ARK by Mark Dunstan

ARC by Mark Dunstan



ARK ebook by Mark Dunstan

The Ark has taken this reader on a superb journey of discovery into a futuristic world that has survived the near obliteration of its nature, race and inherent humanity.  Although it appears primitive at first glance, there are segments of society that embellish and enhance life and technology, others just merely survive.

The plot is multi layered and displays what can happen when two differing powerful societies collide. The main plot centres around a young female Iaya and consequences she must endure after foolishly meeting her deity, Enti. The trials and tribulations Iaya must face enhance her characters inner strength. Together with a handpicked professional team from her society’s administrators (Techno priests), they embark on a journey to unravel the mystery of the sacred message Enti had placed into her blood stream (Find ARK).

Woven around the protagonist Iaya, are further layers and subplots, themes of sorcery, secrecy, bizarre rituals, other worldly creatures, personality camouflage, fierce techno battles, jealousy, stubbornness, religion, forbidden love, family and courage. A small sprinkle of humour will secrete its way in subtlely. There is a plethora of techno gadgets as well as old mechanical or steam powered machinery and evilness that transcends this reader’s imagination.

The journey is fast paced with multiple action sequences, superbly described in minute detail as they embark on the dead continent, where only the most clever and strong survive. They discover interesting and unusual societies and eventually are led to the major city of Rorace, after meeting a local wastelander. The team inadvertently create mischief to this multi society city and mayhem ensues, they must utilise all their advanced techno gadgets to survive with some devastating effects.

The pace remains action packed and circumstances split the team into two groups. A side plot intervenes here and weaves through the main as it unravels, thus throwing our techno priests into chaos with unbelievable fantasy creatures, the meeting of the guardians of the Ark, and unbridled fear, as the knowledge of the Harbingers come into play throwing humans in the middle of some ancient war. The end of the book battle is amazingly riveting as this ancient war of rival’s heat up. Of course the ending leaves you wanting to know more.

The characters and their worlds are rich and inviting to the reader, very unique in presentation and thought. It is great to read an original storyline where word building enables the bizarre to feel realistic. The main characters are three dimensional showing growth and roundness, the support characters are a mixture of dynamic ( two dimensional) and static ( cannon fodder) personality traits.

There is a good balance between action, plots and characters. The tone and delivery is serious for most of the story but this is in keeping with the world and the harsh environment. The descriptive writing was superb and seamlessly progressed into conversational/ narrative style with enough voice to distinguish the characters.

Thank you for this amazing journey, another great Indie book.


Criteria Relevant information Mark
1. Perception:

  • Believability
  • Correct science
  • Correct fiction facts
  • Society makes sense
  • Type of writing, smooth flow/ how is the transition from Descriptive to Narrative.
  • The word building and balance of plots and characters allows for believability in the scenario although very bizarre, it is original and unique.
  • Correct science was excellent for most part, I was concerned however of Kerosene lamps in this techno world.? Did not seem to gel.
  • Writing flowed well; there was seamless transition from descriptive to conversational style. However a rookie mistake with too many (he said, she said). Giving voice to the characters allows for the distinction between them and you have performed this really well, so delete some of the above and it will sound just as awesome.
(4.5 / 5)
2. Grammar :

  • Spelling errors
  • Syntax/ Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
  • Laziness/Sloppiness
  • Format issues, missing words
  • Refer to below for couple queries.
  • Great, no problems with grammar. Word and sentence structure was excellent and seamless.
(5 / 5)
3. Characters:

  • Too many with some forgotten
  • Complexity/Roundness
  • Growth pattern
  • Speech pattern in keeping with character
  • Likeability/originality
  • Many characters but all accounted for. New characters introduced, some remained within the core themes others were back ground cannon fodder.
  • The main characters were third dimensional, and complex to the extreme. They were not defined by the plot, but by their actions and behaviour. Great building up of their roundness, with strengths and flaws. The support characters remained mostly second dimensional with the usual fanfare of, innocence, foolish behaviour, small chunks of bravado, the wanner be hero, the uptight religious, the pacifist, Oh and the sneaky pirate arrrgh.
  • Speech patterns were excellent for each character.
  • Who could not but like the characters, even the most evil was well written enough to want to see him pulled apart.
  • Originality and uniqueness for this reader as i nothing to compare it too. Seems like a mixture of Fantasy, Steam Punk and Sci-Fi wonderfully woven together.
(5 / 5)
4. Plot /Story line:

  • Crafting of plot/plots
  • Complexity
  • How do they converge
  • Humor/Tragedy was it real to reader
  • Ending
  • Multi layered plots and side plots were crafted well as they wove around the main plot of Iaya and her quest.
  • Yes quite complex but written well enough to understand.
  • Converge seamlessly except for chapters 22-24, the flow is broken and we are months in the future. Perhaps another small chapter explaining what has transpired here. Some explanations occur in chapter 24 but some questions still unanswered.
  • Very little humour, though it is subtly placed. E.g. (The pirate ship named, ‘The Rust Bucket’). Tragedy was real and you felt the anguish of Proctor when one of his team died. More humour would have been a bonus.
  • The ending was the usual, leaving the reader wondering what is going to happen to their heroes with slight hints of more mischief to come.
(4.5 / 5)
5. Bigger Picture:

  • Reader involvement
  • Social/ethical dilemmas/morals
  • Order of story does it work
  • Did the reader enjoy it/Do you want to read more
  • Plagiarism
  • The reader felt transported into this bizarre world of techno bots and evil characters.
  • There were underlying social and moral dilemmas especially with meeting of differing cultures.
  • Absolutely enjoyed this story, cannot wait for the next book.
  • A map would enhance the readers perception of the whole, as well as a glossary of terminology.
(5 / 5)

Overall Rating

  1. Star Poor
  2. Stars Needs a lot of rework to make it better
  3. Stars Good but has some problem areas
  4. Stars Really good just couple problems
  5. Stars Excellent
Perception: (4.5 / 5)
Grammar: (5.0 / 5)
Characters: (5.0 / 5)
Plot: (4.5 / 5)
Big Picture: (5.0 / 5)
Average: (4.8 / 5)
(4.8 / 5)

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Genre: fantasy, fantasy adventure, sci-fi
Series: The Natural Selection Trilogy |