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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
When most people hire you to do something, they tell you what it is and where it's to be done.

But Alex Benedict gets no such easy jobs in "The Devil's Eye," where he gets a mysterious mission from a woman who no longer exists. Jack McDevitt crafts a thoroughly solid sci-fi adventure that gradually blossoms into an intelligent look at tolerance and politics, although the politicking gradually drowns out the more exciting moments.

After escorting a pair of Mutes around Atlantis, Alex receives a message from famed horror writer Vicki Greene. She announces that "they're all dead."

Unfortunately, Vicki has since had her mind wiped. So Alex and Chase head to the last place she had gone: the backwater planet of Salud Afar. They retrace Vicki's steps across Salud Afar and start uncovering some strange, long ago political events as well as a wealth of urban legends. Unfortunately, it becomes clear that someone wants to stop their investigation.

And when Alex and Chase run afoul of the government conspirators, they find the truth that Vicki was unable to tell anyone -- a ghastly, apocalyptic event that will destroy the entire planet. Even worse, there may be no way to save the planet's population from what will befall them -- unless Chase and Alex can overcome a brewing war between two distrustful species.

Aside from the scientific snafus that are a necessary evil in sci-fi, Jack McDevitt tends to create fascinating realistic views of a future humanity. And in "The Devil's Eye," he manages to successfully cobble together a story about politics, diplomacy, some very alien aliens, and deadly stellar phenomena.

The book starts out as a straightforward mystery, with lots of seemingly disparate clues -- an asteroid, a series of bombings, a government conspiracy. Gradually McDevitt draws them all together as he makes the Big Reveal -- and after a very realistic look at how people might react to such a death sentence, he follows Alex and Chase's desperate quest to find someone to help the innocent people.

No magic "scientific" gizmos here. Instead, McDevitt is more interested in in the politics and diplomacy between humans and Mutes, and in the politicians who care more about their image than about condemning billions to a horrible death. And he fleshes out the storyline nicely, with a bittersweet edge in the story of Vicki Greene, as well as a fascinatingly weird race of telepathic bug-people.

If there's a flaw, it's that the mutual Mute/human distrust and revulsion seems to be overcome a bit too quickly, based on the efforts of just a few people.

Alex and Chase make a good pair of heroes -- he's quirky, charming, clever and has a tendency to focus more on Churchill's "History" than an impending crisis, while she is gutsy and down-to-earth. And McDevitt's Mutes are handled carefully and with a bit of humour, since they are able to read human minds without effort -- some of the things they read are quite funny.

"The Devil's Eye" is a solid sci-fi story with some splatters of action, a lot of political commentary, and a nice space-opera feel. Sci-fi that makes you think.
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This book delivers another chapter in Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series, set some time after Seeker but before Echo. Alex's latest client, Vicki Green, has voluntarily submitted to a mind-wipe. She doesn't remember requesting Alex's help to solve a mystery or why she transferred a large sum of money to him. Alex and his assistant, Chase Kolpath, travel to the isolated world of Salud Afar in an attempt to reconstruct Vicki's recent past. They solve the mystery, spend some time exploring the alien Mute culture, and get caught up in preparations for a pending disaster on Salud Afar.

It's a good story, with interesting technology and some stellar events. Alex and Chase are enjoyable and generally act as readers of the series expect. McDevitt fans will enjoy reading this book--will recognize some familiar flaws. The action seems to wander in places, seeming unrelated to the direction of the story. Perhaps this is more like real-world investigations, but it does not seem engaging or coherent in a narrative. In the latter part of the book, McDevitt makes two heavy-handed political points that wear through the thin fabric of story he stretches over them. There was just a bit too much "Our Enemies Are Really Nice People Who Our Stupid Government is Lying About" and "The Big Evil Government is Hiding Things From Us" for my taste. Your mileage may vary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2010
If you like Jack McDevitt's writing and, particularly, his other Alex Benedict novels, you'll like this one. There's nothing exceptional about it and it lacks some of McDevitt's big technology ideas that you find in other works, but it was a pleasant read and (surprisingly, for a fairly thin plot) kept moving well. It won't win any prises and isn't up to his best but it was a decent read.
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on 19 May 2010
Whereas the early books by Jack McDevitt like The Engines of God were fascinating and very original, the Alex Benedict series starts to become a drag. Only the Mutes are really interesting in The Devil's Eye, but the telepathic angle could have been developed more. The author just keeps repeating that they cause a strong discomfort in humans. Of course, the good guys save the day (i.e., the society on Salud Afar), although in a rather implausible way. It is slightly annoying that so much of the honor goes to Alex Benedict, as Chase Kolpath is really the main character. Why for that matter is the series named after Alex and not Chase?
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on 12 February 2014
When dystopias account for so much SF it's nice to find a writer who is positive about the future. The late, great Ian Banks was one, and Jack McDevitt is another. This book is in two parts, like many of McDevitt's - the mystery and the consequences of solving it. The mystery was intriguing and the consequences - ah, you'll have to read it yourself to find out. Thanks Mr McDevitt for being a positive voice in the world of SF - there are so few!
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on 19 June 2013
I did a short review of the Alex Benedict series in my description of "Polaris" so I won't repeat myself. I don't think The Devil's Eye is quite as good as the others in the series but I am sure that fans will not be put off - nor should they be. It delivers the usual formula of a clever detective (antiques dealer) working in a future society.
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on 7 January 2010
To summarize it briefly: Alex is clever, but his assistant saves the world by being her lovely self. Not bad, the usual good read, but lacking in originality. I would hope Mr. McDevitt changes track and starts writing books in other settings.
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on 16 April 2014
Just read it. Trust me you will enjoy it, one of the best he's done yet. Still got the rest of his novels to go :p
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on 10 July 2015
Really good stuff intriguing plot and secondary characters.Best of the series so far.
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