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Ancient Shores Mass Market Paperback – October 23, 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (October 23, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061054267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061054266
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Something very strange has turned up in Tom Lasker's wheat field: a ten-thousand-year-old sailboat made of an unknown substance. And then there's the Roundhouse, apparently a doorway to another world, sitting squarely on Sioux reservation land. How did they get there, and what do they signify for the people embroiled in their discovery? This is sci-fi on a grand scale by the author of The Engines of God. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Early in the next century, outside a North Dakota town, farmer Tom Lasker digs up a boat on his land. Not only is the vessel crafted from an unknown element, but Lasker's farm is on land that has been dry for 10,000 years. A search for further artifacts unearths a building of the same material and age that turns out to be an interdimensional transportation device. The building sits on land owned by the Sioux, who want to use it to regain their old way of life on another world; meanwhile, the U.S. government, fearful of change, wants to destroy the building. Right up to the climax, McDevitt (Engines of God) tells his complex and suspenseful story with meticulous attention to detail, deft characterizations and graceful prose. That climax, though, is another matter, featuring out-of-the-blue heroic intervention in a conflict between the feds and the Indians by, among others, astronaut Walter Schirra, cosmologist Stephen Hawking and SF writers Ursula K. LeGuin, Carl Sagan and Gregory Benford. "If the government wants to kill anyone else, it'll have to start with us," announces Stephen Jay Gould. That absurdity aside, this is the big-vision, large-scale novel McDevitt's readers have been waiting for.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

There are also far too many peripheral characters introduced that have little or nothing to do with the plot.
Utah Blaine
After all that build up over multiple chapters, the book just ended without explaining any of it, leaving nothing but loose ends.
Vincent Stemen
This novel reminded me of the science fiction I used to read in high school, back when I was a fan of the genre.
Diane C. Moos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Utah Blaine on April 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The initial premise of this book, the discovery of a 10000 year old sailboat in North Dakota constructed from materials that cannot be manufactured with current technology, is excellent. The story starts as a sci-fi mystery with the possibilities of encountering ancient extraterrestrials and/or lost civilizations. As the story progresses though, it becomes less about exploration, and more about petty political machinations of factions on Earth. In the end, the central theme of the story becomes simply a question of who controls the alien artifacts. I can only characterize this book as disappointing: a great idea that went nowhere. If you are looking for a hard sci-fi novel about exploration of lost civilizations or alien technology as the cover of this book suggests, this isn't it. There are also far too many peripheral characters introduced that have little or nothing to do with the plot. More than 1/3 of the text is spent describing little sideplots that are largely irrelevant. The main characters completely disappear for large stretches of the book. Finally, the ending is incredibly presumptuous and unsatisfying. I got the impression that Mr. McDevitt threw this book together in a short period of time without much thought or effort. Not a total waste of time, but not a book I would recommend you spend your money on unless you are a fan of Jack McDevitt.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dowling on April 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Imagine you find a sailing ship burried on your land --- except there's no ocean around, and hasn't been one for tens of thousands of years. Then imagine that the metallurgists can't identify the material the sailing ship is made from. That's the beginning of this Jack McDevitt novel ... the first McDevitt novel I've read (I'd seen his short fiction before). It won't be the last. In the best SF style, McDevitt just keeps asking question after question after question, and the answers get bigger and bigger and bigger. A really first-rate book, despite the terrible cover art.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stephen B. O'Blenis on January 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A seemingly normal day out working on a North Dakota farm that turns up the tip of what turns out to be a perfectly preserved ancient sailboat buried for 10,000 years is just the beginning of this classic-style but fresh and inventive science fiction novel. The Laskers' farm where the boat is found is, as it turns out, on the precise location of what was thousands of years ago Lake Aggasiz, and the discovery prompts media curiosity followed by widespread media coverage, rumors of an elaborate hoax, carloads of excited sightseers - and shortly thereafter, much, much more. It's not until samples sent away to a lab indicate that the material the ship is made of is a transuranic element - an element Way up on the periodic table (No. 161 in this case), that's not found in nature and therefore apparantly artificially created, despite the fact that nobody on Earth has the technology to do so - that the find goes light years beyond being an object of passing curiosity on the global public's radar. A search is launched along other land that was once part of the vanished lake, and something is indeed found; not a sailboat this time. This isn't even a third of the way through the book and the twists have just begun. And unlike some books, it doesn't start to run out of steam once time for revelations approaches.

Mixing science, wonder, adventure and mystery; and drawing on everything from international politics, UFO theories, contemporary Native American socio-cultural conditions, military applications of new technologies and a ton of other diverse fields, "Ancient Shores" brings it all together wonderfully.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By vortexreader on January 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
`Ancient Shores' is only the second novel by Jack McDevitt that I have read. The first was `Engines of God' which was a far superior work. `Ancient Shores' is by no means a bad novel. It's just not science fiction. While there is plenty of fiction there is next to no science. Which is fine - the novel is more than entertaining as it is.
Two alien artifacts are discovered in North Dakota and the novel follows a large cast of characters as they deal with the repercussions of such a momentous find. This is hardly a new twist in the First Contact genre but McDevitt's story is full of a vibrancy often lacking in other attempts. The plot is mostly character driven - a good thing given the authors adept skills in drawing characters that are at once believable and almost archetypal.
The intriguing aspect of `Ancient Shores' is McDevitt's pessimistic take on how mankind (or, more specifically, white North American mankind) would react to the discovery of alien machines of incalculable value. Let's hope he is wrong.
McDevitt has been described by Kevin J. Anderson as `one of the best hard SF writers in the business.' I look forward to reading more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Morrow on January 22, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fast paced and "Clean" with real world consequences and reactions to the discovery of Alien Artifacts! I Loved this book! This book was A one night read which gets you 5 stars from me almost every time! My only gripe (very small one) is the ending of the book where a group of "friends" get in the act! I would have liked it much better if "they" were involved earlier!
This is My favorite Book By McDevitt! (so far I've Read "Moonfall", "Eternity Road" and "Engines of God" which are definite buy recommendations from me!) All in all you can not ask for much better in a Science Fiction Novel and I hope Mr. McDevitt will write a sequel because I am dying to find out about the other "destination" possibilities!
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