aren't taken advantage of. The other is more broad, where I show imperialism as a national scale form of vampirism. The prior victims of imperial conquest often rise from their cultural graves to inflict the horror onto others.

    I wanted to avoid what I call, "Great White Hype" stories, a la Pocahontas, Avatar or Dances with Wolves, where the noble "savage" somehow needs a white guy to show up and solve their problems for them.

    Another important thing which American Indians who I know brought up was to avoid exploiting or misrepresenting their culture. It's weird to see people going around calling themselves experts on Indigenous culture or inducted as honorary members of the tribal nation, when in fact members of that tribe have no idea who that person is. You don't see people going around pretending to be Rabbis and performing a Bris, but there are fake shamans and medicine men everywhere.

    So I drafted an off-shoot of an ancient Mississippi Valley Mount Builder civilization, originally located at the Cahokia sites, that had been destroyed by European diseases. The main character, Wanniukaga is a sole survivor of one such civilization that was located in modern St. Louis. To him all parts of the city look like a post-apocalypse hell-scape.

    -John Steiner

  7. This is going to be amazing thank you.

    Mary Preston

  8. Gracias, sonrisa...
    De Ann Townes Jr.

  9. Nice Excerpt, John! :) Congrats on your third Squad V Vampire Series Novel!


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