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Seeker Mass Market Paperback – October 31, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
One thing I appreciate about his writing in this novel (and its predecessor) is his use sometimes of fairly realistic first-person narrative, by a woman character. Male authors often don't get their female characters quite right (my wife made me especially aware of this).
McDevitt has carved out a sort of unique niche for himself, with this and some (not all) of his other novels, perhaps you might call it "future archaeology"?
For the most satisfying experience, before reading this novel you should read the two earlier, equally good novels, that take place in the same world, with the same main characters (Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath): "A Talent For War" (don't be put off by the awful title) and "Polaris".
And for "A Talent For War", you can get it by itself, or you can also get it in a book called "Hello Out There", that combines it with a rewritten earlier novel of his ("The Hercules Text").
McDevitt's other, equally good series, of "future archaeology" novels, features a different world and different main character (Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchinson". That series starts with "The Engines of God" and continues through "DeepSix", "Chindi", and "Omega".
My main complaint with this story is that it is very, very similar to a couple of his other books, including scenes that involve an uncomfortable meeting with the only known alien race, realistic but prolonged research phases of the story, scenes that involve narrow escapes from attempts on the main characters' lives, and a similar denger/trap when the last site or artifact is found. Also, I appreciate the fact that McDevitt's stories are built on human characters, and he never goes for the 'deus ex machina' conclusion, but rather his stories are driven by very human characters that read like people you know, or would like to know. However, this time around, McDevitt's far future feels a little TOO much like today, and I felt that way in this book more than many of his others, even though he actually offers an explanation for that similarity (there is an upper limit on the intelligence level that allows people to function well in society, once exceeded by too many members, the society begins to disintegrate).
I read a lot, and I often go several years before returning to an author and getting several of his/her books and reading them consecutively. I read more than half this book before I finally decided that I hadn't read it a couple of years ago. It was that similar to his other books.
I like the characters and the universe he's created, but I really felt that I hadn't read anything new when I finished this book.
This story gives us more background on how humans left Earth in the 3rd and 4th millenia. Here, for instance, we find that English was no longer spoken after the 3rd millenium. And that the colonisation of nearby star systems took centuries. With early efforts marked by failure. It also places the stories some six thousand years in the future. Whereas the earlier books were somewhat unclear about when they were set, relative to our time.
The plot follows McDevitt's usual quiet pace. Too quite for some readers. But he has attracted a decent readership with his other books, who will not be disappointed here. The ideas here are fairly ingenious. He has put some thought into the scenario of a lost colony. Of how it got lost and how it survived.
Perhaps a disappointment, and which is constant in this series, is how few advances in longevity have occurred. No diseases are mentioned to afflict people. But the average life span is discernibly little improved over ours. People are considered middle aged at 60 and elderly at 90.
McDevitt is more of an idea-guy than a writer: his characters are flat and his descriptions employ so little sensory information that he manages to make scenes like an apartment break-in by a vengeful man and a fight for survival outside of a spaceship seem boring.
BUT -- his ideas such as a journey among a telepathic alien species among whom lying is unknown, and (especially) what happened to the lost colonists of the Bremerhaven and the Seeker) are absolutely breathtaking.
Reading Seeker was sometimes a slog, but I was entertained and glad I'd read it in the end. Longer review at ImpatientReader-dot-com.
A decent novel by Jack McDevitt, won a Nebula and all that. But what about the story?
This is an Alex Benedict novel, the second in a series, which I started first. Yeah, that's me. I completed the Hutch series of books and wanted to continue with McDevitt in a similar universe, but 9,000 years later, when space travel is easy and "warping" (my word) to distant places is as easy as taking a boat across the Atlantic.
Plots and Contrivances:
Benedict is a treasure hunter and with his aide Chase, find archeological artifacts and then put them up for auction and use that money for further exploration. They consider they are explorers and if they didn't put the stuff out for people to see, it would rot in an alien cave or be undisturbed or unknown for thousands of years. Can't have that!
Some admire the team. Others hate them and call them "grave robbers" which is the main impetus of the tale.
Someone knows of Benedict's expeditions. Someone looted an area that he had already discovered. Further, someone is trying to kill him and Chase!
But I digress.
The book starts with a man who is crushed under an avalanche and regrets it, since he made an amazing discovery, a major archeological find, and now he is going to die under tons of ice and snow, hoping against hope that someone finds what he found out.
Through pure luck, someone walks into Benedict's offices and presents a cup that has no previous history. It's from her ex, who is a robber, whose ex's father (who has since been mindwiped and not a criminal anymore) had stolen the cup from a rich family, who happens to be related to the guy who was buried under the snow at the start of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is light in content for genre and main character is quite skillful in getting herself out of sticky situations and ending on her feetPublished 6 months ago by Robin W.
Simple story that could happen anywhere - the sci-fi costume is not an inherent part of the story (with one exception, i will not go into details not to spoil it). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Stanislaw
I prefer Jack McDevitt's Priscilla Hutchins novels, but decided to try an Alex Benedict novel. I chose Seeker because of other readers' favorable reviews and thought the book was... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great reading.It did drag on near the end but I would highly recommend it.Published 11 months ago by J. Austin
This is the third book in Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series, although it should probably be called the Chase Kolpath series, as the story is told from her point of view, like... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Scott C. Holstad