by Jack McDevitt
Review by Steve Sawicki
Ace Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0441013295
Date: November, 2005 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
McDevitt writes character driven hard sf like nobody else does. His novels, while containing technology, rely on the people surrounded by that technology to get the job done. The other thing about the universe that McDevitt posits is that it is an empty one. In this case there is one other race of beings, telepaths, who are repulsed almost as much by us as we are of them. Other than this, space is wide and empty. With this novel, McDevitt explores the conflict between history, the finding of artifacts and what happens to them once found. This discussion, in a sense, is what drives the book forward. Of course it helps that the characters caught in the middle of this are not only engaging but likable.
While this is the third novel that uses Benedict and Kolpath it is not necessary to have read the first two to enjoy this one. However, if you do read this one first and enjoy it and want to go back to the first two it would have been better to have read the first two, A Talent For War and Polaris, first.
It's not often that I read a book all the way from beginning to end. For the most part I simply don't have the time I once did. But, I'm also finding that there simply aren't the books out there that grab my attention in that way. Perhaps I've just read too much. Or maybe they really don't make them like they used to. Whatever the case, this is one book that I picked up and didn't put back down until it was done. Highly recommended.