A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt

This book has been on my TBR list so long I can’t remember why I added it. I read it now because it was available as an ebook to take on vacation.

Published: 1989

Genre: science fiction

Length: 310 pages

Setting: various places within the Confederacy of Worlds, far future

Summary: Short version: Alex unravels a historical mystery

Long version: Alex’s uncle, Gabe, who raised him, is lost in a start cruiser accident. Gabe bequeaths his estate to Alex. Before Alex can claim it, Gabe’s house is broken into and a special file is stolen. Gabe was an amateur archeologist and working on a big, secret project that he wanted Alex to finish for him. Unfortunately, all the details were on the stolen file. Alex goes about recreating Gabe’s research to figure out what Gabe was going to the Veiled Lady (a giant star cluster) for. Alex digs into historical records of the Resistance (when humans were fighting aliens). He’s finally able to piece together information and finds a key ship from the time of the Resistance. Even more importantly, it has an entirely new (and better) interstellar drive.

Final thoughts: A perfectly serviceable story. It was basically a mystery to determine what Uncle Gabe was after placed on top of a science fiction setting. Even the sci-fi elements couldn’t shift my typical response to a mystery. I was able to guess the significance of the finding the ship from some clues sprinkled throughout the book, which ruined the big reveal at the end. I also found the telepathic aliens an odd addition. Yes, they provided the war behind the Resistance, but they didn’t add much to the current time. There was an exciting end, but the space battle could just have easily have been between rival humans as the aliens. Perhaps the author is setting up some conflict for later since there are six more books in the series. I won’t be bothering to find any others though. I did find it interesting that our main character was essentially an archeologist. That’s not your typical profession for a science fiction story.

Title comes from: I’m not sure. Perhaps it refers to Alex and how he nearly precipitated another war with the aliens.

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #49 for 2018

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


Leave a comment

Filed under Book review

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.