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Book Review

In Fear of the Spear by Marianne Hering has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.] It is the 17th 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

Due to an Imagination Station malfunction, Beth is transported to a lush Ecuadorean jungle, as her cousin Patrick returns to Whit's End. A jaguar leaps toward her, but Dr. Silva, an American botanist, nicks it with a bullet, and the jaguar flees. An Auca tribesman appears and grabs the rifle. He puts Beth and Dr. Silva in a hut that is guarded.

Eugene and Patrick do a computer search to figure out where Beth is. After talking with Connie Kendall, they figure out that she is in Ecuador. As Eugene and Patrick go on a trip to save Beth, something goes wrong. Patrick ends up in Ecuador, but the year is 1956, and Eugene has vanished.

A teen Auca delivers the bag that the Imagination Station left for Beth. In it are the items that Beth needed for a previous adventure to Pompeii. Dr. Silva does not understand how Beth could have a modern gas mask and a priceless, historic map.

Patrick lands on white sand near water. He tries to leave the Imagination Station, but the vehicle won't let him out. Then a small plane lands on the sandbar. He sees five missionaries getting out of a plane. The Imagination Station tells him that the men are Peter Fleming, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot and Nate Saint. Patrick learns that these five men become martyrs. He can't get out of the Imagination Station car because it is in lockdown mode.

Then the Imagination Station car sends Patrick to another location. It looks like he's still in Ecuador, but this time, he is by a white house with a large barn, and a plane wants to land where he is standing. He quickly gets out of the way, and the Imagination Station disappears. The pilot of the small plane is named Steve and is 13.

Their guard draws a picture in the sand, but Beth can't tell what he drew. While searching for paper to draw a map, Beth finds a Bible that belongs to Rachel and an old magazine. Dr. Silva tells Beth the story of the martyred missionaries, which took place nine years earlier. Dr. Silva tells Beth to meet him at a bridge over a stream, near the place where he first helped her. Then he escapes out of the back of the tent and makes a run for it.

Patrick introduces himself to Steve. Another woman exits the plane, too. She is Steve’s aunt, and her name is Rachel. Patrick tells her Beth is lost. Rachel explains the Aucas are now called Waodani. They look for Beth from the plane.

The Auca guard does not chase after Dr. Silva. So Beth captures a cockroach in a bag and sneaks out the back of the tent, too. She doesn't know her directions, so she listens for water. Then she follows the sound.

Patrick learns that Rachel and Steve's last name is Saint. She is one of the martyr's sisters, and Steve is his son. Rachel now lives with the Waodani. They killed her brother, who was Steve’s father, Nate Saint. Rachel wants to teach the Waodani to accept Jesus and stop killing.

The Auca guard follows Beth. She hides in a hollowed-out tree, but is found out when she leaves it. The Auca talks and says the name Nemo. Beth throws the bag with the cockroach in it at the Auca and runs.

Beth finds the stream, and the Auca guard finds her, but he doesn't stop her from crossing. She starts across the bridge, but a crocodile stops her from going any further. Beth falls into the stream, and Dr. Silva pulls her from it. The crocodile attacks the Auca guard. Dr. Silva and Beth leave the man wrestling the crocodile, though Beth wants to help him.

From the plane, Patrick sees a hurt man, whom Rachel recognizes as Gaba. Gaba is a Waodani Christian who tried to tell other tribes about Jesus. He has a spear in his side.

As they escape, Dr. Silva and Beth see a man lying on the grass with a spear in his side. Dr. Silva knows how to help him. He hopes by saving this man that the Auca won't hurt them.

Beth sees Patrick in the plane, and Patrick yells the Auca’s name is Gaba. The plane flies away to get help. Rachel has a first aid kit. They land and then hurry into the jungle to find Gaba, while the pilot radios for help.

The Auca who wrestled the crocodile appears. He is wet and has the rifle. Beth tries to tell him that Gaba is hurt, but he doesn’t understand until she acts out what might have happened to Gaba. Beth leads him to Gaba. He stands over his hurt friend and prays.

Patrick, Steve and Rachel meet up with Beth. Patrick tells Beth the story of the five martyred missionaries. When Beth calls the natives Auca, Patrick corrects her because they like to be Waodani.

Beth's guard's name is Kimo. He helps Gaba. Kimo points at Rachel and calls her Nemo, which is her name in Waodani. It means star. Beth realizes that the Waodani took her and Dr. Silva to their village to protect them.

Suddenly, a spear is thrown and pierces Dr. Silva’s bag. They carry Gaba to safety. Steve sees Mipo, a hostile tribesman who believes killing gives him power. Mipo and Kimo fight, and Mipo yanks the spear out of Dr. Silva’s bag. The jaguar appears, and Mipo focuses on it.

Kimo goes out to meet Mipo, and the two start to fight. Mipo dives for the spear in Dr. Silva's bag and prepares to throw it. Just then, the jaguar races by them and finds a tree to climb into. It looks at them and is getting ready to attack. Mipo suddenly turns his attention to the jaguar. Any Waodani who kills a jaguar gets great power.

Suddenly, Dr. Silva grabs his rifle. He wants to shoot Mipo. Steve tries to stop him because the Waodani want to make peace with Mipo. Dr. Silva doesn't believe that is possible. Kimo bumps Dr. Silva, which makes him fire the rifle in the air.

The jaguar attacks Mipo. Mipo hurls his spear at the jaguar but misses. The jaguar swipes Mipo's chest before it disappears into the jungle. Kimo breaks the spear and takes away the rifle. Dr. Silva doesn’t resist. Mipo flees.

Dr. Silva believes the law of the jungle is kill or be killed. Rachel explains that we are all savages who need Jesus to change our hearts. Kimo helped with the killing of the missionaries, and Rachel and other relatives came to teach him and others about forgiveness. Kimo was the first Waodani to believe in Jesus. Now most of the Waodani have decided to live by the law of God’s love.

They carry Gaba toward the plane. Eventually friendly Waodani appear to help carry Gaba. Later, Dr. Silva asks to be baptized after committing his life to following Jesus. Kimo baptizes Dr. Silva.

Patrick hears the Imagination Station and tells Beth it is time to go. Though both Imagination Stations appear, they choose to use the car. The cousins get in and shut the door. Patrick spins the steering wheel, and they both hear the loud shriek of a train whistle, which is their next adventure.

Christian Beliefs

After five Christian men are martyred in 1956, their sisters and wives work with the Waodani tribesmen and teach them about forgiveness. Many in the tribe become Christians. There is a Bible that belongs to Rachel in the Waodani hut where the tribe guards Dr. Silva and Beth.

Patrick, Beth, Kimo and Rachel pray for safety and healing. Dr. Silva realizes he needs to follow Jesus in his life and chooses to be baptized.

Other Belief Systems

Mipo, a savage tribal warrior, believes killing gives him power.

Authority Roles

Rachel is Steve’s aunt. She portrays forgiveness and the love of Jesus to everyone she meets. Dr. Silva uses his abilities to help save Gaba's life.


Spears, a machete and a rifle are used, though the scenes are not graphic. A jaguar swipes at a warrior and leaves a mark on the warrior's chest. A spear pierces a tribesman, and Waodani tribesmen have previously killed missionaries.



Discussion Topics

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Additional Comments/Notes

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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

7 to 10


Marianne Hering






Record Label



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


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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