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Lost and Found    by Alan Dean Foster order for
Lost and Found
by Alan Dean Foster
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Alan Dean Foster can always be counted on for an entertaining, lively, and highly readable tale. With Lost and Found he starts a new adventure featuring Marcus Walker, a talented and ambitious commodities trader from Chicago. Marc is feeling understandably smug. On holiday from his high-pressure and successful job, he is anticipating winning a bet with colleagues (spending 24 hours alone in a remote camp area) before returning home. However, in the wee hours of his last night, a noise disturbs his sleep; he is stunned to see a seven-foot, purplish monstrosity in his tent.

Marc resists but is overpowered. He awakens some time later and is relieved to find himself alone at his camp-site. But it doesn't take him long to realize that the setting is artificial. He is a captive, one of many. His nearest neighbour is another Terran, a small dog from whom he learns more about their situation. The dog is a stray who eked out an uncertain existence in a Chicago alley. Kidnapped like Marc, he was subjected to alien procedures that increased his intelligence and gave him the ability to speak, all in order to improve his marketability. Dubbed George by Marc, the affable canine informs the human that they are commodities for sale to those desiring an exotic pet or zoo acquisition.

Chatty and amiable, George has succeeded in making friends with several of his fellow prisoners. The information he gleaned is added to Marc's own experiences. The Vilenjji are experienced at capturing and keeping their goods. Resistance is futile (to quote another famous SF source). The best any of the prisoners can hope for is a kindly owner.

Marc, of course, finds this unpalatable advice. He succeeds in recruiting two other beings to join his escape attempt: Sque is a genius. Somewhat resembling a small octopus, she has a low opinion of non K'eremu, but is nonetheless persuaded by Marc's determination. The massive and dangerously violent (but only when upset) Braouk is another valuable ally. The four oddly matched conspirators pursue a dangerous and desperate scheme for escape, if only for long enough to inconvenience their hated captors.

Lost and Found is fun and an excellent read. Foster has a light, easy touch that belies the effort and thought that must have been expended to create so many fascinating aliens. The plot moves along smartly, and will have you cheering for the four escapees as well as their fellow prisoners.

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