Polaris (Alex Benedict Series #2)

( 29 )

Overview

Jack McDevitt brings back the daring Alex Benedict from A Talent for War, thrusting him into a far-future tale of mystery and suspense that will lead the prominent antiquities dealer to the truth about an abandoned space yacht called the Polaris.

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Polaris (Alex Benedict Series #2)

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Overview

Jack McDevitt brings back the daring Alex Benedict from A Talent for War, thrusting him into a far-future tale of mystery and suspense that will lead the prominent antiquities dealer to the truth about an abandoned space yacht called the Polaris.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Jack McDevitt has decided to bring back a duo from a science fiction thriller he wrote more than 15 years ago, A Talent for War. In Polaris, Alex Benedict, an inquisitive antiquities dealer, and his sassy partner, Chase Kolpath, try to solve a legendary mystery surrounding a vanished starship crew.

Three starships travel to the edge of explored space to witness the scientific event of the millennium -- the collision of a white dwarf with a class G sun. After the spectacular occurrence, two ships make the jump through space back home; but just as the last ship, named Polaris -- a luxury vessel carrying six scientific luminaries -- reports "departure imminent," something goes terribly wrong. When a rescue ship reaches Polaris six days later, the ship is found deserted. The lander is still in its launch pad, all pressure suits are accounted for -- it's as if they just disappeared. With no bodies to be found and no habitable planet close by, the incident goes unsolved for 60 years.

When Benedict and Kolpath purchase artifacts from the Polaris, what begins as a transaction for some easy money turns into a deadly mystery. After the building where the remaining Polaris relics were to be displayed is bombed to the ground and Benedict and Kolpath are almost assassinated, their investigation eventually leads to a breakthrough that will turn civilization on its head!

The fascinating thing about this novel is that the reader is never certain until the very end where exactly McDevitt is going with the plot. Is it a ghost story? Is it about alien abduction? Is it a mystery based on hard science fiction? One thing, however, is absolutely certain: Polaris is a brilliant science fiction whodunit. Paul Goat Allen

Bill Sheehan
In recent years, Jack McDevitt has produced a remarkable series of interstellar adventure novels (Chindi, Omega, Deepsix) that has established him as perhaps the best pure storyteller working in the field today. McDevitt's latest, Polaris, can only enhance his reputation. A cleverly constructed mystery set against a rigorously developed future history, Polaris offers both a high-adrenaline narrative and a complex meditation on some thorny ethical dilemmas.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This SF mystery's smooth and exciting surface makes it difficult to appreciate how exceptionally good it is at combining action and ideas. After a string of well-developed space operas, McDevitt returns to the lead characters of his second novel, A Talent for War (1988): antiquarian entrepreneur Alex Benedict (think Indiana Jones with an eye for profit) and his beautiful assistant, Chase Kolpath (think smart, sexy Dr. Watson). Decades earlier, in a future version of the Marie Celeste incident, the spaceship Polaris was discovered drifting and empty, its captain and passengers apparently vanished in an instant. Now, Alex and Chase realize that someone is tracking down relics of the Polaris and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way. Alex is first of all a businessman, but he becomes stubbornly fascinated with the impossible puzzle. While Chase saves Alex's neck from increasingly ingenious attacks, he untangles a complex plot. The real problem turns out to be not how the mass disappearance was done but the tangled motives behind it. McDevitt does a fine job of creating different worlds for Alex and Chase to explore as they hunt clues. Through Chase's wry narration, the novel also succeeds in presenting characters who may be concealing important facets of themselves. That's appropriate in an SF mystery novel, but especially in one that turns out to have a surprisingly serious human core. Agent, Ralph Vincinanza. (Nov. 2) Forecast: A blurb from Stephen King, plus crossover from mystery readers, will give a boost. A multiple Nebula Award finalist, McDevitt might snag the award itself with this one. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
During a sightseeing trip to a distant star system to view a cosmic phenomenon, the passengers of the space yacht Polaris-all brilliant scientists-disappear without a trace. Sixty years later, antiques dealer Alex Benedict and his partner, Chase Kolpath, investigate the whereabouts of the missing passengers and embark on a trek across the galaxy just a few steps ahead of unknown pursuers who have already made attempts on their lives. Veteran sf author McDevitt (Deepsix) combines hard science with mystery and adventure in a wild tour of the distant future that also comes to grips with the ethical issues of tomorrow-life extension and the cosmic environment. Stellar plotting, engaging characters, and a mastery of storytelling make this a standout addition to sf collections. Highly recommended. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another space mystery for antiquarian sleuths to resolve (Chindi, 2002, etc.), this time involving relic dealer Alex Benedict and his beautiful pilot/assistant, narrator Chase Kolpath. Space yacht Polaris, with a small, select group of celebrities aboard, observed the spectacle of an ordinary sun being ripped apart by a superdense neutron star. Hours later, pilot Maddy English reported the ship on its way home-but it never arrived. A rescue vessel found Polaris adrift, power and systems intact, its Artificial Intelligence switched off-and devoid of human presence. Despite an intensive investigation, the mystery was never resolved. Sixty years later, artifacts from the still-mysterious ship go on sale. Alex manages to grab a couple; a handful of others are distributed before a bomb, apparently intended to assassinate a nasty local dictator, destroys the rest. A burglary at Alex's house, ostensibly a theft, actually allowed the perpetrator to handle a blouse that once belonged to Maddy English. Becoming intrigued, Alex discovers that others connected with the vanished passengers also disappeared under unexplained circumstances. Someone else, probably Alex's burglar, shows great interest in the remaining Polaris artifacts-a person at pains to conceal his real identity. Still others connected with the investigation turn out to have no identifiable past. And when Alex and Chase persist, someone attempts to kill them. One of the vanished passengers was a leading immortality researcher; others were active members of a society dedicated to preventing overpopulation: but what's the connection? A competently wrought but rather pallid adventure for a sleuthing duo that could have used personalitytransplants; the whole thing reads like a long-abandoned, recently refurbished draft. Author tour. Agent: Ralph Vicinanza
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441012534
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/25/2005
  • Series: Alex Benedict Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 620,871
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.64 (h) x 1.13 (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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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Story is ok but . . .

    I enjoyed the book but the actual format is very odd. Every paragraph has a line after it so that by the end of a page you really are missing a third to a quarter of the page. This is not a 350 page book but more like 225 or so. I found it very annoying to read like this. Extending a book by padding it is not cool. I normally get a sample first but I enjoyed the first alex benedict book enough to just buy this one. This is not a decision by the author but a publisher decision. Do not reward publishers by accepting this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2013

    Engrossing mystery

    It's a mystery. No, it's a scifi story. No it's both. A great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2007

    McDevitt is a master of worlds, but execution is lacking

    Of all the science fiction authors I've read, McDevitt creates the best worlds. He creates worlds that cry out for expansion because they are so good. Polaris is no exception, McDevitt's storytelling totally immerses you. But, McDevitt's execution of the worlds is lacking. Not that he is bad, but you can't help but feeling that if another author was asked to make a story around the environment McDevitt created, it would be one of the best books ever. Polaris has a plot twist that is predictable and an ending is unoriginal. It is definitely a must read for science fiction fans, you just won't consider this book worth re-reading.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great sf mystery

    In the far distant future, a dwarf star is crashing into the Delta Karpis System so a fleet of ships leave when the danger becomes too great. One vessel the Polaris carries six dignitaries, but instead of departing the danger zone, it remains inside the doomed system. Later a spaceship investigates only to find the Polaris but without the six passengers or the pilot...................... A century later on the planet Rimway, an exhibit of the Polaris that includes recovered objects from the doomed ship is about to go on display or sold off to antique dealers. Alex Benedict and his associate Chase Kalpath buy several of the items before evacuating the building due to a bomb scare that turns real when an explosion destroy the edifice and all it contained. The only Polaris artifacts left are those Alex purchased. From that moment, several attempts to kill Alex and Chase occur while someone is obviously seeking a particular Polaris memento. The beleaguered partners conclude that the remains must include evidence of what happened to the vanished seven. They plan to learn what that is and who wants them dead............................. Although Polaris occurs in the future in outer space thus providing a science fiction background, the story line is a classic style investigative tale with Alex serving as an amateur sleuth Holmes and Chase as Watson. The likeable duo hooks readers as they struggle to find out what is going on and why. Though a stand alone novel, the dynamic duo sleuthing in an outer space setting deserves a series so hopefully Jack McDevitt receives a Hugo nomination to encourage him to bring back Alex and Chase for more Sherlockian not of this earth adventures................... Harriet Klausner

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