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(Alex Benedict #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  4,602 ratings  ·  284 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, 370 pages
Published January 2005 by Ace Books (first published November 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,602 ratings  ·  284 reviews

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Mar 25, 2013 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, yo
Apr 02, 2011 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
Julie Davis
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and mystery lovers
Recommended to Julie by: Orson Scott Card
In the mood for a little space opera/mystery so I'm rereading with the audiobook which is quite well narrated.


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 mys
Paul Baker
Apr 01, 2011 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/>
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, people start trying ...more
Jun 15, 2012 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 o
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xcharity-2016, scifi
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, manipul ...more
Jan 16, 2008 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.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great blend of sci-fi and mystery. Featuring the Christian faith in a story set centuries into the future is also a big plus.
Maura Heaphy Dutton
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very satisfying, readable SF mystery. The great strength of the two Alex Benedict novels I have read so far is the interesting background that McDevitt has created for his amateur sleuths Benedict and his "Watson," Chase Kolpath. The thousands of years of history of McDevitt's "Confederacy" of far-flung planets settled by humanity in the distant future is fed to us in dribs and drabs -- hints of war and suffering, triumphs and discoveries, even pop culture references to poets, playwrights and sp ...more
Jan 07, 2010 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,
Jun 27, 2009 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.
Daniel Bratell
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the second book about Alex Benedict, the antiquity dealer some 9000 years into the future. Humanity is spread out across the galaxy and but the interest for useless old objects remain. Alex Benedict is more than a dealer though. He also researches stories to find new objects and this book starts when objects from the space ship Polaris is exhibited.

The space ship Polaris is the center for a mystery, where 60 years years earlier the whole crew just disappeared while watching t
Dev Null
Dec 11, 2009 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 world
James Mourgos
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, crime-mystery

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
Doug Armstrong
Mar 04, 2013 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
Peter Tillman
Jan 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'm usually a pretty big McDevitt fan, but this one left me cold, and annoyed. I finished it, but barely, and only by skimming the dull parts. A "D+" book, disappointing.

POLARIS is a locked-room mystery (in this case, a locked spaceship), marred by long dull stretches, stupid-character gimmicks, a really stupid denouement, and an astonishingly clumsy twist ending (which is sequel-ready). What's there to like? This is a 15 year-later followup to _A Talent for War_, which I recall as b
Jul 02, 2008 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
Patrick Hayes
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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, inclu
Mar 03, 2008 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 how "ho ...more
Aug 27, 2010 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
Apr 26, 2009 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)
Dec 29, 2008 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.
Jul 28, 2012 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 06, 2012 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.
Gary Holt
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings reading this book, even though on the whole I enjoyed it and would mostly recommend it.

On the plus side, it was I think a better done adventure story in the present than its predecessor, A Talent for War, which derived its interest almost entirely from the mystery about the past (for me, at least; the adventures there in the present did not seem as compelling). In Polaris, Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath go investigating another historical anomaly, and *someone*
Paul Weiss
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A tantalizing blend of mystery and philosophy

Sixty years ago (in a future so distant that space travel is commonplace), the luxury yacht Polaris carried a group of curious, science-minded (and very wealthy) passengers to Delta Karpis, once a typical G class star but now unique and of extraordinary interest as it was about to collide with a dwarf star. Having witnessed this astonishing once in a lifetime stellar event, the Polaris announced its imminent departure for earth and then was never hea
Scott Holstad
Jul 18, 2015 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
Just like his first book, A Talent for War, this novel plays out as a slow burn of a mystery than a true science fiction novel. While set in the future with flying cars and interstellar drives, it's really a whodunit detective story. It's slowly paced and not too much action happens. The action that does happen (view spoiler) ...more
Alejandro Ramirez
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I noticed the average rating was 3.86, which is surprisingly accurate, as I was leaning more towards 4 than 3. Is a sci-fi / detective story crossover that has a few good points: the archaeological aspect, briefly describing cultures gone thousand of years ago, even when not central to the plot (like the corpse left behind in the station at the asteroid).

The main drawbacks I see is that the 2 main characters are fairly flat, despite some efforts to give them background; and that the
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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 International Pr ...more

Other books in the series

Alex Benedict (8 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)
  • Octavia Gone (Alex Benedict, #8)
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