Far up on Turkey's Mount Ararat, buried within it like a cave, explorers discover the remains of a ship they think may be Noah's Ark. After they open an odd sarcophaguslike container and mess around with the horned cadaver inside, evil happens.
Unafraid of ascending Ararat, with its threat of storms and avalanches and altitudinal challenges, Adam Holzer and his fiancee, Meryam Karga, take on the mountain with plans of co-writing another of their exploring bestsellers and shooting a documentary. From the start, there are tensions between the couple and among their multinational, multiethnic crew. One biblical scholar, a priest, is in favor of opening the coffin and finding "the greatest connection to biblical history we have ever found." Another scholar insists that "some things are better left buried." And then there's Ben Walker from the National Science Foundation, who hopes the 5,000-year-old cadaver proves to be an actual demon to “confirm the existence of God." It's not a good sign when people start disappearing. Things get even hairier when certain expeditioners start acting like they are possessed—which, in fact, they are. When a blizzard does, indeed, trap everyone in the cave, heightening their paranoia, they struggle as much for sanity as survival. Likely inspired by the claustrophobic film thriller The Thing, Golden (Dead Ringers, 2015, etc.) tightens the screws slowly but surely. While there are times the participants succumb to a group mania reminiscent of another film, The Poseidon Adventure, the book mostly works in an eerier and subtler manner.
A thriller with an intellectual bent, Golden's latest effort ruminates on the nature and existence of good and evil while providing the chills and tingles fans of this prolific author have come to expect.