|Jack McDevitt: Deepsix|
Publishers (Hardcover), ISBN 0061051241
The planet Deepsix will die soon. A rogue gas giant star will collide with Deepsix in three weeks. The Academy sent explorers there once, but vicious wildlife killed most of the party before they could properly explore the planet. But the scientists monitoring the planetary holocaust discover buildings, turning the Academy's end-of-the-line observation into a possible rescue mission of a sentient population no one knew existed.
The Academy sends Captain Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins and a group of scientists to Deepsix to excavate a ruined tower by one of the planet's seas. One of the scientists on Hutch's ship, Randall Nightingale, survived the original exploration of Deepsix but lives in disgrace. Famous editor, commentator and self-described "destroyer of mountebanks, frauds, college professors and bishops" Gregory MacAllister accused Nightingale of cowardice and blamed him for the deaths of his colleagues.
Meanwhile, the famous but feared MacAllister and 1,500 other party-goers booked passage on the luxury liner, Evening Star, to boogie as a world ends. MacAllister cons a trip to Deepsix to observe the proceedings and loot artifacts. The cosmic clock shows only two weeks left until the big boom, but MacAllister figures that still leaves him plenty of time to get in and get out.
Does it sound safe to you? Sounded chancy but doable to me -- or it did until an earthquake destroys both ships, stranding the characters on a condemned planet.
McDevitt writes lovingly of the lost, obviously sentient society represented by the ruins. Who were they? What did they look like? What happened to them? The Academy survivors ask these questions and more as they struggle to save themselves on an increasingly tortured world.
I highly recommend this book.
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