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Polaris (Alex Benedict #2)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  3,839 Ratings  ·  249 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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 2005 by Ace Hardcover (first published November 1st 2004)
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May 04, 2016 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, mystery
The main problem with SF/Mystery crossovers is that you kinda rather need to be a fan of both genres.

Fortunately, I am, and so this book fit like a pretty comfortable glove. And it's not even a traditional mystery, either. Imagine a modern mystery that included a missing crew on an ocean liner from a hundred years in the past. You've got a lot of weird questions and archeology and a lot of research ahead of you, but wait! What if some really weird events keep happening around you, your artifacts
Apr 02, 2011 Felicia rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Paul Baker
Apr 05, 2011 Paul Baker rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
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
Julie Davis
Apr 16, 2012 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
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
Feb 28, 2016 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, charity-2016
The high point...I finished it. 2 Stars When I read scifi, I'm not looking for a mystery novel, especially one with a bumbling protagonist. Alex Benedict is not a heroic figure, that's for sure. The story is from the POV of his female assistant, Chase, but it did not feel like a woman thinking and talking, seemed like a guy. The Polaris is basically a McGuffin but nothing in the plot had to be in space. Didn't much care about anyone in the story. Per McDevitt standard, all the men are stupid, ma ...more
Jan 22, 2008 Gina rated it liked it
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.
Jul 02, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it
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
Jan 17, 2015 Reidar rated it really liked it
Shelves: originaalkeeles
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 pl
Jul 25, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it
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,
Dev Null
Dec 11, 2009 Dev Null rated it really liked it
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
Doug Armstrong
Mar 04, 2013 Doug Armstrong rated it liked it
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
Mar 05, 2015 Lauri rated it liked it
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, ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Dianah rated it did not like it
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
Sep 21, 2010 Carl rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasysci-fi
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
Mar 03, 2008 Sandi rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008, sci-fi
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
May 02, 2009 Chanpheng rated it it was ok
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
MB (What she read)
Jan 02, 2009 MB (What she read) rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Jun 16, 2011 Ian rated it liked it
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.
Aug 17, 2012 Craig rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2012 Karen Azinger rated it it was ok
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.
Scott Holstad
Mar 21, 2016 Scott Holstad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Jan 06, 2017 Roy rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.5 stars

Having read a few of these before, but out of order, I was a little disappointed in this book. The Benedict novels feature Alex Benedict, an antiquities dealer and his assitant and pilot Chase Kolpath set in a time frame of around 10,000 AD. Technology has improved greatly but people are still people. In the epoch of the stories, life seems comfortable for most with such advances as anti-grav, FTL, computer simulations of people (avatars), etc. In general, the stories are excellent myst
Melanie Clemmer
Jan 02, 2017 Melanie Clemmer rated it liked it
More like a three and a half star rating. I jumped into this series at book two for sci-fi book club. The story reminded me of the Nero Wolfe style of mysteries, although the sleuth was more "hands on" and obviously set in a future world. The ending was a little bit predictable but the characters were complex and like able enough for me to want to read more.
Konstantin Smirnov
One of the best in series

In my opinion author raises a very sensitive and important subject of overpopulation. He makes it with such a grace, intertwining with a catchy plot and a very high quality language.
Kristian_André Gallis
Bra mysterie-SF

Nærmere 10000 år inn i framtida kan mye skje. Mysteriet med besetninga som forsvant virker2 reell. Svaret er overraskende. Go
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 ...more
Mar 13, 2010 Mormonhermitmom rated it liked it
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
Dec 25, 2014 Alex rated it liked it
"Polaris" by Jack McDevitt is book 2 of the Alex Benedict series of SciFi novels. It's more of a murder mystery IN SPACE! I liked it but I felt like I needed to read book 1 of the series to get the full impact.

VIPs take a space yacht named Polaris out to view the destruction of a star but after the awe-inspiring event all communication stops. When another ship is sent out to investigate, Polaris is empty. There is no sign of a struggle and all the space suits and the on-board shuttle are intact.
Neil Fein
Feb 13, 2010 Neil Fein rated it liked it
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
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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
More about Jack McDevitt...

Other Books in the Series

Alex Benedict (7 books)
  • A Talent for War (Alex Benedict, #1)
  • Seeker (Alex Benedict, #3)
  • The Devil's Eye (Alex Benedict, #4)
  • Echo (Alex Benedict, #5)
  • Firebird (Alex Benedict, #6)
  • Coming Home (Alex Benedict, #7)

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