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Description - Artifact by Gregory Benford

A small cube of black rock has been unearthed in a 3500-year-old Mycenaean tomb. An incomprehensible object in an impossible place; its age, its purpose and its origins are unknown. Its discovery has unleashed a storm of intrigue, theft and espionage, and is pushing nations to the brink of war. Its substance has scientists baffled. And the miracle it contains does not belong on this Earth. It is mystery and madness - an enigma with no equal in recorded history. It is mankind's greatest discovery ...and worst nightmare. It may already have obliterated a world. Ours is next. For more information on this or any other Orbit book, visit the Orbit website at

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781841490625
ISBN-10: 1841490628
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 110mm x 29mm)
Pages: 432
Imprint: Orbit
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 5-Jul-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Artifact by Gregory Benford

US Kirkus Review » From the author of Timescape: a surprising and agreeable blend of archaeology, politics, and sf physics - in a well-turned, scary near-future thriller. In Greece, attractive, independent archaeologist Claire Anderson is investigating a bronze age Mycenaean tomb when she discovers a mysteriously concealed cube of black rock - oddly marbled, indecipherably inscribed, certainly important. But, because of escalating anti-Americanism in Greece (wobbling toward militaristic communism), the diggers must leave. So Claire arranges for a quick inspection of the cube by MIT professor John Bishop - who helps her hijack the artifact, whisking it off to MIT for examination. The upshot? Well, to their astonishment, the MIT scientists find an unknown particle trapped within the cube: it's microscopic in size but so super-heavy that it has all the matter-disintegrating properties of a tiny black hole! Furthermore, the trapped particle had a twin which was jarred loose during the hijack; that twin is now tunneling through the Earth, seeking reunion with the particle in the cube; an uncontrolled union of the particles could result in a catastrophic nuclear explosion. So, with US backing, Claire and John return to Greece with the cube - only to be trapped in a tomb by a Greek military villain: while a battle rages above-ground, the twin particle rises into the tomb, zipping back and forth as it spews radiation. Taut, satisfying, often fascinating - less adventurous (and less demanding) than Benford's extraterrestrial sf, but broader in appeal, with a special boost from Benford's accurate, telling accounts of scientists at work. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Gregory Benford

Gregory Benford, as well as being author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed science fiction novels, is a professor of physics at the University of California at Irvine.

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