The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop.
Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?
With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, Forty Days is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.
Forty Days is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending.Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that Forty Days may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet.
Mouths are moving, people must be screaming, the trembling goats beside me must be squealing, but the only sounds left in the world are the crash of water and wind and the boom of thunder. I urge the goats forward, but as soon as they find their footing they slip again, and I do as well. It takes all my attention just to make some slow progress toward the ark, dragging the goats behind me, and I have to narrow my eyes against the increasingly sharp barbs of the raindrops. So I don’t even try to see what’s going on with my father and Noah, Munzir and the ruined fire. And I don’t see the shape approaching me as I stumble onward, till I’m only a few steps from the ark’s open doors—
—and a cold, wet hand grabs my arm.
It’s Jorin, his eyes wide and his lips moving furiously, though I can’t make out a single word. I try to pull away from him and he just comes closer, his mouth moving even faster; every minute facet of his expression beseeches me to listen, to understand. I’m doing my best to hold on to my anger against him, but it’s slipping away, a mere gust of hot air that means nothing as the world breaks into pieces around us. And then I no longer care what he’s saying; I only want to tell him: Go back, now, while you can still cross the river. I hope your home is strong. Stay safe.
I must be speaking aloud, for Jorin’s lips have stopped moving and he’s leaning even closer, as though he can pluck my words out of the wind. Then a hand grabs my other arm—Father. He takes the goats’ tethers from me and pulls me away from Jorin, into the ark. And I let him.
About the author:
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.