Name: Mari Clark
Title: THE SNAKE AND THE DARKNESS
Genre: Young Adult (Action/Adventure)
Artistic, seventeen-year-old Liliana Perez would rather paint the jungle than explore it.
Still, she is willing to trek deep into the cloudforest of Peru—facing rain, hail, sleet, monsoon-like winds, superstitious campesinos, haunted mountain passes, vampire bats (the real kind) and vipers—to find her father and convince him to return to civilization. After all, since her father is responsible for cyberattacks causing blackouts and power grid failures, he is half the reason her world has gone dark. The other half: Francisco, the love-of-her-life fellow adventurer, is contemplating a future without her—as a Catholic priest.
Along with Francisco’s military-schooled brother, Lili’s difficult cousin, and a trio of strangers, Lili and Francisco reach her father’s jungle hideout to discover Lili’s father, a petroleum engineer, excavating a natural resource from the ground—and it’s not oil. Even worse, her father participates in ancient shamanistic rituals that blur the line between fantasy and reality and he blames a global conspiracy for the blackouts. Most important of all, the unexpected resource he unearths will bring unwelcome physical and spiritual consequences for Lili, Francisco, the other young explorers, and possibly the world.
Before it’s too late, Lili and Francisco must confront the darkness that has gripped her father in order to have a future filled with light.
For what seems like the millionth time this morning, the gears grind, the bus tilts, I jam my knees into the seatback in front of me to brace myself, and the kid across the aisle squeaks how incredible it is—“¡Qué incredible!”—to roller-coaster around another curve.
Incredible? More like un-freaking-believable.
Earlier, the little boy overheard me telling his Ashaninkan mother that I thought the view was incredible. She asked my opinion about this carnival ride of a bus trip, and I wanted to say something nice. Problem is the kid keeps repeating it: incredible. His new favorite word.
Bug-bitten and exhausted, I take out my cellphone and scroll down to read my cousin Martin’s email: Let’s hope morons in government haven’t closed airport again. If so no prob to take bus.
Lili, u speak Spanish. Will fit right in.
No worries traveling alone. Trust me, Lili. Lots of backpacker types wandering around Peru. Try to look like tour-or-ist and u will be fine.
Yeah, Martin, sure. Lots of backpacker types. But not like me. Hey, that’s great. You guys are going to the Sacred Valley to see Inca ruins. Me? I’m going to an isolated jungle in northern Peru to search for my missing father who may have done something really bad. Uh, did I mention that criminals like to hide out in this jungle?
And Martin’s joke comparing tourists to terrorists is getting a little old.
The rugrat across the aisles squeals again. He’s watching me. Because his big brown eyes remind me of Francisco, I smile and blow un besito at him.