The Cooper Kids return in their third adventure!
When the Coopers agreed to conduct an archaeological excavation in the tombs of Anak, they expected it to be exciting and unusual… but not deadly. But when a member of their team disappears after descending into the tombs, and the surrounding villagers warn them of the menacing power of their god, Ha-Raphah, the Coopers begin to sense that dark powers are at work amongst the tombs and townsfolk.
Can the Coopers work out just who or what this Ha-Raphah is before they too fall before its power?
I haven’t read any of Peretti’s books for adults. But I’m fast learning his style (at least in juvenile fiction). He seems happiest when he has a story that combines natural circumstances with supernatural explanations – stories that occur in reality, but which are only explicable by events which border on fantasy but stop just short.
Take this story, for example. When the Coopers arrive they are regaled with stories about Ha-Raphah, this god who is merciless and exacting. They slowly discover that rather than being a god, he is a descendent of the Anakim, a gargantuan man who has a phantom-of-the-opera style knowledge of tricks, mazes, and illusions. This man was first used by his mother as a means of controlling the people, but as his taste for power grew, even she came to cower before his claims of deity. He grew uncontrolled and uncontrollable. He demanded animal sacrifices of the people and exacted horrible punishments if his demands were not met.
So the question is – were there also demonic forces at work? We are told that Nak’s mother “nurtured him in her witchcraft”, so the answer is presumably yes.
The Coopers themselves are constantly invoking the name of God against their enemies and praying for protection / help. On the last page Dr. Cooper encourages a man to accept Christ, describing the Christian God as a “giver” rather than a greedy “taker” (such as Anak Ha-Raphah was).
Like I said earlier, Peretti’s stories are thrilling – in this particular story, the characters make their way into a frightening sacrificial chamber and the last few chapters consist of a life-or-death flight from Anak as he chases them into even deeper layers of his lair.
Conclusion. Read Escape from the Island of Aquarius and Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea first.
Review © 2015 Laura Verret