The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt
Hutch enjoyed ferrying archeologists around the galaxy. Her favorite is Richard Wald. Richard is also considered the best in his field. Hutch is pleased to discover that Richard asks for her when he has to travel in space. She has taken him to view the different monuments left by the Monument Builders. Now she takes him to Quraqua to help the team there finish up before planet terraforming begins.
Hutch helps as she can with the team trying to finish up at the Temple of the Winds. They believe they may have found the equivalent of the Rosetta stone for the Quraquan languages. The Temple covers thousands of years and different buried levels represent different civilizations. There is so much in the Temple that would reveal so much more about the long dead Quraquans. But the planet is one of the few discovered that could be habitable for humans. At the end of the 24th century humans have overtaken the Earth and are dying by the millions. The promise of a new frontier on Quraqua in 50 years or so is not to be ignored.
Plus there is an odd construction present on Quraqua’s moon. The archeologists believe it is another structure left by the Monument Builders. After they are finished on Quraqua another planet holds the promise of being the Monument Builders home planet. Perhaps the humans can get some answers to long ancient mysteries, including the appearance of planet wide destruction on several planets from thousands of years in the past.
A group of friends from an old online site have been recommending Jack McDevitt’s work. We decided to read The Engines of God as a group (our online book club). I decided this book was the last one I could read with them before the final push to finish my degree.
I found The Engines of God to be uneven, even if other members loved it. Parts of it hit me like the author intended. The scenes as they’re finishing up at Quraqua and returned to Earth got to me. Yet many times I felt like the book drug. As one Reader’s Place member points out, though, it’s a book with more than one story. McDevitt has some fascinating story lines going here. The mysteries are not all solved by the end of the book. I understand there are more featuring Hutch and this storyline.
This is good solid space faring science fiction. The archeology angle adds to the story. Despite my less than thrilled response, if this is your genre, you’ll like this book.