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Firebird (An Alex Benedict Novel) Hardcover – November 1, 2011

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: An Alex Benedict Novel (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; First Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441020739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441020737
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


 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.”—

“An intriguing mystery.”—SF Site

“A fast-paced thriller.”—Midwest Book Review
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jack McDevitt is a former naval officer, taxi driver, English teacher, customs officer, and motivational trainer, and is now a full- time writer. He lives in Georgia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Bayer on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Firebird, by Jack McDevitt, hits all the right notes in this sixth book of the series.

Chase Kolpath and Alex Benedict, antiquities dealers of a sort in the far future, come in to the belongings of a scientist that studied fringe topics and disappeared one day shortly before a terrible earthquake. That disappearance lead some to believe a conspiracy surrounds his death/disappearance. Alex decides to stir up the mysteries surrounding the scientist to enhance the value of those items before selling.

As is his MO, Alex needs to find out what really happened. On the way, Chase and Alex find a planet abandoned by humanity but with still functioning AIs, some that have been running since the humans left seven thousand years ago. Alex starts a movement to rescue some of the AIs and reintegrate them into society. As they seek out the answers to what happened to the scientist, they also discover a solution to a problem that was plaguing space travel for millenia.

This installment in the Alex Benedict series is much better than it's predecessor, Echo. Echo was dark, and kind of depressing. Alex and Chase are growing older and their attitudes and sensibilities are changing with them. That theme continues in Firebird, but it's not nearly as dark. Alex continues to be a sort of Don Quixote, frequently finding new causes célèbres that he feels necessary to represent or help promote or help solve. That usually goes well for him in the end, but lately has been causing some strife between Alex and Chase.

It's that strife that made me not really enjoy Echo as much, but seemed to work better in this book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tactitles VINE VOICE on November 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is not my first McDevitt book, and not my first Benedict novel. Like the others, this was easy to read and held my interest. The main idea behind the novel is intriguing, despite the lack of convincing explanations. This succeeds as adventure/suspense sci-fi, when the main story is being revealed. Some of the extras, particularly the AI secondary story, fell flat for me. The argument for giving artificially intelligent machines some human rights and recognition is well-worn ground, and nothing memorable is added to it here. Benedict's guilt over supporting a cause that results in harm to some others who are swayed by his views, seemed forced and unconvincing. And the repeated media incidents and interviews became a bit annoying and unnecessary. One in particular, perhaps intentionally, hints at a formula similar to Jerry Springer's old shows. This story takes place thousands of years in the future, and yet our species still finds that interesting? The media of the future still relies on strategies that old? Thankfully that scene is short.

There's plenty to like about the story, despite the aspects that don't work. The ending is easily predicted, but it still works. The writing and the characters are okay. This one will not take long to read, because McDevitt can tell a good story. It is like many of his books. You will probably enjoy it, and you'll remember that you enjoyed it, but you'll not likely remember why.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Bower TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How gratifying, a book that was fun to read; I really enjoyed this one and found it entertaining and intriguing. Jack answers some important questions posed as far back as "A Talent for War" which opens Chapter 1 with the disappearance of the Capella.

In this book an answer is discovered which promises to change things for a lot of people. The book held my attention and thoroughly entertained me all the way through.

This is a must have for the McDevitt collector and I recommend it highly!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert Thorbury on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
To warm up for Jack McDevitt's sixth installment of the Alex Benedict series, I re-read the first five volumes last month. Right on Release Day, I was at the local bookstore eagerly looking for "Firebird". It turned out to be right at the bottom of the stack of new arrivals on a dolly, the telltale green cover hard to miss. The clerk very helpfully fetched it for me, and the whole stack promptly toppled over with a thud as I was en route to the register. I felt guilty, but only a little.

Set some nine thousand years from now, the Benedict novels follow the exploits of antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his long-time -- and long-suffering -- business associate Chase Kolpath. Alex makes a tidy profit getting buyers and sellers of rare artifacts together. Sometimes he finds, and sells, his own treasures. His detractors, especially the archeologists, call him a tomb robber. In "Firebird", as in the other books, this is an important element of the plot. The name-calling, and attacks on his integrity, can be a little hard to bear, especially when Alex doesn't see that he's doing anything wrong. Chase has more misgivings, but can never quite bring herself to leave him for long.

Even his enemies have to respect this about Alex: In tracking down his various finds, he, with the invaluable help of Chase, has solved several major mysteries. Together they've rewritten history books, discovered a lost civilization, done much to promote peace between Humans and another race called the Ashiyyur, discovered a new alien race, and saved the lives of literally billions of people -- a whole planet full of them.

What does a man like that do for an encore? Naturally, he gets back to work dealing in antiquities. It's in his blood. And Chase is right there with him.
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