Monday, November 9, 2009

Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea

Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea perfectly rounds out Frank Peretti's Cooper Kids Adventure Series. In this fourth installment, we finally are treated to an inside look at the emotions of Lila, her archaeologist father, Dr. Cooper, and, to a lesser degree, Jay. We learned in the first book Lila and Jay lost their mother, and this book finally explains what happened. Book four also addresses the questions I raised about Lila's motivation in my review of Book three--I promise I didn't read book four until after I wrote the review of book three!

It turns out, Lila is tired of narrowly escaping death and risking bodily injury to help her father on his archaeological digs. While working in Japan, she and her father have an argument in which Lila accuses her father of not caring about her or her mother, who he never mentions. Lila misses her mother, and wishes she could talk about her. As a result of their argument, Dr. Cooper decides to send Lila to her aunt's house in Washington State. Using his connections, Dr. Cooper secures passage to the States for Lila on a military transport jet. Unfortunately, the plane is carrying top-secret weapons and is hijacked shortly after take-off. One of the crew befriends Lila, and tells her to climb into a waterproof, bullet-proof, capsule-shaped pod carrying a mysterious weapon.

It doesn't take long for Lila to become the only survivor of the plane crash, and her father and brother to realize something is amiss. Jay and Dr. Cooper quickly head to a small island in the Pacific to try to find out what has happened to Lila. There they join a foreign journalist and two islanders in their race to find the weapons pod before terrorists or Russia's Communist government find it, and before the Americans command the pod to self-destruct.

As Jay and Dr. Cooper attempt a rescue, Lila is stuck in the pod, thinking about the harsh words she exchanged with her dad. Peretti draws many parallels between Lila's plight and the story of Jonah, and like Jonah, Lila is miraculously saved in time to apologize to her father and learn his true feelings for her mother.

What I Like: I am so pleased this book finally delves into some heavy characterization of our teenage heroes and their father. Readers will identify with Lila's struggles to accept responsibility for her part in the fight with her dad. Most of Lila's time in the pod is spent in an ongoing conversation with God, where she alternately is desperate, angry and contrite. At the end, she is able to move past her feelings of blame and hurt, and forgive her dad.

I also like the fast-paced action. The book reads like one of the old James Bond movies (which I am not endorsing, however.) It is written in the style of an international thriller, but with personable, Christian characters, and a Christian message.

What I Dislike: Lila's escape, though meant to be miraculous, is not very believable. But a happy ending is better than an unhappy one, so oh well.

Overall Rating: Very Good!

Age Appeal: 10-14, but older readers will enjoy it.

Publisher Info: Crossway, 1988; ISBN: 978-1-58134-621-3 ; Paperback, $5.99

Buy it Now at for $4.99

OR Buy it at for $5.99.

Special Information: The books come in a four-book set, available for $17.99 from CBD, and I would highly recommend reading all of them. I would like to read the first two books over again, since I now have a better sense of the characters.

Read our reviews of other Frank Peretti books here.

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