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Firebird: An Alex Benedict Novel Mass Market Paperback – 25 Sep 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (25 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007805
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.4 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,083,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Jack McDevitt
"The Alex Benedict series is reminiscent of some of the work of Isaac Asimov." --"SFRevu
"
"The logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke."--Stephen King
"McDevitt hit a grand slam with this one...I'm still shaking my head and wondering how he pulled it off."--Wired.com
"An intriguing mystery."--"SF Site
"
"A fast-paced thriller."--"Midwest Book Review"

Praise for Jack McDevitt
"The Alex Benedict series is reminiscent of some of the work of Isaac Asimov." --"SFRevu
"
"The logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke."--Stephen King
"McDevitt hit a grand slam with this one...I'm still shaking my head and wondering how he pulled it off."--Wired.com
"An intriguing mystery."--"SF Site
"
"A fast-paced thriller."--"Midwest Book Review"

Praise for Jack McDevitt
The Alex Benedict series is reminiscent of some of the work of Isaac Asimov. "SFRevu
"
The logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Stephen King
McDevitt hit a grand slam with this one I m still shaking my head and wondering how he pulled it off. Wired.com
An intriguing mystery. "SF Site
"
A fast-paced thriller. "Midwest Book Review""

Book Description

A Nebula Award finalist for Best Novel from the multi-award winning SF master Jack McDevitt. Sixth in the acclaimed Alex Benedict series. 'No one writing today is better than McDevitt at combining galaxy-spanning adventure with the genuine novel of ideas' Washington Post Book World --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Jack McDevitt's books - he writes well, presents a wholly credible picture in his far future and delivers pageturning action, peppered with detail about futuristic difference in life and the way it works.

One series is his books featuring Alex Benedict. I hate reviews that spell out plots (what's listed on line or on the cover is enough). Let me just say that I found this his best yet - I might even say the best sci fi novel I have read and I read many (though that might need some thought). The mystery devlops nicely, the characters are good and it is a book you simply lose yourself in; it also has as moving an ending as I have ever read in this genre - satisfying too. Highly recommended, if I could give it more than five stars, I would!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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?
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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).
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