The Pharaohs of Egypt, Plato, Aristotle, Sir Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and the late Stephen Hawking, have all sought to learn the secret of the ancient ones. A secret so powerful it can change the world. Sprinkled throughout the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Bible, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, are references to the mysterious essence of the Philosophers Stone. Has quantum physicist Dr. Alex Harrington unraveled the mystery? Missing for more than three months, powerful forces are desperate to find him, to learn what he has discovered. To stop him from exposing their plans. Watching his daughter, they know that she received a package that contained her father’s diary. What they don’t know, is that the wheels he has set in motion has launched her upon a perilous path. A path that holds the fate of the world in its balance. As an archaeologist - science is Maya Harrington’s religion. Pragmatism, reason, and probability her theology. Vowing to find her father, she is forced to confront the possibility that there are influences beyond reason and forces outside the realm of explanation. As she unravels each layer of the greatest mystery of all time, it is becoming clear that there are those who have used the eclipse that crossed America in 2017 to initiate a countdown towards a worldwide conflagration. From out of the ashes this shadow organization will usher in a New World Order. All under the control of a few. Is she deluding herself into believing that she was chosen to save humanity? Is destiny a hidden road paved at the onset of time? Book I of The Manna Chronicles brings together ancient history, unassailable facts, and prophecies from across the ages; to the eye-opening possibility that for man, time is running out…
Plot: Reynolds sends his characters bouncing from one clue to the next in a frenetic, globetrotting, millennia-spanning treasure hunt which raises just as many questions as it answers. On one hand, this is about as bonkers as it gets; on the other, it will appeal to readers who enjoy radical and alternative takes on history, religion, and reality.
Prose: Reynold’s style is engaging and charming, welcoming readers as he encourages them to accompany him on a mindboggling journey through fringe beliefs and unusual insights. Action-faced and fast-paced, this tale proves to be a wild ride.
Originality: In this often captivating thriller, Reynolds ties together a laundry list of conspiracy theories, religious apocrypha, and esoterica to construct an all-encompassing conceit which entertains even as it challenges preconceptions and raises eyebrows.
Character/Execution: While Reynolds’ characters are memorable and interesting, they aren't provided a great deal of actual internal exploration or development outside of the plot’s religious and metaphysical demands.
Date Submitted: August 10, 2020
Reynolds, who describes himself as an explorer and adventurer, has an assured hand as he portrays the fascinating details of myths and rituals from a wide range of cultures. Especially effective are the forays into the paranormal and spiritual. For example, Maya’s trip with a psychoactive brew under the guidance of a Navajo elder is suffused with striking imagery and language, "her consciousness freed from the shackles of her mind and the human prison of matter." Occasionally, the plot strains credulity, as when it gives supernatural explanations for historical events. However, the ancient settings and the book’s mythos never fail to engage.
As grand themes abound, Maya’s relations with her stalwart friends lend a welcome lightening touch. JW accompanies Maya on most of her odyssey and is protective and helpful. The more flamboyant Layla provides an effective contrast. A searing event from Maya’s childhood fleshes out her character and nicely sets the stage for Maya’s further interactions with her mysterious employer. The appealing new adult protagonists and the colorful locales will keep readers invested in the richly detailed myth-laden plot of this vibrant voyage into the unknown.
Takeaway: Fans of global adventure mysteries will be entranced by this thriller’s nonstop supernatural action and winning characters.
Great for fans of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Michael Crichton’s Congo.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A