Coming Home – Jack McDevitt

Coming_Home_-_Jack_McDevitt_cover
Alex Benedict #7

Antiquarians Chase Kolpath and Alex Benedict search out lost space-age artifacts and participate in an attempted rescue of a spaceliner trapped in a spacetime warp.

In reviewing the prequel to this book, I said I feared the series was growing tired. Coming Home is unfortunate proof of that suggestion. The prose is good in some places, clumsy and repetitive in others. The series has never been based on action and adventure, but this book overdoes the dry descriptions of past excitement. I kept wishing I were reading the book about those adventures instead.

I couldn’t find much of a plot, to be frank. Things happen, and Chase and Alex wander slowly around looking for artifacts. Mostly, though, Alex goes on talk shows, Chase has an active love life, and they talk with their clients. There is one fairly exciting development, but downplayed so far that it’s hard to care much about. McDevitt also sets the stage for a change we’ve all seen coming from the start, but that change doesn’t actually happen, and at this stage, won’t until book ten.

The book reads more as an excerpt from Chase’s diary than as a story with beginning, middle, and end. That didn’t work for me even as a dedicated reader of the series, and I imagine anyone who tries this as a stand-alone work will be mystified as to the series’ appeal.

If you really love the Benedict series, pick this up. If you don’t feel so strongly, I advise leaving well enough alone. Firebird was an uptick after the disappointing Echo, but it appears to have been temporary. Based on the last three (of seven) books, it looks like the series is pretty well played out, and even McDevitt has lost his interest in it.

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