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Wings to the Kingdom: An Eden Moore Story    by Cherie Priest order for
Wings to the Kingdom
by Cherie Priest
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Wings to the Kingdom follows Four and Twenty Blackbirds in a haunted mystery series starring young Eden Moore who lives in Chickamauga, Georgia with her uncle Dave and aunt Lulu and, to her continuing dismay, is a ghost magnet. I recommend reading the first book before this one, as it would help to establish who's who amongst Eden's cohorts, and what happened previously with her murderous half-brother and cousin Malachi - which is referred to here, but not explained, aside from the fact that he's generally believed to be dead.

The sightings begin at a Decoration Day picnic held at the famed Civil War battlefield at Chickamauga, where where thousands of both Confederate and Union soldiers died. There, doddering veterans and their aging wives are shocked to see spook soldiers, who're unable to speak to them, but consistently point in the same direction. News of this arcane activity arouses the interest of a notorious pair of celebrity ghost hunters, Dana and Tripp Marshall, who garner plenty of media attention when they show up in Chickamauga and make night-time forays into the national military park. Unfortunately, someone else shows up too - a modern shooter who first wings a cameraman, and later commits murder - and not his first one either.

Eden has no intention of getting involved when she first hears rumors from her friends. Previous tales from the battlefield centered on sightings of park guardian, Old Green Eyes, not ghosts. Then crazy Malachi calls, pleading with her to rescue him from the grounds of a local lunatic asylum (built on the site of a sacred Indian burial ground), where he's traveled to meet a fellow inmate - from his days as a resident - to try to find out his mother's fate. When Eden drives out there, and ends up walking through the woods after a car accident, she's surprised to encounter Old Green Eyes out of his usual territory. She's intrigued despite herself and begins to (illegally) investigate the battlefield hauntings, helped by her friends Karl, Jamie and Benny.

While Eden goes ghost hunting, Cherie Priest fills in some of the backstory of a rather incompetent criminal, Pete Buford, recently released from jail and looking for occupation. His uncle fills his head with ancestral tales of Confederate gold, inadvertently triggering his own stumbling visits to the battlefield. The author pulls these mundane and arcane plot threads together in a rather rambling story that culminates in thrilling night-time chases through a terrain that's already soaked up a great deal of blood and gore. It's an intriguing series - enjoy Wings to the Kingdom but read Four and Twenty Blackbirds first.

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