Reviews of Ancient Shores (1996)
Review by clong (2005-08-09)
This was an entertaining book. As with the previous McDevitt book that I had read, Infinity Beach, it felt a lot like a mystery/suspense novel set in a science fiction tableaux. It does raise a few interesting questions about the potential economic and political impacts of finding an alien artifact, but it is much more about telling a story than asking profound questions.
I didn't feel a whole lot of empathy for either of the two main characters, Max and April, but the Sioux characters were more interesting to me. I felt that the escaped alien and other linked worlds plot lines could have been further pursued, building additional layers into the story and its conclusion, but I suppose that leaves plenty of room for sequels.
All in all, I enjoyed this quick paced, entertaining story.
Review by tollbaby (2003-06-18)
I was bored, had nothing to read, and so grabbed the first unfamiliar book on the shelf (my husband and I have been married 3 years, we haven't nearly had time to read all of each others' books). Lucky me! It was Ancient Shores by Jack McDevitt!
This was a fantastic read that had me yearning for more. The ending wasn't satisfactory for me... I'm one of those people who always wants to know "Okay, and what happened NEXT?" The pace of action was great, not too quick (leaving you scratching your head and going "huh?"), not too slow (having you fall asleep between good bits) and the characters were completely believable. One of the main characters, Max Collingwood, turns out to be a self-preservationist coward, but maintains most of his dignity all the same. Tom Lasker seems to disappear in the second half of the story, it's too bad McDevitt didn't keep him (and his family) around.
The descriptions of the new worlds are fantastic, but I really would have liked a more thorough explanation of the Roundhouse and how it came to be. Suggesting that an ancient alien civilization used the area as a vacation spot some 10,000 years ago "but we're not sure" is a little unsatisfying. But it's definitely worth reading, and I'll be looking for more by Mr. McDevitt!