Polaris (Alex Benedict) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Nov 2005
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Jack McDevitt is a former naval officer, taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. He is a multiple Nebula Award finalist who lives in Georgia with his wife Maureen.
Top Customer Reviews
Sixty years ago, the Polaris carried a small party of acclaimed scientists to witness firsthand (from a safe distance, of course) a rare cosmic phenomenon, namely the collision of a white dwarf with a star. Contact with the ship was lost following the commander's indication that she was beginning the journey home. A search ship arrived in-system some weeks later and found the Polaris drifting in space, its crew missing. There was no sign of foul play whatsoever; the crew had simply vanished. Naturally, at the time, the news created a firestorm of interest as well as some concern that a hostile alien race had somehow absconded with the passengers.
Sixty years later, a number of artifacts from the ghost ship are set to go up for auction, bringing famed antiquities dealer Alex Benedict (whom McDevitt readers first met in A Talent For War) into the picture.Read more ›
In this novel Jack McDevitt returns to the universe of his second, and very definitely his best, novel, A Talent for War. It is worth pausing to consider the singular excellence of that work. It must be amongst the finest works of science-fiction ever written. On the cover of Polaris a quote from Stephen King puts forward McDevitt as the successor to Asimov and Clarke; yet Asimov never wrote anything as good as Talent, and of Clarke's work only City and the Stars and Childhood's End compete (I am talking here of literary merit). Mr McDevitt's more frequent works in more recent years have shown some falling away. The first of the Hutchins books was very good, but there was a tendency to become obsessed with the Big Dumb Objects theme and also with thriller style writing, even when the thrills were achieved by way of unlikely rescues in space.
Polaris still has a good deal of this kind of action, but there is an excellent problem (though the reader spots at least part of the solution annoyingly earlier than the narrator). Though there is perhaps a little too much action, in that it takes away from the problem, the problem is the central point of this novel -- this is definitely an example of the old Amis definition of science-fiction as "the plot as hero". It is a good piece of science-fiction with a detective theme; moreover it plays fair with the reader. The solution is one that the reader could have guessed at on the information given in the book.
If anyone has not yet read Talent for War (and those reading my comments will realise that I strongly recommend that they do), they really should read it before reading this novel, as, though the references to the conclusion of the earlier book are in passing, it would definitely reduce the pleasure of first reading of Talent to have read this first.
This book is a sequel to "A Talent for War", and I agree with a previous reviewer in feeling that the earlier book is better. This is mostly because it's got a noticeably better plot: McDevitt's stories are very plot-driven - mostly they are puzzles ("here is an odd situation - how did it happen/how can it be resolved?"), and an inferior puzzle leads to a less satisfactory book.
The plot of "Polaris" has been well summarised by previous reviewers so I don't feel there's much point in repeating it. The detective-story element is "fair", in the sense that the reader can solve the problem from the clues given - in fact, I think most reasonably awake readers will solve the problem significantly earlier than McDevitt allows his characters to. This is one of the issues that I have with the plotting, the other being that (in common with a fair number of non-SF detective novels) the perpetrators actually have no need to commit the crimes, and would have done far better to leave well alone (making several clumsy but clearly serious attempts to steal specific items, and later to kill one of the owners of the said items, is a good way of alerting the victim that Something Funny Is Going On - which is a bit daft if your aim is to disguise the fact that something funny is going on!).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Condition as described - so happy. Cost 1p with p&p of £2.80 which I feel was over the top. Would be better to sell at £1 with less p&p but I guess this way it gets to the top of... Read morePublished on 15 Sept. 2013 by Twyanne
My first McDevitt novel was the Engines of God which, regardless of its classical sci-fi feel, still wowed me with its detail of alien archeology and the with the grand sense of... Read morePublished on 11 Oct. 2011 by 2theD
slow slow slow ... slow slow fast fast end
I will be repeating myself but again typical McDevitt structure with a very long introduction to the story line followed by fast... Read more
Jack McDevitt usually writes epic science fiction stories that take place across solar systems. He retreats from this here to return to the main character from an earlier novel,... Read morePublished on 11 Jan. 2007 by Paul Tapner