Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's latest novel, The Lost Island, is a great suspense yarn with a fantastical element. Truthfully, I wasn't prepared for the concept of a Preston & Child novel because I normally don't read books in the science fiction/fantasy genre, with the exception of Tolkien perhaps.

Still, the co-authors so beautifully craft this novel, that I was even able to suspend disbelief when main character Gideon Crew and his sidekick Amiko (a.k.a. Amy), a licensed captain and physicist, encounter a creature that we typically only meet in fantasy or mythology.

The Lost Island is... a beautifully written... fast paced... action-packed thriller!

In one passage, the creature weeps with something akin to human emotion. Amy speaks to the creature and uses the Greek word Polyphemus, which means "begettor, ancestor, or father of all."

The grief-stricken creature responds as any of us likely would if separated from our family, it rubs its "broken hands over its face, and wept." I couldn't help but respond to the emotion evoked in this passage, despite the fact that I know these creatures don't exist. What a beautifully written excerpt!

Furthermore, Preston and Child describe their characters' personalities very well. For instance, Gideon goes to a hotel bar and orders a martini. "As he sipped the drink, he indulged in one of his favorite activities, observing the people around him and imagining every detail of their lives, from what they did for a living to what their dogs looked like."

Deborah Feingold

I found this activity very telling and fun because I do the same thing when I am in public places. His action here gave me access to the inner workings of Gideon's mind, and helped me understand why he reacted to different scenarios in the book the way he did.

I was also drawn to Gideon's character for two reasons. One, he lives in a cabin in the Jemez Mountains outside Santa Fe. Second is Gideon's reference to Texas, the Lone Star State.My husband and I lived in Texas for a few years so I could relate to Gideon's accent and demeanor during his discussion with Sir Colin Griggs, the proprietor of Griggs and Wellington Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Lastly, I enjoyed the scientific references to DNA, the descriptions of the topography of the island, the history of Greek mythology and the verbiage used (including words such as "lugubrious"). All these elements propelled this fast paced, action-packed thriller until the very last page!