|Amazon link - Audible link|
Published in 1994
Awards: 1997 Arthur C Clarke award nominated
Challenges: Pick and Mix Challenge
In The Engines of God a team of archaeologists are forced off a planet just as they are on the verge of making the discovery of a lifetime. Listening in audiobook, I honestly can't remember the names of any characters except Hutch the pilot. I'm not going to look them up, not out of laziness, but because they don't matter. This is not a book about characters Each character has a name, a profession, and a quirk. Hutch is a pilot who is friendly. There's a xenophilologist who is stuck up.
Heck, I can't even remember all of their quirks and I just finished listening to this hours ago:
Which guy was it that Hutch was having a relationship with?
Rule out the guy who died and there are still two guys it could be.
Did she just show up or was she on the last mission?
What is her profession?
What is her quirk?
What does matter, and why you might read this book, is the xenoarchaeology. It starts with the excavation of an underwater complex on an alien planet and an inscription on a rock tower in an artificially created pseudo-city on that planet's moon.
Imagine your best drill-seargent-meets-academic on the phone and here is my inner monologue for the first third of the book:
Why create this pseudo-city?
Ok, but who created the pseudo-city?
If the inhabitants of the planet didn't do it, why is the inscription in their language?
We need to decode this inscription now!
What do you mean we don't have enough examples of the language to decipher the inscription?
I don't care, get more then!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN POLITICIANS ARE BLOWING THE PLANET'S ICECAPS IN 7 HOURS?!
Well, you'll just have to stop it.
I won't spoil how that turns out, but you're hooked, right?
Follow the clues, do some action archaeology, maybe some action xenophilology, right to the heart of the puzzle. Love or hate the solution, it was an entertaining ride.
And lastly a hat tip to Tom Weiner for narrating the audiobook. It was perfectly good narration, can't find any fault.