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Firebird: An Alex Benedict Novel Mass Market Paperback – 25 Sep 2012


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (25 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007805
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.6 x 17.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 675,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Jack McDevitt is that splendid rarity, a writer who is a storyteller first and a science fiction writer second. In his ability to absolutely rivet the reader, it seems to me that he is the logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke (Stephen King)

McDevitt hit a grand slam with this one ... I'm still shaking my head and wondering how he pulled it off (Wired.com)

A great entry . . . A fast-paced thriller (Midwest Book Review)

You should definitely read Jack McDevitt (Gregory Benford) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A Nebula Award finalist for Best Novel from the multi-award winning SF master Jack McDevitt. Sixth in the acclaimed Alex Benedict series. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover
Alex Benedict is well known to Jack McDevitt fans as a merchant of rare and recently rediscovered artifacts. Since Alex lives far in our future, some of these artifacts can involve lost technology of engaging complexity. Assisted by the lovely, resourceful, skeptical, and multi-talented Chase Kolpath, Alex works through another historical puzzle in this sixth book of the series.

To establish--and perhaps inflate--the value of items in an estate sale, Alex and Chase investigate the mysterious disappearance of the improbably-named physicist Christopher Robin. Robin had himself been investigating the occasional appearances of unidentified starships at seemingly-random locations among the worlds of the Confederacy. Although these sightings have remained unexplained for hundreds of years, they have provoked little lasting curiosity. Of greater concern are the infrequent disappearances of modern starships. This is seen as an unwanted, but acceptable price for travel through the dangerous depths of space.

As Chase and Alex assemble pieces of this puzzle, readers peer over their shoulders and begin guessing at the outcome. We also learn more about Chase's pre-Alex employment, explore a planet hidden for centuries in a dust cloud, and listen to Alex debate his colleagues and critics about the sentience of the artificial intelligences ("Betas") that perform so many of their society's tasks. One cannot help anticipates the role these themes and events will play in future Benedict adventures.

This is an essential and rewarding read for fans of the Alex Benedict series. Although it connects nicely to events of previous books, it can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone story. The time you spend in it will seem short compared to the faster pace of the universe around you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well worth 4 stars. Clever plot lines and the usual interplay between Alex and Chase keeps you amused and interested. Stand alone as always but even better as one of a logical series. Do you wonder if Alex and Chase are lovers? And if not why not?
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By D. Harris on 16 Aug 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Continuing to explore the relationship between the future & humanity, McDevitt describes a further adventure of antiques dealer & acomplice, evoking threads of intrigue, techno-mance and human endeavour in several intertwining stories. The novel is thought provoking about this human future amongst the stars, but the author tiptoes around deeper themes of some of the more generic personal emotions of the main characters. Therefore it stays on safe emotional ground while allowing flights of IT fancy. Many questions about the future open up, allowing a helicopter view on time into the next 10 millennium or so.
One of my main impressions is that as humanity spreads out, then the pressure cooker effect of hierarchy & celebrity is somewhat diluted and seen as a way of life, rather than the way of life to aspire to. Overall the story speaks of hope, despite the deep mystery of the universe.
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By Reg Rea on 19 Jun 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the latest in the Alex Benedict series dealing with moral dilemmas and strange puzzles in a future time. In spite of the slightly formulaic nature of the pairing of archeologist/detective aand his space pilot (female) partner, he continues to deliver a good mystery in a satisfying manner. See also my review of "Polaris" for an overview of the Alex Benedict series, and a hint of why it continues to be so popular.
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By Dr. Mike on 3 May 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Not all McDevitt's work holds my attention firmly; this one did. Sat down and read it in one go.
The twists help hold the attention, although I'd foreseen the main detail of the Epilogue about a dozen pages earlier (well it is based on a main point of the plot).
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Firstly I am a McDevitt fan and have been entertained by the plot of several of his books including the Alex Benedict & Chase novels. I waited patiently for Firebird and have to reluctantly rate it down. It seemed to me that the plot was excessively drawn out and was patchy. The tread of attention was not held as in previous novels. It was still a fair read but not one that kept me reading until desperation for coffee or some other need was met. Thus only 3-stars.
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I quite like the way in which these stories are narrated by the "second character", Alex Benedict supposedly being the first. It somehow puts you in the skin of the narrator. As to the story, it builds up atmosphere and suspense such that you want to read the next chapter and then the next and the next and... oops, I've finished the book too quickly.

The story is built around an "existing mystery" in that interstellar ships going missing at a rate of about 1 every 30 years. In particular, one person that went missing where Alex is seeking artefacts related to that person. These disappearances are put down to "life" by the authorities. But is it? Alex isn't so sure, and neither are you.. or Chase.

These books are very easy to read and very enjoyable. It may be that the "limited" perspective of a single narrator allows you to build the Alex Benedict world in your head as you read. Whatever it it is, just read and enjoy!
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