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Polaris (2005)

Polaris (2005)
3.83 of 5 Votes: 2
0441012027 (ISBN13: 9780441012022)
ace hardcover
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Polaris (2005)
Polaris (2005)

About book: This was a very enjoyable, even exciting, sci fi mystery featuring Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath. Alex is a dealer of valuable antiques and Chase is his pilot who helps out around his business. The book takes place some 12 years from when the events in the previous book took place.Sixty years ago, a starship called Polaris went far, far away to watch a collision between a star and a white dwarf, something that happens once every thousand years or so and which would result in a huge explosion. Other ships are going too, with scientists who are going to be collecting data. Polaris has a female pilot and six passengers. They are high profile scientists and notables who are being treated to this VIP experience by Survey, the agency responsible for such missions. After the explosion, the various ships head back. The pilot of Polaris radios Survey to announce that departure is immanent and then nothing is heard from them again. Ever. Eventually, Survey sends another ship out to look for it. They find it drifting, board it, and find no one on board. There are no people there. And thus the mystery begins. The ship is hauled home and about 50 ships are sent out to the site to look for aliens or something like that, something that could have boarded the ship without leaving a trace and captured the people aboard. Nothing is found.Fast forward 60 years. Alex and Chase are approached by Survey to attend a pre-sale of artifacts from Polaris, stuff that would be very, very valuable. They're given a limit of seven items they can take. They take some items they consider worthy and leave. On their way out, an announcement is made that there's a bomb in the building and to evacuate. Everyone scatters. Sure enough, the building blows up and all of the Polaris artifacts are destroyed. Except Alex's. They go home and set up deals with clients to sell five of the items, keeping two. They go out and upon their return, find the house has been broken into. Some coins are missing, but that's about it. The valuable stuff out in the open is untouched. Very odd. They notice, however, that the pilot's flight jacket has been moved, although nothing has been done to it as far as they can tell. They call the police, who basically do nothing in this book. The break in frustrated me, because in the previous book, this happened several times to Alex and his life was even threatened, so you would think he would have invested in a good security system, but nope. Now he does.They start hearing from their Polaris clients. A man and woman are approaching them and asking to see their new artifacts, and to touch them. Alex is worried about theft. They go to one of their clients' house to await the arrival of the man, who had contacted her in advance. He appears, touches the artifact, apparently loses interest and leaves. Alex thinks he may be behind the break in, so they follow him in their skimmer, gaining on him as he goes out over the ocean. They fail to notice, however, another skimmer that draws alongside them and then its pilot shoots at them, damaging their skimmer, forcing them to crash land in the ocean. Murder attempt number one. The police are annoyed he didn't tell them about things. They beg him to stay out of it, to let them do their job. So he goes home and they spend time researching the people on the Polaris, as well as the people on the rescue craft. Turns out one of the two people on the rescue craft had been killed. They take their new skimmer and go interview his widow. Meanwhile the police get back to him with IDs on the man and woman after the artifacts. They have pictures. The woman looks like the Polaris pilot. They wonder if she had had family, a daughter, but she hadn't. However, they found out she had been married, and her husband had been killed in an accident that a lot of people thought was a murder committed by her. They travel to her hometown and interview some people. Apparently, she was snooty and standoffish, but not too many people now thought she would have murdered him. They thought he slipped off a mountain by himself when they were out walking. On their way home, their space craft turns out to be sabotaged and they nearly die, again. This happens several times in the book and is one of my few complaints about the book. How many times do you have to be nearly murdered before you learn to check out your craft before flying? How many times does it take before you just lie low? How stupid could you be? Are you really that dumb? A lot of reviewers think so. Another strange thing they find out about was that the leader of Survey was supposed to go on Polaris, but got called away at the last minute by some unknown pressing engagement. Three years later, he walked out of his office and was never seen again. Something else that is strange is that none of the people they're researching have pasts. None of the dead people, none of the people trying to take the artifacts. It's like they don't officially exist and never did. Weird.Alex and Chase begin wondering about things. What if the people on board were part of a conspiracy? What if they wanted to disappear and leave Polaris a mystery? Were there habitable planets nearby? Were there space stations nearby? They had their AI do a search and he came up with several. They decided to take their space ship out there to look around and that's where I'm going to stop, other than to say they solve the mystery and I found that very satisfying. I had my suspicions for some time, but it was good to read the details about how Alex and Chase arrived at their conclusions and what resulted from that.I've read a lot of poor reviews, all by women, critical of the author for his portrayal of Chase. In the first book, Alex is the protagonist and narrator. In this book, it's Chase. A lot of women think she doesn't sound like an authentic woman and couldn't and don't buy her as one. Thus the poor reviews. Frankly, perhaps because I'm a stupid man, I didn't notice that. Her dialogue didn't bother me in the least and I found it very believable for her character. But like I said, I'm a guy. I guess women would know better than me.I think McDevitt is an exceptional writer and I love this series. I'm ready to start the next one and I can't wait. I love the science and I love the personalities. It's a really good book, and while I think everyone should read the first one first, I strongly recommend this book.

McDevitt oskab muhedalt kirjutada. Teist Alex Benedicti sarja romaani lugedes kadestasin, kui mõnusalt on võimalik dialoogi ja karakterite tegemisi kirjeldada. Nagu lõdva randmega mahlakas minimalism, mis sobivalt torkavate iseloomustavate killukestega läbi pikitud. Hoolimata sellest, et lugeja emakeeleks pole English, oli ometi teksti haaramine äärmiselt ladus.Sisust ainult niipalju, et kosmoselaev Polaris viib äärmiselt auväärse seltskonna inimesi ühe tähe lõppu vaatama. Paraku ei lähe kõik plaani järgi ja teiste laevkondade ning koduse üldsuse suureks šokiks kaob kogu meeskond koos kuulsa kapteniga jäljetult. Laev ise hulbib tühjalt kosmoses edasi. On selle taga mõni uus tulnukarass, kosmiline paranähtus, negatiivne karma või mõni alatu saatuse vingerpuss? Mõistatuse lahendamine seatakse taas kahe peategelase Alexi ja Chase'i õlule.Pean ütlema, et mulle meeldib McDewitti teine Priscilla Hutchinsi Akadeemia sari siiski rohkem. Võib-olla on asi teadlaslikus lähenemises, ei oska öelda. Antud teose puhul väsitasid pikad ülidetailsed kirjeldused esemetest ja nende ajaloost. Maailm oleks ilma nendetagi piisavalt värvikas olnud ja lugu võinuks kokku suruda lühiromaani mahtu. Mõne retke järgmise tegelase juurde, keda autor lugejale tutvustab, oleks võinud lühemalt kokku võtta või üldse välja jätta, kuna mingit selgust või selle kübetki ei paistnud saabuvat. Ainult Alex paistis arusaavalt noogutavat, sageli Chase'i ja minu meelehärmiks :) Romaani lahendus oli siiski huvitav ja viimases kolmandikus tõuseb tempo märgatavalt. Kuigi, nagu Chase ühes jutukatkes märgib, oleks oodanud, et tegu on pigem... kui tavalise...Kuna sarja esimene osa oli väga hea, tasub järgmisi veel proovida, sest loetavasti pidada minema aina paremaks.
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While I enjoyed this second installment in the Alex Benedict series, as it was a page-turning futuristic mystery, there were a few things that irked me:- This book was narrated by Alex's side-kick, Chase Kolpath (unlike the first book, which was narrated by Alex himself). I was looking forward to this different perspective when I started reading, but found the narrative voice to be so similar, I was actually confused at points as I thought Alex was still narrating.- The only differentiation I noticed between the narrative voices was Chase's inability to be in the same room as another male without becoming turned on -- even, on separate occasions, by a known terrorist leader and the person she and Alex are hunting for the Survey bombing. - There was a fair bit of repetition from the first book. In both books, Alex's house was burglarized, his skimmer was sabotaged, and there were historical societies relating to the obscure ancient events Alex and Chase were hunting down.- Alex, Chase, and many others fly through the stars on myriad errands at a moments notice, making it seem that interstellar travel is easy and manageable in this universe. However, the following passage, used to make an unrelated point about overpopulation, completely contradicts the characters' ability to travel so readily, as how can hundreds of millions of people live throughout the star system if there are so few ships available to transport them between worlds?There are currently one thousand sixty-four superluminals in the Confederacy, with an average passenger capacity of twenty-eight people. Three will accommodate more than a hundred; many, as few as four. In fact, if you use the entire fleet, you still don’t have enough capacity to move thirty thousand people.I am definitely going to give the series a bit of a break, and am undecided if I will continue on in the future, despite my enjoyment of the first two installments.
Doug Armstrong
The main characters are like a really, really dense version of Sherlock and Holmes, you'll figure out the gist of what happened to the Polaris' crew about 150 pages before they do. You'll also get really angry when they do things straight out of an Austin Powers movie ("A.I. systems never go down, but we'll just get in this vehicle whose A.I. system is mysteriously offline after someone has already tried to kill us once.", "We just disabled our arch enemy, but instead of restrain them we'll go off and explore!"). Despite those problems, it was actually a fairly entertaining read. If you like Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, this is basically a sci-fi version of those, albeit with dumber characters. You'll figure out the big picture of what happened to the crew about halfway through, but the fun is in following the investigation to find out the details. It's a well-crafted plot that moves fast, never leaving you bored. I only wish he'd edited out a few of the hints that you get earlier in the book, and had the characters figure out an attempt on their life before they fell for it at least once.I also enjoyed the writing style, the author apparently knows his limitations as it never seemed forced or pretentious. It reminded me of the classic period of sci-fi back in the 60's/70's where authors were all about the story being the most important thing, not the characters, so the emphasis was on moving the narrative forward and exploring the ideas rather than human drama.
McDevittil on juba (minu jaoks) firmamärgiks muutunud väga põnev ja hoogne algus, järjest alanevas tempos keskpaik ja visisev ja paha haisu välja ajav lõpp. Nii ka seekord. Lõpus ei huvitanud mind enam kuhu need Polarise reisijad siis kadusid enam üldse. Lisaks olid need reisijad kujutatud must-valgete kriipsujukudena, ainult nimedena, nii et selgitus kes on kes läks puhtalt mööda. Lõpplahendus...nojah. Ei, välja ei mõtle, sest autor paljastab kogu aeg uut teavet, mida alguses ei olnudki teada, aga no ei olnud hea, ei olnud põnev ja ei olnud rahuldusttoov. Uimane ja veniv. Aga mida tahtagi romaanist kus saladust lahendatakse sellise meetodiga et sõidetakse järjekordse tunnistaja juurde ja intervjueeritakse teda tundide (ja lehekülgede) kaupa. Ma jään oma Alex Benedicti-sarja esimesele romaanile ("A Talent for War") antud hinnangu juurde, et on üks lödi jobistamine...:)Samas, eks ajaviiteks loeb kolmandatki ja neljandatki ja nii edasi. Ajaviiteline väärtus täitsa on olemas.
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