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Book Review

Light in the Lions' Den by Marianne Hering has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the 19th book in the “Imagination Station” 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

Beth and Patrick leave Eugene in a jail cell in 1874 Little Rock, Arkansas. They travel in the Imagination Station to Babylon and see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a fiery furnace with an unknown fourth person. Immediately, they are whisked away to a desert and land in the sand. They assume that a city in the distance is a Babylonian city. The Imagination Station has been malfunctioning. It drops two cans of corned beef and an electronic gadget into the sand by them.

Two chariots race toward Patrick and Beth from the city. At first the men in the chariots are brusque with the children, but when they learn that they, the canned meat and gadget came from the sky, they bow before the children. Patrick wants to tell them to only worship God, but he's afraid the men will turn on the children so he doesn't. Captain Anu and Duzi, the chief scout, believe the children came from Adad, the god of lightning. The lightning that was in the desert, which came from the Imagination Station, also created glass out of the sand.

The men pick up the glass and give the cousins a ride to the city. Inside the city walls is an enormous terraced garden about four stories high. It is called the hanging gardens. As they continue, a lion attacks one of the chariot horses. Duzi shoots arrows at it but misses. When the beast disappears into the enormous garden, Captain Anu goes after it.

Duzi takes the children through the inner city gates and tells them about the Babylonian gods. The first ziggurat the children see is a temple to Marduk. Duzi takes the cousins to Adad's temple. There, they meet Anatu, his priestess. Duzi introduces the cousins as the children of Adad. Patrick and Beth are uncomfortable being introduced in this way, but they are too afraid to say they didn't come from a made-up god.

Anatu does not like Patrick because of his light blue eyes, but she agrees to let Beth be a temple servant. Beth is told to obey her or become a human sacrifice. Duzi gives Anatu one omen, a piece of glass that was made by lightning, and keeps the other for King Darius. He takes Patrick with him to the palace. He thinks Patrick may be a seer.

Tanzi, Anatu's servant, places a gold hat with horns on Beth's head. Then they meet Anatu at the altar. Beth hears two men talking about how they will get King Darius to pass a new law and destroy their enemy.

Anatu begins to worship Adad. Beth refuses to worship any god but the one, true God. The two men despise the Jewish God because He's the God of their enemy. Anatu receives a message not to hurt anyone who belongs to this God. The men leave but promise to send soldiers to arrest Beth. Anatu tells her to flee. Beth tries to escape but a guard comes after her. She finds a way out through the priestess's window.

Patrick is cleaned up and then taken to the king's banqueting room. Captain Anu is there. He captured the lion and put it in the king's pit. A thin man is at the table. He is not eating the king's food.

Duzi tells the king about Adad's gifts. He shows King Darius the glass, canned meat and Patrick. When King Darius asks Patrick to tell him about the future, Patrick tries to remember his history. He mentions the Romans will eventually take over Darius' kingdom and then how Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the King of the Jews. King Darius thinks Patrick's a fool and tells Duzi to take the boy away.

The thin man follows Patrick and asks to hear more about the Messiah. His name is Daniel. He takes Patrick to his home. At his house, he has an upstairs window that faces Jerusalem. He kneels on a carpet and prays at that window three times a day.

Beth sneaks into the palace and pretends to be a servant girl. She reaches the banquet room of the king in time to see him put his mark on a new law. She learns that the law makes praying to any god but King Darius illegal for 30 days.

Some of the king's men recognize Beth. They accuse her of not believing in a Babylonian god. They send for Daniel. Patrick accompanies Daniel to visit the king.

When they arrive, King Darius is crying. He realizes what he has done. He knows that his advisers had him sign the new law to trap Daniel. But now he can't change it because no Persian law can be dissolved once it is passed.

Daniel, Patrick and Beth leave. They go to Daniel's top floor, by his window, kneel down and pray. Captain Anu and Duzi arrest them.

Before they are put into the lions' den, Captain Anu says he will say that Daniel forced the cousins to pray if the cousins will only call Darius god. They refuse. Duzi tries to get them to give the lions the canned meat with a sleeping potion in it. They refuse again.

All three of them go into the lions' den. As the lions begin to pounce, a white light appears, and the fourth man from the fiery furnace is suddenly in the lions' den with them. He closes the mouths of the lions. Then he sings, which puts Patrick and Beth to sleep.

In the morning, Daniel and the cousins are still alive. King Darius is glad. Captain Anu rolls back the stone over the den's opening, and the three leave the lions behind.

The children are quickly ushered away by Duzi as the evil men are put in the den. Patrick and Beth think the Imagination Station may be where they first left it, on the Plain of Dura. Duzi takes them there. When they find it, they tell Duzi goodbye. He now believes that their God is stronger than Adad.

Eugene's voice tells them to get into the Imagination Station and find Nikola Tesla. Pinkerton let Eugene have his computer back, which is how he now communicates with the cousins. He says that Tesla can help them all get home. Patrick and Beth get into the Imagination Station and are ready for their next adventure.

Christian Beliefs

Patrick tells King Darius that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Daniel tells Patrick that it's better to be a slave for Almighty God than a king for a false god.

Beth won't bring a dove to Anatu to be sacrificed to a false god. She says there is only one God. Later, Beth prays that God will hide her from the soldiers looking for her.

Patrick, Beth and Daniel kneel and then pray to God. God sends an angel to close the mouths of the lions while Daniel and the cousins are in the lions' den. In the end, Duzi believes their God is stronger than Adad.

Other Belief Systems

The Babylonians believe in Adad, the god of lightning, symbolized by a bull. Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of war. The lion is her symbol. Marduk (a dragon) is the god that protects the city.

The temple of Adad has human sacrifices to appease the god. Those that follow Adad believe that you can't see a god, but you can see the king, who is a god.

A law is made that makes it illegal for anyone to pray to any god except King Darius for 30 days.

Authority Roles

King Darius is the Persian king. He favors Daniel, but is tricked by advisers who appeal to his vanity. He signs a law that says it's illegal to pray to any god but him for 30 days.

Captain Anu is in charge of soldiers. He does what his king wants him to do. Anatu is the priestess for the god Adad. She is mean to Beth and terse with her servant. Though she doesn't help Beth, she does tell Beth to flee.

Daniel is a favored adviser to King Darius. His enemies are other advisers who are jealous of him. Daniel believes that God is the ultimate authority in his life.


Duzi shoots arrows at a lion that is attacking a carriage horse. Daniel, Beth and Patrick are thrown into a lions' den.



Discussion Topics

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

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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

7 and up


Marianne Hering






Record Label



A Focus on the Family book in association with Tyndale House Publishers Inc.


On Video

Year Published





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