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Firebird

(Alex Benedict #6)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,585 ratings  ·  216 reviews

A new Alex Benedict novel from "a master of describing otherworldly grandeur." (Denver Post)

Forty-one years ago the renowned physicist Chris Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies.

Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath discover that Robin had several

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Hardcover, 375 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Ace Books
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Scott There is an overarching continuity but the main stories are complete in each volume. I accidentally started with the second book, myself. That said,…moreThere is an overarching continuity but the main stories are complete in each volume. I accidentally started with the second book, myself. That said, you should read this one before you read Coming Home.(less)

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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,585 ratings  ·  216 reviews


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Kevin Kelsey
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _library, read-2015
An outstanding speculative fiction / science fiction mystery. Huge ideas, terrific misdirection, and nobody writes a satisfying conclusion like McDevitt. Books 2, 4 and 5 began to feel a little repetitive, but this one is tied with 'Seeker' and 'A Talent for War' for the best in the Alex Benedict/Chase Kolpath series.
Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think this was a solid entry, but it didn't quite spark my imagination quite as much as the previous book in the series. This is is kinda surprising. I'd have thought that Alex mysteriously championing some spooky fringe science and parading it around as an unsolved mystery, much to Chase's annoyance, would be right up my alley, and as a matter of fact, it was.

What it actually became was also interesting even if it was kind of an old hat in the SF world, but never mind... any discussion of alt
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Erin
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The stakes have never been higher for Benedict Enterprises when Alex puts his reputation on the line in stubborn pursuit of the mysteries surrounding Chris Robin’s death.

Firebird the newest Alex Benedict novel by Jack McDevitt is a terrific read full of exciting scientific revelations, social intrigues, and fascinating looks into the past from the historical perspective of a man with a talent for finding valuable objects and dangerous answers. Antiquarian Alex Benedict and his assistant Chase Ko
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Julie Davis
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rereading via audio. This is the regular narrator but I have to admit that I preferred the different narrator from the last book.

Mostly am surprised at how Chase is written so that she seems as if she never went on an investigation/adventure with Alex. Annoying. However, still very enjoyable.

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I am reading this more out of a sense of duty and completion than of eager anticipation. That's surprising because I usually have no trouble jettisoning a series once it has become stale. I put it
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D.L. Morrese
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the sixth Alex Benedict Novel. I’ve read them all so obviously I find them entertaining. This one is no exception. Chase Kolpath again plays Watson to Alex Benedict’s Holmes. He’s not a detective though. He’s an antiquities dealer. His critics have less kind descriptions for him. He actually seems to be is a seeker of facts with a distinct reluctance to leave unanswered questions. I like him.
When it comes to science fiction, I don’t think I’m hard to please. Present a hopeful and believa
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Walt O'Hara
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
As I have alluded to in past McDevitt book reviews, many of the Chase Kolpath/Alex Benedict series novels are starting to be "much of a muchness", ergo, they are all comprised of elements that have worked for McDevitt before. As a writer, McDevitt is unabashedly not shy about reusing things that worked pretty well the first time. As a reader, I have said that this doesn't matter to me much, a day with the worst McDevitt novel is better than a day without any McDevitt novels. FIREBIRD is far from ...more
Text Addict
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
McDevitt writes in a monotone, with too many short sentences and an uninspired vocabulary. So, no big numbers of stars from me, despite the fact that this novel has lots of theoretical physics, a really interesting plot about disappearing starships, and an equally-interesting subplot (briefly masquerading as the main plot) about artificial intelligences.

I'm also not sure how to take a setting that's literally thousands of years in the future but in which so little appears to have changed. Even
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StarMan
A well-done science fiction/mystery tale that includes many of the standard aspects of modern SF: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Faster Than Light (FTL) starships, black holes, time travel (maybe), and some barely-mentioned aliens.

It's mostly a slow to moderately paced ride. The mystery itself -- a famous scientist who vanished decades ago -- becomes even stranger as the two protagonists investigate the past. There is a tense scene on a deserted (haunted?) planet, and reported sightings of myste
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Scott
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
At the beginning of this novel, a client offers Alex Benedict a number of items that once belonged to a physicist named Christopher Robin. Robin worked on the fringes of science, concerned particularly with the existence of alternate realities, and the possibility of travel between them. But he's almost more famous for having vanished without trace on the night before a disastrous earthquake. Alex, of course, cannot resist a mystery, and newly generated public interest is likely to raise the val ...more
Leather
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Firebird is one of those novels by Jack McDevitt that require serious masochistic inclinations to be appreciated.
This book lacks nerve, suspense, rhythm, in short everything that makes a book enjoyable to read. This is probably one of McDevitt's most annoying stories. Not because it is not interesting (it is, and not only a little!) but because its treatment is so slow and soporific.
Fortunately, the end of the novel offers some nice rewards to the reader exhausted by the philosophical discussion
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Garlan ✌
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
About midway through this book, I started thinking that McDevitt had maybe squeezed a fast book out to fulfill a contract. It just didn't seem up to his usual standard. However, the book really took an upturn about 3/4 of the way through and finished strongly. I've always said his novels were really "who dunnits" just set in the future and among the stars, so they're classified as sci-fi. This book was a little less oriented that way, and more in line with the typical sci-fi books. I gave it 4 s ...more
Liviu
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
FBC Mini Review:

Since I have read A Talent for War in the early 90's I have been a big Jack McDevitt fan and his subsequent novels mostly worked out very well for me with the Academy series being a huge highlight opened by the superb The Engines of God which alongside A Talent for War still ranks in my highly recommended list of A++ sf novels.

Here are the opening lines of A Talent for War that made my list of memorable first lines and note the mystery and sense of history they exude:

THE AIR WAS
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Kelly
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
‘Firebird’ by Jack McDevitt starts in much the same way most ‘Alex Benedict’ novels do. Alex and his assistant, Chase Kolpath, come into possession of some artefacts and prepare to sell them. Alex Benedict is no ordinary antiquities dealer, however. He has an insatiable curiosity and he’s a salesman. While investigating the estate of the renowned physicist Chris Robin, Alex stirs up the mystery surrounding the man’s disappearance. This has two predictable effects. One, the price of the modest co ...more
Paul
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I've been looking at other Goodreads user reviews, and I'm afraid I have to cast a dissenting vote on Jack McDevitt's Firebird. I thought, based on the jacket blurb, this novel would deliver some hard science fiction, but the science wasn't there and the fiction was below average.

Firebird opens with an interstellar ship inexplicably failing to arrive at its destination, then introduces the mysterious disappearance of a physicist who had been researching the disappearance of other interstellar sh
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Paul Baker
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Firebird is the sixth novel in what is called "The Alex Benedict Series" by Jack McDevitt. This isn't strictly speaking a series as the story doesn't really move forward from one novel to another. However, they are sequential and therefore it is best to read them in order. Each book is a mystery and can be read independently if the reader prefers, but there are references in each book to previous novels and Alex's celebrity increases as his career advances.

Alex Benedict is an antiquities dealer
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Melissa McShane
I never thought I'd rate a book by Jack McDevitt this low. (Okay. Time Travelers Never Die was a real dog.) I don't like the Alex Benedict books nearly as much as the Priscilla Hutchins series, but that aside, Firebird was still kind of a mess. There are two stories in this plot: one is the mystery of space ships appearing and then disappearing without warning; the other deals with the question of whether AIs are sentient. The two are barely related to one another--the AI thing arises as Benedic ...more
Patrick
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not exactly sure how to rate this. In many parts of the book I was confused about who was providing the main view point. But if you just look at the story it is interesting. It talks about a lot of things, like are AI really self aware. I'm sure this will be a discussion we will have at some point in the future. The other major storyline is the discovery of how black holes are affecting the interstellar drives and putting some ships in a time warp. That is interesting, assuming that such thi ...more
Peter Tillman
I'm abandoning this one, about a third of the way in. Nothing much has happened, which makes for really dull reading. Plus I don't like Alex Benedict.

This is one of the three weakest McDevitts I've read (or attempted). All three of these are Alex Benedict books. A pattern emerges.....

OK, slow learner. I like McDevitt, especially the Academy/Priscilla Hutchins books, but not this series.
Lars Dradrach
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
Another strong instalment in the series, which just gets better and better.

The series lives with it’s capability to create and maintain the feeling of living in the far future and discovering things from The legendary past, which is still in the future for us.

McDevitt masterfully describes a future which in many ways are similar to our time, only far out in the galaxy. Talk shows on television, politics and the press are still the same and that recognition is probably the reason it’s so easy to
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Mouldy Squid
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: science fiction fans, mystery fans, McDevitt fans
Shelves: science-fiction

Firebird, the sixth outing of Alex Benedict and his partner/starship pilot Chase Kolpath, is probably on of the best novels Jack McDevitt has written. The Alex Benedict novels are always entertaining, and for those out there who are not familiar with them, think Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes in Star Trek (although with less action). Benedict is an antiquities dealer in the far, far future—14 000 years far future—that ends up investigating some sort of mystery surrounding an artifact that
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Linda  Branham Greenwell
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I'm not a hard-core sci-fi fan... but I do love stories about the future, time travel and parallel universes :) This book has several of those components
Alex and Chase work together in the FAR future - some nine thousand years from now, Alex makes a profit getting buyers and sellers of rare artifacts together. Sometimes he finds, and sells, his own treasures. His detractors, especially the archeologists, call him a tomb robber. The name-calling, and attacks on his integrity, can be a little hard
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Andreapeabody
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love this series of Alex & Chase
Alex Shrugged
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I got a little scared reading "Firebird" by Jack McDevitt. Nothing serious but I had the feeling the author was winding up the series. Luckily he left it open. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I thought I was going to hate this book because it started out almost the same as "Polaris" and I said to myself, "Oh no! He's run out of ideas so he's recycling old ones!" but he eventually pulled out of that near-miss collision and wound up with a pretty good book.

The story: a famous physicist, Dr. Chris Rob
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Grady McCallie
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I love McDevitt's storytelling. Only one more book in this forever unfinished series.

Narration was well done.
Tomislav
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
second read - 3 November 2017 ***1/2
This is #6 of Jack McDevitt’S Alex Benedict series, of which I have read #1 through #6. In fact, I just re-read it, because reviews of Coming Home seem to indicate that it will launch from some plot threads not fully resolved in Firebird. Here's the chronology:
#1 A Talent for War (1989)
#2 Polaris (2004)
#3 Seeker (2005)
#4 The Devil’s Eye (2008)
#5 Echo (2010)
#6 Firebird (2011)
#7 Coming Home (2014)

I noticed again how many details of the social culture of the Alex
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Nolan
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nls-audio
Alex Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, are in the business of discovering interplanetary artifacts that can be sold for a handsome profit. But Alex is anything but a robber of antiques, despite accusations from the academics.

As the book opens, Alex is visited by the sister-in-law of a famous physicist who simply disappeared one day a few years earlier. The woman wanted to sell his things, and she wanted Alex to assess their value. But he understands innately that there’s a story in these ar
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L.E. Doggett
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not much time to do a review but I wanted to say that this one gets a range from me. That is it is somewhere between 3.90 and 4.20. Can't quite make up my mind.

The writing is good: good descriptions, well done action scenes, great characters. There isn't a lot violence type of action but it isn't needed in this type of story. I think McDevitt could get into his characters' minds and hearts more especially in danger scenes but still the mystery is a good one. The hints and clues that show up at
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Andrea
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This was not that good. It started off okay, but the mystery was surprisingly easy to guess. Usually McDevitt adds on a couple of red herrings theories before guiding us to the right one. This one was pretty much what you thought it would be. Also, half the story was devoted to this AI thing, which I for one was not into (I skipped over most of those parts). Not a stellar add on to his series. I wonder if he was losing steam at this point trying to come up with more ingenious plots.

Favorite Quo
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Michael Tildsley
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much better than the previous installment, though not without its own quirks. I feel like McDevitt had two different books going here, didn't have enough material for either to stand on its own, so he combined them. The issue of lost interstellar ships and the sentience of AIs should be enough to stand on their own as novels one would think.

Anyhow, much much better effort on this one than the previous. He has won me back with this one.
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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

Other books in the series

Alex Benedict (8 books)
  • A Talent for War (Alex Benedict, #1)
  • Polaris (Alex Benedict, #2)
  • Seeker (Alex Benedict, #3)
  • The Devil's Eye (Alex Benedict, #4)
  • Echo (Alex Benedict, #5)
  • Coming Home (Alex Benedict, #7)
  • Octavia Gone (Alex Benedict, #8)
“The real problem has to do with the inability by people to admit that a position they've held a long time might be wrong. That's all. Not that it is. Just that it might be. I don't know why it is, but we tend to fall in love with things we believe, Threaten them, and you threaten us.” 14 likes
“Intelligence and compassion are the heart of what it means to be human. Help others where you can. That is clear enough. But a Creator may well want us to open our eyes, as well. If there is a judgment, God may not be particularly interested in how many hymns we sang or what prayers we memorized. I suspect He may instead look at us and say, “I gave you a brain, and you never used it. I gave you the stars, and you never looked.” —Marcia Tolbert, Centauri Days, 3111 C.E.” 3 likes
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