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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

The Ark by Boyd Morrison

October 1, 2011

Touchstone:  New York
2010 (HC)

Boyd Morrison’s novel The Ark is a standard contemporary thriller with a relatively thin veneer of archaeology as a backdrop.  UCLA bio-archaeologist Dilara Kenner is summoned from her Incan excavation in Peru to meet an old family friend, Sam Watson, who is desperate to see her because he has discovered information concerning Dilara’s father—also an archaeologist—who has been missing for some three years.

The two meet at LAX airport, where Sam shares the astounding news that her father had finally discovered the object of his life-long obsession—Noah’s Ark! He tells Dilara a fantastic tale that ties her father’s incredible discovery to an astounding plot in which “they” will kill millions, perhaps billions of people within one week.  He suddenly collapses and dies in her arms—the result of a surreptitious poisoning moments earlier—but not before he is able to gasp that she must seek the help of Tyler Locke of Gordian Engineering to stop this literal mass extinction of humankind.  His enigmatic dying words to her are “…you must find ark…hayden…project…oasis…genesis…dawn…”

Once Dilara Kenner teams up with MIT- and Stanford-educated mechanical engineer and Army combat engineer Tyler Locke, the reader is invited along on an exciting and body-strewn odyssey that leads them into the wilds of Armenia and the unearthing of Noah’s Ark—but an Ark far different from the one we learned of in Sunday School.  But along the way, the heroine and her soon-to-be partner in adventure narrowly escape assassination attempts on an oil drilling platform 200 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, and numerous other near-fatal run-ins with a nefarious foe who is plotting to destroy nearly all of humankind, save he himself and a select band of 300 acolytes who will, like the Biblical Noah and his family old, seek refuge in a modern day high tech ark and then, once the latter-day “flood” has scrubbed the globe clean of human vermin, will re-populate the earth.   Locke and Dilara follow the cryptic clues left by Sam Watson and finally battle to the death with the billionaire industrialist madman Sebastian Ulric within the bowels of Noah’s Ark!

This is a prosaic thriller that follows a fairly established pattern:  the hero and heroine face untold numbers of vehicle chases, ambushes, gunfights, etc. as they race about the globe to gain control of a fabulous (or deadly) artifact before a truly odious villain can beat them to it.  Author Morrison’s The Ark is better than many similar efforts; primarily because of his take on the nature of the eponymous Noah’s Ark is decidedly different from other writers who have plowed the same ground.

Two trowels for the archaeo/techno thriller, The Ark.