Apparently, 'Chindi' is part of a series of books all set in the same universe by McDevitt, but this is the first book I've read by this author. A wealthy group devoted to the search for extraterrestrial civilizations gets an experienced pilot assigned to their mission. Although they're widely regarded as being a bunch of kooks, the mission is more successful than anticipated: a network of broadcasting satellites is discovered, all circling planets which have signs of now-dead civilizations - and they lead to a mysterious, gigantic alien spacecraft which seems to be an unmanned craft, creating a museum of alien civilizations.
The book is written reasonably entertainingly - in that it's got decent characterization, a constant flow of mystery, romance, action, and a near-constant death toll, but the problem was that I kept waiting for the big revelation that was going to reveal why all these alien civilizations seemed so remarkably and unbelievably HUMAN - I mean, one place they find is a near-exact simulacrum of a 19th-century European sitting room, just a little bit bigger - and no one even thinks that that is odd. But nothing of the sort ever came up in the book, and all I can attribute it to is a remarkable lack of imagination in describing possible alien cultures.
If you like wordy science fiction in the vein of the masters Asimov and Clarke then this will be a delight to read. Humans finally find out if there is other life in the universe. But maybe they don't want to have the answers to all the questions they want to ask?
Jack McDevitt's Chindi is your basic human-alien-contact story. These kind of stories often include Big Dumb Objects. Chindi adds in a large number of Small Dumb Objects, too.
The book is fun. There's a good balance of action and exploration. There are plenty of unanswered questions. (Maybe too many.) The beginning drags a bit to develop the characters, but it pays off later in the story. Still, it could have been handled more smoothly. Overall, a good read.
I am anxiously waiting to read the sequel, Omega. This book has made me request other books by Jack mcDevitt.
A nice trip into outerspace the way we imagined it as kids. An entertaining book with nicely imagined alien landscapes. But will there be aliens.....?