Ace, 2005 (2005)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
lex Benedict, owner of Rainbow Enterprises, is a collector and dealer of interplanetary antiquities. Assisted in his business by the lovely and resourceful Chase Kolpath and by the indispensable AI, Jacob, Benedict is always interested in acquiring objects with unimpeachable provenances and easily convertible values. When an unusual woman named Amy Kolmer brings Benedict an old cup for appraisal and possible sale, Benedict's interest is immediately intense. The cup, if genuine, is apparently 9,000 years old. It seems to have come from an interstellar ship named
, an infamous ship from the 27th century.
cup, because of its age, would by itself be a remarkable object. That it still exists impresses Benedict, but he realizes the cup may actually be a clue to solving a phenomenally important historical mystery: What happened to the legendary
? According to anecdotal tales passed down through thousands of generations, many hundreds of emigrants left Earth in order to start a new Utopian world in a distant part of the universe. As their leader Harry Williams said at the time of the departure, '
Where we are going, even God won't be able to find us!
' Leaving a world dominated by oppressive ideologues, the emigrants then mysteriously disappeared into the mythic crevices of interplanetary history.
ow, if what Benedict sees is correct, evidence of the
actually exists. SXo Benedict and Kolpath spring into action. As they collect more clues, and as they get closer to the answer, they run into difficult obstacles. The
may actually exist, and the emigrants' descendants may still be out there somewhere, but Benedict must journey deeply into the heart of deception and danger to find the answers.
is full of adventure and fascinating characters. Jack McDevitt's imaginative SF tale is a highly entertaining variation on the lost colony theme. Part mystery, part thriller, and part tribute to all previous Utopian novels,
is a strikingly original and valuable addition to the world of SF.
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