On a routine survey mission studying a neutron star, an Academy starship receives a transmission in an unknown language. Before leaving the area, the starship launches a series of satellites to find the signal—and perhaps discover its origins.
Five years later, a satellite finally encounters the signal—which is believed to be of extraterrestrial origin by the Contact Society, a wealthy group of enthusiasts who fund research into the existence of alien life. Providing a starship to the Academy to be piloted by Captain Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins, the Contact Society embarks on a mission to find the source of the transmission.
Across a myriad of stars, from world to world, Hutch and her crew follow the signal, but find only puzzles and lethal surprises.
Then, in a planetary system far beyond the bounds of previous exploration, they discover an object. It is immense, ominous, and mysterious. And it may hold the answer not only to the questions of the Contact Society, but to those of every person who has ever looked to the sky and wondered if we were alone...
In this sequel to last year's well-received Deepsix, McDevitt tells a curiously old-fashioned tale of interstellar adventure. Reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, the story sends veteran space pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins and a crew of rich, amateur SETI enthusiasts off on a star-hopping jaunt in search of the mysterious aliens who have placed a series of "stealthed" satellites around an unknown number of planets. After visiting several worlds, and losing two of her dilettantes to a murderous group of alien angels, Hutch follows the interstellar trail to a bizarre, obviously artificial planetary system. There, two spectacular gas giants orbit each other closely, partially sharing the same atmosphere, while a large moon circles them in a theoretically impossible circumpolar orbit. The explorers soon discover a number of puzzling alien artifacts, including a gigantic spaceship that fails to respond to their signals. First contact is McDevitt's favorite theme, and he's also good at creating large and rather spectacular astronomical phenomena. Where this novel falls short, however, is in the creation of characters. Hutch, beautiful and supremely competent, is an adequate hero, but virtually everyone else is a cartoon. The book abounds in foolhardy dilettantes, glory-hogging bureaucrats and capable space pilots. Oddly, in a novel set some 200 years in the future, McDevitt's cast is almost exclusively white and Anglo-Saxon. This is a serviceable enough space opera, but it operates far from the genre's cutting edge.
Captivating and Intriguing
I own a hard copy of this book, and I've read it two or three times already. And I'll probably read it again, eventually!
Jack McDevitt's writing captures the nuances of beautifully thought out characters, which are the soul of believable story-telling in my opinion. He expresses their emotions with precision and heart, and listening to the individuals in the story interact drags the reader deep into the fictional universe with them.
This story is captivating, and from the relaxed moments of archaeological discovery to the tense moments of suspense and action, Chindi was hard to put down, and I found myself dying for more once I finished it.
I've read hundreds of sci-fi novels, of varying quality.
Recently found the Academy series and just love them.
Mysteries of ancient alien archeology, part with intense action and suspense, and least but certainly not last - believable, loveable and interesting charcters! (Wow, that's not everyday!)
Keep it up Jack, you're among giants like Arthur C Clarke, Heinlein, Asimow and Reynolds now!
Strong up until the end
The author seemed to have forgotten about an ending to the story. When he finally realized his mistake, it seemed like it was too late and he hurried to write an ending. Felt like he dropped the ball.