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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Fantasy / General
  • Language:English
  • Series title:Clara Dune Trilogy
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:360
  • eBook ISBN:9780989317153

Trial By Fire

Every Soul Makes a Choice

by M. Scott Snelten

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Fifteen-year-old Clara Dune has a secret. She suspects she’s adopted, but she’s afraid to discuss it with her father, who recently moved the family to St. Augustine, Florida to complete an archaeological dig that’s tied to secrets of his own. He distracts her by giving her an old book that tells the story of a saintly Augustine pitted against a wicked Faustus. Strangely, sparks fly from the book’s illustrated pages as a battle between good and evil comes to life. And Clara suddenly finds herself in the middle of an ancient feud. Shortly after, a solar eclipse ominously cloaks her new hometown in darkness, and her father entrusts her with his greatest archaeological find ever: a powerful eighth-century Asturian relic from northern Spain. She confides only in her friend Jia Zhilan – and the boy she secretly loves, Mingo Santos – because her world quickly grows darker as malevolent forces conspire to burn her alive. Instead of relinquishing the artifact, Clara vows to protect it. Otherwise, St. Augustine will be destroyed. During this fiery hero’s journey, Clara learns that she has a profound calling on her life that she can’t ignore. It’s one that places her at odds with a pyromaniac Spaniard – and his master, the diabolical Faustus, whose purpose is to take as many souls to hell with him as he can. Will Clara Dune survive this trial by fire to save her city – and her own soul?
Clara Dune is haunted by the recent loss of her mother and suspicions that she may be adopted. She desperately wants to confront her father, but when he suddenly dies after a solar eclipse on her fifteenth birthday, she and her younger sister, Zandra, are left to live with their grandmother, Ellie, in America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida. Now Clara must not only cope with the loss of her parents but search for proof of her adoption. Her soul needs to know the truth, but her journey will be harder than she imagined. Before her father’s death, he gave her The Ancient Book of Saint Augustine, a mysterious old tome that highlights a centuries-old battle between Augustine, the saint, and his nemesis, Faustus, who is eternally locked in the abyss. Her father also left one more thing behind. It was his greatest archaeological find ever: a golden bottle adorned with two angels called the Bottle of Asturias. Now Clara struggles to understand the ancient book – while at the same time protecting a Spanish relic so powerful that forces emerge to hunt down the artifact. And dark forces do emerge when Clara meets Garcia Martí, a pyromaniac Spaniard, who will try everything to kill her. She not only has to worry about the one who can kill her body – but the one who wants her soul, as Faustus emerges. Clara is now caught between hell and earth, and a 1600-year-old vendetta between Faustus and Augustine. It’s a conflict that could destroy the city of St. Augustine . . . and destroy her soul . . . before she can find out the truth of her adoption.
About the author
M. Scott Snelten believes that everyone, conscious of it or not, is on a quest. He grew up in a small rural town in New York's Hudson Valley, but he knew that more awaited him outside of the farms, apple orchards, and sleepy town center. When an opportunity to attend college in Miami fell through, he became a hairstylist by trade, not realizing it would be a career move that would keep him afloat above every economic downturn to come. A couple of years later, he jumped at the opportunity to move to the metropolitan melting pot of South Florida. After years of working—and dealing with regrets of never attending college—he made a big decision. In his late thirties, he enrolled in Broward Community College for an associate's degree before earning his bachelor's degree in mass communications from Florida International University in Miami. Attending university in Miami provided an intense cultural immersion in the city's predominantly Hispanic community—a contrast from his rural, small-town upbringing. It was there that he began to see the world through different eyes—and hear it through different ears. As a result, he developed a keen interest in following Hispanic culture, news, and music. Following graduation, numerous economic downturns continued to hammer the job market, yet his first career thrived, providing a safety net. Still wanting to apply his mass-communications degree, he put his investigative skills to work by writing a novel—which was directly influenced by his experiences in Miami. Most people are interested in discovering their roots and purpose in life. Trusting those instincts, his first novel, Trial By Fire, is the beginning of a trilogy that will take his heroine, Clara Dune, around the world on a soul-searching quest to find the meaning of identity, family, and heritage—revealing Latin connections. In retrospect, it seems that M. Scott Snelten's own journey was destined to pass through Miami to show him a facet of American culture far different from his own upbringing—and inspire his first young-adult novel.
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