I love Jack McDevitt’s space opera series such as his Priscilla Hutchins books (about a woman space pilot and her adventures – a comment on the space program) and Infinity Beach (a warp to another planet but on Native American property).This one is different! Not to belabor the plot since other reviewers did a better job, but the story centers around a dystopian society, about a thousand years after ours bit the dust in “The Plague.” It’s a vague plague (yeah, sorry), since there’s not a lot about it in the story. The story starts out with the remnants of a journey to Haven, a place where the remains of The Roadmakers (that’s us) still exist and there are books there. Books are rare and to find any is amazing. Odd that after a thousand years the society is still quite primitive, up to a Cowboy style civilization, complete with repeater guns and horses. Chaka is our strong female lead and she wants to find out about the death of her brother. She forms a group and sets out to find out what’s happened. Along the way she meets ancient Roadmaker machines that still operate. Labeled as demons and magic, these machines are somewhat sentient and there’s a bit of humor in dealing with them.
After many adventures and unfortunately many deaths (several good characters were killed off unnecessarily in my opinion) Haven is located. In fact its location and technological discoveries start turning the place around.
Bottom Line, Observations:
Eternity Road is not a bad novel, just takes 200 pages to get going. But once we’re going, the adventures kept my interest and the losses shocked. The discoveries interested me and piqued the curious bone. Recommended.
Interesting that McDevitt, as he has done before, explores the theme of what a sentient computer would do after being unable to live life as a being, other than commit suicide. This theme is explored in one of his short stories in the collection Cryptic, an anthology that I highly recommend. Enjoy.