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Come Hell Or High Water – Part 3: Deluge

Come Hell Or High Water

Part 3: Deluge

Author: Stephen Morris
Independently Published
2013
ISBN #978-0-9847731-6-9

Come Hell Or High Water Part 3 - Deluge cover

“Part 3: Deluge” is the third book in the paranormal trilogy “Come Hell Or High Water”, by Stephen Morris. In Part 1: Well Spring, we met Magdalena, a secretary at Charles University in Prague. Through a strange set of circumstances she ends up helping Fen’ka, a wise woman who was lynched by a mob for witchcraft in  1356. With her dying breath Fen’ka cursed the city and its people. In searching for help for Fen’ka, Magdalena brings two very dangerous people to Prague: Elizabeth, a beautiful Irish mythologist who is in actuality the Dearg-due (an Irish vampire figure that does not have to play by the same rules as the vampires that we all know and love!), and George. a New York based Jesuit priest who is also head of a coven. What Magdalena does not realize is that George and Elizabeth are set on destroying the city of Prague!

In “Part 2: Rising” the focus changes to Magdalena’s friend Victoria, and the alliance she forms with several of the visiting professors at the conference on “Evil and Human Wickedness” that Magdalena’s boss is hosting. Together they go head to head against Magdalena, George, and Elizabeth to locate the four magical tools that are protecting Prague – Chalice, Sword, Staff, and Pentacle.

In “Part 3: Deluge”, the very existence of Prague is threatened by a flood that will wash away the Charles Bridge and its magical protection of the city. (Remember, Fen’ka’s curse was on the city and all of  its people.) George and Magdalena rush to carry out the curse by weakening the bridge with the flood, which will allow them to enlist the help of the devil Svetovit to destroy the city.

The book begins with the story of Nadezda, in the winter of 1356-1357. Her husband, a baker, was in the square when Fen’ka was burned, as was her brother, who ran home with a burning branch from the fire, throwing it into the family fireplace. Nadezda is forced to go into the Jewish section of town to consult with an elderly rabbi, after she faces the shadow of Lilith, who is trying to steal her baby. She confronts Lilith to discover the secret of the witch’s curse, only to find that it lies very close to home!

I love the way that the chapters alternate between past and present, weaving the web that all of the story’s characters are caught up in. Everything that happens in this story is for a reason – the present becomes the past – a past that lays the foundation for a new present, and a new future. There is excellent use made of mythology, of the environment and history of the city of Prague itself, and of the elements that make up the esoteric world. All of this unfolds through the lives of the characters in the story.

Being a Tarot reader myself, and a student of esoteric magic, I was riveted at the use both factions (George and Magdalena, and Victoria and her professors) made of the Tarot itself, of the qualities of the four elements (Fire, Water, Air, and Earth), and of simple things like salt and herbs. Morris shows a thorough understanding of religion, myth, and basic human nature, bringing everything together in a final showdown between George, Magdalena (who is beginning to realize that she has been duped), the devil Svetovit, Victoria, and the professors.

This is quite a compelling series – one that you want to read again and again!

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without the written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in fiction books

 

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Come Hell Or HIgh Water – Part 2: Rising

Come Hell Or High Water

Part 2: Rising

Author: Stephen Morris

Independently Published

2012

ISBN #978-0-9847731-3-8

Come Hell Or High Water Rising cover

“Part 2: Rising” is the second book in a paranormal trilogy by Stephen Morris. In Part 1: Well Spring, we met Magdalena, a secretary at Charles University in Prague. Through a strange set of circumstances she ends up helping Fen’ka, a wise woman who was lynched by a mob for witchcraft in  1356. With her dying breath Fen’ka cursed the city and its people. In searching for help for Fen’ka, Magdalena brings two very dangerous people to Prague: Elizabeth, a beautiful Irish mythologist who is in actuality the Dearg-due (an Irish vampire figure that does not have to play by the same rules as the vampires that we all know and love!), and George. a New York based Jesuit priest who is also head of a coven. What Magdalena does not realize is that George and Elizabeth are set on destroying the city of Prague!

Amazing things happen in this book! Magdalena takes something of a back seat, while her best friend, Victoria, begins to work with a group of professors at the conference that Charles University is hosting on folklore, myths, and monsters. The two groups – Victoria and her professor allies, and Magdalena, Elizabeth, and George – face off against each other to find the four magical tools that protect Prague (a Chalice, Sword, Staff, and Pentacle).

Morris does an excellent job of presenting Prague, its people and its mythology. He also does a nice job with presenting actual ritual, and with using the energy of the Tarot in some of his chapter titles. (My one little issue here is the presentation of the Tarot Court Cards. While they are a part of the Minor Arcana, they are the people cards, and should be honored as such.)

The story line and characters are very well presented. I am looking forward to reading Part 3!

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

All material on this site is copyright by Bonnie Cehovet, and may not be reproduced in any format without written permission.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in fiction books

 

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Review – Come Hell or High Water Part 1: Well Spring

Come Hell Or High Water

Part 1: Well Spring

Author: Stephen Morris
Independently Published
2012
ISBN #978-0-9847731-2-1

Come Hell Or High Water cover

“Come Hell Or High Water” is a trilogy that blends medieval Eastern European history with Tarot and the occult in a very believable manner. Stephen Morris is just the man to write this book – he has degrees in medieval history and theology from Yale University and St. Vladimr’s Orthodox Theological Academy, and has previously written on Late Antiquity and Byzantine church life.

While I am not necessarily a fan of occult/paranormal writing, I was interested in the Tarot and occult background in this book, as well as the setting … Prague in the 1356 and 2002. Those of us in the Tarot world have seen facets of Prague, thanks to the fact that this lovely city is home to Baba Studios, creators of some of the best Tarot decks and books that I have ever seen.

This is a book that you just do not want to put down! It is all about the past, and how the energy from the past lives on in the present. It begins with a flashback to 1356, where we see mob mentality at its best. Fen’ka, a wise woman who lives in isolation at the edge of town, is dragged into the Old Town Square, accused of witchcraft, and burned at the stake. She doesn’t go easily …  as she is burning, she brings down a curse on the town and its inhabitants.

From there, we are brought back to current times – 2002 in New York City. Magdalena, a young woman who works at a boring job with the University of Prague, is visiting the city. She is drawn to the signs for Tarot readings, and finally walks into a storefront to get a reading. The reader, an older woman, gives her a three card reading, showing the past (why she came to visit New York City), the present (what she hope to get from her trip), and the future (what she is looking for). Magdalena is warned that she will be offered help, but that the help may come at a price that is too great.

Back in Prague she discovers the ghost of Fen’ka, and agrees to help her get justice. Before this Magdalena and her friends have read the Tarot amongst themselves. But really don’t have a good understanding of it, or of other metaphysical/occult matters. As she delves deeper and deeper into the occult, Magdalena meets the spirit of Madame de Thebes, a fortuneteller that was murdered by the Nazis. In order to communicate with Madame Thebes, Magdalena has to break a spell that the Nazis placed on her. Under the bridge where she met the ghost of Madam Thebes Magdalena is told that she will need the help of Flauros and Halphas in getting justice for Fen’ka.

At the same time, in her 9-5 world Magdalena is given the opportunity to manage a set of conferences that her university is hosting on “Evil and Human Wickedness” and “Monsters and the Monstrous – Legends of Enduring Evil”. Little does she know that this is where she will meet the manifestations of Flauros and Halphas!

The chapters move between the 1300’s and 2002, exploring the legends of medieval Prague as well as modern day Prague. The characters are quite in depth, showing the cultural mores of the time, the social levels, the influence of the church and the guilds, and much more. What is presented is believable … at times very scary, but also very believable! Several of the chapters are named after Tarot cards, and accurately carry the energy of that card into the story.

This is a well researched book, from the point of view of medieval history, the Tarot itself, occult practices, the church, and the psyche behind what motivates people to act as they do. As we move deeper into the story, we realize that part of this is about Magdalena, and her search for power (and what price she is willing to pay for it).

The plot is well presented, up until the reincarnations of Flauros and Halphas present themselves to Magdalana. I still liked the storyline, but found it  not as well presented, and possibly less plausible. However, I still recommend this book to those interested in the Tarot,Prague, medieval history, and just a good story in general.

I am looking forward to reading the next two books in this series! A evil force has been unleashed, and I want to see what it is going to do!

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

All material on this site is copyright by Bonnie Cehovet, and may not be reproduced in any format without written permission.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Tarot

 

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