Today I have the pleasure of hosting Ivan Obolensky author of Eye of the Moon on the blog. Title: The Eye of the Moon Author: Ivan Obolensky Genre: Gothic mystery/thriller/magical realism Publisher: Smith-Obolensky Media Length of Book: 554 pages Release Date: February 6th, 2018 Book Links: Amazon and Goodreads
The Basis of Eye of the Moon
The premise for Eye of the Moon was formed from a piece of family history that my father told me when I was ten. My grandmother had passed away while reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead. As to what the Egyptian Book of the Dead was, I didn’t know when he told me. I was too shocked to ask. The interpretation was left to my imagination — of which I had a prodigious amount. Bad dreams followed, and the story stuck in my mind. Knowing the house that she had lived in made her mysterious death all the more believable and interesting.
I had visited the estate several times while I was growing up, but only briefly. On the surface, it was beautiful, sumptuous, and elegant, but like water that is deep and still, dark currents moved below the surface. I could feel them.
The house was large and surrounded by extensive lawns that gave way to woods that encircled the property and stretched all the way to the Hudson River. By late afternoon, fog would obscure the view from the windows, and the fact that we were completely alone and cut off from the rest of the world could weigh upon the mind, particularly those of the adults that remained. When my father was away during those vacations, there was only the nanny, my brother and sister, and myself. The servants, a butler, a cook, and a handyman slept in the servant’s wing and interacted with us on a minimal basis. Although this isolation never bothered me particularly, it would affect the nannies who accompanied us on those vacations. They saw things in that house, particularly at night. What it was they saw, they never spoke of, at least to me, but I saw the looks and heard the whispers. Several refused to return. After a time, we no longer visited. Whether this was due to the governesses digging in their heels, or my father’s busy schedule was never made clear.
Such a location had to be written about.
Many gothic mysteries take place in England or Europe. I wanted to write an American version, but in such a way as to differentiate it from its European counterparts. The American dream is an economic story more than one of birth and class, but I didn’t want to write a novel about business. I thought I would start with the promise. A promise is a contract of sorts, and it is contracts that underpin most business transactions. Contracts can seem dry, and the mere mention of the details can have readers streaming for the exit, but what about a contract with a demon? How does one structure one of those? What happens when it is broken?
Contracts and contract law now gain an extraordinary relevance.
This last brings up the subject of magic. What is it? Is it just our imaginations playing tricks on us? A reader can pick up a fantasy novel and have all the magic they want, but the genre is called fantasy for a reason. I believe that a world with no magic is just a world. Magic exists, but not in the ways most people think. I wanted to explore real magic. The magic for me is in the characters and the dialogues, but there is that other bit, that disturbing bit. Reality can be stranger than any fiction.
[Percy and Johnny are in the limousine heading to Rhinebeck. They are reconnecting after being separated for some years, and Johnny’s Aunt Alice, who once owned Rhinebeck and died there, has come up in the conversation. Percy, the narrator, speaks first.]
“…I loved Alice growing up. She was always so glamorous.”
“She was, but under the surface, her life was messy. Her marriages all bombed, mostly because she was either steeped in her research or gallivanting with someone else. I doubt there was a man alive who could have hung on to her. Stories about her death continue to circulate although years have passed.”
“Ah yes. The famous ‘socialite dies under mysterious circumstances’ that sent everyone into a tizzy of speculation at the time.”
“Precisely, and the parents are still silent about what happened.”
“Do you think they know something?”
“I suspect they know more than they let on. I do try and get them to talk about it every now and again, but so far very little has been forthcoming. Mother changes the subject, and Father ignores the question entirely. He was quite close to Alice — maybe closer than anyone. I think her death is still a source of sorrow.”
Johnny looked out the window at the rain while I looked back at that time and marveled at how skillfully we had been kept in the dark. Johnny and I did not attend the funeral because such things were considered inappropriate for children. Years passed before we learned how sensational her death had been. It was not that we didn’t know her. We vacationed at her house and saw her regularly. We were in awe of her. In some ways, I was thankful we were left with only the happy memories of her alive.
Johnny stretched and said, “I don’t blame the parents for not discussing her death. It was a dark time. The press had a field day. ‘Plot thickens. Police called in’ — that sort of thing. The headlines were enough to sour anyone on the subject. On top of that, there was no will. Although much was spelled out in the many trusts instruments that handled her finances, there was a significant bit not covered. I can hardly believe that her banking people didn’t force her to write one up, but such lapses weren’t particularly out of character…”
Percy was brought up with his childhood friend Johnny Dodge at Rhinebeck, the Dodges’ lavish estate overlooking the Hudson. After a trading disaster, the two dissolve their partnership, and Percy’s ties to the Dodge family are weakened. Ever loyal, Johnny eventually persuades Percy to join him for a weekend house party at Rhinebeck with a volatile group of family and guests.
Once owned by Johnny’s legendary socialite Aunt Alice, Rhinebeck holds more than just childhood memories. Alice mysteriously died while reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead when Johnny and Percy were ten, and they have been kept in the dark about that night ever since.
From the family butler, long a faithful servant to the Dodge family, they learn that Alice’s story is far darker than anticipated and will impact the lives of all who are present before the weekend concludes.
Eye of the Moon is a complex and sophisticated web of mystery, Egyptian occultism, sumptuous elegance, high-stakes finance, magic, and intrigue, where family members, guests, and even the staff have their own agendas, and nothing is what it seems.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ivan Obolensky grew up regaled by tales of his ancestors while surrounded by high society. Those stories of intrigue and adventure inspired him and nurtured his love of storytelling, which he brings to his writing, both fiction and nonfiction.
“Eye of the Moon” is colored by the stories of his youth. It was inspired by two questions: If life has given us gifts, what do we owe for having squandered them? To whom do we owe exactly and what will that payment be? Set in a family estate at Rhinebeck, the plot is a complex and sophisticated web of mystery, Egyptian occultism, sumptuous elegance, and intrigue.
Ivan is a lifelong reader and seeker of the way worlds intersect and connect. His nonfiction articles, weaving history, current events, science and finance, are published online.
Ivan lives in Southern California with his wife, Mary Jo. His hobbies include running, photography, and music.
Nadene's addiction to reading began at an early age, when a family friend gifted her a copy of Wuthering Heights. From that moment she was never without a book.She will read anything as long the material is compelling enough to hold her attention. She gained many experiences through the pages of the books she had the opportunity to read.She created this blog to share her love of books with like minded individuals hopes that in sharing reviews of the books read visitors to the blog will discover their next addictive read. When not reading, Nadene enjoys cooking, listening to music and watching television.
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