ARK by David Daniel


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Did Noah's Ark really exist? Are its remains somewhere to be found in the Turkish landscape around Mount Ararat? So it seems--when the Federal Information and Research Medium (""the FIRM"") hires Vietnam vet Jeff Rivers (ex-teacher, ex-addict) to look for Prof. Bruce Hansman, an archaeologist who has disappeared while doing FIRM research in Turkey. Meanwhile, Hansman's daughter Eve is also setting out in search of her father, accompanied by her new British boyfriend Roger Symmes--who, unbeknownst to Eve, is a secret agent for. . . somebody. (The British? The Russians?) And it eventually becomes clear--after Jeff is nearly killed, then framed for murder--that Hansman was onto Something Big when he vanished, something of intense interest to at least three factions: the US wants the Ark found, hoping such a relic would help to revive religion in the USSR; the Soviets, vice versa, want it not found; and Armenian nationalists believe that the Ark belongs to them. Arriving in the Ararat area, then, Jeff, Eve, and Roger will join forces in the Hansman search--which leads to a lake below Ararat, Hansman's corpse, and a skin-diving glimpse of the submerged Ark! But, before further explorations can begin, the violence escalates: Roger makes two murder attempts; nasty CIA agents grab Jeff, torture-interrogating him; Eve, now paired off with Jeff, is kidnapped; Russian agents proliferate, planting underground bombs to blow the Ark to smithereens. And there's a final chase around a US air-base, involving derring-do with a B-52. . . while the Ark, thanks to those bombs, has now settled down into ""fantastically deep water."" Busy, predictable, serviceableadventure--about 100 pages too long (with plodding crossfades to Washington subplots), short on character-charm, but reasonably active and occasionally scenic.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's