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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting early work from McDevitt, 13 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Ancient Shores (Paperback)
When a farmer in North America digs up a yacht of unfamiliar design on the shore of a sea which hasn't seen water in ten thousand years, people start getting interested.
The yacht and its sails (looking brand new) attract a far different sort of interest when it's discovered that they are composed of an impossible and stable transuranic element.
Later, a local scientist begins to wonder what else is buried in the area and something is discovered buried in Native American Territory.
It is a building, christened The Roundhouse which, as well as being confirmed along with the yacht as being of extraterrestrial origin, is a teleportational gateway to other worlds.
As in `The Hercules Text' McDevitt focuses on the effects of this discovery upon the world or rather (a regular thing for McDevitt) on the USA. In this instance, however, he may be forgiven for his Americocentricity as much of the novel is concerned with the relationship between the government and the Native Americans who ostensibly own the land on which The Roundhouse is situated.
Interestingly, we visit a selection of random characters whose lives have been changed (for better or worse) by the discovery. Otherwise we follow three main characters, fighting to stop the government from destroying what could be our gateway to the stars and our first meeting with extraterrestrials. This is set against a background of depressing headlines, stockmarket crashes and religious extremists hanging about and shouting `Work of The Devil' or whatever religious extremists generally shout at extraterrestrial structures.
There is one disembodied extraterrestrial which comes in through the Roundhouse and seems to give people rather too religious experiences. It's a superfluous element which seems a little pointless. The aliens were made far more interesting by their absence. Throwing a holy ghost into the mix so late in the novel seems a trifle odd.
All in all though, it's a decent enough novel with good characterisation and a realistic view of the local community.
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Ancient Shores
Ancient Shores by Jack McDevitt (Hardcover - 1 April 1996)
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