- Christopher Golden.
- 320 pages.
- Horror / Fiction / Adventure.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Meryam and Adam take risks for a living. But neither is prepared for what lies in the legendary heights of Mount Ararat, Turkey.
First to reach a massive cave revealed by an avalanche, they discover the hole in the mountain’s heart is really an ancient ship, buried in time. A relic that some fervently believe is Noah’s Ark.
Deep in its recesses stands a coffin inscribed with mysterious symbols that no one in their team of scholars, archaeologists and filmmakers can identify. Inside is a twisted, horned cadaver. Outside a storm threatens to break.
As terror begins to infiltrate their every thought, is it the raging blizzard that chases them down the mountain – or something far worse?
I received a free copy of the book courtesy of the publisher and through bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.
The blurb does a great job of outlining the overall story of Ararat. In Turkey, an earthquake and the resulting avalanche reveal a cavern high up on Mount Ararat. Geologically speaking, the newly opened cavern shouldn’t exist but it does.
Feyiz, a guide was on the mountain when the earthquake struck and saw first-hand the cavern open. Having previously worked with and being a friend to Adam and Meryam, a newly engaged thrillseeking couple who film and document their adventures and write books based on them Feyiz gets in contact with them regarding the discovery.
The Turkish government states that the first group to reach the cavern will have exclusive digging and excavation rights to the secrets waiting inside. Adam, Meryam, Feyiz and their small group race to be the first group to reach the cavern and secure the rights, which they do. They then get together a team, the Karga-Holzer Ark Project (KHAP) that consists of themselves with Meryam as the project manager, Adam as the filmmaker, Feyiz, mountain guides, Turkish officials, archaeologists, scientists, a camerawoman, an independent UN observer and a priest.
Within the newly opened cavern, the team find the remains of a ship thought by some to be Noah’s Ark and a bitumen encased coffin that contains a deformed and desiccated body complete with horns, no, not horny, it’s not that type of book but horns, bonafide demon horns!🤘
Side note: If you take the horns as being horny, the fact that the Ark is made of wood means there is wood involved, its a cavern so you are entering a hole and add in some bodily fluids (so you know, its blood, the only white stuff in the story is snow) being sprayed around. I’m just saying that with those base elements if Golden had gone down a slightly different road then Ararat might not have been a book in the horror genre!😱🤔😂
As the team attempt to decipher the mystery of the body, the markings on the coffin and find the exact origins of the Ark against the backdrop of the blizzard and within the oppressive confines of the cavern stress and paranoia start to take hold. Add in an ominous presence plaguing the cavern, team members freaking out, acting strangely and disappearing and there’s a chance that a dark and sinister force has been unleashed and is present in the cavern.
The group of characters in Ararat are all quite complex and individual with Golden giving many of them the page time to become established (even if they are unlikeable cough Hakan cough), developed (I’d have liked to have delved further into Ben Walker’s history, to go with the adventurers and academics on the KHAP team he’s the action man of Ararat, the briefly mentioned exploits of his past are really interesting and I really wanted to read more about what occurred in Guatemala) and relevant to the story. The team that is excavating the cavern is multinational and diverse with members coming from different religions (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, atheist) faiths and backgrounds.
Having a group with conflicting beliefs along with their own warring personalities and mistrust in each other is akin to a cauldron and causes tension to rise amongst the team over the origins of the Ark, the malformed body, the truth of what the discovery means (is it a biblical discovery that proves Noah was real? Should it remain undisturbed? Will it give non-believers the proof they need to believe in something?) and what they should do about the situation that they find themselves in as it starts to escalate.
Some characters, namely those who are only mentioned in passing in the book are simply what you would deem as bodies and are ‘fodder‘ whereby you know what fate awaits them and it’s just a case of waiting to see how it will play out. But for many (if not most) of the main characters as the terror starts to escalate you will find yourself pondering their fate hoping that they survive the horrors of the cavern and their ordeal and make it off Mount Ararat alive.
The overall premise in Ararat is quite simple but it works well and it is a book that is filled with a vast amount of goodness or should that be malevolent evilness?! With Ararat, Golden creates an atmospheric and truly chilling (and not just because it’s set on a mountain during a blizzard) read.
At 300 pages (just over) in length, Ararat is a short but hugely entertaining read. It’s a quick read too as the story draws you in and the second half of the book as Golden ramps up the sense of claustrophobic unease is just blistering as shit gets real.
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