Toward the end of "The Accidental Snake Thief" ($14.99 in paperback from Don't Forget The Magic Publishing; also available in Amazon Kindle ebook format), British-born author Matheu DeSilva has a character explain the "why" of things. There is a sinister 300-year-old plot afoot, guided by the strange, psychically powerful preacher named Carl Jacobi.
"Everything from medicines and foods to consumer culture and social networks had been specifically designed by Jacobi to keep the 'developed' masses numb, dumb, distracted and under strictly monitored control. ... Carl Jacobi and his friends, whoever they were, were also the real masterminds behind the terrorist attacks that prompted western governments to re-write their laws, terrifying the general public into voting away their freedoms in return for a little phony security. These new laws had been Carl Jacobi's final experiment. He wanted to see if the people were ready and willing to be fully enslaved. They were."
There is little to stand against Jacobi except a fifteen-year-old girl named Hazel and her older brother Caleb. Hazel attends a Jacobi church service and winds up freeing the magical snake Aviveri, one of the ancient Maninkari. "We Maninkari were sent here to bring forth life," he tells Hazel and Caleb telepathically. "From bacteria and plants, to the creatures of the land and water, including, eventually, mankind. All were created from us. ... We provide the building blocks but we do not know the designs. That is for the Architect alone to know."
But greedy men planted stories about evil serpents, "legends that tell people not to question or search for alternatives to the 'truths' they are fed by those in power." Now, when most Maninkari are dead, Carl Jacobi is about to take over the world.
What follows in this first book of the Maninkari Trilogy (theaccidentalsnakethief.com) is, as the Website suggests, a combination of "The Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter." Hazel and Caleb are given special powers by Aviveri, and together, with a few friends, they must search for their father in South America and fight the Snakekiller minions of Jacobi. There's sometimes gruesome action. Be warned: the novel ends with a cliffhanger.
DeSilva was a recent visitor to The Bookstore in downtown Chico, and signed copies of his book may still be available.