Secrets of the Snakestone


Zélie is shocked to see Baba’s locket in the palm of a smelly ‘ragamuffin’. How has it got there? She’s had no word from Baba for more than two months and is frantic. He left her in the care of Madame Malaise for reasons about which Zélie is uncertain. However, while she dreams of Calcutta’s warmth and her life with her father and grandmother, Zélie’s suffering cruelty and suspicion. It’s not just the fact Zélie looks different, but the fact her eyes are differently coloured- one grey, one black.  It means attention is drawn to her constantly, while the other staff in Madame’s employ call her ‘witch’!

Zélie is determined to escape. However, escaping leads her to Jules. Thereafter, the two fall into an urgent mystery as to the whereabouts of the snakestone.

This jewel is mired in mystery and legendary powers. Zélie recalls it resulted in problems for her grandfather. Baba carried its cage, the locket that Jules has found. Thereafter, where is Baba? Will finding the snakestone lead to Baba? Then again, what if Zélie and Jules are not the only ones after snakestone? Furthermore, could their lives be in danger?

Bookwagon loves this exciting, fast-paced, brave and dangerous adventure through Paris, from the Catacoombs to secret laboratories, from jewel thieves to fortune tellers. We recommend Secrets to the Snakestone highly to all adventure loving, middle grade, readers.

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Secrets of the Snakestone

Piu DasGupta

(Nosy Crow)

Jules is intrigued by the strange locket he discovers in the sewer. It seems to pulse and burn. However, it’s Zélie who recognises it. It seems  the locket is the cage for a precious and mysterious stone with a wealth of stories as to its powers. So where is the stone? What’s more, what has happened to Zélie’s precious Baba? It seems that he’s put her into the care of Madame Malaise for reasons of which she’s unsure. However, there is no care at all, but only cruelty. In fact, Zélie’s feared by the other staff because of her differently coloured eyes. Furthermore, Zélie’s learned to edit her letters to Baba after realising Madame reads each one. Meanwhile, there have been no letters from him for two months. Where is he?
Secrets of the Snakestone is a riveting read. We race with Zélie and Jules through Parisian sewers, suspicious science practices and crystal ball circuses. All the time we’re trying to work out who holds the key to Zélie’s life, her father’s whereabouts and then the jewel.
Più DasGupta weaves a story where the setting, characters and drama pulse like the locket. Thereafter we smell the jewels, feel the menace and urge Zélie forward. Like The Secret Detectives for example, we’ve a wonderful story rich in history, culture, adventure and courage. Bookwagon loves and recommends Secrets of the Snakestone to all adventure loving middle grade readers.


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