The Engines of God : Academy

  • by Jack McDevitt
  • Narrated by Tom Weiner
  • Series: Academy
  • 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock. But their time is running out. Earth's ravaged environment is quickly making it unlivable, and colonizers want to begin terraforming these abandoned worlds for human habitation. Only interstellar archaeologist Richard Wald and starship pilot Priscilla Hutchins are convinced that uncovering the secrets of the monuments may hold the key to survival for the entire human race.

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What the Critics Say

"Splendid. Not since Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama has the discovery of artifacts of alien intelligence been treated so skillfully." (Baltimore Sun)
"McDevitt is at his best award-winning style in this intelligent and wide-ranging novel." (Kirkus Reviews)
"With plenty of startling plot twists, a heavy dose of intrigue, and an unusual amount of character development for science fiction, McDevitt holds us fast right through to a thrilling finish." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Conceptually intriguing, but uneven writing style

The basis premise concerns 200 years in the future where faster than light drives have allowed some exploration of our galaxy. The startling discoveries have all been related to a mysterious alien race referred to as the Monument Makers (MM) from their habit of leaving gigantic sculptures scattered around including our solar system. At the same time evidenced is found of alien civilizations past and present, although none even at our technological level.

The major thrust is to understand what happened to the MM. This leads to archeological investigations that form the bulk of the action which in turn leads to solar system hopping. The plot twists are fascinating and unexpected.

Unfortunately there are several aspects that really detract from the overall story. The characters are largely forgettable. Most of their actions come off as a high school theatrical production. At the same time, the injected elements creating drama are forced, seem arbitrary, and aren't necessary to drive the plot forward. Finally, the authors drags out certain sections with too much detail that becomes dull and boring. The ending is satisfying up to a point, but leaves open much of the opening questions.
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- Michael G Kurilla

Narration not so good

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better narration. I really struggled to identify the different characters in this audible book. It was quite frustrating to the extent that I needed to stop and replay several times to determine who was who. In the end I have given up finishing this audible story. I have nearly all the other Jack McDevitt books and have not had this problem before. So definitely down to the narrator.


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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-04-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.