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From the book jacket: A woman faced with proof of ancient Mayan magic; locked in a conflict of souls that has survived a millennium; trapped between the shadows of a present that disowns her, and a lost, blood-stained past that can be reborn with the power of her faith - and the strength of her madness. Portraying the intense, intimate struggle of a woman torn between reality and the unknown, Pat Murphy writes with passion, control and vision worthy of Doris Lessing, Kate Wilhelm, and Alice Hoffman. Archaeologist Elizabeth Butler's personal liberation-a traumatic nightmare of nervous breakdown, attempted suicide, divorce, loss of child custody - has left her permanently alienated from modern society. She is happier excavating the ruins of the ancient city of Dzibilchaltiln, free to talk to herself and conjure spirits of the past; she is accepted by Yucatan natives who see her suicide scars as brands of courage, her eccentricities as marks of a bruja, a witch, a wise woman. Suddenly two women - both strangers - invade Elizabeth's life. Diane Butler, Elizabeth's grown daughter, abruptly arrives in Mexico - recovering from her father's death, and the shattering end of an affair with a promiscuous married man, Diane wants to learn more about her mother, to understand Elizabeth's absence from her childhood. At the same time, one of Elizabeth's "ghosts" proves real.- Zuhuy-kak, the specter of a once deified, millennium-dead Maya priestess, appears, teaching Elizabeth secrets of hidden tombs and lost rituals. Zuhuy-kak refuses to relinquish the past; according to the Mayan calendar, a cosmic cycle is ending, and the priestess believes a sacred blood sacrifice will revive the Mayan gods. The night for the ceremony nears; the archaeological site drifts in a timelessness beyond eras or cultures; and Elizabeth faces a devastating choice. Whether to destroy Zuhuy-kak's dream, accepting a present Elizabeth detests; or to become midwife and saviour of a world she yearns for, that beckons her, that needs her-by committing an act of horror that modern civilization can only consider a psychotic atrocity. The death the priestess demands is Diane's.
19 short stories, including the Nebula Award-winning 'Rachel in Love'
It is the early 1970s. Twelve-year-old Joan is sure that she is going to be miserable when her family moves from Connecticut to California. Then she meets a most unusual girl. Sarah prefers to be called "Fox", and lives with her author dad in a rundown house in the middle of the woods. The two girls start writing their own stories together, and when one wins first place in a student contest, they find themselves recruited for a summer writing class taught by the equally unusual Verla Volante. "The Wild Girls" is about friendship, the power of story, and how coming of age means finding your own answers, rather than simply taking adults on faith.
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