Everyone knows the legend of Christopher Sim. An interstellar hero with a rare talent for war, he changed mankind's history forever when he forged a rag-tag group of misfits into the weapon that broke the alien Ashiyyur. But now, in a forgotten file, Alex Benedict has found a startling piece of information. If it is true, then Christopher Sim was ...Read MoreEveryone knows the legend of Christopher Sim. An interstellar hero with a rare talent for war, he changed mankind's history forever when he forged a rag-tag group of misfits into the weapon that broke the alien Ashiyyur. But now, in a forgotten file, Alex Benedict has found a startling piece of information. If it is true, then Christopher Sim was a fraud. If he is to see it through, Alex Benedict will have to follow the dark track of a legend, into the heart of an alien galaxy, where he will confront a truth far stranger than anything he could have imagined...Read Less
A gem of a high-tech Sci-Fi mystery & thriller, in which Alex Benedict, a dealer in exotic antiquities several millenia in the future, first makes the acquaintance of his long-time partner and star-pilot Chase Kolpath, while investigating an archeological mystery bequeathed to him by his uncle.
The story revolves around the legend of a history teacher turned into an outstanding military strategist. One of the teacher's books is read two centuries after his death by the main character, and features this passage in its Introduction,
"We are all Hellenes. Dellaconda and Rimway and Cormoral owe all that they are to the restless thinkers along the Aegean, who, in the most exquisite sense, took the first steps to the stars. Only the mind is sacred. That notion was a dazzling insight in its time. Welded to the observation that nature is subject to laws, and that those laws can be understood, it was the key to the universe." - "Man and Olympian" pg 111.
Dellaconda was the history teacher's home world and the seat of a rebellion against an alien race of telepaths. Rimway and Earth were the two mainstays of humanity, which at the time of the rebellion, at first refused to get involved, leaving the hero of the rebellion to carry on a desperate war almost unaided. And Cormoral was the first world captured by the aliens, only to eventually be liberated following the rise of the rest of humanity against them, in the aftermath of the hero's sacrifice with a scratch crew of nameless volunteers in the Battle of Rigel, with his brother the orator as a witness.
All of this is well-known history to Alex & Chase, but things are not as they (and the rest of humanity) have been led to believe.
Military history buffs will appreciate the translation of the passage in ancient Greek above the hero's tomb, and even more especially the Epilogue.
Feb 22, 2009
Exciting page turner
A Talent for War combines two of my favorte genres, science fiction and mystery. After the death of his uncle, Alex reluctantly tries to complete the research that his uncle was working on, but there are complications. Someone wants to stop him from completing the research, and after his uncle's file is lost, Alex is forced to start pretty much from scratch.
The mystery concerns the story of historic hero Christopher Sim whose exploits are the stuff of legend. With the help of Chase Kolpath, Alex manages to pick up the thread of his uncle's research and finds the shocking truth that his uncle was seeking.
A Talent for War shows some signs of being an earlier work for McDevitt. Some of the secondary characters seemed a bit flat to me, and though the story is an exciting page-turner, I have to say that the later books are more powerful and more action-packed, but that said this was still a great space-faring romp perfect for escaping with on a dull winter day.
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