It appeared overnight--a massive, smooth, rectangular mountain rising more than a mile into the sky and planted firmly in the desert floor. The local military was shocked at its sudden and inexplicable appearance.
Just looking at it filled with them dread. Going near it caused many of them to shake and sweat in terror. The big stone’s sudden appearance isn’t a welcome site at all. They call it a baloa-kota. An omen, or sign of evil.
His Excellency, Field Marshal and President, Idi Nkromo, is the newly self-appointed dictator of the small African country of Togwana. Like all other dictators, Idi's quite taken with himself. He's also furious over the stone’s sudden appearance. He doesn’t know how it got there, who made it, what it’s made of, or how to get rid of it, but it must go.
He’s consulted everyone he has access to in his newly acquired country to destroy it but there it stands, in spite of him. As much as he hates to bring in outside help that might show him up, he’s demanded his secretary to commission the skills and knowledge of two professional scientists.
Dr. Jennifer Henderson is a geologist, hailing from Stanford University. Dr. Jacob Cooper is an archaeologist, who isn’t sharing which institute of higher learning he’s affiliated with.
Dr. Cooper is a single father, and he's brought along his two children, Jay (fourteen) and Lila (thirteen). Although they’re young, they’ve already accumulated years of experience in assisting their father in field research and are valued members of his team.
After a stiff and uncomfortable meeting with Nkromo, the Coopers nor Dr. Henderson are impressed with him. He’s let them know if they fail in their mission to remove the stone, they’ll die like the others who failed before them.
Nkromo swims in the deep-end of the megalomania pool and loves to find excuses to do away with folks who offend him. Although nearly everyone bows and caters to his every whim, he still gets offended ... a lot.
The Coopers and Dr. Henderson have little choice but to cooperate. If they attempt to flee into a surrounding country, they risk putting that country's citizens in danger of offending Nkromo and so, having little choice but to cooperate, the research team agrees to investigate the stone and see what can be done to remove it.
What they discover is unbelievable, yet there it stands, defying all reason and logic. Furthering their research means getting to the top of it. Since there are no handholds or footholds, and no way of making any or getting inside it, Dr. Cooper borrows a small plane and flies the crew to the top of the structure.
They find the top as equally fascinating as the base and the mystery of the stone's makeup and origin deepens. While there, gathering data that defies their senses, suddenly the stone moves.
Its surface begins to quake and undulate, knocking them off of their feet and tossing their plane and equipment like tiny toys. While they struggle to regain their footing a weather front moves in bringing high wind and bone chilling cold.
Hurriedly, they gather and load as much of their equipment as possible and make a frantic dash to leave the top of the stone mountain but the storm proves to be too much for their little Cessna.
It's losing altitude rapidly, and although Dr. Cooper is an excellent and well-experienced pilot, he can't get their flight under control.
Fuel is low and they’re descending on the wrong side of the stone. If Dr. Cooper can get them landed and alive, they’ll be stuck miles away from where they started, ill-equipped and unarmed on the outskirts of a village they've been warned is inhabited by violent cannibals.
Per their western neighbors, the cannibals are ruthless savages that have always been a threat to outsiders trespassing into their territory.
A plane-full of white folks dropping straight from the sky into their hunting grounds might be considered a fast-food feast hand-delivered by their gods.
But, Dr. Cooper and his family were called in for this mission not only for their archaeological expertise, but because they have a special quality ... a quality the Togwana's secretary has a secret and deeply-rooted hope in.
The Cooper's can sense and feel things others often can't. They sometimes see with supernaturally enhanced vision. Unknown to them, Dr. Henderson and President Nkromo, that's why were specifically selected for this mission. The secretary has placed his life, and theirs, at risk by bringing them to Togwana and unknown to the Coopers, many more lives hang in the balance of their success.
The Secret of the Desert Stone is the fifth book in The Cooper Kids Adventure Series by Frank E. Peretti, but none of the books in the series are just for kids.
Any reader who's a fan of adventure will have a blast with this family's excursions into deserts, forests tombs and lost cities while they discover ancient secrets, civilizations and make new friends where least expected.
The series is packed with the sort of stories that got me addicted to reading as a kid and as a grownup I have just as much fun with them.
Peretti writes these in perfectly sized chunks for kids and grownups with busy schedules, and once you've read one, you'll wanna read them all.
To order this from amazon.com, just click the pic of the book cover and it'll take you right to it. It'll make an awesome gift for you or a friend or even an entire little league team!
That's it for this one!
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