Discovering a ten-thousand-year-old sea ship buried on his North Dakota farm, Tom Lasker uncovers a portal to another world and captures the attention of many others, including the Sioux nation, which believes that the portal leads to Eden.
Neither the characters nor the governments depicted by the author behaved in a believable manner. The book offered many possible threads towards the end, only to leave them dangling. The characters seemed to be going along for the ride throughout the book, not really shaping events, but rather always at the mercy of them. They offered little more than a long string of disappointments to this reader.
One would hope that mankind would respond with a little more maturity if such events ever took place.
Near the sixty percent point, we get to the following: The male protagnoist, who has of course already fallen in love with the female scientist protagnoist, discovers she has disappeared. He figures out it was a fantastically advanced piece of alien technology they'd discovered that had malfunctioned. She ended up on a planet thousands of light years from Earth. Using some electrical cable, connectors and a gasoline-powered generator he buys at a hardware store, he repairs it and saves her.
If you buy that such advanced technology would use such mundane hardware you'll probably like the climax involving nothing more original than the government trying to take Sioux land. It was all too much for me. I think so much more could have been done with the original scenario. It was a missed opportunity.
McDevitt's specialty is first contact and that is what this is all about. In a way, it's a lot like the fulfillment of the fantasies of any sci-fi enthusiast - run across an ancient, buried object that happened to have strange powers. Great story and great ending...
This book raises interesting questions regarding technology. Each time there is an advance, invariably there is an industry producing old technology that will be affected economically. In this book, ancient relics are unearthed that have technology that is light years ahead of what currently exists; creating panic in several industries including transportation, clothing and tires. Now the question. Do we use the technology for all its benefits or do we destroy all evidence of the technology to preserve our existing economy and industries? I would vote for the former rather than the latter because the latter is a selfish attitude with very short-term thinking.
Mankind must always make sacrifices in order to advance. The author brilliantly illustrates that notion here in a book that you will zip through rather fast.
It is a "true McDevitt" book. Very entertaining, and a very original storyline. Like other McDevitt books I read, one wonders how realistic the story is. I am not talking about the SciFi part, but about how the story integrates with things and organizations such as the government. Many things just don't seem right.
But to be honest: I do not care! The story is entertaining, and that's why I like it.
Just like other McDevitt stories I read however, it again is not truely believable. Of course, this is a science fiction novel, and those tend to be less believable, but I actually am talking more about the details. All the scientists in McDevitt's books always seem to practice what I would call "cowboy science".
However, if you can overlook that for a great story, you will have a lot of fun with this one...