The Lost Island: Preston and Child
Illusions, diversions, distractions and greed are just some of what Gideon Crew is capable of engineering when hired to complete a mission or job. Greed at times pushes him through or eggs him on, creating diversions, distractions and illusions are his fortes when getting what he wants. Gideon Crew works for Effective Engineering Solutions. Imagine working for a company that prides itself on dealing with failure analysis. Eli Ginn is the mind behind this venture and living in a wheelchair, unable to walk is what spurred him on to hire Gideon for a special mission to find a simple plant located in the Caribbean. This plant, the lotus plant is said to have special powers to heal any illness, affliction or disease that has befallen anyone. But, how do you get the plant and just how many lives will be sacrificed in order to complete this task for an unknown benefactor or person who has hired the EES and Gideon. Gideon has been instructed to access the Morgan Library in New York City to pilfer, purloin or just plain steal a specific page out of a book loaned to America by Ireland, the invaluable Book of Krells. Within the pages of this book, unknown to onlookers, spectators or even those who loaned the book to this library, hidden beneath the print and illuminated page is the Phorky’s Map. Within this map after certain treatments are completed on this page lies an old and ancient Greek text, which will explain and help located this much-needed plant. The information is on the backside of this page. But, the security is so tight within this library, the slightest movement will set off alarms, that Gideon has to come up with what he hopes will be a full prove plan to steal the page, not get caught and find out what the mystery behind is and much more. However, the first attempt is foiled, the alarms go off, and somehow it looks like a botched up robbery. Although it appears to look like he failed in reality he pulls off a caper so cunning, so brilliant you might say it is equal to the magic of the great Houdini or any other illusionist.
Deciding to forge ahead after taking care of purloining the pages from the Kells’s book, Gideon is given, although unwillingly, a new partner named Amy whose skills far surpass anyone sea captain and whose instincts are sharper than a deadly blade. But, their trip and their boat might start off exciting at first but an encounter with two treasure hunters could prove fatal. Two people pretending to be friendly but in reality wanted the bounty they were searching for and would stop at nothing to get it. As their ship takes a turn for the downside, both Gideon and Amy need to call up all of their strength and use their insights to escape what the crew of the Horizonte has in store for them.
Knowing where the gold might be, because that’s what they are looking for, his technologically brilliant and seafaring partner Amy, also versed in classical languages like Greek and sociology, must unravel a mystery that goes back to when Homer wrote the Odyssey.
As their journey takes on some dangerous turns, Amy becomes injured and then the boat sinks leaving them in the water and having to swim to the nearest island. As Amy brings to light the history of the Phorkys Map which was based on an earlier Greek map, as Glinn revealed, she continues by stating that the map was discovered by the Monks and Iona “among their stores of old vellum.” Back at EES the researchers and Glinn discuss that the page that was stolen might have been comprised of human skin. Comparing the page from the Book of Kells and the Phorkys Map with the Odyssey, Amy comes up with startling comparisons that will lead them to an Island that is unknown, to a tribe that might have the herb that they need and to the last living Cyclops in the world. As you read pages 174-177 what you will learn will be more than enlightening and the land of the Lotus Eaters is where you and Gideon and Amy will visit.
The land comes into sight and then finds themselves the guests of the Miskito Indians whose initial reaction to them was anything but friendly. Somehow they managed at first to get them into their good graces as the authors describe the island, the tribe, their customs, good and paint a picture that you can visualize in your mind even without being there. As they get to know these Indians they are convinced they have the healing or lotus plant and somehow feigning illness, Gideon receives the plant and is miraculously cured. Hoping they will take them to this mysterious island where they will give thanks to the Gods, leads to placing Gideon’s life in danger and almost losing Amy. Imagine that this plant is on a deserted volcanic island. Reason: no one ever accounted for it and the census did not take into account the last living Cyclops that plays an integral part in the end of the novel. Coming in contact with this Cyclops seems to be another illusion that the authors create for both Amy and Gideon as he begins to imagine seeing some type of rescue vehicle but in reality it was not really there. As both Amy and Gideon begin to lose sight of reality and she is in danger of dying, why does she toss aside their only hope for Glinn to rescue them? Who is her main concern and why has she become so attached to the Cyclops? Living on the island and dealing with this Cyclops, she manages to control his violence but for how long? What would happen if you came in contact with a Neanderthal that is nine feet tall, huge head on a thick neck with tons of muscles? What about his one eye the size of a plate? The ending is quite descriptive and graphic and more than comes to a tragic and violent ending. What is the real purpose of the mission and what part does Glinn play and his assistant Garza? What happens when they finally arrive and want to rescue Amy and Gideon? Why does she have a strong loyalty to the Cyclops and when they decide to cage it, what does she do? Lost in her own world and not able to deal with failure or even herself, what happens to Amy and where she winds up will shock readers.
Revealing to Gideon that the Cyclops were not just cavemen. Revealing that they had a sense of religion. Amy/Amiko, feels that they need to protect him and not allow him to wind up in a lab in a zoo. Glinn and his team have other ideas and when the final showdown comes to pass and she and Gideon can leave and move on, what happens will allow readers to know to what lengths she is loyal to the Cyclops. The parchment was the clue and the obvious solution why you will have to read pages 298-306 to learn why. A miracle drug that “feeds on the unfortunate.” Landing on the island and bringing the drug back with them will hopefully be a positive factor in healing all of humanity. Studying the creature they can learn about its origins, says Glinn. But, why does Amy go crazy and why does she react the way she does? Loyalties, friendships, alliances and trust are tested within the final chapters and one young girl’s idealistic goals you might say are questioned and shattered. Does the plant work? Will the person that is behind the mission get what he/she wants? What is next for Gideon? Will this plant if found cure him from his fatal illness? What happens when the Island is on fire and everyone’s life is in danger? The Lost Island: Just what was really found and what remains lost!
This is one novel that will take you back in time to Homer’s Odyssey, link many strands of history and take you on a voyage that treasure hunt that will might make you seasick, hungry, tired, wondering when the endless pain will stop and hopefully lead you on and adventure you will never forget compliments of our two great authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The fact that this novel is five stars is no ILLUSION!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer