I was a devoted acolyte of Frank Peretti in my younger years. I devoured his Cooper Kids Adventure series as a youngster and then moved on to his horror based adult fare as I became a teenager. Decided to do a revisit. This is the first book in his Cooper Kids Adventure series. Intrepid archaeologist/adventurer Jake Cooper and his two precocious kids, Jay & Lila, head into the desert of a generic African nation. A strange door lurks deep below the ground in a supposedly cursed cavern called the Dragon’s Throat; other adventuring teams have vanished after venturing into the cavern or returned having lost their minds. What evil awaits behind the massive door? Peretti’s young adult books were always a lot more obvious about his Christianity; his adult books were often more allegorical or symbolic in that regard. This one’s pretty preachy and the writing is pretty bad. It’s a great framework and a genuinely good plot with slowly building mystery leading up to a big finale. It would make a great movie or something if you edited out a lot of the preachy monologues; that way you wouldn’t have to deal with the rather bad prose. But it’s Peretti’s first novel; I’ll keep reading and see how he develops. 2 stars.
tl;dr – great premise & good plotting, but the Christianity is preachy, even for me, and the prose is pretty awful. 2 stars.