A curse wrought between piracy, slavery and revenge is not
a good start to a summer holiday - but three teenagers
don't realise the danger they are in when they start
treasure hunting in South Carolina.
Elene, aged fourteen, and her twin brother Jack are messing
around on the beach near St. Helena Island with their
friend Cooper, when they find an old bottle in the sand.
Sealed with wax, the bottle contains a note telling of
treasure and a curse. Naturally the excited young people
want to hunt, but Elene is made uneasy by a young Gullah
woman who appears and suggests they search the ruins of a
big house. Magnolia appears to have pointed them in the
right direction, for they uncover a sealed box. But Jack's
hand is severely burned by a booby trap and from then on
matters get strange and scary.
The teens don't want to tell their parents what they have
been up to, so Jack's burns blister and get worse with the
first-aid box salve not helping. Magnolia turns up again
and says a Grannie is the only person who can help, and
guides them to an elderly Gullah lady with an isolated
house in the forest. She explains that a black magic curse
has been placed on Jack and she must CONJURE white magic,
or hoodoo, to break it. Before she can make a salve of
elder and other plants, Jack's blisters burst and take the
skin and flesh off his fingers. The rest of his hand is
showing burns and the curse will continue to progress.
Fierce large dogs appear out of the woods and terrify the
teens. Between wards, spells, stealing items from a museum
and seeing the past, the youngsters don't know what they
have got into or how much worse it can get, and a hurricane
is on its way.
CONJURE is very detailed and contains a lot of realism,
which is why I am concerned that the young people do not
seek proper medical aid - herbs are what we used before we
had antibiotics, and Jack would certainly have died of
blood poisoning, curse or no curse. Other than that, Lea
Nolan has written an exciting semi-horror adventure which
will shed light on the eighteenth century for young adult
readers and paints a picture of a lovely part of the world.
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in
South Carolina Lowcountry—hot and steamy with plenty
of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush,
Cooper Beaumont, and Emma's ever–present twin brother,
Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth–century message
in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty.
Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and
unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks
Jack with the wicked flesh–eating Creep and promises
to steal Cooper's soul on his approaching sixteenth
But when a strange girl bent on revenge appears, demon dogs
become a threat, and Jack turns into a walking skeleton;
Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the
hex, all before the last days of summer—and her
friends—are lost forever.