This third Christian suspense book in the "Cooper Kids Adventure" series by Frank E. Peretti is published by Good News Publishers, Crossway Books.
The Tombs of Anak is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Dr. Cooper, 13-year-old Lila and 14-year-old Jay are on an excavation site in Gath. Accompanying them is a two-man crew, Jeff and Bill, and a tag-along named Jerry. Dr. Cooper is there to study, but his employers want him to uncover a treasure. The crew meets a man named Ben-Arba, who insists on accompanying them into the excavation site's tunnels. While attempting to stay clear of his brother, Anak and an attacking group of people called the Yahrim, Ben-Arba learns that his brother, mother, Mara, and the Yahrim have been enslaved by greed and power. Anak lures Jay and Lila into the tunnels, because he is upset that Dr. Cooper and his group have invaded his territory. He is looking for revenge. As Dr. Cooper and his crew search the tunnels for his children, Jay and Lila help Ben-Arba find the true treasure, faith in God. They also find the treasure that Anak has been hoarding. When Anak and Mara are removed from power, Ben-Arba decides that the Yahrim need to find God's love before their earthly treasure can be returned to them.
Dr. Cooper, Bill, Jeff, Jay and Lila all display strong Christian beliefs. They pray when faced with difficult situations and ask God for His wisdom. When God gives Dr. Cooper the answers to Mara's riddles, he immediately thanks God. The excavation team is strong in the belief that there is only one true God. Anak tells Jay and Lila that he will spare their lives if they worship him, but regardless of the outcome, they refuse to bow down to a false god. Dr. Cooper shows the same resolve when he and his children refuse to bow down to Mara. Ben-Arba observes Dr. Cooper and his crew's faith first hand. As he works with them, he sees that their God is loving and merciful. When compared to the god his mother created out of Anak, Ben-Arba realizes that Dr. Cooper's God is the true God.
Dr. Cooper exhibits godly strength and leads his group with compassion and justice. When a new member of his group disappears, he refuses to give up the search for him. He also shows wisdom and patience when Mara threatens his children. He prays for wisdom and receives it. He is also a good father to Jay and Lila. When the kids find themselves in trouble, Jay and Lila remember what their father taught them. Dr. Cooper also shows his love for his children when he is willing to risk everything for their safety. When Dr. Cooper thinks that he hears Jay's voice, he follows it, knowing that Jay could be in danger. Mara, on the other hand, exhibits a negative authority role. She uses her own son to gain wealth and power, but she realizes too late that her son is the one controlling her. She uses witchcraft and fear to extract her wealth from the Yahrim people. They revere her, and she treats them without mercy. When comparing his mother's beliefs with those of Dr. Cooper's, Ben-Arba chooses to emulate Dr. Cooper's. Ben-Arba wants to rule the Yahrim people with the same wisdom displayed by Dr. Cooper.
Other Belief Systems
The Yahrim believe their god is the spirit of Anak, a ferocious giant from Biblical times. Their god, Ha-Raphah, is a vicious and demanding god that requires sacrifices and rules with fear. Mara, the sorceress, has created and groomed her son to be this god. She does this in order to gain power over the Yahrim and to take their treasure. Eventually, her son Anak believes he is truly a god and takes control away from Mara.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What does Mara desire? How does her greed eventually control her? What types of things control your life? Are they of God, or are they of the world and lead to bondage and death? What can you do with sin that controls you?
- How does the Cooper family demonstrate godly character in tough circumstances? How does this convince Ben-Arba of his need for God? How do you show God's nature to others in your life? Are people drawn closer to God by watching how you live? In what ways do you think you are you doing well? In what ways do you need to improve?
- How does Mara lie to Anak? What does he start to believe? What lies do you believe in your life? Do you believe that no one likes you? Do you believe that you are not as good as someone else? Do you believe that God does not love you? Where do you think these lies come from? What does John 8:44 say about Satan? Who does 1 John 3:1 say you are?
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