Monday, June 3, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Serpent's Treasure: The Ancestral Key by Elaine T. Cook


 A two-thousand-year-old prophecy lingers at the threshold of fulfillment. Sworn to slaughter anyone they suspect could fulfill it, the Leoni family has nearly succeeded in wiping out the family they consider their greatest threat. Meanwhile, Nicolai Cavallo, eccentric heir to the vast Cavallo fortune, has hunted his entire life for his family’s long-lost treasure and is positive his search is paying off when he stumbles across what he believes is the missing key to his encoded map. In Serpent’s Treasure: The Ancestral Key a race against time begins when the computer system designed to help solve Nick’s family riddles is hacked. Elaine T. Cook expertly weaves this thrilling narrative of betrayal and daring. Nick must relocate the system’s unwilling programmer, Juliana Matthews, and convince her to aid him once more. Even so, can she fix the system before the Leonis learn Nick is attempting to fulfill the prophecy or, more importantly, before they discover he has found the key to do so?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR written by author (from author's website)

“Kawaii ko ni wa tabi o saseyo" was a Japanese proverb I learned while living in Japan a few years ago. It means: If you have a cute child that you love, you will send them on a journey so they can learn by experience.
      In Japan, I learned the beauty of simplicity in words. Japanese is an elegant language. It takes so few words to create a sentence of immensely deep meaning. The people of Japan, the culture, and the language have become an integral part of who I am. They have positively influenced my storytelling, increasing my ability to see the world in a different perspective. Perhaps in learning the language, I discovered for the first time that a simple word choice can produce a statement of profound meaning. I grew to know and love people, who were like me, yet existing within a culture that live by a different set of rules. It broadened my mind to other cultures, people, places, and languages. 
      Influencing my writing, probably more than even I realize, is genealogy and family history research. I began hunting for elusive ancestors in my family tree when I was eight years old. What does that mean? It means I understand easy answers are rare. There is worth in getting the whole story, no matter how many twists and turns are discovered along the way. Studying ancestors in my family tree has taught me that the choices of one individual can affect generations, and because I am dealing with entire families, the information I have gathered has allowed me to see situations from multiple points of view. I have gained profound knowledge from ancestors I have never met as I have learned about them. 
      Still, the greatest benefit to my writing has come from having my own family. Entertaining and instructing my children has allowed me to find unique solutions and ideas. My five children have incredible imaginations, which has rekindled my own. Furthermore, with seven individuals and one puppy in the household, communication is a must. Because of my husband and children, I have profited from an increased ability to express myself.  Serpent’s Treasure – The Ancestral Key was written for them, as well as for you. My five children are cute, and I do love them. Therefore, I created an adventure. May  you  enjoy the journey.


Treasure, a powerful artifact, life on the run, romance, this book has it all. Like all the members of her family, Juliana has a gift. But it's a gift she doesn't want anything to do with.  Her family has been hunted for generations until she and her Uncle Andrew are the only ones left.  But she wants nothing to do with it. Unfortunately for her, fate has something else in mind for her. The question becomes one of survival and keeping the artifact out of evil hands.  

I enjoyed the 'treasure hunting' aspects of the novel. Like any good mystery, there are plenty of twists and turns. With plenty of magical elements, the author takes the reader on a fascinating journey

The characters provide a mix of possibilities.  Juliana, the reluctant heroine, must make life-altering choices that effect many beyond those who she loves. Leigh, who seems to be a friend, but may not be trustworthy. Nick Cavallo, the man who will do anything to get his hands on the artifact.

All in all, a fun read. The only problem I had with the book was the fanciness of the language.  The author uses a lot of 'fancy' or big words that for me, slowed the flow of the story.  I sometimes had to stop and think about what the author was really saying. Sometimes simple works best when telling a story. Other than that though the story was enjoyable.

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