Once again, L’Engle hones in on different characters from the Murray family. This time, the twins who typically keep to themselves are the focus. The time frame has changed, and rather than being grown adults, we see Dennys and Sandy as boys of fifteen. While searching for cocoa in their mother’s lab, the boys stumble across one of their father’s experiments in progress and manage to whisk themselves away to a desert oasis.
I was slightly annoyed by how long it took the boys to figure out they were in the middle of the story of Noah’s Ark. They knew they had traveled to a different time, but assumed that the drastic change in climate and small stature of the people they encountered meant that they had also traveled to a different planet or galaxy. The twins are a little dense, if you ask me.
To their credit, they did come across some pretty strange creatures in desert: nephilim (fallen angels that can marry humans), seraphim (angels that take the form of desert animals and do not intermarry), tiny wooly mammoths that serve as house pets, and manticores (man-lion-scorpion). They were also on the brink of death after getting scorched by the sun. Sandy was taken in and cared for by Grandfather Lamech, and Dennys was looked after by Lamech’s son, Noah.
The book is basically one long episode of what the author thought took place pre-flood in and around Noah’s family. There’s definitely some drama mixed in, but the one element of the story that I thought had the greatest potential just kind of fizzled at the end. The whole ending was anti-climatic and much too brief for my taste.
Both Sandy and Dennys are pragmatic skeptics. They don’t believe in anything that can’t be 100% proved to them via the scientific method. Even after they rode a unicorn, they had difficulty believing it was real. Sheesh! One would think that living through a Bible story would be pretty serious proof for those two, but they continued on rather dismissive of all that took place around them. I guess not all the Murray’s are equally malleable.
Here’s hoping the last book in the series knocks my socks off!