A lost-world story derivative of James Hilton's Shangri-La, by a first-time novelist. Reporter Peter Novak is an American who has come to London to track down the mystery of his father, an ace Army pilot who disappeared over the Himalayas during WW II. Before he can pursue his research, he meets mysterious Tashi, a Tibetan goddess who's reincarnated each generation into a new, and naturally exquisite, woman. She must rediscover the ancient secret of Shambala, where the ``bones of God'' are kept and all life began, and where the essence of God still dwells; it evinces itself in a phenomenon of sunlight and mist called ``the frost of Heaven.'' Meanwhile, in the past, Peter's father Duncan crashes his plane, is nursed back to health by the monks of Shambala, falls in love with the earlier version of Tashi--and manages to keep the great secret out of the hands of the Nazis. Back in the present, as Peter draws near the hidden city, he must battle off the nasty Communist Chinese, who are also interested in God's bones. Tashi and Peter get together, sort of, in the end. The author has a fine reporter's eye; and when he wriggles free of his story, he's captivating and dour--in his descriptions of the Tibetan landscape or in a harrowing account of contemporary Calcutta. There's some snap to Peter and Tashi's dialogue. The story, however, borrows from so many writers that it never suspends disbelief. Podrug is a talented writer with a knack for startling images and a real gift for capturing the seamy downside of cities. But he needs to strike out on his own.