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A Talent For War (An Alex Benedict Novel)

A Talent For War (An Alex Benedict Novel) [Kindle Edition]

Jack McDevitt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The acclaimed classic novel and fan favorite—the far-future story of one man's quest to discover the truth behind a galactic war hero.


It is 200 years since the war with the Ashiyyur, the only aliens man has encountered in the ages since leaving Earth. The great hero of that struggle was Christopher Sim, a naval genius who, with a handful of Della-Condan frigates and a few allies, held the frontier.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 540 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0441012175
  • Publisher: Ace (29 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004P5OZ02
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A talent for adventure 20 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the kind of book that McDevitt specialises in - the science-fiction archaeology thriller. Don't be fooled by the the date it was written - this book still stands up brilliantly today, and it's a scandal this book was out of print for so long.

Lost in the fog of an old interstellar war, legend, truth and misinformation merge in the story of how Christopher Sim built a rag-tag group of ships into the mystical guerrilla fleet that fought the alien Ashiyyur invaders to a standstill. Alex Benedict takes on the legacy of his dead uncle - a lifelong work trying to find out the truth of Cristopher Sim and his exploits. How much of the story is true? How much demon was in the hero? Was Sim really killed by a betrayal, and what happened to his lost and legendary flagship?

McDevitt builds the legend of a hero forged in a desperate war, and then dismantles the legend to find the man beneath, his triumphs, failures, and betrayals.

This book is a thoughtful, exciting, atmospheric, page turner.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb story-telling with a twist 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This brilliant book opened my eyes to the possibilities of science fiction. McDevitt weaves his tale of legend and popular myth very cleverly within a futuristic world and allows the reader to view facets of our own world through new eyes. McDevitt's uncomplicated and unpretentious style introduces sci-fi ideas in a matter-of-fact way which allows the story to flow and the characters to define themselves. I found the end truly heart-rending; there are parallels here with modern day "heros". At the end of the day a legend is exactly that - a collection of wishes we formulate about a person to make ourselves feel better, when the reality might actually be quite different...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great but not terrible either. 7 April 2013
By Willy Eckerslike TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Future archaeology science fiction is an unfamiliar sub-genre so I don't really have anything for comparison. In this novel, the first of the Alex Benedict series, he follows his dead Uncle's investigation into an event that could ultimately contradict the prime tenet founding the delicate human galactic diaspora following a war with an alien species. As with other American imprints, the book is small, printed on very poor quality paper with the text squashed right into the fold and against the edges. The narrative pace is pretty good, though it does get bogged down a few times, and the somewhat linear, predictable plot is nonetheless well constructed. There's not really a lot else to say. All-in-all, it was an OK though utterly un-memorable read made less enjoyable thanks to the miserly publishing; I'm not sure I'll dip my toe in the Alex Benedict waters again...maybe, maybe not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History repeated in the future 7 Feb 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a storming book. It starts quite slow but gradually things click into place and the pace develops; snippets of future history are dropped in and echo recent and historical conflicts, "he was a commander at The Slot" - a future battle or a US Naval officer in the Pacific? The desperate campaign fought by Sim on behalf of a largely appathetic humanity, which forms the deep background to the plot, resonates from Texan Independance, to Sparta to Dunkirk and any point in between when backs were against the wall and heroes made (or broken).

I've reread this book about four times and loved it each time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably McDevitt's earliest and best 17 Sep 2007
By Christopher Burns VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're going to read McDevitt's novels, you can either start with this one and then ignore the rest, or read the others and save this for last to see the flair McDevitt used to have.

This is a great page-turner. It's easy to get pulled into the plot, and the frequent use of "archive" material in the chapters adds a real melancholy to the story (which in itself is both clever and somewhat moving; a very unusual combination for a sci-fi novel.). Having read Omega, Polaris, and Engines of God, A Talent For War is the one I enjoyed the most - and it's a great pity the others aren't more like it.

The story is essentially the uncovering of a semi-legendary hero accredited with saving mankind from an implacable alien enemy. The hero himself, however (Christopher Sim), has great depth and humanity, and ultimately, it seems everyone has taken what they wanted from his mythos, rather than the truth - until the events in the story take place. And the truth both is and isn't what people want to hear.
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Popular Highlights

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wisdom consists in recognizing what is truly important. And in treating with suspicion any cherished belief whose truth is so clear that one need not put it to the test. Among our people, we maintain that wisdom consists in recognizing the extent to which one is prone to error.” &quote;
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Man is fed with fables through life, and leaves it in the belief he knows something of what has been passing, when in truth he has known nothing but what has passed under his own eye. &quote;
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