Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Serpent Rising by Victor Acquista

  Book Description:

Ever since her great aunt left her alone in a cave when she was ten, Serena Mendez has been haunted by the traumatic incident. Now she’s an unemployed, pill-popping twenty-one year old suffering from nightmares and PTSD. When her psychiatrist suggests she visit her great aunt to get to the ro

ot cause of her ailment, she reluctantly agrees it’s time to confront the past.

Accompanied by her geeky friend Bryson, they travel to a Navajo Reservation to meet with her great aunt and return to the cave where it all began. But what she discovers points to an ancient conflict between the Illuminati and a Luminarian sect with origins to Atlantis—and she appears to be at the center of it all. With more questions than answers and only a handful of clues, Serena embarks on a mystical journey across six continents to learn more.

But sinister forces oppose her. Pursued by a powerful enemy, Serena must evade capture and fulfill her true destiny. Can she expose dark secrets and a hidden conspiracy? Or will those who wish to remain in the shadows find her first?

My Thoughts:

This was a pretty good story.  Serena has PTSD from an incident that happened in her youth.  To face that, her friend Bryson offered to travel with her to her great aunt's so she can get some answers and hopefully move on.  There is a lot going on from then on including continent hopping and near death experiences.

I liked the overall concept of this book.  That being said, at times it felt very teacherish instead of storyish.  I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it got bogged down in the information some instead of just letting the story flow.  I liked the characters and their stories.  There were times I was worried and times I was cheering.  Overall, it was a good book.

It was a 3/5 for me.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via PUYB.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.


  1. Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by. First off, I want to thank my tour host, Ashley's Bookshelf, for featuring my book. I'll be posting a variety of interesting items to share with you about "Serpent Rising" including backstory and some videos. I'll follow this thread and respond to reader comments and questions.

  2. One of the things I'm especially proud of is the Pod-Log video author entries that contain interesting backstory. Each is about 5 minutes long. Here's the playlist link:

    And here is the list of topics covered in each of the Pod-Log entries:
    1. Entry 6.18.20: What is a Pod-Log? Meaning of series title, “The Saga of Venom and Flame
    2. Entry 6.24.20: Book cover symbol explained. Three layers of meaning to the title, “Serpent Rising”.
    3. Entry 7.1.20: DESTINY–Mythological roots and the relevance to Serena’s life and apparent dysfunction.
    4. Entry 7.7.20: CANDELARIA–Who are these Luminarians that carry the flame of truth?
    5. Entry 8.8.20: THE HERO’S JOURNEY–The narrative structure described by Joseph Campbell as it applies to Serena Mendez.
    6. Entry 9.6.20: SHAMANISM–What is a shaman and what role do they play in Serena’s journey?

  3. I created the main character, Serena Mendez, as a flawed heroine. She must confront parts of herself that she has been running away from her entire life in order to embrace her true destiny as a Candelaria. Candelarias are a sect of Luminarian Lightbringers. They are champions of truth in the great War of the Two Serpents. Learn more about Serena in this character interview:

  4. I also think reader groups and book clubs will appreciate the discussion questions I've prepared. The same is true of individual readers as the discussion questions stimulate you to think about the novel to probe the depths of meaning a little further. That will hopefully enhance your reading experience. Here is a link to the discussion questions:

  5. I narrated the opening scene along with some special sound effects in this podcast episode which has had over 12K views. What do you think of that SCREAM?

  6. Here is an interesting author publisher-sponsored interview:

  7. I've been fortunate to get some really fine endorsements of the novel. Here are a few selected blurbs:

    "Buckle up for a globe-hopping mission filled with suspense and self-discovery." - Ray Flynt, Award-winning author of Brad Frame mysteries

    "...a fascinating blend of mystery, thriller and the supernatural. A richly drawn cast of engaging and sympathetic characters transport the reader into an intriguing and rewarding journey." - Gary Morgenstein, author of A Mound Over Hell

    "Victor Acquista weaves a gripping tale of myth and metaphor as we follow Serena's global quest to discover her true identity...the chase by evil forces leaves us breathless, yet gasping for more..." - Deborah Shlian, MD, MBA, award-winning author of medical thrillers

    "Victor Acquista's terrific new novel defies genres: it's a techno-mythological thriller-cum-mystical travelogue, with a sassy heroine and a soulful geek at its heart. A Da Vinci Code for the digital age." - JJ Amaworo Wilson, author of Damnificados

    "Author Victor Acquista has opened a pandora's box of adventure in his new breathtaking thriller, Serpent Rising. I was swept away from the first page in this wonder-filled, mystical, and compelling novel. Cleverly plotted...Acquista is the obvious heir apparent to the globe-trotting, can't-be-put-down-novels such as The DaVinci Code and The House Of Secrets. Move over Dan Brown and Brad Meltzer, you have deserving company at your table with Serpent Rising!" - Patrick Kendrick, award-winning author of American Ripper: The Enigma Of America's Serial Killer Cop