An angry terror lurks at the bottom of a dark pit . . .
Jay and Lila Cooper are back for another adventure, this time in search of a young treasure-seeker whose ambitions drove him to the bottom of a pit, never to return. In their struggle to understand what happened to him, the Coopers learn of a greedy, man-eating creature known as Ha-Raphah, who terrorizes the locals into worshiping him. Although they are certain he is extremely dangerous, Jay and Lila are determined to uncover the truth.
When an ancient Philistine tomb is discovered, the archeologists enter a vast system of chambers with deadly traps. This setting gives The Tombs of Anak a similar tone to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Along the way, Dr. Cooper, his team, and his children meet the Yahrim people, who worship the cruel god named Ha-Raphah. Dr. Cooper also meets Ben-Arab, a local man who knows more about the Yahrim people than he is willing to admit. As the group investigates, danger lurks around every corner, and much of the action occurs in the dead of the night when Ha-Raphah stalks his prey.
Even in the face of danger, the Coopers rely on God and refuse to bow down and worship Ha-Raphah. The concept of only worshiping Jesus Christ is reinforced. The story also teaches the dangers of power and greed. Dr. Cooper explains, “Greed is a sin, and lust for power is a sin. . . We might start with just a little bit of greed or just a little bit of power, but that greed and that power just keep growing, and we keep wanting more and more, until finally we can’t control them anymore—they control us.” Even though The Tombs of Anak teaches biblical principles, the lessons are integrated into the story and never seem forced.
In The Tombs of Anak the mystery of the Yahrim, the interesting characters, and the heart-stopping chases will capture readers’ attention from the start and keep them flipping the pages until the very end. In the exciting conclusion, one man steps up to become the Yahrim’s leader and—unlike his predecessor—the man knows his people “need a God who is real, who is loving, who truly cares for them and does not use them for his own gain.”
- One of Cooper’s men is lowered into a pit in an ancient tomb. He screams and then disappears. Later, they discover the man was killed.
- While on a trail, the Coopers see a goatherder. “Before Jay and Lila knew what was happening, a tangled blur of skins, rags, hair, and flailing arms dropped on their father, knocking him to the ground . . . The little man swung the staff, and Dr. Cooper ducked it as it whistled over his head once, then twice. On the third try, he was able to grab it, give it a yank, and then trip the little man with a well-placed foot.” The man warns them that his god, Ha-Raphah, eats men “when he is angry.”
- While exploring the tomb, the Coopers and a local man named Ben-Arab are chased by the Yahrim holy men, who are dressed as animals and carrying spears. “The Wolf was near the door. He reached up with his spear and threw a lever on the wall. There was a grinding sound. . an immense slab of stone began to drop into the opening. The room would soon be sealed shut. . .” The group escapes the room but is chased.
- As the Coopers run from the strange men, they get lost in the tomb. They run into a room. “They had fallen right at the feet of the Hawk, the horned demon, and the Wolf. Hideous, living idols stood all around them, and the points of a dozen deadly spears were right under their noses. . . They were surrounded.” The Coopers are taken to the Yahrim’s leader, Mara the Sorceress. The chase scene is described over four pages.
- After a brief discussion between Mara the Sorceress and Dr. Cooper, “Sudden terror filled the room like an explosion. With stony indifference and one deadly move, the Hawk grabbed Jay by his hair and held him in his chair with an iron grip. Just as quickly, the Wolf did the same to Lila. . . Then with a droning, metallic ring, the Hawk and the Wolf each drew out a glimmering, razor-sharp sword and brought the edge right up to each child’s throat.” After Dr. Cooper solves two riddles, the kids are set free.
- While Dr. Cooper is talking to Mara the Sorceress, he “notices the faint nod of the woman’s head and the shadow of the Wolf falling across his chair. The Wolf’s powerful arm took hold of Dr. Cooper’s head as the beast’s sword came at his throat, but Dr. Cooper’s legs flipped up in a flash and clamped around the Wolf’s neck. . . The Wolf sailed over the chair.” No one is injured.
- As Lila is gathering firewood, she follows a cry and finds a lamb in a ravine. As she climbs up the ravine, Ben-Arab and Dr. Cooper “saw Lila far below, scrambling up the rocks, fleeing for her life. They could see a huge, black, hideous thing right behind her. . .” The Yahrim “surged like angry waves all around them. Dr. Cooper hurried up the trail, ducking spears and arrows as he carried Lila.” Ben-Arab “fired his rifle this direction, then that, in front, behind, spinning and looking about.” The Yahrim flee. No one is injured.
- After Lila saves the sacrificial lamb, Ha-Raphah punishes the shepherd. “Ben-Arab took a look inside the house, and his face immediately twisted with horror and disgust. Jeff [an archeologist working for Dr. Cooper], shocked, slumped against the wall, taking deep breaths to recover. . . Jeff shook his head in horror and amazement. ‘I’ve hunted grizzlies and Kodiaks and never seen any of them that can do this.’”
- One night, while waiting for Ha-Raphah to appear, Mara the Sorceress is attacked. When Dr. Cooper finds her, she says, “Anak Ha-Raphah. . . He is silent, invisible. . . He carried me like the wind.” Mara the Sorceress dies, but her injuries are not described.
- As Dr. Cooper and his men search for Ha-Raphah, the Yahrim attack. “Arrows ricocheted off the rocks and skipped end over end along the ground. From above came the angry war cries of the Yahrim archers. . . [Dr. Cooper] scrambled down the trail, crouching, dodging, dashing from cover to cover. . an arrow just nicked his sleeve. Jeff must have seen the archer—his rifle shot echoed and rumbled through the hills.”
- In a multi-chapter conclusion, Ha-Raphah traps the kids in the underground tunnels of the tombs. Ha-Raphah chases them. “They rose from their hiding place and started quickly and silently down the tunnel in the dark. . . Lila went down hard, and her flashlight clattered across the floor. Jay groped in the dark, trying to find her. She was kicking, crying out, struggling.” Ha-Raphah tries to grab her, but Lila escapes.
- Ha-Raphah corners Jay and Lila. Jay knocks Lila to the ground right before “the sword came down in a flashing arc. . . They dashed across the room as the sword rose high in the air, held by a menacing, unthinkably huge hand. . . They leaped aside just in time as the sword came down like a bolt from a thundercloud and sparks flew from the rocks.”
- The Cooper kids trick Ha-Raphah into setting off one of his own traps, and then they climb up a narrow ledge, trying to reach a ventilation shaft. “The monster burst into the room like an angry bull, still wielding that huge sword, but his wound was still bleeding. . . The beast came at them with footsteps that shook the whole room.” The kids slide down the shaft and escape.
- Ha-Raphah finds the kids in another room. Jay and Lila set off a trip lever that closes the door. “With a sudden roar of ropes and a grinding of stone, the huge slab dropped like an avalanche on the giant’s shoulder driving him to the floor and pinning him there as the big sword clattered out of his hand. . . Anak’s roaming hand found a large rock. . . Jay didn’t see the rock coming. It struck him in the right shoulder and he went tumbling like a tenpin, stunned and senseless, unable to see anything but a spinning blur. . .”
- When Dr. Cooper finds Ha-Raphah and his kids, he throws a ruby at Ha-Raphah. The giant lunges for the precious stone and “Anak let out a horrible scream and dove headlong after the flying ruby, catching it in his outstretched hand. The pit was waiting for him. His huge body came down like a giant tree. . . .” Ha-Raphah “dropped into the chasm with a final roar of hate.” He is presumed dead.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Dr. Cooper, his two kids, and the other members of his group are Christians. Throughout the book there are many references to God and the characters pray often. Since the book is Christian fiction, not all the references are mentioned below.
- The Yahrim people worship Anak Ha-Raphah. Their leader, Mara the Sorceress, explains, “The tombs belong to Anak Ha-Raphah himself, and we are the Yahrim, who fear Anak as one fears death and who worship him in his tombs. He is our fearsome god.”
- Mara the Sorceress is a direct descendant of Anak and “his High Priestess, appointed by Ha-Raphah himself . . . As such, my power and rule over the Yahrim is limitless. Ha-Raphah says it is to be, and it is so.” According to Mara the Sorceress, no one is as mighty as Anak. “His spirit is everywhere. . . silent, cunning, more vicious than you can possibly imagine. He watches us all, but is never seen; he kills, and not a sound is heard. We always know where he has been, but never where he will be.”
- The Coopers go into an ancient Philistine tomb where they unearth “an ancient temple of Dagon, the bizarre half-fish god of the Philistines” where they see “the eerie stone image of Dagon himself, staring down at them with a fiery expression.”
- When the Coopers learn about the locals’ belief in a God named Ha-Raphah, Dr. Cooper discusses the biblical story of Joshua. “The lord commanded Joshua to drive out all the ungodly inhabitants of the land. He didn’t want His people coming into contact with this kind of moral and spiritual pollution.”
- During the exploration of the tomb, the Coopers find a “ceremonial room. A place for pagan rituals.” On the walls were idols. “They were man-sized images of birds, beasts, pagan gods, and monsters, and every one of them was holding a very deadly-looking spear in their Ha-Raphah hands.”
- The Yahrim holy men dress like idols. “Their costumes evidently portray different qualities of their god: fierceness, cunning, bravery, terror, those sort of things.”
- When the Coopers are taken to the Yahrim’s leader, Mara the Sorceress, they refuse to bow to her. Dr. Cooper says, “We bow only before the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ.” When Ha-Raphah threatens the kids with death if they do not worship him, the kids pray: “Lord Jesus, You’re the only God we’ll ever serve. Please help us out of this mess. Help us to think.” Afterward, the kids come up with an escape plan.