To the Top of the World with Christopher Golden
There is a great nebulous mystery surrounding events and people during biblical times, with most agreeing that while the stories themselves aren’t true, they are indeed based on realities that have been lost to us for far too long to make any sense of it. Noah’s Ark is without a doubt one of the most sought-after relics of ancient times, with researchers periodically finding it in the strangest places one can imagine. In 2010 explorers believed they had found the Ark, out of all places, on top of mount Ararat in Turkey. While of course these claims were regarded with about as much interest and skepticism as all the ones that came before it, it was enough to fuel the imagination of Christopher Golden and have him write the gripping thriller that is Ararat.
The story begins as we are introduced to a husband and wife team who document their adventures, and once they learn of the discovery of Noah’s Ark atop mount Ararat, they quickly start racing to be the first ones there. Together with a team of professors, archeologists, scientists, paleontologists, a priest and U.N. representatives they venture forth into the Ark, and make some very interesting discoveries. Most notably, there is a coffin containing the terrifying remains of some horned and misshapen creature, almost looking like a demon from ancient times. Unfortunately for the crew, a blizzard sets in and traps them inside the mountain, miles removed from civilization. While the general panic and paranoia aren’t exactly pleasant, the crew soon discovers that they might have something far worse to worry about down there.
The Intensity of Isolation
Christopher Golden is one of those authors who understands the need to move the story along while still dedicating the necessary amount of time to developing his characters and environments, at least enough that we actually care about them. From a technical perspective, I’d say his writing is… well… golden. Unlike with some other authors, we never get the impression that Christopher is just sitting there with Thesaurus in front of him and frantically copying down every last synonym. His descriptions of people and places are always short, sweet and to the point, giving them enough life and characteristics for us to build upon with our imagination, should we so choose. As a result, the pace never suffers and remains consistently quick, moving the plot along steadily.
The events might be moving along rather quickly, but they never seem to hinder Golden’s ability to masterfully create suspense on the go. He captures the tension that engulfs the trapped people quite aptly and succinctly, making us wary of everything and everyone we encounter. He knows how to build doubts in the reader’s mind and remain unpredictable, consistently making us wonder who it is we can actually trust. The claustrophobic ambiance is powerfully developed over the course of the story to the point where it feels like a character in and of itself. Couple that with a few surprising twists and turns as well as the inclusion of the paranormal, and you have here all the ingredients to make a truly captivating story you can look forward to progressing through.
A Portrayal of Humanity
The plot does take centre stage in this book and moving it along always remains the top priority… and yet somehow, Golden found the way to an extremely varied cast of characters, some of whom seem to there for the purpose of study or debate. However, I will admit that a few of the lesser characters had less time dedicated to their creation and development it seems, leaving them feeling a bit flat and one-dimensional. However, considering this is one of those plot-driven stories, it’s a weakness we can certainly overlook without losing much.
We get to see the take people from all walks of life have on this discovery, their overall thoughts in regards to religion versus science, and how various religious views can conflict with each other. While of course it isn’t exactly a philosophical tour-de-force that will leave you thinking for weeks on end, there is still something to be said for the thought-provoking bits found in this book.
The Final Verdict
To bring things to a conclusion, Ararat by Christopher Golden is a strong, entertaining and captivating paranormal thriller that does everything right when it comes to holding the reader’s attention. If you enjoy stories with religious and supernatural connotations, I believe you are going to have a real blast with this one… especially if you’re a fan of plots their characters from the rest of civilization.
Christopher Golden is an American writer of horror, fantasy and suspense novels in addition to which he is currently penning the Sons of Anarchy book series. Amongst his near 100 works are renowned novels such as Bloodstained Oz, Snowblind, Dead Ringers and Indigo. He has also written a number of series, including “The Hidden Cities”, “The Veil”, “The Shadow Saga” and “Ghosts of Albion”.