Reviews for Deep Structure

“Da Vinci Code, move over for this fast-paced tale of magic, mystery, and intrigue. Dedicated epigrapher Gatsby Donovan trots half the globe to uncover the secret of a set of glyphs that suggest a deep connection between three major ancient civilizations. Gatsby moves from curiosity to terror as the power behind the unknown symbols begins to manifest in her own body. Lori Stephens’ great sense of storytelling spiced with humor effortlessly carries the reader back to a time when Druids, Mayan priests, and Egyptian gods shared the world between them and the spoken word held the power to move even the earth itself.

“Do you ever wonder if there are some questions that science cannot answer?” Gatsby wonders. The answer is definitely, “more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Deep Structure takes flight with the entrance of strange monsters, whimsical beings, and bizarre phenomena. Glowing symbols appear and disappear at will by a curious loophole in the known structure of the universe. Who is pulling the strings? Perhaps Gatsby herself.

Surprise after surprise leads the discerning reader deep into the story as Stephens paints a unique and fascinating picture on the larger canvas of history. Was there a connection between ancient Egypt, massive Mayan temples, and the origin of Stonehenge? Stephens offers the reader a unique perspective on historical “coincidences” that uncover a mind-bending dialogue between what we’ve long assumed to be three far-flung cultures.

Ms. Stephens’ extensive research and intuitive imagination bring to life the magic of languages, both those ancient and those yet to be decoded, twining them together with real physics and archaeology in a highly entertaining story that echoes Shyamalan’s Signs and Gaiman’s Stardust.”

— Candy Davis, Editor, Editing International

Stephens’s Deep Structure is an archaeology-meets-magic adventure in the tradition of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, but with a much more human protagonist, Gatsby Donovan (a thirty-something woman) and some marvelous research on archaeolinguistics, ancient civilizations, obscure geography, and more.

The initial braininess of the book is offset by Gatsby’s best friend, an oversexed woman psychotherapist. There are some moments of pop thrown in to liven things up; e.g., the ability of the protagonist to give people the finger and swear a blue streak (not overused) are charming facets complimenting her bookwormish personality. One older character starts out as a cliché absentminded professor but becomes something much more, a lesson in how looks can be deceiving.

There are some really nice, artistic turns of phrase in this book. Things intimate to everyone — like what fatigue feels like, the goods and bads of working out in a gym, how different smells make one react — are detailed with craft but without conceit and make the characters feel human even when the storyline is touching on ghosts and telekinesis.

The book is cinematic in some places, the way it reveals secrets, how it stages observations by multiple characters. There are a few weaker moments when you feel that the author is imagining an eventual screenplay instead of the novel she’s writing, but these are few enough not to be distracting from what is a truly fun read overall.

A valid complaint about most science fiction is that the science is so shoddy there’s no suspension of disbelief to aid the fiction. Here, the science is more than solid, and the reader is easily immersed in the adventure.

— Charles King, President, Cox-King Media

Deep Structure is an introvert’s adventure in which the thrills and chills are driven by scientific and philosophical intrigue instead of murder and mayhem. We need more thrillers like this.

Epigrapher Gatsby Donavan is a woman of science who, on the cusp of her summer sabbatical, is challenged with deciphering a series of magical symbols appearing in Egyptian and Peruvian ruins. Her quest for the truth leads her from exploration of exotic locales, to confrontation of repressed childhood memories, and ultimately to the brink of madness. And what she discovers is an alternate vision of reality that forces her to abandon an empiricist’s view of the universe for a new understanding that borrows equally from quantum physics and mysticism.

Like any truly original work, it defies convenient labels or comparisons. But if Richard Bach’s Illusions had been written in consultation with Steven Hawking and C.S. Lewis, the result may have been something like Deep Structure.

— Kevin Joseph,


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