The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles: The Kambur Chronicles

Champ Thornton and Andrew David Naselli
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Welcome, Traveler. You are on the Serpent Quest.
To move from start to middle,
Traveler, solve the riddle.
What is poison to the heart?
Find the answer. Make your start.

Fleeing a neighborhood bully, Emmet and Nomi are pulled into an ancient quest, and now they must escape far more powerful enemies. Join them as they unlock secret riddles and follow the path of the Serpent Slayer.

The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles is a time travel adventure with a twistÑmiddle school students will discover theological themes as they travel through God's Word. By placing the characters into Bible events, Champ Thornton and Andrew Naselli show the Bible is far from being a boring book full of instructions. Readers will discover life-changing truths they'll never forget.


Champ Thornton, PhD, is an associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware. He has pastored in South Carolina and served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, Ohio. He is host of In the Word, On the Go, a ten-minute podcast for families and is the award-winning author of several books, including The Radical Book for Kids, Pass It On, Radically Different, Why Do We Say Good Night?, and The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles. Champ and his wife, Robben, have three children.

Andrew David Naselli, PhD, is associate professor of systematic theology and New Testament for Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis and one of the pastors of Bethlehem Baptist Church. He is the author of several books, including The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles and 40 Questions about Biblical Theology, in addition to contributing to and co-authoring many others. He and his wife, Jenni, have four daughters.


Dana Thompson enjoys storytelling through the visual mediums of illustration, animation, and graphic design. He has two grown children and lives with his wife in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the illustrator of The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles.

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"My friends Champ Thornton and Andy Naselli have written a delightful tale that transports readers from the present into another place and time and back again. The way they craft the story reminds me in some ways of Pilgrim's Progress and in others of The Chronicles of Narnia. If you enjoy those classics by Bunyan and Lewis, you and your children will like The Serpent Slayer. Parents of middle-grade kids will enjoy reading this to them and explaining how the adventure presents the storyline of the Bible (there's a guide in the back to help with this). But beware: the kids may find the story so captivating they won't be able to wait for family reading time but will finish it on their own."
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Praying the Bible, and Family Worship

"The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles will hook your kids from the very first page and take them on a mysterious present-day adventure as they travel through the Bible to discover the gospel message hidden from ages past but revealed to those who believe. This book has everything kids loveÑdragons, heroes, suspense, mystery, riddles, and clues, with twists and turns. I can't wait for my grandchildren to read it."
Marty Machowski, Family Pastor; author of Dragon Seed, The Ology, Long Story Short, and other books and resources for church and home

"The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles is attention grabbing fictionÑand so much more! This suspenseful story exposes Satan's malicious plans and reveals our Savior Jesus Christ's victorious plan! Get your kids ready to grasp biblical truth for their heart and life!"
Barbara Reaoch, Author of A Jesus Easter; former director of the children's division of Bible Study Fellowship International

"As a mom and a pastor's wife, I'm always looking for good stories that teach deep truths to put in the hands of my own kids and the kids in our church. The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles is just that kind of book. With its engaging, time-travel plot peppered with intriguing riddles, The Serpent Slayer will draw kids in to learn more about the narratives of Scripture and, ultimately, to consider their own place in the Bible's big story of redemption. Parents will appreciate the story's theological substance, careful treatment of biblical texts, and Christ-focused framework. But perhaps the highest commendation I can offer is to report that my own son couldn't put the book down, finishing it in a single afternoon. He, for one, will be waiting eagerly for the sequel."
Megan Hill, Managing Editor, The Gospel Coalition; author of A Place to Belong: Learning to Love the Local Church; a pastor's wife and mother of four

"The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles is the story inside a story. Thornton and Naselli weave a creative narrative around the story of redemption. Readers of all ages will turn the pages quickly to see how the riddle unfolds for Emmet and Nomi. This is a book that can get kids thinking about how the popular scenes of Scripture (e.g., the garden, the exodus) fit together as one grand narrative of God's determination to rescue his people from the serpent and the dragons that oppose them. Highly recommended!"
Todd R. Chipman, Dean of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

"As a boy, I devoured adventure booksÑWilly Wonka, Narnia, Bobbsey Twins mysteries, The Hardy Boys . . . you name it. If you know a kid like me, he'll love The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles. Many resources today aim at teaching redemptive history to children, but few approach the task of highlighting a biblical theme as creatively as this sibling adventure. I'm already excited about the next chapter."
Jared Kennedy, Editor at The Gospel Coalition; author of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible and Keeping Your Children's Ministry on Mission

"In The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles, Champ Thornton takes readers on an action-packed journey that spans the entire biblical narrative. As our heroes, Nomi and Emmett, fall headfirst into the pages of Scripture, we get to tumble in after them and see ancient biblical moments come to life in whole new ways. As they're plunged into the action, we find ourselves being drawn in closer too. Filled with fun ideas and memorable moments, this book will not only help young readers see the big story of the Bible with new color and clarity; it will offer them a fresh opportunity to discover that King Jesus, the true hero of this story, is the hero of their story too."
Chris Morphew, Chaplain at PLC Sydney; author of Best News Ever and the Big Questions series

"I could wax eloquent about the engaging prose and riveting plot of The Serpent Slayer, but maybe it's better just to quote my ten-year-old son: 'It's awesome!' It is indeed. Thornton and Naselli have written a page-turner that will engage young readers' imaginations and capture their hearts. Most importantly, it will immerse them in the redemptive story of Scripture and point them to the One who rescues them from evil. I highly recommend it!"
Drew Dyck, Editor; author of Your Future Self Will Thank You

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5 Reviews

  • 4
    My Thoughts

    Posted by Annette on 02 24 2022

    There are great features of this story that are beneficial and entertaining for readers. I feel the time travel aspect is a strong attraction for readers. The children are described in detail. They are children who represent diverse people. I love this aspect. The story begins with a bully threatening them. This situation leads them to discover the scroll and adventure. Their threatening situation is a building point to the Bible people they will meet who will help them with that problem in their own life. I love the particular Bible stories chosen for this book. For example, the story of the parting of the Red Sea. The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles is a unique, creative way to tell Bible stories to young people. The descriptions of people and the environment is vivid and lively. It is not written to be scary or anxious stories. In the later travels, Nomie is ready to return home. So often in an adventure or travel story a character wants to return home. The routine and the familiar win-out. Bible verses are included in the dialogue of the stories. Because I read a pdf file, I don’t know the translation used. New Growth Press does not state the translation used either. The last two chapters are the full poem of The Serpent Quest and a Reader’s Guide. The book is written with an intention of a parent, grandparent, or teacher to be the guide for the young readers. The book is intended to be a tool for further discussion. Source: I received a complimentary pdf copy from Audra Jennings and New Growth Press. I am not required to write a positive review.

  • 5
    Biblical Time Travel

    Posted by Laura on 02 21 2022

    The Serpent Slayer is a delightful tale of time travel to biblical times. Our protagonists, Emmet and Nomi, are observers of many of the most well know Bible stories from both the old and new testament. This is a unique book that would be great for late elementary school students. While this complimentary book was provided for review by New Growth Press, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.

  • 4
    Creative way to introduce children to the major framework of Biblical narrative

    Posted by Kaitlyn Pindak on 02 15 2022

    “The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles” presents the overview of Biblical narrative through two kids plunging into the narratives themselves. It’s creative but sometimes the writing did not grab my attention, though the story was compelling. *This was read as a pre-release to review.

  • 4
    Kids transported to biblical stories

    Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 02 13 2022

    Reading this story made me wish I were a kid again, getting lost in a good novel of adventure. That idea comes to life here. Nomi and Emmet enter into biblical adventures including the Fall, the Exodus, David and Goliath, Jesus teaching, his death and resurrection. The story starts with action as Emmet and Nomi are pedaling furiously to get away from a bully. Then they find a strange object that leads them into a tome adventure, particularly a scroll adventure. The action slows quite a bit as the kids travel to biblical time. They become observers to action but do not take part in it themselves for the most part. There are good moral lessons included, such as the danger of being attracted to power and wealth, how to oppose the enemy, asking for forgiveness and the substitutionary death of Jesus. I always like to learn something when I read fiction and this time it was about dodecahedrons. They are twelve sided objects from Roman times. Many have been unearthed in Europe and their use is unknown. Young readers will also be introduced to a shofar. This is a good novel for readers aged 9-13. It has adventures in biblical times but mostly mere observation. Children familiar with Bible stories may have some impatience with Emmet and Nomi in their lack of recognizing the biblical stories they have fallen into even though they attend church. Potential readers for this adventure would be children not familiar with Old Testament stories. There is a Reader's Guide with a theological summary for kids. The book book could be used in a youth reading group with an adult using the story as a teaching outline for sharing the gospel. I received access to an advanced digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  • 3
    Fictional adventure linking into biblical accounts

    Posted by Wendy on 02 01 2022

    Aimed at 9-13 year olds, this fictional adventure book draws in biblical accounts. Through various discoveries, 12-year-olds Emmet and Nomi find themselves physically drawn into biblical stories and having to solve riddles to get home. They land in the Garden of Eden, the exodus, with David & Goliath, and to Jesus and his teaching, and each time they have to find out what is happening for themselves - as if they have no bible knowledge. It is anchored around the idea of snakes & dragons as the enemy and the one who is the Serpent Slayer. It’s an innovative way of following a theme through biblical teaching in a way that kids will grasp, although tends to overplay the dragon aspects (especially in the explanation at the end). I prefer Thornton’s Radical Book for Kids, but this might have appeal for those that want to try some kids Christian fiction.

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