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The Engines of God (Academy - Book 1) Paperback – 15 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472203194
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472203199
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 525,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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 is at his best award-winning style in this intelligent and wide-ranging novel (Kirkus Reviews)

With plenty of startling plot twists, a heavy dose of intrigue, and an unusual amount of character development for science fiction, McDevitt holds us fast right through to a thrilling finish (Booklist)

It's classic SF with a complex but tight plot and an excellent set of characters ... I seem to like this book more each time I read it (SF Reviews)

Book Description

An Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist for Best Novel from the multi-award winning SF master Jack McDevitt. First in the acclaimed Academy series.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A very enjoyable book in the hard science fiction category. I loved the archaeology aspect of it which provided a mystery to the whole story and kept me intrigued. I liked the monument-makers and the fascinating story of the collapse and regrowth of their civilisation. I also loved the characters with their individual histories and especially the occasional emotional connections. One thing which stood out was the beauty and alieness of the monument makers, their wonderful organic telescope. An excellent novel.
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By RobR on 8 Dec 2014
Format: Paperback
One of Mcdevitt's best. I really enjoyed it. Loved the ancient mystery at the heart of the novel and his ending felt just right. As with many of McDevitt's works his future feels homely and not too far removed from today. It makes for an easy read and is excellent for new readers of SF.

Recommended.
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By Pb on 12 Feb 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As I've said in other reviews I like Jack McDevitt - though I can see why some people don't. I really like the world he has built, where technology has matured to the point where space travel is mundane - even boring - and where people wander about alien planets and airless moons dressed in their shorts and t-shirts (and a high tech bodyhugging shield).

The story itself is a mixture of a mystery thriller and an archaeology story. The central conceit (of weird works of art and inexplicable structures scattered throughout the galaxy by a long dead mysterious alien race) is to me fascinating. I think it's the very mundanity and straight-forwardness of his future world contrasting with the mind-expanding ideas of deep history and the future of the Human species that keeps me hooked, and keeps me reading book after book.

On the other hand his stories can be very formulaic. If this is your first book you proabbly won't mind but by later novels you might find yourself (like me) getting very frustrated by just how stupid and naive his supposedly experienced characters can be at times.

But forget that for the meantime! Read this and just enjoy the ride.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sch Green on 7 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lots of interesting ideas interspersed with rather irritating action sequences where various protagonists act stupidly and occasionally die. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the read, and it was a page-turner in terms of finding out the answer to the central puzzle.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harby on 13 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback
I was shocked by this book. I spent the first half expecting something dramatic to happen that would avert the catastrophe that occurs about midway through, but nothing did.

A group of archaeologists struggle against the clock to retrieve some artifacts, while their fellow man gets ready to deploy a standard doomsday terraforming weapon on an already living world.

The group of protagonists are portrayed as petty and ignorant. Their concern is only for dead relics and clues to a more advanced civilisation and at no point throughout their misadventures do any of them step back to consider the living, near-sentient beings thriving around them, who are all about to be summarily wiped out by nuclear weapons and earthquakes/tsunamis.

The book clearly shows that some of the animals on the planet are at least at ape-level development, if not higher, and yet the only acknowledgement of the ultimate horror the humans in the story deal out to the alien world is a fragment of a sentence regarding how "Moralists" objected to the terraforming plan on the grounds of harming the planet's existing environment. That's really all there is - one line in the entire book.

Earth's own atmosphere is in a tailspin. Big deal. That doesn't give anyone the right to just mimic a virus and spread out to another planet by firstly annihilating all its current life. Humanity is painted as utterly barbaric, the protagnists appear to be completely fine with this fact, and at no point in the story is there any sense that the author believes the terraforming project is a bad thing.
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