Polaris (Alex Benedict, #2)
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Polaris (Alex Benedict #2)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,667 ratings  ·  173 reviews
The luxury space yacht Polaris carried an elite group of the wealthy and curious thousands of light-years from Earth to witness a spectacular stellar phenomenon. It never returned. The search party sent to investigate found the Polaris empty and adrift in space, the fate of its pilot and passengers a mystery.

Sixty years later, prominent antiquities dealer Alex Benedict i...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 2005 by Ace Hardcover (first published November 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Felicia
Wellllll parts of this I liked. Interesting world building, I liked the concept of sci-fi mystery, but some things didn't do it for me. Not having read other books in the series, I had a hard time really rooting for the two main leads, and it's told from first person perspective, a woman, but she didn't SEEM like a woman talking. I figured out some of the plot way ahead of the heroes, so I started skimming a bit through the last half. I dunno, it was worth reading and I might pick up more by the...more
Ben Babcock
I grabbed Polaris on a whim at the used bookstore. It looked like an interesting mystery set in the future—a future where humanity has spread to other planets, where entire civilizations have risen and fallen over a few millennia. With all this history between Alex Benedict and life back here on Earth, there are bound to be so many cool mysteries to explore. But when Alex and his partner, Chase Kolpath, begin investigating the sixty-year-old disappearance of the entire crew of the Polaris, peopl...more
Gina
3 stars seems like a lot for this book... its more along the caliber of Dan Brown. the guy writer writes in the perspective of a female character, but doesnt quite come across. Entertaining though. I remember liking the seeker better. why am i reading this? it was on the library bookshelf.
Paul Baker
Minor Spoiler Alert!

Polaris is second of Jack McDevitt's series of novels about Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath - and it is probably the best of the group.

This is a series of novels that need not be read in order, as there is no real development from one to the next. However, the reader might benefit from reading A Talent for War first as it is the opening book in the series and sets up some of the past influences. It is also the only novel of the group that is told from the point of view of Ale...more
Eric
Jul 02, 2012 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and mystery fans
Shelves: science-fiction
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 no...more
Dev Null
I really quite enjoyed this one too, but some of the basic facts that the plot rests upon don't bear too much examination.

McDevitt tells us in this one that there are about a thousand FTL ships in the entire human culture. He also tells us that the population of Earth is up to about 12 billion, and that there is at least one other over-industrialised and over-populated world amongst the known worlds. And we get the impression at least that there are quite a few of these settled worlds. Which, ev...more
Julie Davis
Apr 16, 2012 Julie Davis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and mystery lovers
Recommended to Julie by: Orson Scott Card
Having really enjoyed McDevitt's Engines of God and read Orson Scott Card's review of the Alex Benedict/Chase Kolpath mystery/archeological-treasure-hunt series I turned to the library to see what was around. I was happy to see that they had number 2 in the series and so that's where I'm beginning.

As with Engines of God, this book presents one mystery/cliffhanger after another and then goes about investigating in a very straight forward way. Which is fine with me since McDevitt's storytelling is...more
Doug Armstrong
Mar 04, 2013 Doug Armstrong rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Miguel Hernandez Fransisco
Recommended to Doug by: Juan Gomez
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 o...more
Dianah
Feb 22, 2014 Dianah rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who don't think to deeply about science and have time to kill at an airport
Recommended to Dianah by: Stephen King - yeah, you'd think I'd learn my lesson
In the far future 7 people disappear. The question is do you care? The book starts off really well, but then McDevitt switches to first person and it totally killed the flow. Another problem is McDevitt's failure at creating a believable female character let alone writing as one. Honestly, I didn't realize the character was a woman until she was talking about her shoes and off the shoulder dress. I so totally liked her better as a him. Besides the character problems there are holes in the plot y...more
Joe
A satisfying scifi mystery.

I think the only thing about McDevitt's work I would disagree with is the lack of social change. Society seems pretty much very American-ish 10,000 years in the future. We're told that there have been entire religions and empires that have come and gone but somehow the culture itself seems to lack any huge differences, and I'm sure ten thousand years is enough for humanity to evolve in ways that really would seem completely alien to us.

But assessing the story itself,...more
Sandi
I liked the plot. I liked the suspense. I hated the first-person narrator. McDevitt would have been wise to tell this story in third person, preferable from a male POV. His female narrator was a very strong, smart, capable woman. But, every time she encountered another female she had to think about her looks compared to the other woman. She also spent too much time reflecting on her effect on men. She was very, very annoying. As a woman, I know darn good and well that most of us don't dwell on h...more
Carl
Finally finished this-- no time for a review now (should be asleep, but it wasn't taking so I'm up...), but an enjoyable combination of mystery and sci-fi! People seem to be taking him for "the logical heir to Asimov and Clarke" or something like that, and that works-- not the experimental edginess of New Wave or the various "punks" out there, just good quality, straight-ahead universe building SF with thoughtful themes that don't get in the way of the nicely balanced plot. That said, I do like...more
Chanpheng
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Seeker, another of the books in the series featuring Alex and Chase, antiquities dealers who get into all sorts of trouble. I did like the opening of the book, where the lost ship Polaris is present at an unique cosmic event - a pulsar going right through another star. Then the book transitions to a who-done-it, with much too much detail about the character's actions. This book is supposed to take place 9,000 years in our future - but everyone acts like the pe...more
Mike
This book didn't quite have the charm of the previous novel, A Talent for War, or of the books in McDevitt's academy series. But overall it was still an enjoyable read. Alex Benedict is on the case again after being attacked while trying to sell artifacts from the Polaris, a ship whose crew mysteriously disappeared 60 years earlier. The chase leads them across their home planet and across the galaxy and has great action, cool scientific ideas, and conspiracies and coverups.

The problem is, I don'...more
MB
Enjoyable space thriller/detective story. I liked the combination of adventure/space/treasure hunting & antiquity dealing.
Only one caveat for me...the female narrator's character just did not ring true. (It is difficult for a male author to catch the feel for an authentic female voice and this is one of those books where he did not succeed.)
But it was well worth reading and I am going to read the next title in this series.
Yume
I've been describing this series to friends as "like Indiana Jones - in space." Well, like with Indiana Jones, the second one doesn't quite live up to the bar if the first one. This sequel to A Talent for War is mostly plodding linear inquiry populated by mostly noncontributing characters (just a few too many to keep track of, which complicated the plot in unintended ways) saved by flashes of fun action and high science fiction concept. It doesn't achieve as much depth or world building feats as...more
Russ
Enjoyed following the mystery down to the last pages. Open for more adventures throughout Rimway and the Confederacy! Would like to know more about the Mutes.
Plenty of mystery and a shocking conclusion, strong science fiction throughout! Closed very nicely! The characters and their dilemmas played out as humanity does: both tragic and endearing!
Recommended for a fast paced, mystery read set in a very detailed expanse of humanity among the stars. Lots of rich detail to give you an idea that we r...more
Ian
Polaris is essentially a murder-mystery set in the far future. As long as you don't take it too seriously, and aren't looking for profound or challenging writing, you can have some fun reading it.

I'm not a big McDevitt fan, but I like the Alex Benedict novels. They're reasonably well crafted, if a little trite in places. Just think of this book as a little "roughage" for your mind.
Craig
This is a very nice science fiction mystery. I wouldn't categorize it as hard-sf; I think mystery readers might enjoy it, too. It's the second in a series featuring Alex Benedict, a dealer in rare artifacts, told from the perspective of his pilot and assistant, Chase Kolpath. The narrative technique works quite well in a Dr. Watson fashion. It was very good; lots of fun.
Karen Azinger
I've been reading Jack McDevitt books like candy lately, but sadly Polaris did not work for me. I was not enthralled by the characters or the plot. Polaris felt more like a who-done-it than a deep space thriller. I missed the alien archaeology and the deep space adventure. Jack McDevitt is an engaging writer but for some reason, Polaris did not engage.
Benedict
Another fun book with McDevitt's unusual and insightful conceit of being a narrative written by the gal doing the grunt work for the genius hero. Chase Kolpath continues to be a great protagonist, and the book includes a fun change-of-perspective in one of the few situations in literature that obviously calls for it . . . and as expected as a number of the outcomes and reveals are, the book manages to spin out some great twists.

Part of the delight of these books is in how the actual themes are r...more
Manuel Nesbet
Como es la tónica de las novelas de McDevitt en general y de esta serie de libros en particular, existen muchos elementos que lo diferencian del resto de los autores del género. Si bien esta serie de libros se podría definir mas como novelas de suspenso que como sci-fi duro, destaca lo bien estructurado y creíble del mundo donde se desarrolla la narrativa. Hay un dato particular que me llama la atención, y que es transversal a las novelas de este autor: y es que los humanos de esa futura época,...more
Xan
Un acontecimiento único y nunca observado, un grupo de grandes científicos invitados con gran parafernalia a presenciarlo y una nave que aparece vacía. Sesenta años más tarde Alex Benedict y su socia Chase, comerciantes de reliquias metidos a investigadores privados de forma ocasional, tropiezan con unos restos de esa expedición y empiezan los problemas.
La serie de Alex benedict no es ciencia ficción dura, ni siquiera la clasificaría como Space Opera, es una novela de detectives ambientada en u...more
Mormonhermitmom
I prefer science fiction movies to science fiction novels, but I kind of liked this one. Polaris came out a few years ago. This story has plenty of futuristic spaceships, technology, and faraway worlds, but the plot is essentially a mystery.

The Polaris is a space yacht carrying well known scientists and social activists to witness an aging star get pulverized by a neutron star. Other ships are in the system observing, taking readings and doing the actual scientific work. When the star has become...more
Phaedrus
Three ships went out to witness the white dwarf collide with Delta Karpis. The Sentinel and the Rensilaer were scientific vessels, there to collect data and to record the event. The third ship, the Polaris, was filled with VIPs, there to make it a media event. After the collision, which was as fantastic as promised, all three ships were to jump back to Indigo Station. The Sentinel and the Rensilaer appeared on schedule, and the Polaris sent the message "Departure imminent", but the Polaris never...more
Neil Fein
The third book in a loose series featuring Mr. McDevitt's character Alex Benedict, Polaris is told from the viewpoint of Chase Kolpath, Alex's pilot and assistant. Chase doesn't quite Rainbow, Alex's two-person operation that sells archaeological finds, but she is certainly a well-known face to their wealthy clients, and very skilled at cutting through bureaucracy.

The setup behind this vaguely noir/mystery book involves the mysterious ship Polaris whose passengers and crew vanished mysteriously...more
Per Gunnar
I was in the mood for a change of pace and since I had read the first book in the Alex Benedict series by Jack McDewitt and found it somewhat entertaining I decided to have a go at the second instalment in the series. Unfortunately I did not find this book very exciting.

First of all, the story is told from the perspective of Alex Benedict’s sidekick Chase Kolpath. I have never liked it very much when a story is told from someone who is not really the main character and I did not really like it t...more
Nicholas
Polaris is a fantastic mystery set thousands of years in the future. Following the archeological explorations of Alex Benedict the story takes into a legendary ghost ship story that has been around since man first set sale. It is a good mystery that gives good spins and while the answer isn't earth shattering it is entertaining.

McDevitt shows his strength in world building, or universe building with his sci-fi stories. The story feels deep because McDevitt has obviously worked out a history to t...more
Arthur Hall
The story line of Polaris seemed a bit uneven compared to the first in the series ( A Talent for War ), though some of this may have been due to the change in narrators. The narrative in the first book is told from the perspective of Alex Benedict, the series' namesake, and is narrated by Greg Abbey, who does a wonderful job. With Polaris being told from the perspective of the female lead, Chase Kolpath, the producers chose (wisely) to change narrators, going with Jennifer Van Dyck. Ms. Van Dyc...more
Camlan S
Polaris by Jack McDevitt

A deserted ship, with the fate of the passengers unknown is found drifting through space 60 years ago. Now, Jack McDevitt carries us through the adventures of a well pronounced collector, who is in search of the fate of the crew and passengers on the ship.

The book Polaris, written in 2005, takes space Mysteries to a whole new level. It shows that space, is definitely not what it seems. upon reading the title, and the back of the book, it seems like any other space myste...more
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Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. His work has been on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards for 12 of the past 13 years. His first novel, The Hercules Text, was published in the celebrated Ace Specials series and won the Philip K. Dick Special Award. In 1991, McDevitt won the first $10,000 UPC Internation...more
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