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A quick, exciting, well-written tale
on October 21, 2002
Eternity Road is the first book I've read by Jack McDevitt, but it will most likely not be my last. McDevitt has a style and an ease with characters that is pleasant and subdued. He offers a vivid picture of a different future than the kind we like to imagine.
The book begins in a small community living on the banks of the Mississippi river, at least 700-1000 years from now. Our society, called "The Roadmasters" by the locals, were wiped out in the late 21st century by a plague of unknown origin. The locals know something about The Roadmsters, with some handwritten versions of classic literature remaining, and they constantly scour the ruins around them for clues as to how the great civilization that proceeded them achieved so much, and how it fell so quickly.
The story is about an expidition from the Mississippi river to the East Coast to search for a place called "Haven", where a hero of the past allegedly saved all the great information of The Roadmakers before the plague wiped out all traces. The group that makes the trip is actually the most interesting part of the story. They aren't deepli constructed, but they are better than just sketches, each with their own fears, desires, and hopes for the journey. What they find on their travels is fascinating, but the internal struggles of the group are just as entertaining.
The book is fast paced and delivers on excitement and speculation on what our civilization might be thought of once we are gone. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it answers our questions without insulting us. All in all a great read for sci-fi/fanatsy fans.