This action-packed, time-traveling installment features a changed Artemis, more interested in helping others, especially his friends. With his brilliance, technology, family organization, and world-spanning adventuring, Artemis has become a sort of Tom Swift for the 21st century. As the series evolves, Artemis has lost the last traces of his criminal bent, almost becoming the millennial version of a Boy Scout. He and the fairies are now solidly on the same side and good friends. Even the violence has been dialed back a bit.
Five books into the series, the relationships and motivations are getting more complex, so it's best to start with the first book. Author Eoin Colfer seems to like putting Artemis up against other geniuses, but Minerva, who doesn't really mean any harm, is no Opal Koboi (for the uninitiated, she's the maniacal villain from books 2 and 4). So with The Lost Colony, the series returns to the pleasure of seeing Artemis, always in charge and unflappable, work out his complicated plans; he's not off-balance and one step behind, like in the fourth book.