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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cauldron by Jack McDevitt

Cauldron by Jack McDevitt. New York: Ace Books, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-441-01525-2

I KNOW I've read some other Jack McDevitt books, but apparently not since August of 2003, when I started this blog. Strange. After reading Cauldron, I'm definitely in the mood for more. If only I can find the time. You know how it goes, “So many books, so little time.”

Nevertheless, I was surprised to learn that Cauldron is the sixth novel in “The Academy (Priscilla Hutchins) Novels” albeit, Hutchins is hardly a primary character in this novel. She does have a significant part, but not the most significant by any means.

This story takes place about 250 years from now, in a future in which an FTE (Faster Than Light) drive has been discovered, but, alas, it takes months to cross to the nearest star system. Consequently, humanity is pulling back from the stars, having only discovered a few other civilizations and life forms here and there, and somehow, for some not reasons, not altogether clear to me, has decided that it's too costly, too dangerous, just plain not worth doing any more.

Until, naturally, someone discovers a REALLY fast drive, that can travel to other stars in a matter of minutes, not weeks! And everything changes in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, so to speak. Of course, the drive doesn't work quite right at first, and there is a good deal of suspense over whether enough money will be raised to actually test and put it into practice.

But all is resolved in due course, and an intrepid crew, Priscilla Hutchins among them, is off for an amazing adventure or three among the far-flung stars, and the galactic core. Even though I find some of the premises behind this story a little far-fetched, the tale itself is just too good to be missed. McDevitt has a truly inspired imagination, and the adventures of his motley crew make for very entertaining reading, indeed. Highly recommended for all SciFi fans.

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