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LIGHTNING RELEASES (02/16/2014) – Author David Uerkvitz was stunned when he discovered that his DNA matches that of a person excavated from a burial mound on the Eurasian Steppe during the Fourth Millennium B.C.  That person had belonged to a semi-nomadic tribe now known as Kurgans who were the first people in history to ride horses.

Uerkvitz did research into that tribe, and began to feel an affinity for its people.  He grew up on the plains of western Oklahoma and knows what it is like to scrounge for a living.  His imagination carried him back into a time in which belief systems were framed by shamans, sorcerers, black magic, and taboos.  Although it is a work of fantasy, Kurgan Tales is based on facts known through archaeological discoveries.  Barely out of the Stone Age, these people were semi-nomadic and lived in eco-friendly pit-houses.  Their deadly enemies, the Scythians, were not only jealous of the Kurgans’ ability to ride horses, but were also determined to find out their secret through eating their brains and then destroying the clan.

Uerkvitz lives in Taiwan, having received a Fulbright grant to teach piano and conducting.

Excerpts from the Clarion Review:

“Yes, even prehistoric humans had motives and desires we’d recognize today, and Uerkvitz tells this ancient tale well. . .

“Much like a pleasant journey, the book takes time unfurling as the author makes the audience feel at home in Vlo’s era, setting, and belief systems. . .

“It is enjoyable to watch the relationship grow between Vlo and Wardiyah.  The pair turns the cliché of the master falling for a slave on its head as Wardiyah doggedly pursues Vlo and demands servitude.  But he never gets comfortable with the idea of having a slave, and Wardiyah submits with a smirk. . .

“One also sees the complicated rapport Vlo has with his mother.  Torn away from her at a young age because she practiced black magic, Vlo nonetheless loves and misses her presence in his life.  This need compels him to seek her out, although he fears her powers.  When he sees her again, these feelings war within, compounded by the jealousy he feels upon meeting his half-brother. . .Having confliscting emotions about a parent is a universal struggle, and Uerkvitz adroitly works the theme. . .

“A handy preface detailing facts about Kurgans, a prologue describing the events of the previous book in the series, and well-integrated flashbacks help Explaining Wardiyah function as a stand-alone novel.  One hopes for more Kurgan tales from this talented storyteller.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jill Allen