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Seeker Mass Market Paperback – October 31, 2006
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"Superb storytelling." - Library Journal
"Ideas abound in McDevitt's classy riff on the familiar lost-colony theme. The novel delivers everything it promises with a gigantic wallop." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Perhaps the best pure storyteller working in the field today." - Washington Post Book World
About the Author
- Item Weight : 6.6 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 373 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780441013753
- ISBN-13 : 978-0441013753
- Dimensions : 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches
- Publisher : Ace (October 31, 2006)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0441013759
- Best Sellers Rank: #130,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As these things have a way of doing, history gives way to myth, so it is with great incredulity that antiquarians and auctioneers Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath find themselves in possession of a 9000-year-old cup with Seeker markings on it. They set off to find the Seeker, and if possible the colony they founded. Some people don't believe it really exists. Some people hope to beat them to the discovery. Some people don't like their methods and try to sabotage their efforts. Through it all, plucky Chase and dogged Alex piece together the puzzle and work towards the biggest discovery of all time.
To place a story 10000 years in the future is risky - will we even be recognizable as humans? Will we have developed technology that is, to our eyes, "indistinguishable from magic"? (Arthur C. Clarke's term) McDevitt wisely, I think, keeps the technology subdued, and assumes that basic human nature doesn't change that much (and to emphasize that, his intelligent aliens are also very "human"). We can then settle in and enjoy the story, which is very well written and has a number of genuine edge-of-the-seat moments to keep you coming back for more. It is no wonder that this is an award-winning novel: and as "hard" science fiction combined with mystery-suspense, it recalls the glory days of Isaac Asimov.
The book is not perfect. Some of the suspense is over-simplified; for example, after multiple attempts on their lives, the characters still seem surprised when there's yet another attempt (also, the law of conservation of characters comes into play - when a new character is introduced on p. 300, you know he's an assassin by what he says, but the heroes seem willfully naive). The ending seems a bit drawn-out and artificially positive - I could have done without the last 75 pages or so. (It's still very interesting and well-written, but the plot itself seems contrived). But these are relatively minor, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
If I had to describe this book with one word, it would be "peculiar". It takes place 10,000 years in the future on extraterrestrial planets but people go around with mundane names like Alex Benedict (one of the two main characters), Oliver Bolton, and Charlie Everson. Kids still fly kites and women sip cocktails at a restaurant and talk about old boyfriends while a singer gives her rendition of "Fire and Smoke". It's all so 20th Century USA! If you take out the SF elements like interstellar travel, telepathic aliens, and a station orbiting a black hole, this could be a contemporary novel of people searching for a lost Spanish galleon. At least for the first two-thirds or so of the novel. No doubt this retro effect is exactly what the author intended, but it made reading the book a strange experience. Peculiar.
The cover quotes Stephen King calling Jack McDevitt "the logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke". I just couldn't understand that until I got to the final part of the book. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that Asimov and Clarke (and Heinlein too) would have enjoyed this book.
Looks like I'll have to try more McDevitt novels.
Top reviews from other countries
McDevitt doesn't rely much on the fore-going novels to keep this as independend as possible. I realized this as I was astonished that the Ashiiyur didn't pick memories of the fight between the Corsarius and that Mute cruizer in the last chapter of "A Talent for War" when Chase visits them in this book. Alex Benedict gets bad reputation by "serious" archeologists and no is interested that he once brought back the quantum drive to the Federation.
I suggest "Ancient Shores", "A Talent for War" and "Omega" will always be my favorites but nevertheless "Seeker" is one of the best novels I have read for years. And I hope the German translation will come soon so I can check what I have missed now. Absolut zu empfehlen.