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Polaris (Alex Benedict #2)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  3,224 ratings  ·  213 reviews
The national best-selling author brings back the daring Alex Benedict from A Talent for War and thrusts him into a far-future tale of mystery and suspense.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 2005 by Ace Hardcover (first published November 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Scott Holstad
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.
MB (What she read)
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.
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
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
This is the second book in the Alex Benedict series and takes place c. 11,300 AD, although another time scale is also used in the book. It is really from the point of view of a heroine space pilot Chase Kolpath who works for Alex. She was also with Alex in Book 1, which took place approximately 12 years earlier. Alex is a smarmy antiquities dealer who, with Chase, gets involved in solving mysteries. The Polaris mystery is simpler than what happened in the first book, but still requires the reade ...more
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.
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.
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
Patrick Hayes
I continue to find myself loving everything I've read by Jack McDevitt. This is his second book featuring Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath, though reading the first book is not necessary for enjoying this book.

The book features a mystery involving the disappearance of the crew of the Polaris which is witnessing the destruction of a star, decades earlier. In the present (which is our future), Benedict and Kolpath become involved in this mystery through very strange circumstances, including assassi
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
A police procedural set in the distant future where artificial intelligences control your houses and personal flying vehicles called 'skimmers' have replaced cars. This is a slightly above-average mystery which is engaging enough to keep one reading till the end. This is not a science-fiction novel in the traditional sense. Although the future has been described in authentic detail, there is no sense of awe; rather, the author's attempt to present the technological advancements as somewhat banal ...more
Walt O'Hara
Not the strongest novel in the series, POLARIS sets the tone for the next several "Mysterious missing artefact brought to Alex's attention by a relative trying to sell something" stories.

Chase is once again the narrative voice, which seems to irritate women more than men (she's a strong female character, but indistinguishable from men, etc.). I guess my biggest problem with this series is how humdrum the future is.. it's so very unchanged from vanilla American 21st century. This is supposed to
Ian Cockerill
Good hard science fiction with a mystery attached. Really enjoyable in my view - fdollow up to "A Talent for War" but from a different point of view (I believe the point of view adopted for the books in the rest of the series) and probably better for it, although it does call for some seight of hand in the writing when the demnoument approaches, but I think that's forgivable.
If you like the aformmentioned "hard" science fiction from the golden age - Niven, Pournelle, probably add Poul Anderson a

This was a cool Alex Benedict novel, the third I’ve read, though I’m reading them out of sequence. But I digress….

Years ago the Polaris, a starship, was with a group of other starships witnessing the collision of a dwarf star with a planet (Jack McDevitt uses this dwarf star theory further in the novel, Seeker). For some mysterious reason, everyone disappears off the ship. No one can find them. Years, then decades go by. Polaris conventions pop up. Wild theories are proposed. Even a cult followi
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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)
The Engines of God (The Academy, #1) Seeker (Alex Benedict, #3) A Talent for War (Alex Benedict, #1) Eternity Road Chindi (The Academy, #3)

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