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The Engines of God | [Jack McDevitt]

The Engines of God

Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock. But their time is running out.
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Publisher's Summary

Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock. But their time is running out.

Earth's ravaged environment is quickly making it unlivable, and colonizers want to begin terraforming these abandoned worlds for human habitation. Only interstellar archaeologist Richard Wald and starship pilot Priscilla Hutchins are convinced that uncovering the secrets of the monuments may hold the key to survival for the entire human race.

©1994 Cryptic, Inc.; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Splendid. Not since Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama has the discovery of artifacts of alien intelligence been treated so skillfully." (Baltimore Sun)
"McDevitt is at his best award-winning style in this intelligent and wide-ranging novel." (Kirkus Reviews)
"With plenty of startling plot twists, a heavy dose of intrigue, and an unusual amount of character development for science fiction, McDevitt holds us fast right through to a thrilling finish." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (269 )
5 star
 (63)
4 star
 (95)
3 star
 (74)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (12)
Overall
3.7 (185 )
5 star
 (49)
4 star
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3 star
 (46)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (12)
Story
3.8 (180 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
 (79)
3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    John Claremont, VA, USA 12-10-09
    John Claremont, VA, USA 12-10-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    "Terrible Narrator, Weak Story"

    I regret I did not read the reviews, worst purchase yet. Should rate with a zero. The readers low scratchy voice was very difficult to listen to for any length of time.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jensen 04-12-14
    Jensen 04-12-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    81
    8
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "OK story"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Probably a different narrator


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jack McDevitt? Why or why not?

    Yes, the story was well enough written


    What didn’t you like about Tom Weiner’s performance?

    I kept falling a sleep


    What character would you cut from The Engines of God?

    None, I think they all had a purpose in the story


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 03-02-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 03-02-14 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    616
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    293
    220
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    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Asimov Lives!!"

    Asimov warned that Sci-Fi needs to be driven by the "Sci" or it's just plain "Fi". Too often contemporary SF wants to be socio-political screed warped to some other similar culture or world. It's preaching in drag. McDevitt's piece has a spark of BIG TODAY ISSUE as part of the fuse to its powder, but its peripheral. He pulled in my imagination with a "Sci" mystery wrapped in a philosophical then cultural puzzles. Sweeeeet!

    Tom Weiner's read's just fine. Oh sure a couple of the character voices overlap, but he's good enough. Love the risky way McDevitt treats important characters. And there's neither sexist damsel in distress nonsense, nor over reach to make all the men bumblers. He's created a cast of equals.

    Now this cast ain't vying to create great literature… what they do is rise a tad beyond comic books, but that tad's fun, the plot's reasonably thrilling. And yeah, there's a cinematic thrum throughout. McDevitt should be, if he's not, a screen writer. I'll buy the next in this series...

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh River Falls, WI, USA 11-20-09
    Josh River Falls, WI, USA 11-20-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    57
    2
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    "Boring"

    Very boring nothing happens.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Modesto, CA, United States 05-28-13
    Douglas Modesto, CA, United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "I'm Sorry; What Happened?"

    That's the big question in any story as far as I am concerned; what happened? It can be answered after figuring out how, in every circumstance, did the protagonist get out of all that trouble the author put him/her/them in and how did they grow through the story.

    In this case, in Engines of God, the answer to that main question is; nothing. Nothing happened. The tension built (sort of) again and again and...nothing. At least nothing happened that anyone would care about. Throw an asteroid in the ocean and possibly kill everyone...sorry, shouldn't have done it. Thank God no one died. Throw a really giant snowball at the space station...just getting even. Thank God no one died. And on and on and on and...

    I have never listened to a science fiction story where the intrepid explorers were so freaked out by the idea that someone might die and careers were ended when someone did. I could go on but I won't. It was easily the most boring book I have ever listened to.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 05-10-13
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 05-10-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
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    73
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    4
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    Story
    "Dual Engines?"

    The story structure is divided into two halves, each of which feels completely different in tone and pacing. While each holds the attention, they are so stylistically divergent that one may even forget they share an author.

    The first half of the book is a satisfying salute to the archeological profession, and primarily takes place on a planet named Quraqua, the site of an ancient civilization which has mysteriously disappeared. The methodology and techniques used by the archeologist, linguists, and other scientists seem quite believable, and one comes to appreciate the painstaking manner in which they reconstruct a forgotten culture. Many intriguing mysteries about alien origins and interactions with galactic history are opened, and the reader will come to feel (incorrectly) that the answers will be their reward for finishing the novel.

    However, in the second act of the story, the thoughtful pursuit of answers goes out the window as a rapid succession of breakthroughs and timely hunches bring the characters from one planet to another. With unrealistic abandon, these archaeologists set aside their jaw-dropping finds to pursue the next thin lead. Each stopover is accompanied by a tense, life-or-death scene, which all have clever resolutions, but are examples of action unseen in the first half of the story.

    Each of these two plot halves are entertaining in their own way, but are jarringly uncharacteristic from one another, and would benefit from a stylistic synthesis. The cliffhanger ending, presumably setting up the subsequent book, deprived me of the satisfaction of solving most of the open mysteries, but that can be forgiven if further books in the series provide this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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