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