|Print List Price:||$7.99|
Save $4.00 (50%)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price set by seller.
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
A Talent For War (An Alex Benedict Novel Book 1) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Jack McDevitt is a former naval officer, taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. He is a multiple Nebula Award finalist who lives in Georgia with his wife Maureen.
- ASIN : B004P5OZ02
- Publisher : Ace (June 29, 2004)
- Publication date : June 29, 2004
- Language : English
- File size : 673 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 324 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #200,120 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Alex Benedict's life is immersed in history. He is an antiquities dealer and his late uncle was an archaeologist. When his uncle dies, he is left with his uncle's last remaining mission.
The problem is that he doesn't know what the mission is.
This seems to be 9,000 years in the future, when humanity has expanded into a fair portion of the galaxy and run up against the Ashiyyar, an alien species that communicates telepathically. 200 years before the book, the Ashiyyar was systematically conquering the divided human worlds. A resistance emerged to oppose the aliens and unite the frontier worlds led by the heroic Christoper Simms, who beat the Ashiyyar time and time again, even though he was outnumbered and outgunned. Simms died in an epic way that united humanity against the Ashiyyar.
The mystery seems to involve this history.
The story was an easy read. Ironically, it seemed almost more of a history retrospective than an action adventure book, with long stretches devoted to uncovering bits and pieces of the past. Action-adventure was well-represented throughout the book, particularly at the end where Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, who is not much of a major character in this book, have to make some tough decisions.
I was going to give this book four stars as a journeyman effort, with a bit of dragging out of the story, but the final chapters managed to convince me that this was a book I would recommend to people looking for a nice bit of space opera.
I read a number of other readers' reviews before I purchased A Talent For War. I was intrigued that a number of readers thought it the best SF novel ever written, and several readers mentioned re-reading the book multiple times. Other reviewers declared that it was less than a SF novel and more of a mystery story.
Although I liked the book very much, it is far from the best SF novel ever written, in my opinion. I can see how some readers consider it to be more of a mystery story than hard SF. To be sure, there are many great SF classics that involve mysteries or puzzles that are solved by the protagonists, and I don't think that makes them any less of a SF novel. In the case of A Talent For War, an array of mysteries or unexplained events are presented to the protagonist, Alex Benedict, which he, sometimes laboriously, thinks through and figures out. Although intriguing, this laborious effort of working through clues and piles of obscure documents negatively affects the pacing of the book. However, if you are patient to get through those sections, the author rewards the reader with a great ending that artfully reveals the answers to all the mysteries.
McDevitt is a good writer, not a great writer, and he knows how to tell a story. Some reviewers have commented that McDevitt's novels are weak on characterization. I can see that, but I do not consider it a flaw because he is such a good story teller. I will take a good story over good characterization any day. I also appreciate a good ending. A Talent For War is a great story with a great ending.
Top reviews from other countries
This is essentially a mystery surrounding an historic war hero that Alex Benedict has elected to resolve, following some cryptic clues left behind by a recently deceased relative. The pace of the narrative is quite slow but the character development is good and the various alien planetary descriptions well thought out. And, there is nothing too complicated to the conclusion as the mystery is eventually solved. A well-written book that will lead me to read the next in the series.
This is a great page-turner. It's easy to get pulled into the plot, and the frequent use of "archive" material in the chapters adds a real melancholy to the story (which in itself is both clever and somewhat moving; a very unusual combination for a sci-fi novel.). Having read Omega, Polaris, and Engines of God, A Talent For War is the one I enjoyed the most - and it's a great pity the others aren't more like it.
The story is essentially the uncovering of a semi-legendary hero accredited with saving mankind from an implacable alien enemy. The hero himself, however (Christopher Sim), has great depth and humanity, and ultimately, it seems everyone has taken what they wanted from his mythos, rather than the truth - until the events in the story take place. And the truth both is and isn't what people want to hear.