It turned up in a North Dakota wheat field: a triangle, like a shark's fin, sticking up from the black loam. Tom Lasker did what any farmer would have done. He dug it up. And discovered a boat, made of a fiberglass-like material with an utterly impossible atomic number. What it was doing buried under a dozen feet of prairie soil two thousand miles from any ocean, no one knew. True, Tom Lasker's wheat field had once been on the shoreline of a great inland sea, but that was a long time ago -- ten thousand years ago.
A return to science fiction on a grand scale, reminiscent of the best of Heinlein, Simak, and Clarke, Ancient Shores is the most ambitious and exciting SF triumph of the decade, a bold speculative adventure that does not shrink from the big questions -- and the big answers.
Early in the next century, outside a North Dakota town, farmer Tom Lasker digs up a boat on his land. Not only is the vessel crafted from an unknown element, but Lasker's farm is on land that has been dry for 10,000 years. A search for further artifacts unearths a building of the same material and age that turns out to be an interdimensional transportation device. The building sits on land owned by the Sioux, who want to use it to regain their old way of life on another world; meanwhile, the U.S. government, fearful of change, wants to destroy the building. Right up to the climax, McDevitt (Engines of God) tells his complex and suspenseful story with meticulous attention to detail, deft characterizations and graceful prose. That climax, though, is another matter, featuring out-of-the-blue heroic intervention in a conflict between the feds and the Indians by, among others, astronaut Walter Schirra, cosmologist Stephen Hawking and SF writers Ursula K. LeGuin, Carl Sagan and Gregory Benford. "If the government wants to kill anyone else, it'll have to start with us," announces Stephen Jay Gould. That absurdity aside, this is the big-vision, large-scale novel McDevitt's readers have been waiting for.
What a ride
I decided to read this book even after reading reviews that mentioned there was politics and world events heavily involved with a fantastic discovery. I tend to like my Scifi a little more pure. Best decision of the month! I was hooked immediately and could not put it down until the last word. One word of criticism... I was left with such a sense of loss of not getting to explore all the worlds that this story so tantalyzingly dangles in front of the reader. A second novel is an absolute MUST!!!!
Worst Deus Ex ever
It started okay...There was a lot of potential for it to be good...It was not fulfilled. Do not expect anything to be resolved In a satisfactory way.
I love McDevitt. He has flaws, but they’re usually bearable. These weren’t.
Edit: I saw this book on sale, and went to add a negative review, and saw that I’d already left one. That’s how much I hated this book.
Rarely have I read such an original and exciting work!