cover image Echo


Jack McDevitt, Ace, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-441-01924-3

Fans of antiquities dealer Alex Benedict will find their expectations fully met by his fifth outing (after 2008's The Devil's Eye). Benedict innocently arranges the purchase of a curious but not obviously significant stone tablet with an unreadable inscription. When the slab proves inexplicably difficult to collect, Benedict and his partner, Chase Kolpath, investigate its connections to explorer Sunset Tuttle's abrupt abandonment of his quest to find another intelligent race. Death hounds Benedict and Chase as they inch closer to an old shame someone will kill to protect. McDevitt's characters may live 9,600 years in the future, but their values are entirely 21st century, which will endear them to some SF fans and turn off others. There are hints of the existential malaise that permeates McDevitt's Priscilla Hutchins novels, but despite the book's terrible events, the series retains its essential optimism about redemption and progress. (Nov.)