The Eternity Artifact Author:L. E. Modesitt Jr. 5,000 years in the future, humankind has spread across thousands of worlds, and more than a dozen different governments exist in an uneasy truce. But human beings have found no signs of other life anywhere approaching human intelligence. This changes when scientists discover a sunless planet they name Danann, travelling the void just beyond the ... more »edge of the Galaxy at such a high speed that it cannot be natural. Its continents and oceans have been sculpted and shaped, with but a single megaplex upon it--close to perfectly preserved--with tens of thousands of near-identical metallic-silver-blue towers set along curved canals. Yet Danann has been abandoned for so long that even the atmosphere has frozen solid. Within a few years Danann will approach an area of singularities that will make exploration and investigation impossible. Orbital shuttle pilot Jiendra Chang, artist Chendor Barna, and history professor Liam Fitzhugh are recruited by the Comity government and its Deep Space Service, along with scores of other experts as part of an unprecedented and unique expedition to unravel Danann's secrets. And there are forces that will stop at nothing to prevent them, even if it means interstellar war.« less
This was my first Modesitt book, and may well be my last. I simply do not understand why so many si-fi writers have to plague their books with religion and politics, but it gets really old. Alastair Reynolds remains my favorite si-fi writer. Modesitt has a wonderful imagination, but the religious overtones of this book really annoyed me halfway through the book.
For those who enjoy science fiction that involves the exploration of unknown planets and artifacts, this book is a good read. A bit of military sci-fi is thrown in for good measure.
The structure of the book is interesting in that it is written in the first person but is from the perspective of four different characters. Each chapter starts with the name of the character so readers will need to pay attention to who is the focus of the chapter, especially if your reading is interrupted mid-chapter. Also note that one of the characters is an academic who loves to elucidate in obscure terminology so having a dictionary on hand is helpful.
The book moves at a good pace with exposition interlaced with action so I never found myself having to slog through dull sections, nor was the action so rapid and chaotic that I found myself scratching my head and wondering what happened. There are some heady science concepts involved but it is still possible to grasp what is going on without an advanced degree in physics or astronomy.
Overall, a good, fast read that is entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.