Cauldron (Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins Series #6)

( 24 )

Overview

Chosen as One of the Five Best SF Novels of the Year by Library Journal.

When a young physicist unveils an efficient star drive capable of reaching the core of the galaxy, veteran star pilot Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins finds herself back in the deepest reaches of space, and on the verge of discovering the origins of the deadly omega clouds that continue to haunt her.

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Cauldron (Priscilla

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Overview

Chosen as One of the Five Best SF Novels of the Year by Library Journal.

When a young physicist unveils an efficient star drive capable of reaching the core of the galaxy, veteran star pilot Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins finds herself back in the deepest reaches of space, and on the verge of discovering the origins of the deadly omega clouds that continue to haunt her.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathleen Ann Goonan
The beginning and end of Cauldron are beautifully linked, illuminating both the journey that lies within the novel and the compulsion of human beings to explore the boundaries of their environment, be it a continent, a world or outer space. Anyone pessimistic about our own space program might take heart in reading Cauldron.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Space opera specialist McDevitt shoehorns two traditional SF plots into his latest Academy novel (after 2006's Odyssey), doing both stories a disservice. Youthful physicist Jon Silvestri persuades the philanthropic Prometheus Foundation to back tests of a risky interstellar drive that's vastly superior to current technology. Soon series keystone Priscilla Hutchins finds herself aboard a newly outfitted ship dispatched to the galactic core, seeking the source of a million-year-old interstellar menace. The cast is uniformly likable if prickly, but no true protagonist emerges from McDevitt's ensemble. Some sections are leisurely, others rushed. Readers see little of the star drive research, and the space voyage is triply sidetracked-to a planet of cheerfully technophobic aliens, an abandoned world with unexpected dangers and a black hole with a tantalizing secret-before reaching its stated objective, where the threat's origin is summarily introduced and disposed of in the last 60 pages. Despite considerable inventiveness and an enthusiastic pro-space agenda, the story remains superficial, especially frustrating from a writer of McDevitt's caliber. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

By the middle of the 23rd century, starflight has become a thing of the past, relegated to private eccentrics as inefficient and fiscally unjustifiable, until a young man, John Silvestri, approaches the Prometheus Foundation claiming to have produced a star drive that makes travel to distant stars almost instantaneous. Demonstrating his claim, John enables the Prometheus Foundation to journey to the heart of the galaxy, a seething tumult of stars, strange omega clouds, and an enormous black hole-the Cauldron. Accompanying John and a chosen few scientists and researchers is Priscilla Hutchinson, a former pilot for the now-defunct Academy of Science and Technology and an expert on the many dangers that threaten their journey. Nebula Award winner McDevitt's novels featuring Hutchinson (Odyssey) display his talent for character building and seamlessly blending hard science with sf action/adventure. Highly recommended.


—Jackie Cassada
Kirkus Reviews
Latest addition to McDevitt's longstanding space-adventure series (Odyssey, 2006, etc.). By the year 2255, interstellar flight is all but dead, with only a few diehards like Prometheus Foundation's director Rudy Golombek keeping the dream alive. Along comes young physicist Jon Silvestri, insisting that he can make the failed Locarno star drive work. Retired starship pilot and Foundation fundraiser Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins believes him, and persuades Rudy to offer one of his remaining ships to test the drive. The test fails, badly, and spaceflight seems doomed. But then former starship pilot Matt Darwin, now selling real estate in Washington, D.C., has the bright idea of using an old lander now parked on a local school's lawn. Matt puts together a fundraising campaign (so carefully drawn that it could serve as a blueprint for reviving America's current, semi-moribund space program) and this time, after some heart-stopping moments, the drive's a success-indeed, it's so fast that the center of the galaxy is now only three months's travel away. Funds now pour in, and Hutch, Jon, Matt, Rudy and science journalist Antonio Giannotti decide to take two ships on a voyage of exploration. Their ports of call: the planet at the heart of a mysterious galaxy-wide surveillance operation; the origin of an equally mysterious message from space recorded by Hutch's father; a black hole up close and personal; and finally, the source of the hostile and seemingly purposefully directed "omega" clouds that have ravaged the galaxy for thousands of years. Not peak McDevitt-slow to develop and not especially surprising-but workmanlike and brimming with the author's trademark low-key charms. Agent: RalphVicinanza/Ralph M. Vicinanza Ltd.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441016501
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Series: Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins Series, #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 225,032
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    a must read and i mean all of his works

    a great book which like so many of his works is a gem and will keep you reading to the end.

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  • Posted June 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Cauldron ¿ ** Spoilers ** I have found McDevitt¿s stories str

    Cauldron – ** Spoilers **

    I have found McDevitt’s stories strangely compelling, despite the many throwaway characters and the only stable person, Hutch, at times making incredible decisions in her life, you just have to slap your forehead and ask why. Why? Because I like space adventure and a great female lead.

    After reading the Hutchins’ series of novels, I had to read Cauldron. The Cauldron is a place at the center of our galaxy that the omega clouds come from – strange machines, light-years wide, that destroy anything at right angles, i.e. buildings.

    After a confrontation with one at the start of the story, we first get an update on what has been happening with Hutchins. That’s fine, but the domestic stuff goes on and on way more than necessary. I want to get to the good stuff.

    Faster than light travel is about to be trumped by a new drive that may save the space program, as more humans want to forget about space exploration and stay on planet Earth. This of course is a criticism of the same things now with NASA. We have not been on the Moon in decades and unmanned probes have taken the place of manned missions. (Frankly I thought I’d be on Mars Station by this time!). But I digress.

    After a half a book of handwringing we finally make it back in space: an ex-pilot cum real estate agent who gets to go back in space, a man who invented the new space drive and wants to take some ships out for a spin and Hutchins, who had sworn never to do deep space exploration but what the heck, just this one more time. Yeowza.

    Spaces and Places:

    The Chindi – we find where it finally came from, but unfortunately the planet they discover is a 20th century technology of frumpy aliens who live a very long time. The A.I. on board, trying to translate their language confuses physics with physical. Hey, it happens.

    The Omega – we find it possessed by an entity who, as one reviewer mentioned, is similar to the alien God in the film Star Trek V. Trek fans take note.

    Sigma – hey, cool planet with lizards that blend into snow. I liked it!

    Bottom Line:

    Overall enjoyable. I liked how the new Earth looks, what global warming has finally done, and Hutchins’ new love life and family. I enjoyed ex-pilot Mike’s exploration back into the unknown and that he no longer felt archaic. And finally liked how new inventions still often meet with opposition – nice tension there. If you followed the novels from the first, you may be disappointed. But the book stands on its own.

    Recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    The best for last

    The 6th book in the Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins series has finally answer the question of the Omega Clouds that has been traveling to other planets just to see whatever has been living there to be wipeout. Only the way, they lose a member of the team as well.

    You have to read this series ending book.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

    This is the last book in the Priscilla Hutchins series.

    It was an enjoyable quick read and most likely the the final book in the
    "Hutch" series.

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  • Posted April 9, 2009

    And the story continues

    This is an excellent continuation of the Hutch series. It starts a little slow with Academy closed and space travel closing down with only true believers still calling for space exploration. (Very similar to the problems of NASA today with too many people thinking the whole space program is wasteful and the money should go to more terrestrial needs.) The only real flaw was the forced attempt to add some sentimentality by killing off one of the characters near the end of the book. Lastly, the ending and feel of the book makes it seem like this will be the end of the series.
    If you have enjoyed this series then this would be a pleasurable read but if not as a stand alone story too many references to past books will make it a pass.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    Big letdown at the core

    I have read all the books that Jack McDevitt has written in this series and I was very much looking forward to seeing some of the questions raised in earlier books answered. I was happy with the book until the events at the galactic core. That part of the plot was almost a direct rip-off of the plot of the 5th Star Trek Movie in which Kirk has the famous quote 'what does God need with a starship?' That being the case, I think this book is ok but the plotting was lazy and ultimately disappointing in the final confrontation. I hope Mr. McDevitt returns to form in his next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2007

    Jack, I'm always going to read your books but...

    You know Jack probably my favorite SF book is your 'Deep Six' which is entirely creative, daring, imaginative, well written and you are enthusiastic about the story line and the charaters. Hutch is the central character as the starship captain and her adventures are very exciting and creative. Somehow in 'Cauldron' you translate the space age as old and unimportant - the philosphy is that there really isn't any other intelligent beings in the universwe save us. All this leads to a somewhat depressing story line. Hutch is even subdued and not enthusastic. I felt all the pages 'about 150 of them' leading up to the new drive were not all that necessary and I would have loved you to have put in more adventures of the starship with Hutch as the captain. I kept waiting for that to happen and it did a little bit but the ending story line was not worthy of you Jack - you can and have done a lot better. I want the old Jack McDevitt to come home now.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    well written outer space thriller

    Government sponsored interstellar flight research is a thing of the past as it proved to expensive some private foundations provided limited funding to scientists, but by 2255 everyone knows that the dreams of the now defunct Academy of Science and technology are over. --- That is until now when physicist Jon Silvestri insists he has found an efficient effective star drive. The Prometheus Foundation decides to fund his tests, which prove successful. The Foundation assigns Priscilla ¿Hutch¿ Hutchins to join Jon and a crew on the Cauldron, whose mission is to learn what is inside the omega clouds at the core of the galaxy that is expanding outward and destroying other segments of the sector. However, the trip proves nonlinear as the Cauldron meet technologically impaired aliens, land on a deadly seemingly deserted planet, and is pulled towards a black hole. --- Although a well written outer space thriller starring Hutch and a crew of eccentrics, the prime directive of the story line is penetrating the clouded core to learn what is going on, but that segue is given a short climatic coda no more than fifteen percent of the tale). Instead over eighty percent of the exciting story line involves the travel. Thus the audience will appreciate the superior writing as the crew of the cauldron goes where mankind has never been before, but is also disappointed in the omega cloud finish that proves faster than Silvestri¿s star drive. --- Harriet Klausner

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