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Book Review

The Ark Plan by Laura Martin has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. This is the first book in the “Edge of Extinction” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Eleven-year-old Sky Mundy lives in North Compound, one of four underground cities in what used to be the United States. Around 150 years earlier, scientists began cloning the dinosaurs and bringing them out of extinction. The new dinosaurs were bigger and more dangerous than ever. They carried diseases that rapidly wiped out much of the human population, and they soon took over the above-ground world. A leader known as “the Noah” helped save the pandemic survivors by setting up colonies underground. Several different “Noahs” since have provided leadership for the compounds.

It’s been five years since Sky’s father vanished from North Compound. Leaders labeled him a traitor, claiming he stole critical government information. Ever since, Sky has been shunned by North Compounders, except for her best friend, Shawn. When Sky and Shawn discover a message Sky’s dad left for her in a broken compass, she knows she has to escape to the “topside” world to solve the mystery of his disappearance. The kids steal military equipment in preparation for traversing the dangerous world above, and they barely escape before the compound is locked down.

Shawn and Sky trek through foreign landscapes, dodging creatures until they’re almost eaten by a T. rex. A boy named Todd saves them, and they learn he is part of an illegal community of people living above ground in treehouses. Todd and his mother kindly accommodate the kids for the night, and Sky explains her mission to Jett, the leader of the community.

Jett is nervous about their presence but wants to help them. Sky says her father’s map and instructions point her to Lake Michigan, where she is supposed to plug in a port he left her. Jett assures her there is nothing in or around Lake Michigan anymore. Still, the kids consult the community’s map enthusiast, who helps them plan a route.

The next morning, military helicopters from North Compound land at the treehouse community, looking for two criminal children. The kids and Todd watch from the bushes as the soldiers kill a man and take the rest of the townspeople away in the helicopters. When Gen. Kennedy interrogates Todd’s mom and Jett, they say they haven’t seen any children.

Todd is angry at Sky and Shawn for causing his whole community to be imprisoned. They convince him they weren’t purposely spying for the government, but he’s still frustrated that their presence led to this disaster. He joins them on their journey because he knows he can help the trio maneuver above ground while Sky and Shawn can help them survive below. This may be the only way they can find Sky’s answers and Todd’s mom.

As they venture through rough terrain filled with dinosaurs, Todd teaches Sky and Shawn how to use bows and arrows for protection. He takes them to find a famed dinosaur hunter named Ivan, and Sky remembers her father’s note directed her to locate someone of the same name. The kids battle dinosaurs, and Ivan saves them. He takes them to an abandoned skyscraper for safety, and Sky soon discovers Ivan is her maternal grandfather.

Ivan explains that his daughter had wanted an education, so he snuck her into one of the compounds. He thought she would return home after her schooling to teach in the treehouse communities, but she stayed and married Sky’s father. Sky’s parents helped found the secret society of the Colombe (meaning “dove”).

Their work was an extension of the Noah metaphor used by the government. The Colombe realized that in the Bible narrative, salvation came for the people of earth when they were released from the ark. The group sought to change the world in a way that would free people from life in underground compounds. The Noah and his followers called this a rebellion.

Sky had always been told her mother died in childbirth, but Ivan admits his daughter was killed by the government because of her Colombe activities. Ivan says he hasn’t seen Sky’s father in many years, but he suspects he’s dead. Sky is still determined to make it to Lake Michigan and find out why her father sent her there. Ivan helps the kids escape as soldiers and dinosaurs attack. Sky is happy to know she has family as she prepares for the travel and dino battles ahead.

Christian Beliefs

Sky tells readers the Noah metaphor comes from an old biblical story.

Other Belief Systems

Discussing what would happen to earth if the dinos were destroyed, Ivan tells the kids evolution doesn’t work in reverse. Sky mentions fate is cruel. The compound residents say a pledge of loyalty to the Noah similar to the United States Pledge of Allegiance.

Authority Roles

Sky’s missing dad left the compound because he had a secret he believed could save the world from a life underground. A harsh and violent man, Gen. Kennedy shows little mercy or value for human life. Ivan protects and encourages his granddaughter. Todd’s Mom and Jett lie and sacrifice their freedom to protect the kids from being captured.


Dinosaurs attack humans and feed on other injured dinos. Soldiers kill dinos, hold guns to people’s heads and kill at least one human. Todd teaches the kids to use bows and arrows to shoot dinosaurs, and the dinos they kill often become their meals. Many scenes involve blood and dismemberment.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Illegal behavior: Sky and Shawn disobey compound rules and steal military equipment.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

9 to 13


Laura Martin






Record Label



HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers


On Video

Year Published





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