Friday, November 21, 2008

Book Review: Jack McDevitt – Seeker (2006)

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I got this book for free. It was one of the books I received at the end of the campaign “Write to receive… a book”. I had to choose the books I was entitled to from a list and while I got to the last option, it was a toss up between The Year’s Best Science Fiction vol. II and something else since I had already chosen vol. III and IV which were most expensive, but I felt in the mood for another novel even if I hadn’t read anything by that author or even heard of him before. The presentation from the site wasn’t too appealing and what determined me to choose Seeker was the mention of Nebula Award. Still I wasn’t expecting much, but since it was free…

I’m glad to say I had been wrong and I was pleasingly surprised. The book has a great rhythm and I didn’t even notice the time passing by or the pages flying. I didn’t put it down once I started reading. Sure it’s not rocket science or much philosophy in it but it was an enjoyable read.

The book is written at first person, the main character being a woman (that coming from a male writer should be interesting but he managed to stay vague enough so any flaws wouldn’t be too obvious) called Chase (quite a suggestive name given her profession). She works for Alex in what seems like a two people company and they’re basically the treasure hunters of the future. Ten thousands of years or so from now, the civilization has evolved in the expected direction with little surprises and travelling to different galaxies to look for thousands of years old artifacts is still a highly paid and successful job.

It all starts with a cup with ancient writing on it that is brought to their office for an expertise. The theory that its origin might be from one of the two ships that have left mother earth four thousands of years in the past with the professed intention to form an utopist society on an unknown planet send Chase and Alex, well, mostly Chase, on a ghost chase across the universe. She is in charge with the researches so she gets to travel the most, with her own ship, so good thing she is also a pilot. They’re sort of celebrities in their circle knowing important people and also having powerful rivals who wouldn’t stop from anything to steal their discoveries, or would they?

What sticks in mind among other things is Chase’s trip to the “mutes” world, a telepathic insect race that is usually considered repulsive by humans and vice-versa. Moving from one clue to another the two of them manage to go on a successful trip during which they find one of the departed ships with the crew intact and full of children, which looks like a salvation tentative that has failed.

As soon as the word gets out regarding their discovery the hits against them start to happen, someone is really against the idea of them finding out what happened with the ships like they didn’t have enough detractors of their work already. But they are two stubborn characters who refuse to give up. Eventually they find the second ship and the planet with the humans’ living descendants and collect the glory, even get a statue in the mutes’ museum. Fun. I’d like to read a sequel to that.

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Written for “Scrie ca sa primesti…o carte”

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