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.


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.”


“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?”


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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  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

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  10. Susan Coster

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  11. Anita Sue Hamilton

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  12. Brandy Ybarra

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  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

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  17. Linda

    Sounds like a clever twist on the original prose…

  18. Annie Buck

    I was caught up within the first paragraph!

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  26. Lissette

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  27. Kathy Kemp

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  28. HAL Moeller

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  30. Kim Wellhoefer

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  31. John Monahan

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  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

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  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

    Fascinating and a book which I would enjoy greatly.

  48. Heather Hardesty

    Sounds like fun! Look forward to reading!

  49. Lori P

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


    a Sherlock fan looking for a new experience.

  51. Cathy Doyle

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  52. Amy Lilly

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

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

  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

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  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!

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  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!

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  63. Laurie Bartels

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  70. Laura Shangraw

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  71. littlecrow

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  72. Dawn Roberto

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  74. Linda B

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  76. pklarsfeld

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  77. Vicki Highley

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  78. Denise Van Plew Van Plew

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  79. Marylynn Hayes

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  85. Susan Wilkinson

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  86. RD

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  88. Ashley Moorhouse

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  96. Frances Marshall

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  97. Wendy Emlinger

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  99. Deborah D

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  100. Remy Tankel-Carroll

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  101. Eric Collier

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  113. C

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  116. Lisa Ahlstedt

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  119. Kate Baxter

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  120. Katherine G

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  121. vicki wurgler

    read the excerpt-thanks for the giveaway

  122. Destiny Whirlwind-Soldier

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  127. Jamie McCauley

    Thank you for this opportunity

  128. Theresa Casteel

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  136. Barbara Fish

    I hope I win!


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  138. Anne Efron

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

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

  140. Karyn M. Newton

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  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

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  144. Dorothy

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  145. luvlife4ever24

    Looking forward to reading this set. Great author!

  146. Marjorie Manharth

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  147. Ann Muth

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  148. Heather Johnston

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  149. Vicki Andrew

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  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

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  154. Hester Mayo

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  155. Margaret E in Toronto

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  156. Kyle Johnicker

    Very clever. I’ll take a look.

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  158. Jane Schwarz

    What fun! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  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

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  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

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  168. Marisa Young

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  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

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  171. Christina Gould

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  172. Patricia Nicklas

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  173. Caroline Lennek

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  175. Theresa

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    Thanks for the chance!

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  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!

Comments are closed.

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