Author: Annabel Smith
Review: Monique Mulligan
The Ark gets my vote for the most interesting and clever book I’ve read this year. It’s not your typical narrative, composed instead of emails, instant messages, memos and other documents, forming an epistolary novel with a difference. Leading to the book’s launch I was sent a daily sneak peek for a month … within days I was hooked, waiting eagerly for the 3pm update. The launch itself was pure theatre, with guests playing the role of Ark inhabitants (read more about that here). Once I started reading the book properly, I could not put it down. I’m not exaggerating. So, what’s it about?
The novel opens with a newspaper article explaining that bunker built into Mount Kosciuszko in south-east Australia has been unearthed after being buried for more than 50 years. Seventeen people were recovered, all in good physical health … but what’s their story? Rewind back to 2041 when the world is in chaos due to rapidly dwindling oil supplies, the Australian government has collapsed, and the streets are no longer safe as people do whatever it takes to get food. A team of scientists and their families retreat into The Ark, a seed bunker holding five billion plant seeds that hold the key to the future of life on Earth. They leave behind family and all they know, for a claustrophobic environment that’s tightly controlled by the charismatic Aiden. As Aiden’s motives and agenda are called into question, The Ark comes to represent a prison for some, but remains a sanctuary for others. With survival at stake, the inhabitants need to decide who they can trust.
My husband, who is not a big fiction reader, read The Ark in a couple of sittings. His first impression: “interesting”. On further reflection he added: “I liked it. It was quick to read, and I think it sat fairly close to what you’d expect from people’s behaviour.” Annabel, that’s high praise. I’ll go a bit further – The Ark is fantastic, sinister, stark, compelling, thought-provoking and exciting. Just read it.
Available from TheArkbook.com as an eBook ($9.99) or in print.