BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author Jack McDevitt.
©2005 Cryptic, Inc.; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"Ideas abound in McDevitt's classy riff on the familiar lost-colony theme. The novel delivers everything it promises with a gigantic whallop." (Publishers Weekly)
"The logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke." (Stephen King)
"Jennifer Van Dyck keeps the story exciting as she recounts each find, telling of artifacts that are much older than anything Indiana Jones ever got his hands on. Jack McDevitt himself reads the introduction." (AudioFile)
These books remind me of a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones thrown into a sci-fi setting. (A mystery story set in the future, with an antiquities dealer as the main protagonist.) In this universe the human race has been in space for about 20,000 years. In that time many ships, colonies and valuable items have gone missing. Alex Benedict, with the help of Chase Kolpath, specializes in finding missing and valuable items.
Seeker is the story of Margolia, a lost colony that disappeared long ago and has become a legend much like modern day Atlantis. One of the interesting concepts in the book, and McDevitt's writing, is the use of computer generated avatars of long dead people that are recreated through what is left behind and known of the person. In this case, Harry Williams the founder of the lost colony is used to help with the search. While he does not know where the colony is, or what happened to it, the avatar allows Benedict and Kolpath to get some unique perspectives on the colony and its foundation. In the end the avatar becomes a very sympathetic character.
This is a fun, quick book offers many twist and turns with a very satisfactory ending. Although it is the third book in Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series, these books can be read completely independent of each other.
Just finished listening to this a second time and enjoyed it just as much. Jennifer Van Dyck is the perfect narrator for Chase Kolpath.
If you want non-stop action, you are probably best off watching an action movie while sitting on your couch instead of listening to an audiobook while operating a moving vehicle. The suspense in this book builds up slowly and with convincing detail so that by the time Chase is fending off the villains, you are right there with her. And while the narrow escapes keep you on the edge of your seat, the actual puzzle that Benedict is solving (with Chase's sometimes reluctant help) engages your attention.
***A note on listening order*** There are currently 5 books in this series. Jennifer Van Dyck is the audio narrator for three of them: Polaris, Seeker, and The Devil's Eye. The order doesn't matter for Polaris and Seeker, but you should listen to Seeker before starting The Devil's Eye. All three are good listens, as is Omega from the McDevitt's other series.
Also, while the last book, Echo, has another narrator, McDevitt's website has the following information:
"The Tantor audio edition of Echo was inadvertently recorded using a male voice. It will shortly be available with a female narrator from Audible.com."
I was on the edge of my seat for most of this novel, it is by far the best of the Alex Benedict novels.
Seeker is a hard sci fi story without the info dumps and cardboard characters that plague the genre. The characters feel real and the story incorporates an interesting mystery that involves cosmic incidents that only an astrophysicist could predict, but McDevitt makes fun and believable.
Jennifer Van Dyck did a wonderful job, her voice fits Chase very well and kept a good pace throughout.
I have to say that the complaints in the comments seem somewhat petty.
I enjoyed the pace of the book - it was never dull even when describing the astrophysics involved. I like the fact that the future was familiar and strange at the same time. I listen during my daily commute and always know an audiobook is a winner when I start slowing down as I get closer to work/home so I can listen a few extra minutes. I found myself doing that every day I listened to this one
Long time book listener on the left coast. I work outside and spend many hours per day with a good book in my ear. Love Science, History, and above all Science Fiction/Fantasy.
This book stays close to the true flow of the growth and fall of knowlege in society over many millenia. Every time man thinks he is great he falls flat on his face. This is a fun romp through time and the galaxy. It does venture into real physics but sticks to what a layman can understand. A who-dunnit with some reverence to what would life be like if?...
It is an enjoyable listen.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is not great fiction, but I really enjoyed the read. It is a nice mystery with some interesting ideas. The characters are fun and the story has enough twists to keep me interested. The technology side of the sci-fi is on the weak side, but the interesting ideas part of the sci-fi is alive and well. This is mostly a mystery, and like most mysteries, there is only a modest amount of action. Overall this is was well worth it. The narration is good and adds to the story.
SUMMARY: archaeologist/antique dealer duo Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath (well, probably better to describe them as salvage team) find an artifact in the form of an old cup, from a lost colony ship. In turn this leads them on a voyage to discover what happened to the ship, its crew and passengers....
On it's on it was a good story, albeit a little sluggish in parts - in the end I was still left wanting more.. due to the bold description that Jack McD is the next Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke.
With the hype it was a close 3 - but I am giving this a 4 out of 5 because I enjoyed the book on its own merits. There's a good level of detail and the narration is what I would call mature and firm.
Huntress of Dirty Socks
I'd never read a Jack McDevitt novel before, but dang, he's got to be the King of World-Building, as he's put together a pretty amazing vision of our culture some 10,000 years from now.
What I liked about it is that human nature hasn't changed much at all in this future. Technology has, sure, but not much else.
I also enjoyed all of the main characters' detective work, chronicled in great detail. Chase and Alex get a lot of good breaks but only because they did their research, followed every lead, and didn't give up.
You can tell McDevitt has been a seeker himself and knows what it's like to hunt something down.
This was my first time with this narrator. She did a great job with all the characters and their accents.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
A reasonably entertaining light beach read. The characters are two-dimensional, but I'm a fan of lost colony mysteries and this one kept me engaged. The author did a good job of creating a sense of long history between the reader's time and the novel's era, in which many human civilizations have risen and fallen, and the records of the older ones have become sketchy (including that of the United States, which apparently declined into a theocratic dictatorship with a Fox News-like media). It makes me wonder how much of today's recorded information will be lost under the torrent of noise that following centuries will probably unleash. I also enjoyed the author's ideas on what an alien race might be like and his creative use of astrophysics.
This is a sweeping story that takes inspiration from sources as diverse as Indiana Jones and Isaac Asimov.
The two main characters are well-drawn and engaging - especially the narrator, Chase - and the plot of historical mysteries in a future multi-galactic civilization is intriguing with a satisfying conclusion.
It is nice to read a sci-fi novel with a strong female lead - in fact, that recommendation was one of the reasons I chose this book. I also enjoyed the detailed but not over-thought scientific and social details of the future society. McDevitt has kept the differences fairly simple, with enough twists to keep the society fresh and interesting, and make you ponder the future of space travel and colonization of other worlds. However, if you are looking for a big space opera with lots of science and technical innovations, this is not it.
The narrator, Jennifer Van Dyck, does a great job, giving life to the two main characters and many of the peripherals. Her 'computer voice' seemed grating at first, but actually fits very well with the descriptions and feel of the scenes. Her characterisation of the male characters is not forced, and she differentiates the various characters well.
I am looking forward to the other books in the series.
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