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Best Novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Updated on April 23, 2012

Great Books by Preston/Child

Best to Read

No matter what your favorite genre of book to read, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child deliver well developed and researched stories. They weave suspenseful tales which often combine real places and history with wildly imaginative narrative. Similar to the E. L. Doctorow novel, Ragtime , the reader will lose track of what is fiction and what may have been fact (fact being the use of real places and events used in a fictional manner).

Though not the first book of theirs that I read, Mount Dragon , is my favorite so far. Published in 1997, most of the story takes place at a super secret research facility in New Mexico, where some of the nation's top scientists are studying genetics, and communicable diseases, among other things. The story is truly ingenious!

The research facility is known as Mount Dragon, it is owned by a company called Genedyne (which is mentioned in one of their other novels) and is run by a megalomaniac who believes that an ex-business partner is out to ruin him.

Guy Carson, one of the nation's top geneticists is dispatched to Mount Dragon to work on a "vaccine" for influenza. Other scientists have been working on a synthetic form of blood, and there is obviously other research as well. The flu vaccine ends up with a glitch, instead of helping people, it violently kills those who try it or come in contact with the vaccine.

Mr. Carson falls for a real spitfire named Susana Cabeza de Vaca, she is also a scientist at Mount Dragon. Eventually they leave the facility and are stuck in the New Mexican desert, while security is looking for them. Also included is a slight hunt for a lost gold treasure.

All elements of the story get wrapped up quite neatly. After the problems are settled and you think the story is over, Mr. Carson and the antagonist, the megalomaniac, one Brent Scopes have a feud of wits in or near Brent's office. They "play" a game in which they refer to historical facts, figures, statistics and lore to see which one can "outdo" the other. The true climax has an incredible pace and the twist is the "ingenious" part, but if I give anymore, I would ruin the surprise ending.

Douglas Preston's brother in real life is Richard Preston, author of the "real" viral doomsday book, "The Hot Zone." While comparisons are inevitable, Mount Dragon can stand on its own, having been well researched and constructed, it is a great book!

Buy immediately at Amazon

Another Great Book

Another Great Book

The other great novel by this duo is Riptide. It was published in 1998, the first paperback printing occurred in 1999, and is a tale about digging up an old long lost pirate treasure that happens to be worth close to $2 billion dollars, mostly in gold.

The book starts with an account of all those who have died trying to find the treasure over a 200 year period. It is believed to be on an island off the New England coast of Maine, an infamous place called Ragged Island.

Ragged Island is currently owned by Malin Hatch, whose father and brother died trying to find the treasure in separate events, he has become a doctor and couldn't care less about the supposed treasure. Then strolls in Captain Gerard Neidelman, a wealthy treasure hunter.

Doctor Hatch agrees to let the Captain and his crew search for the treasure on the island he owns, in exchange for a large percentage and with some conditions. The Captain has the best hardware and tools, state-of-the-art computers and a great plan backed by tireless research to extract the treasure.

Many believe the island to be cursed and once the dig is underway, things start to happen to the crew and the dig that would indicate that perhaps there is something to this curse. Some of the crew get sick, the computers fail and then it seems as if the Captain is not just obsessed, but perhaps insane.

The characters are all well developed and three dimensional and the story is constructed so tight, not even all the traps of the island would allow water into the story. One of the dominant thoughts I had while reading this novel is that it would make a great film: Part Indiana Jones, part Pirates of the Caribbean, part Allen Quartermaine.

The climax comes with a severe North Atlantic storm, the finding of the treasure, and as usual, a twist that is shocking. Does anyone get to keep the treasure? You have to read it to find the answer!

Honorable Mention - Solo Novels

Two books deserve an honorable mention, each written solo by each author.

Written by Douglas Preston, and published in 2004, The Codex, is a compelling novel that deals with an ancient Mayan codex that can revolutionize modern medicine with herbal remedies.

A wealthy man possessed the Codex and he dies, and sends his sons on a search in Latin America to find the solutions to the codex, with the caveat that to receive their inheritance they must find the father's body and the codex. But many cutthroat pharmaceutical companies are interested as well, one of them has even sent mercenaries to stop the sons and keep the codex.

The final book is by Lincoln Child and published in 2007, it is called Deep Storm. Most of the story takes place two miles below sea level underneath an oil rig in the North Atlantic.

A clandestine organization has found something of immeasurable importance under the oil rig. They call in several scientists and specialists and it is being run by the United States military. What could possibly be down there?

Some of the scientists come down with an "unknown" illness and strange things happen, others begin to go crazy. The guest scientist wants to know what was found, and when he is told (or shown), it is far beyond anything we could imagine.

Deep Storm is well researched and is full of scientific facts and contains a bit of supernatural happenings but finally climaxes with a great revelation.


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    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      Glad to meet another fan of Preston - Child. They are truly great authors. Riptide is a really good read, and as you stated, they weave some fact in with some fiction. The island known as Oak Island is reputed to have some, if not all, of what is described in the book. Even John Wayne spent some money trying to find the treasure, but it has kept its secrets close. Thunderhead is my favorite of theirs, although the Helen trilogy holds a place in my heart. I currently own all but a couple of Lincoln's novels, only lack one of Doug's, and have all of their joint novels. Great review!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, I have read the Codex! but I read so many books in a year I could'nt remember who wrote it! this review is great, it has given me the idea to buy some more, thanks nell

    • CJamesIII profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      I've since read the Book of the Dead and Thunderhead. Book of the Dead was good but too long and Thunderhead was another great story.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      I am a big fan of their books with agent pendergaust. Riptide was awesome as well as The Ice Limit. Haven't read Codex yet.


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