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Josh Lawdermilt

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The Legend of Sierryah Daniels
by Josh Lawdermilt   

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  CrossBooks Publishing Type: 


Copyright:  2009 ISBN-13:  9781615071371

On her eighteenth birthday, a young girl gets sentenced to death for the crime of witchcraft. The year is 1661, the place Crystal Shores, Scotland.

This same girl suddenly appears in present-day Boston, MA with no recollection of how she got there or how she was able to travel over three hundred years into the future...

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Vampires, werewolves, wizards and witches. All of those things have become a major part of pop culture within the past ten years or so. When we think of witches, most often we picture some old hag, with a broomstick and a black cat with hair standing on end. Witches and witchcraft are both part of legend and history, and the Salem Witch trials are probably the most well-known cases of witch hunts in American history. Taking place between February 1692 and May 1693, the trials not only included Salem town itself, but also the surrounding areas of Salem Village, Ipswich, Boston, Andover and Charlestown.

Over 150 individuals were arrested and imprisoned, with still more accused but not pursued by authorities. A variety of methods were used in order to elicit confessions from many people accused of being involved in witchcraft including being crushed to death, drowning, hanging etc. In a time of fierce religous beliefs, many people mistakenly believed what we now know to be serious mental and physical disorders were signs of possesion and/or involvement in the art of black magic, curses and witchcraft.

Taking inspiration from the trials at Salem and the surrounding areas, The Legend of Sierryah Daniels weaves the tale of a young girl who, from a very young age, was accused of witchcraft and tormented by the people that surrounded her. The elders and priests of the small Scottish village of Crystal Shores, who consider themselves to be holy and doing the will of God, sentence her to be burned alive until dead, in hopes that the strange occurences happening around the village will cease.

A tale of both mystery and faith, Sierryah thrusts readers immediately into the middle of the story, near the end of Sierryah's life. It is soon after that readers find her alive and well in Boston, Massachusetts in 2007. How did she come to be there when she's supposedly been dead over three hundred years? This is just one of the mysteries presented in the book, and readers must discover, along with Sierryah and a full, colorful cast of characters, what her true purpose really is. Has she somehow managed to come back seeking vengence? Or, does her arrival into the present have more to do with rekindling a belief in the miraculous? The past holds all the answers...



Nathaniel had not thought it was so late, but when he glanced at the clock hanging near the bar, it indeed informed him that it was about midnight. He sighed with defeat and looked back at the fire for quite some time before he spoke again, rubbing his eyes as he did so. This was only after he realized Otis would not mind waiting all night if he had to.

"It's my fault what's happened to her!" he said in a loud enough voice that those nearest him stopped what they were doing and looked at him for fear of accidentally being hit by flying bottles or perhaps even a table or two.

"What's happened to whom?" Otis asked, seemingly unaware that Nathaniel had raised his voice.

"I tried to save her, but it didn't work. There's no way to stop it" Nathaniel said, his voice filled with a mixture of pity and sorrow.

Otis tried to find something to say that would comfort his new friend, but after not having come up with the right words in his mind, he remained silent and just let him finish at his own pace. After a few moments of silence, Otis spoke again, asking another question.

"It's a sad fact that we can't undo what's been done. Who was it you're trying to save?"

Nathaniel shook his head in disgust with himself and looked at Otis with his answer.

"Sierryah Daniels! It's not right what's happened to her!"

The entire population of the pub went silent at the mention of the name. Otis' eyes immediately got the size of saucers, and he leaned in close to make sure that he had heard him right. After seeing that every patron was staring at him, mouth open, Nathaniel tore his eyes away from them and forced himself to focus on the conversation at hand. Sierryah Daniels was a name that everyone knew very well and everyone seemed shocked that a man such as Nathaniel would be trying to help someone like her.

Sierryah was born eighteen years ago today, on March seventeenth, sixteen forty-three. If anyone were to look at her, she looked like a normal eighteen year old girl, with pretty blonde hair and blue eyes. Her smile warmed the hearts of everyone in the village, even from the time shortly following her birth. Her parents were very proud of her, and always assured her that she was quite special, even though she felt very much like she was ordinary.

And then, strange things began to happen. One morning, her parents awoke to hear her screaming, and rushed into her room to find a series of messages that looked as though they had been burnt into the wall, but did not consume it. As she grew older, the messages still appeared regularly, but they no longer frightened her. One day while she was outside sitting on the steps near the schoolhouse, an old blind man happened to be led in front of her in passing, and from the moment he came near her, claimed he could see again.

News quickly spread about her, and soon, people from all over the village were coming by her house, asking her parents if they could just bring their sick and elderly into the same room as Sierryah so that they too could be healed of their ailments. Then, only a few short weeks ago, her parents died, leaving her very much alone in the world with not a soul to talk to. No one really understood her, and so she was to be excluded from all forms of fun that the children played in the schoolyard for fear that she might somehow do something supernatural to them.

Two days ago, a man passed by the Daniels house on the way to his own, and saw Sierryah sitting in her room chanting some sort of thing he deduced to be witchcraft, and so he accused her of being a witch. She was sentenced to death by the stake two days later at sunrise. And all of these thoughts brought Nathaniel's mind out from behind its haze and back into the reality of the conversation.

"Where did they take her?" he asked Otis in urgency, hoping against all hope that he might somehow have the answer.

Much to his despair, Otis replied: "No one knows. The only thing for sure, she'll be dead before breakfast."

Nathaniel hung his head low and sobbed bitterly. Not knowing what to do, Otis sat quietly, willing to stay with him until he decided to leave. However, Nathaniel didn't leave. He stayed all through the night. Moments before sunrise, Otis and Nathaniel went, along with the other stragglers from the pub that had not gone home, to the village square where a single stake was set upon a hill of logs and straw. Apparently there was to be only one death today. The whole of the village had come out to witness the spectacle, and Nathaniel was surprised to see that women had even brought their children, as if to show them whom not to be like when they got older.

They all stood there, chattering loudly to one another, until the exact moment the sun peeked out from over the horizon, lighting the morning sky on fire. It was at this time that the elders from the village took their places, four of them, two on either side of the stake. The chatter faded out in an instant, people eager to watch what was going to happen. Nathaniel and Otis turned to face the direction everyone else was looking, which happened to be directly behind them. They had all heard the shuffling of footsteps in the dirt.

Professional Reviews

Peer Review # 1
I just finished reading the book and was fascinated and enthralled throughout the entire story! I am an avid reader and this book stands alone at the top of my list! From the beginning you are drawn in by the emotion and mystery of it all, and this is the ongoing theme throughout the book! This book has mystery, intrigue, treachery, awesome friendships and family, heart wrenching and inspirational moments and so much more!! It definitely kept me on my toes! Very well written!!

Brandi Sheffield

Peer Review # 2
How do I describe this book? It's full of mystery, intrigue, and parallel stories that keep you guessing until the last sentence. The narrative will draw you in quickly and keep you turning the pages as you unravel the mystery behind Sierryah Daniels. Never have I read such a compelling story which combines modern day characters with those from the past. The final page left me wanting at least one more chapter. The book also inspired me to dream big dreams and remember that everything happens for a reason which is sometimes beyond our understanding.
I look forward to reading more stories by Josh and find this book to be the best first novel I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Frances Pike

Peer Review # 3
“Sierryah” was absolutely one of the best books I have read in my life. I have read many, many books in my forty years so this is a huge compliment to the author. I am one of these people that will stop reading a book within the first chapter or two if it does not draw me in. Sierryah drew me in immediately. I love the way the chapters alternated from the present to the past making it easy to follow and more entertaining.
The book was well-written, had an excellent storyline, and an absolute surprise twist at the end that made it even more interesting.
As a busy mother of an eight-year old daughter, wife, and full time college student I do not have a lot of time on my hands to read. My sister gave me the book as a gift for Valentine’s Day and I began reading it shortly thereafter. I found myself reading a chapter each time I had a few moments to spare. Sometimes I would only get through a page or two before being interrupted but I just had to try and find out what happened next.
This was a book that had I been able to find the time I would have finished in a day. I really did not want to put it down. I hope to read more from Josh in the near future.

Rachel Spicer

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