2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gone, But Not Forgotten
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...
Published on 8 Nov 2011 by John M. Ford
3.0 out of 5 stars Firebird: An Alex Benedict Novel
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...
Published 18 months ago by al'Miral
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gone, But Not Forgotten,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent Alex Benedict story.,
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?
4.0 out of 5 stars The FireBird,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars McDevitt on fire,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking yarn,
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).
3.0 out of 5 stars Firebird: An Alex Benedict Novel,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine adventure,
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!
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to his usual standard.,
Edited, Do not take any notice of the plot summary on the book's rear cover as it bears very little relation to the actual plot. I wonder if some of these writers ever read the book!
Although disappointed with the book the first time around and after almost consigning it to the wastebin, being at a loose end on a wet holiday, decided to give it another go. I was of the opinion that the plot involved parallel universes but this turned out to be time travel from the past into the future. The book did not hold my attention as much as some of the Authors other works, but all the same it was a better read than other Authors I have read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on form McD,
Loved this real return to form by probably the best current SF writer. Mr Mc gets into the heads of his characters and balances this with a great galactic mystery (alternate universe?). This latest Chase and Alex is a real corker with a great ending. If you don't know McDevitt then start here.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good,
A talent for War is by far the best (and first) Alex Benedict book, but Firebird comes close. In reality the last four should be called Chase Kolpath books, since she is the narrator. Like Watson recounting Sherlock Holmes, she gives a less flattering view of Benedict. This tale starts because Benedict seeks to manufacture a myth about a lost professor in order to increase the value of his estate which Benedict has a contract to sell.
Like all McDevitt books there are red herrings a plenty and it is hard to review the book without giving them away. There is a discussion on the humanness of artificial intelligence. Another reviewer mentioned Stephen Kings 'Truck'. I was more reminded of George H Smith's 'The four day weekend' where intelligent taxis politely but menacingly pursue humans with the war cry of 'cab sir?'
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Firebird (Alex Benedict - Book 6) by Jack McDevitt (Paperback - 18 July 2013)