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October 11, 2021

The BookLife Review of Lost Secret, the first book in the Manna Chronicles, called it “richly detailed” and a “vibrant voyage into the unknown.” With the second book in the series due out in January, BookLife spoke with Reynolds about his alternate history–inspired story.

Where did the idea for the Manna Chronicles come from?

The series merges my lifelong interest in questions such as: Why do ancient sites align with key constellations? Did advanced civilizations exist before us? Did they leave clues behind? How were they destroyed? Did they have views of an end-time? Is the ancient secret referred to by alchemists as the philosopher’s stone about the creation of a substance that can transport humans into an alternative dimension? Is it related to modern-day remote viewing? Is this the mechanism that civilizations such as the Anasazi or the ancient Akkadians used to vanish? When I learned that the path of the eclipse of 2017 would be followed by an eclipse in 2024 whose opposite path puts a giant bull’s-eye across America, I saw this as the perfect historical event to incorporate these disparate elements into a credible multi-book, end-time thriller.

What kind of research did you do to ensure historical accuracy?

I have culled facts and plausible suppositions from more than two hundred books that explore subjects as diverse as alternative histories and lost civilizations to the existence of secret societies and a hidden power that rules from behind the scenes. I did extensive research into various archaic texts, including the Bible, the Koran, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, about a mysterious powder that supports movement from one dimension to another. This ancient process is a key concept in the series; thus the series title, the Manna Chronicles.

What responsibility do you feel to reimagine or change characters based on real people?

Most of the individuals in my books are based on real people, with their approval. It is easier for me, as a writer, to keep a character’s appearance, mannerisms, and quirks consistent when I can visualize the person from whom these traits emanate. Obviously, I reserve the literary license to turn good friends into dastardly villains.

Who is your ideal reader and why?

The series is best described as The Da Vinci Code meets Lara Croft. Though it has certain epic qualities, it also is full of action, as perfected by Clive Cussler, and incorporates research, as mastered by Steve Berry. The ideal reader is an adult with a penchant for escapism who wants to come away entertained and feeling they have experienced something different from their everyday lives.

When can readers expect the other books in the series?

Book I: Lost Secret is now available. It introduces Maya, the daughter of a missing quantum physicist whose diary leads her on a quest to find Sacred Manna. On her journey, her atheism is tested by the reality of fate and destiny, leading her to entertain the possibility that the universe is more than just a series of random events and perhaps even has a higher organizing body.

Book II: Ghost Gold is due out in January 2022. This continuation of Maya’s journey makes connections between ancient archeological sites, the Knights Templar, and the Sacred Manna. When she finds herself the target of the Hidden Hand, it becomes abundantly clear that evil’s presence is driving world events toward some type of apocalyptic conflagration.

Book III (currently untitled) is due out in January 2023. It incorporates today’s UFO phenomena as a culminating element of the final confrontation. Are these flying objects interstellar or interdimensional? Are they benevolent forces or tools of the Hidden Hand? Maya must fulfill her destiny or else humanity will enter its final season. If you want to find out more, visit: www.authorchrisreynolds.com.

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