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The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist Novel Paperback – Mar 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WMG Publishing (March 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615458564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615458564
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 576 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #847,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award. To keep up with everything she does, go to To track her many pen names and series, see their individual websites (,,,,, She lives and occasionally sleeps in Oregon.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa9084174) out of 5 stars 31 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b85f3c) out of 5 stars An excellent start to an even better series! Dec 15 2014
By Rebecca - Published on
Format: Paperback
The best thing about this book is that the readability is through the roof. I tend to devour anything sci-fi related, and it's a tricky genre to do well. Not only do authors have to build entire worlds, they have to make those worlds believable and interesting. Rusch manages to do exactly that with the Retrieval Artist series. I was actually familiar with Rush from a Darkover short story and as a co-author of a Star Trek book, but "The Disappeared" is the first of her novels that I have tried. And I have to say it was phenomenal.

The setting of the novel is futuristic sci-fi. We've mastered space travel and now co-exist with several alien species in the universe, but that co-existence has led to misunderstandings and the consequences of harsh alien laws. This has led to Disappearance Services: witness protection programs for people who have broken alien laws. The main character (Miles Flint) is a cop on the moon who is called to investigate several cases involving alien/human conflicts, including vengeance killings and kidnapped children. The cases trace back to the Disappearance Services, and in the course of the investigation deeper conspiracies are uncovered.

The novel has a sci-fi setting, but it's written like a mystery/detective story. It's fast-paced, action-packed, and intriguing. Overall the writing is outstanding. There's enough physical detail about the world (alien societies, space travel, colonies, etc.) to paint a vivid picture, but not so much detail that you get bogged down (I'm looking at you, Dune...). The characters are well-thought out and interesting, and the storylines weave together in a way that makes sense.

This one's a real page-turner. Excellent sci-fi escapism that doesn't require a huge investment of time or mental energy. As soon as I was done with this one I was online ordering the next ones in the series. Highly recommend!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8dbc90c) out of 5 stars A great read Oct. 30 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book explores the issues humans may face after "First Contact." In a universe of the future, humans and aliens co-exist on many planets. This book challenges readers to consider what will happen when cultures, and laws, collide. Must humans respect the laws of their alien counterparts, even if the laws are an anathema to human sensibilities?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa91f336c) out of 5 stars World-building like no other Dec 18 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good science fiction mysteries are a rare commodity these days. Few have been able to successfully combine the two genres into some semblance of a decent story. Kristine Kathryn Rusch bucks this trend with The Disappeared, the first of the Retrieval Artist series of books. First introduced in The Retrieval Artist and Other Stories, Miles Flint is a detective with the police force in Armstrong Dome on the Moon. When a series of seemingly unrelated cases appear, Flint quickly puts together the clues to determine just what these cases have in common. Sworn to uphold the law--despite his misgivings--Detective Flint must do everything in his power to ease his conscience, while staying within the strict guidelines of the law. Can he reconcile himself in these difficult circumstances, or will he be forced to bend--or even break--the laws he's dedicated his career to?

The Disappeared is a wonder in world-building on a massive scale, yet does an excellent job of keeping readers from being overwhelmed. Set in an undisclosed future timeframe, humanity has spread to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Most of the action in the novel takes place in Armstrong Dome, which is one of four major cities on the Moon. Miles Flint and his partner, Noelle DeRicci, are called to the scene of a derelict ship that's been towed to the Moon. Aboard the ship are several eviscerated bodies that seem to point to an alien vengeance killing. But what appears to be an open-and-shut case quickly escalates into a conspiracy far larger.

Perhaps what's most unusual about The Disappeared is how little Rusch tries to focus on the science; this novel is very much about the characters and the mystery surrounding the plot. Most science fiction novels work extra hard to describe the background and history of their universes, but Rusch does not--there is no mention of what year the book is set in (hundreds of years in the future, at least), how humanity discovered other races, or how they learned to travel to other planets beyond our solar system. There is so little information about the history of the universe The Disappeared is set in, it actually improves the enjoyment of the story. While readers may be curious about the past, it's not at all important to the events in the novel--at least not in any meaningful way. Still, it's clear that the Retrieval Artist series has a very carefully and well-crafted universe to explore, and fans will reap the benefits in future entries of the series.

The characters in The Disappeared are well-developed, if not fully three-dimensional. The secondary characters have their own pasts, faults, and issues to deal with--in fact, they may be more developed than the main protagonists. Certainly Flint and DeRicci both have their flaws and challenges to overcome, it just seems like some of the changes the characters go through in the novel come about just a little too rapidly. Perhaps the fact that very little of the past is alluded to or described in this novel weakens their development just a bit. It's a minor criticism though, in a book that's difficult to find any faults with.

The alien races that Rusch has brought to life are unique, and, well, alien; it's just what a good science fiction story is supposed to be. The Rev, Wygnin, and Disty cultures appear to be very odd, at least in human terms. Again, the lack of a backstory here provides both intrigue, and provides subtle frustrations--readers will want to know much, much more about these races, but will learn little in the pages of The Disappeared. Hopefully, future installments in the series will shed more light on not only these alien beings, but their tumultuous history with Humans.

What's most astounding about this novel is how accessible it is. This is not some futuristic utopian--or dystopian, for that matter--novel hell-bent on destroying the Establishment. The Disappeared is a mystery first, with a science fictional world wrapped around it. The technology utilized hasn't seemed to advance much farther than that we own today--quite the opposite, in some circumstances. Sure, there are flying cars, spaceships, and cities on the Moon, but at times, readers will be hard pressed to believe they're not on Earth, in some typical city in North America.

The Disappeared is not the world's greatest detective novel--far from it, in fact. It is, however, an excellent science fiction novel that's very much a detective-story. It is certainly well worth the read, if for nothing other than the amazing universe that Rusch has created. With many other novels in the series, it's an excellent entry to the Retrieval Artist saga for any reader.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa90947b0) out of 5 stars I loved this intriguing Sci-Fi / Mystery Novel! Nov. 17 2013
By Vanessa - Published on
Format: Paperback
Wow! Rusch is a skilled, highly-readable author who is an expert in bringing characters to life on the page (eScreen?). Immediately, I was entangled in the dilemna of a woman about to Disappear from a life she loved, and the tragedy of a couple whose baby was mysteriously stolen.

I needed to discover the reason for the woman’s disappearance, the fate of the baby. I was fascinated by the world Rusch created, and the moral dilemma of good people wrestling with right and wrong in a world where the law allowed children to be stolen from their parents, where humans could unwittingly cross a line that doomed them to devastating legal consequences meted out under multi-species legal agreements.

Rusch paired a burned-out investigator with a brilliant rookie detective whose personal tragedy forces him to examine everything he believes. The author has created a masterpiece!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b8a348) out of 5 stars Excellent mystery set in a fascinating and believable future. March 21 2013
By Mastercat - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book and have continued reading the books in order through the series. I hope they never end. The author has created a vision of a future where humans have built cities on the moon and interacts with a bizarre assortment of aliens, but it all seems reasonable and possible and believable. I love the characters and the mysteries and surprises at every turn!