The Emancipation of Giles Corey
Singing Lake Press (2010)
Reviewed by Deb Shunamon for Reader Views (11/11)
In the beginning I was not quite sure what to make of this book. After having made it through the first few pages of shamanic practitioners, camino cycles, spirit business,and other such vocabulary that I have heard of, but had no idea of the meanings, I soon found myself immersed in an original story dealing with the long-term consequences of the Salem witch trials. In this novel it is assumed that these trials were “fake, based on lies, innocent people put to death to cover up…schemes, murders, and rapes” (p.127). Salem has since become famous and rich as a tourist haven for those interested in witches, magick, and the area’s general historical past. “The Emancipation of Giles Corey” is about dealing with the spiritual consequences of what happened just before, during and after the trials to the many not-so-famous white and native people who were wrongly killed.
Sophie, Dylan, Poe and Dora attempt to combat the binding magick of a Family Confederacy that has kept Giles Corey, and numerous other Salem spirits, bound to earth for three-hundred and fifteen years. Shamanism, honour bundles, yoga, and symbolism galore fill the pages, yet there is no real action resolving a distinct conflict. This novel is about a journey. Despite the author’s disclaimer, I was still not always sure if I was reading a work of fiction, or an instruction manual on magick rituals and spirit integration; but, without realizing it, this non-believer was most definitely soon caught up in the detailed descriptions. I certainly learned quite a bit about this way of life.
I think the author has attempted to explain a tragic historical time and put some closure to it using spiritual, non-Christian beliefs and rituals that have been around for a long time. Readers may not agree with the way these characters interpret their world and there is certainly nothing scary or action-oriented in this novel, but it is highly interesting. “The Emancipation of Giles Corey” is a spiritual closure to the Salem witch trials, presenting a very different view of this famous time and of witchcraft, from what the world generally thinks of. I liked it.