Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual: New Excerpt

Read an exclusive excerpt from Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual by G.S. Denning, then make sure you're signed up and comment below for a chance to win a bundle of all three Warlock Holmes so far!

Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual

G.S. Denning

Warlock Holmes Series

May 15, 2018

Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual by G.S. Denning is the third book in the hilarious and clever Warlock Holmes series. 

As they blunder towards doom, Warlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson find themselves inconvenienced by a variety of eldritch beings. Christmas brings a goose that doesn’t let being cooked slow it down; they meet an electricity demon, discover why being a redhead is even tricker than one might imagine, and Holmes attempts an Irish accent. And, naturally, Moriarty is hanging around … in some form or other.

Excerpt

Rumination wants tobacco.

How else is the well-bred gentleman to communicate to the world that he is deep in thought? If he cannot furrow his brow, lean the leather-patched elbow of his thinking jacket down upon the table in front of him, chew thoughtfully at the stem of his pipe, taking occasional, reflective puffs and staring off into the middle-distance—how is he to make it clear he’s engaged in deep cogitation? Why, he might just be sitting there, doing nothing at all!

In other words, it was a damned inconvenient day to be out of tobacco, for I had much to ponder. I elected to do what any gentleman would. No, not put on my boots and walk a block to the tobacconist’s. To steal some of my companion’s, of course. Holmes had tobacco. I knew it, because of the rather strange storage method he’d worked out. A few days previous I’d woken to find my friend had nailed an old Persian slipper to our mantel, hanging toe downwards. To my continued surprise, I found it stuffed with tobacco. I’m sure I meant to howl at him for it, but I’d forgotten. What was one more domestic peculiarity, in the face of my present woes?

I had this problem with the Woman, you see. I had this problem with Moriarty.

I stole a pipeful of Holmes’s shag and sat down to worry. Clearly, the game was afoot once more. I knew my opponents, but not their goals. In point of fact, I didn’t even know the Woman’s name. (Though there was every indication it wasn’t Bang Cleopatra.) I puffed and pondered. I had to assume the Woman’s plan continued to move forward to some nefarious purpose, hidden from my sight. What was my counter-move? I needed to make one, didn’t I? Surely I should not just sit about, smoking, while the game moved on without me!

Speaking of which…

I got up and helped myself to a second pipeful of Holmes’s stash and sat back down.

At least my two problems had become one. The Woman—so far as we knew—was in current possession of the Moriarty Rune. But was she working with him or against him? Whatever the case, I realized I must think of Moriarty as nothing but an accessory to my true, current nemesis. Yes, my current focus must be upon the Woman and my first moves must be designed to gather information. I had almost decided to get up and actually do something, when the door opened and removed my chance.

“Hullo, Watson!” Warlock piped up, hanging his coat on its hook by the door. “How goes the brooding?”

“Fairly well, I suppose. Oh, I hope you don’t mind, but I helped myself to a bit of your tobacco.”

“Think nothing of it,” said Holmes, and started jauntily back towards his room. Just as he swung open his door, he stopped. It seems some unpleasant remembrance had suddenly arisen to trouble him. His lips pinched together in thought for a moment, then he slowly said, “Except… I am currently out of tobacco.”

“No you’re not; you’ve got a whole slipper full of it, hanging just over there.”

“Ah! What have you done?” shouted Holmes. He recoiled, staring back and forth between myself and the slipper, then demanded, “Who are you?”

“Me? I am John Watson. Your friend.”

“Are you? I do not address the flesh only, but the will that commands it! Name yourself !”

“Um… still John…”

“I invoke the name of Xantharaxes the Undying! If he is present, he must declare himself !”

“I’m John. I’m Watson. Same as always.”

“Oh?” said Holmes, brightening. “Well that’s lucky, isn’t it?” He marched over to me, took my pipe, stared thoughtfully into the bowl for a few moments and gave the ash a poke. “Hmmm…” he said, then went to the mantel and gave a few thoughtful finger-jabs down into the slipper.

“So, this can be smoked? I wouldn’t have thought it.”

“Of course tobacco can be smoked. That’s what it’s for.”

“I know perfectly well what tobacco is for,” said Holmes, rolling his eyes at me. “What I do not understand is why you’d assume this to be tobacco.”

“Well… because it looks and smells like it.”

“Really?” He gave a few more pokes down into the slipper, then gave it a reluctant, inquisitive sniff. “I suppose it does, rather.”

“Holmes?”

“Yes, Watson?”

“Are you telling me that’s not tobacco?”

“What? Oh… er… you know what, let’s not worry about that, eh?”

“Holmes, what is in that slipper?”

“I’m not sure you want to know, Watson.”

“Well, now I really do.”

“You promise you won’t be angry?”

“No. I don’t promise that at all.”

Holmes gave a little sigh and asked, “Have you heard of Darius I?”

“The Achaemenid Persian king?”

“That’s the fellow. He wasn’t born to that throne; he took it by force. He had a whole story set up, where the reigning king wasn’t really who he claimed to be, but an impostor who needed to be murdered. Which Darius did, with the help of six rich friends, three thieves, two tricksters and one rather impressive sorcerer: Xantharaxes the Undying. But once he had the throne, he had a problem: those twelve people knew for certain that he wasn’t the legitimate king. The rich friends got to stay, but it wasn’t long before he decided the thieves, tricksters and sorcerers needed to go. Of course he worried—not without reason—that the murder of Xantharaxes the Undying might be a bit of a difficult egg to poach. Xantharaxes had made the claim that the pieces of his mortal remains, no matter how damaged, would mend and regain life after his death. Darius, it seems, had reason to believe it.

Thus, immediately following the execution, Xantharaxes was mummified, shredded, wrapped in some of his old clothes and scattered across the length and breadth of the Persian Empire. It was thought that this might prevent his resurrection—if not forever, then for a very great while.”

“I just smoked part of a mummy?” I cried, clutching my throat.

“Nobody’s fault but your own, Watson.”

“But… why is it even here?” I asked.

“I stole it from Moriarty, years ago,” said Holmes.

“He had a fascination with immortality. It was his main pursuit, while he lived.”

“And why did you decide to nail it to our mantelpiece?”

“I caught it trying to walk out of here a few nights ago.

Nailed the thing to the fireplace to keep it from wandering off.”

“I see,” I said. “So, in fact, the contents of your old Persian slipper are not tobacco, but…”

“An old Persian,” said Holmes. “And if I’m honest,

Watson, it seems like a much more apt thing to keep there, don’t you think? Why, if someone came up to me and said,

‘Guess what I’ve got in this old Persian slipper?’ I think, ‘An old Persian,’ would cross my mind long before, ‘Some delicious pipe-weed, which you have chosen to nail to the furniture.’ Really, Watson, that famous intellect of yours seems to have failed you. Not your finest hour, I fear.”

I could not bring myself to disagree. Holmes kept peering into the slipper, giving its contents the occasional, exploratory poke. “Who would have thought?” he mused.

“It’s a poor sort of immortality that can be overcome by a trusty old briar pipe and a match, eh? Oh! Say, Watson, I don’t suppose you’d consider doing the world a favor and finishing the old fellow off, would you? Just think: a weekend with a good book, a snifter of brandy and as many pipefuls of the old Xantharaxes as a fellow could ask for!”

“Er… well… now that I know the nature of the stuff I’ll confess I’m a bit less keen. Holmes, am I going to be all right?”

“I should think so. You haven’t infused yourself with all of Xantharaxes, you know, just a tiny part of him. And he was known for nothing but immortality and prophecy, in any case. Nothing dangerous. I should think you’ll notice nothing but a few minor effects along those lines.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, you know, minor invulnerability. If you nick yourself with your razor this week, you might not bleed. You might stub a toe and not care. Oh, and some lesser powers of prophecy. Might be a good week to purchase a lottery ticket or invest in stocks. And some prophetic dreaming, I would think. Yes, that’s practically a given.”

“Prophetic dreaming?”

“Absolutely.”

Copyright © 2018 G.S. Denning.

Comment below for a chance to win a bundle of all 3 Warlock Holmes books by G.S. Denning!

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Comments

  1. Laurent Latulippe

    Sounds like a funny read. Cheers.

  2. Pat Murphy

    Just the summer read I am looking for — quirky.

  3. Daniel M

    sounds like a fun one

  4. John Smith

    These all sound great! I would be delighted to read these!

  5. Kristy Imig

    Looks like a great series 🙂

  6. Kate Vocke

    This sounds like a really fun series!

  7. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read the book.

  8. Beverly Laude

    I have to check out this series!

  9. Jean Barber

    Sounds interesting………

  10. Susan Coster

    Yes, very intriguing!

  11. Anita Sue Hamilton

    How happy I am to find my summer reads!

  12. Brandy Ybarra

    These look hilarious. I can’t wait to dive into them!

  13. Anita Sue Hamilton

    I like mysteries

  14. Mary Woods

    And yet another take on Sherlock! Seems pretty interesting.

  15. Marianne Whittaker

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  16. Camilla Castlevania

    Should be a crime not to read Warlock Holmes 🙂

  17. Linda

    Sounds like a clever twist on the original prose…

  18. Annie Buck

    I was caught up within the first paragraph!

  19. Nancy Meacham

    This series looks like a lot of fun.

  20. Aimee

    Sounds great!

  21. Nancy Horton

    You’ve got my attention. Would love to read more.

  22. Catherine Myers

    Sounds like fun

  23. pat murphy

    Hope to win , three great works !

  24. Susan Marshall

    Wow! Sounds so good. Fingers crossed 🤞🏻

  25. Merle Kelly

    I’m addicted to any and all variations in the Sherlock genre and this series looks terrific!

  26. Lissette

    I’ve been looking for a new read, and this fits the bill! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Kathy Kemp

    What fun! I’m adding this to my book wish list.

  28. HAL Moeller

    I love books using the deductions of SH.

  29. lynette thompson

    This looks like a great summer read, bring it on.
    Thank you

  30. Kim Wellhoefer

    What a fantastic excerpt! Can’t wait to read the rest! Fingers crossed! 🙂

  31. John Monahan

    Looks like it will be fun.

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    709 Antietam Ct.
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  33. ILene Harris

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  34. Erin

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    captures the spirit of the original stories with a dash of magic

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    What a fun concept for a series’

  42. Jevon

    sounds likes great book. Can’t wait to read.

  43. Jackie Bas

    I love Holmes & Watson. This is a different twist to two well-loved characters. Love that the author managed to make it fun. Would like to read the rest of the book.

  44. Wilifred Alire

    I would really like to read the books in sequence, thank for the chance to win!

  45. Diane Mason

    I finally have plenty of time to read! (an advantage of getting old, right?)

  46. Anne

    Clever and captivating. Thanks.

  47. Pearl

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  48. Heather Hardesty

    Sounds like fun! Look forward to reading!

  49. Lori P

    How did I miss these? An investigation is in order.

  50. MARGARET GAWLEY

    a Sherlock fan looking for a new experience.

  51. Cathy Doyle

    A new Holmes & Watson, sounds like fun. Would love to read them.

  52. Amy Lilly

    I’m a huge fan of the first Warlock Holmes book. Can’t wait to read books two and now three!

  53. Cindi Hoppes

    Hi, This series is new to me, but right down my reading alley! Many thanks for this opportunity…
    Cindi

  54. Alice Wright

    I’m a huge Holmes fan and wonder if this is a bit too far out of my wheelhouse, but I’m willing to give it a try.

  55. Desmond Warzel

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  56. Karen Hanson

    I definitely want to check this series out!

  57. P.J. Coldren

    I have a friend who is an avid Sherlockian – I’d LOVE to give her this as a gift and her birthday is coming up pretty soon!

  58. Abiade faturiyele

    Would really enjoy the read.

  59. Ginny Fitzwater

    Sounds as if the author had tongue firmly in cheek while penning this series.

  60. Amanda Bezet

    Any mention of the Woman and Moriarty and I’m in! Sounds like great banter between Holmes and Watson, too. Beautiful book covers!

  61. Anne Kennedy

    I love it! I hadn’t seen this series previously and it’s definitely got a place on my TBR list.

  62. lasvegasnv

    cool

  63. Laurie Bartels

    This is the first I have read about this series. Creative, witty and out-of-the- box. Very appealing!

  64. Helen Allman

    Love it

  65. Paul Gada

    I can’t wait to read this series.

  66. Karen Mikusak

    Sounds great! Would love to win.

  67. Michael Carter

    I would love to win.
    Yes, please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks!

  68. Jill Porco

    This looks and feels like a whole new take on the Holmes/Watson oeuvre. It’s got me curious!

  69. Mickey Spencer

    Ok, this sounds like a hoot! How on Earth did I miss this series until now?!?

  70. Laura Shangraw

    Funny! I love it.

  71. littlecrow

    Loved the excerpt and can’t wait to read the entire thing!

  72. Dawn Roberto

    Loved the excerpt and can’t believe I missed this series. Sounds like a lot of fun

  73. carloshmarlo

    This is my first introduction to Warlock Holmes, now I must have more. Thanks for the chance to win.

  74. Linda B

    Looks like a great read! Looking forward to the whole series 😉

  75. SUZANNE R COSTNER

    These look like so much fun – I have to try them out!

  76. pklarsfeld

    Love the clues, mystery and intent for…well it is Warlock Holmes

  77. Vicki Highley

    I love the world of Sherlock Holmes and try to read everything I can find about that world and the different versions. I do not know how I missed these books. I have added them to my TBR list.

  78. Denise Van Plew Van Plew

    Looks good

  79. Marylynn Hayes

    It sounds like an awesome read

  80. shellygarnett

    I love any kind of Sherlock books

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    How have I missed these?

  82. Shannon Baas

    I would like this.

  83. Patrick W Ewing

    Love this series. Great fun. Tallyho!

  84. Daniel Weber

    Sounds good.

  85. Susan Wilkinson

    These sound interesting, I read Sherlock Holmes growing up, watched movies and series.

  86. RD

    This book sounds like a good read.

  87. Penny Sanko

    Can’t wait to sink my teeth into these!

  88. Ashley Moorhouse

    Would loveto read this set this Summer!

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    I want this GREAT SUMMER READ.

  90. susan beamon

    It is interesting, the number of ways Sherlock Holmes can show up as. It’s like the man is a complete chameleon.

  91. David Boyington

    This seems like a pretty amusing book. I would love to check out the whole series.

  92. Pat Murphy

    Interesting premise. Should be a good read.

  93. Douglass Abramson

    Always looking for a new twist on Urban Fantasy.

  94. Joyce Mitchell

    Thanks for the chance to win some fun books.

  95. Marie Driscoll

    Interesting series

    • Elizabeth A Monahan

      If I don’t win these, I’ll have to go out and buy at least one — good summer reading.

  96. Frances Marshall

    So looking forward to this!

  97. Wendy Emlinger

    What a delightful take on the classic Holmes! I thoroughly enjoy reading reimaginings of classic characters in new and unusual environments. ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,’ ‘Stoker & Holmes,’ ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ and so many others.

  98. Reilly

    interesting

  99. Deborah D

    Can’t wait to read this.

  100. Remy Tankel-Carroll

    Being a fan of Sherlock Holmes and also of mash-ups, this sounds like the perfect series to me!

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    A must read!

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    these look fun. Lovecraftian Holmes – Yea!

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    I am so excited for this book. The others were fantastic!

  106. Tammy Wilson

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  109. Nicole Asselin

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  110. Craig Robichaud

    Definitely will start this series

  111. k bagioni

    looks good, excerpt was a great quick read in my morning mail

  112. Julie Holden

    I love the different take on the zworld of Holmes & Watson! Would love to win! 💜💜💜

  113. C

    This is a new series to me, and it sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win.

  114. Jodi Scott

    I love sherlock holmes but have not had an opportunity to read this series.

  115. David Basile

    Looks good.

  116. Lisa Ahlstedt

    Wow, I’d love to win all three. Then I wouldn’t just be able to read the first one and spend the summer on hold at the library for the rest of the series!

  117. Eileen Sharp

    This series looks like just the books for me! Thanks!

  118. Janet

    Clever! Holmes with a twist!

  119. Kate Baxter

    I would love to read these clever and amusing books. Sounds like the perfect summer diversion.

  120. Katherine G

    This series sounds like a lot of fun!

  121. vicki wurgler

    read the excerpt-thanks for the giveaway

  122. Destiny Whirlwind-Soldier

    Looks fun!!

  123. Patricia Reed

    Would love to read this series. Love every thing Sherlock!!

  124. poandrea

    How much fun! Can’t wait to read it.

  125. Laura Schrillo

    These sound great

  126. Angela Jett

    These books sound very interesting!

  127. Jamie McCauley

    Thank you for this opportunity

  128. Theresa Casteel

    Could be a fun read.

  129. Serena

    Sounds interesting!

  130. susan gainen

    Sounds like a fun time for all.

  131. Dolores Quigley

    These books sound like a lot of fun reading.

  132. Lyn Wallace

    Can’t wait to read the new one. Lots of fun!!

  133. Leela

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  134. joel timmons

    Love. To get. This. One

  135. Toni A Laliberte

    Thanks for the chance! These sound great!

  136. Barbara Fish

    I hope I win!

  137. JIM BELCHER

    This might have Sir Arthur tossing a bit in his grave, but it should be entertaining.

  138. Anne Efron

    Is it wrong that in my mind I heard the excerpt in Benjamin Cumberbatch’s voice?

  139. becky

    How did I not hear about this series? Must add to my TBR list!

  140. Karyn M. Newton

    Sounds like a good series!

  141. Anastasia

    The new site design is cool, but couldn’t find a way to log in! Hope I can still enter 🙂

  142. Mecca Archuleta

    I somehow missed that there was more to this series. Can’t wait!!

  143. Tiffany

    These sound great

  144. Dorothy

    I am always interested in finding good, new books; this series looks especially promising.

  145. luvlife4ever24

    Looking forward to reading this set. Great author!

  146. Marjorie Manharth

    Looks like an awful lot of fun – Yay!

  147. Ann Muth

    sounds like a great book

  148. Heather Johnston

    This series looks to be a nice little ride through imagination 🙂

  149. Vicki Andrew

    sounds like a great summer read

  150. Christine Goulet

    This seems like a new, fresh, modern twist on the old series..they sound like great fun to lose yourself in..it seems like these books would be a very enjoyable read..

  151. Maria Riumbau

    Interesting spin on a timeless duo. Would live to read.

  152. Jill Elizabeth Franclemont

    I just stumbled upon the first in this series the other day and am really intrigued by the concept – there are a LOT of Holmes spin-offs and it’s getting harder to find a fresh and original one, but this seems like it just might fit that bill! I’d love to win the set and dig in!!

  153. Davima King

    I’m so excited about this!

  154. Hester Mayo

    Looking forward to reading this!

  155. Margaret E in Toronto

    What fun. After reading this excerpt I immediately put these books ‘on hold’ at the library. Unfortunately there’s a lot of people ahead of me so it would be wonderful to win these and read them on the cottage dock this summer.

  156. Kyle Johnicker

    Very clever. I’ll take a look.

  157. Cathy Savage

    The story line sounds to be very entertaining. Would love to give another writer a look see.

  158. Jane Schwarz

    What fun! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  159. susan smoaks

    thanks for the chance to win.

  160. Mark van Vollenhoven

    My daughter a great fan of the Sherlock tv series and supernatural books and tv series will undoubtedly enjoy these thanks for the tip.

  161. bill norris

    I’d love to read more.

  162. M Thompson

    Very amusing! Haven’t read any of these books so it would be great to win the set. Many thanks.

  163. Reid H Cooper

    I always love stuff based upon Doyle’s work. Be they expansion, re-interpretations, “untold” adventures.

  164. Fredrick Pauly

    Looks like a book my son would like.

  165. Cynthia Wick

    Warlock Holmes sounds like so much fun! I’d love to read these.

  166. Susan Marshall

    I apologize if I already commented. I don’t know if I did or not so just in case I am commenting again. It sounds great and I love a shot at it.

  167. Merle Kelly

    I’m already hooked – this looks like fun!

  168. Marisa Young

    Sounds interesting. Would like to read.

  169. NICHOLE K

    I’ve been looking to get into a new book series, and this looks like it would really be interesting! I’m sure it’s one I’d read over and over again!

  170. Barbara Bates

    Would love to win this set of very interesting books!

  171. Christina Gould

    I definitely want to read this series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  172. Patricia Nicklas

    Sounds like a great series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  173. Caroline Lennek

    Sounds like a fun read!

  174. julie hawkins

    I can’t wait to read this book.

  175. Theresa

    This series sounds so good!!!
    Thanks for the chance!

  176. Mike Stafford

    A splendid combination of wit and charm.

  177. Kimberly Hilbert

    I hope I win these books, but if not I’ll be out looking for them. They sound fun.

  178. Leslie Davis

    Sounds like a fun read!

  179. Tricha Leary

    Sounds like a wonderful read

  180. Daniel Vice

    This looks great

  181. Richard Mann

    I’ve been on a kick reading Sherlock imitations of all types. Hadn’t heard of this series, which looks wonderful.

  182. Buddy Garrett

    It sounds great. I would love to read it.

  183. Janet Boyanton

    Sound like a great read. Mystery and humor, my two favorite reads.

  184. Jae Park

    I’d love to read another Holmes and Watson book, and this one looks great!

  185. Kathryn Mackey

    Looks good

  186. Lily Kwan

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  187. JULES M.

    these sound funny!

  188. Bobby Carranza

    I wanna read this so bad

  189. Susan Marshall

    Thanks for the chance!

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