There would be no greater discovery than that of life outside the confines of the earth’s atmosphere. What would quickly squash that excitement of discovering extraterrestrial life would be the discovery of ruins on a planet long dead and the builders nowhere to be found, or a planet that does harbor a race of sentient beings, a race embroiled in a never-ending war. This is the discovery that Priscilla Hutchens and her crew encounter as they follow one mystery after another, and from star system to star system, looking for answers to questions that have stumped the top minds of this star fairing future race of humans: where is everybody?
The Engines of God starts out with a crew of archeologists desperately working against a deadline to find and recover artifacts of a race long gone and thought to be a “super” race of beings far more advanced than ourselves. The problem is that the planet where this treasure-trove of artifacts can be found is to be terraformed, its atmosphere completely re-configured, its polar iced caps melted to release oxygen and water, and it’s landscape transformed to make way for future human colonization. In the end they don’t find what they are after, but clues uncovered hint that more clues may be found in a previously unexplored star system several light years away.
And off they go to the star system of Beta Pac where a relic of a space station is found. But more mysteries are raised then answered as the space station is several thousand years old and in no way advanced enough to be that of the highly sophisticated race known as the Monument-Makers – the race responsible for leaving this trail of bread crumbs for Hutch and her crew to find. Soon, however, the chase to track down and answer these mysteries turns into a race for their lives as the answer to how these world met their end comes into focus. Worse yet, it may be an end that will soon effect the earth itself.
Jack McDevitt is a master-storyteller of the likes that has not been seen in the realm of science fiction since the golden years of Asimov, Clarke and Farmer. The Engines of God is the first story in a universe built by Jack McDevitt that takes his readers on a long and exciting quest to answer the question of where is everybody? once and for all.
Rating (out of 5):