Dr. Cooper, a Christian archeologist, is invited to Nepur on an expedition to discover great treasure beneath the cavernous hole in the ground called the Dragon's Throat. His crew consists of three men and his two children, Lila, 13, and Jay, 14. Gozan, the assistant to the President of Nepur, accompanies them in order to report their discoveries back to the president. The crew finds an ancient and enormous door at the bottom of the Dragon's Throat, and the Cooper's and their crew attempt to open it. Then, an older man, the Shaman of the Desert, kidnaps the Cooper children. He is under a curse and must protect the key to the door. He believes that the children's God is powerful and asks the children to pray for him so he will be released from the curse. They pray with him, and he accepts their God as his God. Then Gozan steals the key from the Shaman and gives it to the president, who travels to the Dragon's Throat himself. Meanwhile, after reading Revelation 9, Dr. Cooper realizes that there is no treasure behind the door, only demons waiting to be released. The Cooper family rushes to the Dragon's Throat only to discover that the president has unlocked the closed door. Afraid of what he has done, the president hurries away, but in the wrong direction, and falls over a ledge. In the process, he drops the key, which the Coopers retrieve. Jay puts the key back into the door to lock it, and a boulder rolls against the door and closes it. The Cooper family is thankful for God's power and that they will not be present when God opens the door and releases Satan and his demons.
Dr. Cooper and his crew are very vocal with their belief that God is more powerful than Satan and any other powers here on earth. They understand the power of prayer and continually ask for God's help. They also thank Him for His protection. When others express their views about Christianity, Dr. Cooper and his crew are remain faithful to Christ. After the Shaman kidnaps Jay and Lila, the Shaman confesses that his god is not as powerful as theirs. He expresses his desire to know their God and to be released from his family's curse. Jay and Lila explain the Gospel to him and he gladly accepts Jesus as his Savior.
The first character with a role of authority is Al-Dallam, the President of Nepur. He is a wealthy man, but even with all of his riches, he is still greedy. He does not care who gets hurt or what happens at the Dragon's Throat. All he wants is the treasure that is supposedly behind the Door. He is even willing to double-cross Dr. Cooper through Gozan's trickery. Al-Dallam tells Gozan to take care of the Coopers while Al-Dallam goes to open the door himself, implying that Gozan is to kill the Coopers. Dr. Cooper is the leader of the expedition and the father of Jay and Lila. His whole team thinks highly of him, and they follow his orders without question. Dr. Cooper has a strong belief in God. When faced with superstition and the fear of curses, Dr. Cooper is solid in his belief that neither has power over him. He encourages his team to be vocal about their belief in God. As a group, they stop frequently to ask God for help and to thank Him for His protection. Even in dangerous situations, Dr. Cooper's first response is to pray.
Other Belief Systems
Gozan expresses his opinion of the Dragon's Throat, which is a mixture of legend and superstition. He strongly believes in the power of the curses supposedly surrounding the Dragon's Throat. The Shaman of the Desert is a man whose family, throughout many generations, has been the Keeper of the Sacred Chest of Shandago, which holds the key to the door in the Dragon's Throat. He is descended from a long line of Chaldean magicians. He and his family have always worshiped nature, the moon and stars. Shandago, which means dragon, is another name for Satan. The Shaman's father and grandfather were killed when they tried to open the chest. The Shaman wanted to be released from the curse.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Why did Gozan have a difficult time understanding Dr. Cooper's belief in the One True God?
Do you believe in any superstitions?
What does God's Word say about false teachings?
- What do you fear?
How have you allowed parts of your life to be guided by fear?
How does belief in God change feelings of fear?
What does 1 John 4:18 say about fear?
What does this verse mean to you?
- What were the consequences of Al-Dallam's greed?
Where did he look for contentment?
Are you content?
In what area of your life are you discontent?
How do you think God wants to change that part of you?
Can you do it on your own?
What does Philippians 4:10-13 say about where contentment is found?
What does this verse mean to you?
- What kept Dr. Cooper's faith from being shaken?
How strong is your faith in God?
When things do not go your way, are you tempted to not believe in God, or do you go to God when you're in the middle of trouble?
Do you believe that God is the same, regardless of your situation?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.