Ararat – Christopher Golden
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Growing up, my Grandma Hankins always had issues of the Weekly World News kicking around her place. For a fertile young imagination like mine, these editions were a goldmine of discoveries; Bat-boy, Bigfoot, Yeti’s, Vampires, Aliens and the like.
I remember vividly every six months or so, the Weekly World News would feature an issue dedicated specifically to religious things and findings. Usually on the cover were pictures of the Arc of the Covenant or the Holy Grail.
One such issue featured a picture of Noah’s Ark which was half buried in the side of a mountain. Since that first introduction to Mount Ararat, I’ve been fascinated by the ‘possibility’ of something on the mountain. And while I’ll admit the story of Noah and the Ark came from some kernel of truth, the written tale as we know now is probably far from what actually occurred.
All of that said, it brings us to Ararat by Christopher Golden.
When I first stumbled across the synopsis I was hooked. So this last Christmas I snagged it with my Amazon gift card. I quickly pushed it up my TBR to prioritize it in January, much to the chagrin of the other 200+ books I have sitting on my Kindle waiting for my eyes.
The story starts out straight forward enough. Meryam and Adam are an adventurous couple, coming from a mixed background. They have been travelling the world, documenting their various escapades to a growing audience. After making friends with a young guide near Mount Ararat on a prior hike, he sends word. A horrible earthquake and avalanche has occurred on Ararat. In the aftermath a cavern has been found and from early reports, it appears that a vessel of some kind is within.
A frantic race begins to get to the cavern and claim it as theirs to excavate.
The opening to this story could have been the entire book on its own and it would have been a phenomenal read. But Golden’s not done with us. Oh no, not in the least. You see, in that vessel, in that cavern, sits a tomb. Within that tomb is the body of a figure long since dead. The unsettling part – on its head are two bumps. Two bumps that appear to resemble horns.
Golden takes it from there, creating a frantic read filled with claustrophobia, mystery, intrigue and a well done dash of psychological turmoil. We follow Ben Walker’s story as he arrives with Father Hughes and UN Observer Kim Soeng and they try to help the group figure out what exactly the wooden vessel is, so high up on the mountain, who resided within, and most importantly, just what that horned figure is and what it’s doing to the group.
Throughout, Golden peppers the story with just a hint of Walker’s back story, and I sure hope in the future we learn more about some of his prior adventures that caused his numerous scars.
One thing I found interesting with Ararat, is that I read the novella Who Goes There? By John W. Campbell at the same time. For those who don’t know, Who Goes There was the inspiration for the movie The Thing. I found a number of similarities between the two, but I haven’t found any interviews or anything where Golden indicates it influenced him. I found reading the two together actually heightened my enjoyment of Ararat. Where Who Goes There? Would sometimes get bogged down in long bouts of dialogue, Golden didn’t flounder there, which really elevated it I thought.
Overall, Ararat was a stunning read and I see now why it was an awards contender and winner in a variety of mediums. If there isn’t a current attempt to adapt this to motion picture, I would be surprised. It has all of the necessary things there to make it a hit.
Also of note, Golden has now announced Pandora (Ben Walker #2), which will arrive in April of this year, and I for one am really excited to keep going along with Walker on his adventures.
If you have this book in your TBR I’d suggest moving it up and getting it read before Pandora comes out, especially if you enjoy demonic tales filled with real life hurt and heartache.
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
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?
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.