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In the Shadow of the Ark

Written by Anne Provoost

Translated by John Nieuwenhuizen

A thundering epic set in the apocalyptic days of Noah’s ark 

“In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”
Genesis 7:11

The story of Noah’s Ark is often retold, but always in its most simplified form. Yet it’s also a richly complex tale of terrible contradictions, wherein most of the people on Earth were destroyed. What could these others – the ones who didn’t make it on the ark – have been thinking as the rumors of the coming flood spread? What must it have looked to them as a boat of unprecedented proportions was constructed in the middle of the desert? How would the gathered tribes have reacted when they learned that none but Noah’s family would be saved?

Anne Provoost’s brilliant imagination places a young woman named ReJana in the midst of this roiling cauldron of events. She and her family are not among the chosen; they are part of the city of industry that grew up in the desert around the building of the ark. Her father, a ship builder. advises Noah on his great project (which most believe is insane), while ReJana herself falls in love with Noah’s son Ham. They are a family apart, with the clear vision of outsiders. They live in the midst of a time and place that we recognize and yet feel as if we’re seeing clearly for the first time. Even as we think we know the story, we hope they will survive the coming deluge.

Reminiscent of The Red Tent, Provoost’s epic novel is a literary page turner and a love story, building its power from page to page like a gathering storm.


Ham saw me from his workbench. He hurried across. Because he looked at me without speaking, my grief burst forth. I had felt it growing in me, but when it reached my head it still took me by surprise: it rose up in me and I overflowed. I could not stop sobbing. Was this the stone coming loose, the beginning of a landslide which would overwhelm us? “Help us get away from here,” I said. “See that we can leave this place safely. We have nothing to do with the punishment that will be imposed on you and your people.”

The timber around us creaked. He looked around quickly, at the workmen who came and went, their eyes downcast. “Don’t be afraid. I will take care of you."

“What can you do?” I asked with a sob. “You do not even control your own fate!”

He hunched his back and put his hand over his mouth. Wood shavings from his hair fluttered down onto my arm. He had barely any voice when he said, “Go away now. But come back to me tonight. You will belong to me like my shadow. If our god does not choose you, I will.

Reviews and Awards

Children's Book Sense Picks
Long Listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

“This beautiful, solemn, heavy retelling of the story of Noah’s ark is narrated in the first person by Re Jana. … Suspense slowly builds as the lands dampen. Consider this poetic, substantial piece a YA/adult crossover.” - Kirkus Reviews

“In the tradition of the adult novel The Red Tent comes this story of the biblical flood.… Exquisitely detailed and intelligently written, this is a YA novel only in the broadest sense; no one would blink if it appeared on an adult list. Teens will find themselves … caught up in the story’s tension, especially when the rain starts falling.… A vast piece that striking reveals the human condition at the hour of destruction.” - Booklist 

Purchase Options
Indiebound  Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Summer 2004
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 0-439-44234-6
Price: $16.95/$24.99
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Page Count: 320
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Querido
Rights Available? yes