Chindi is the third in McDevitt's Academy series featuring Hutch (Priscilla Hutchins) a spacecraft pilot with a tendency to get involved with alien archaeology; I have already reviewed The Engines of God and Deepsix on this blog.
The mix is much as before; mystery and drama set in a future in which humanity, having recently discovered faster-than-light travel, is rapidly spreading through the galaxy. Many ruins of dead alien civilisations have been discovered but the only live one has a primitive level of technology.
The key plot element this time is what appears to be an alien message accidentally intercepted by a spacecraft exploring in a remote part of the galaxy. This prompts the Contact Society, a group of wealthy alien enthusiasts (that is, humans who are interested in aliens!), to fund an expedition to track down the source of the message, and Hutch is recruited to pilot them. What follows is an escalating series of discoveries as the explorers follow the track of the message from system to system, surviving catastrophic threats not without loss, but drawn ever onwards by the lure of encountering another spacefaring race. One dramatic twist follows another as the pace gradually accelerates towards the climax.
The plot is not as intriguing and awe-inspiring as The Engines of God, but it is better than Deepsix which has a relatively mundane mystery. The characterisation is improving, although the author still has a tendency to provide each new character with a sizeable biographical infodump which is not the best way to learn what kind of people they are. All in all, this is a good, exciting adventure story in the best traditions of space opera.
Courageous is the third of Campbell's Lost Fleet series, which is simply one long, continuous story of a running fight between opposing starship fleets as seen through the eyes of John Geary, commander of one of the fleets (see my reviews of the first two volumes, and repeat). Nothing very new happens in this one and the repetition ought to be boring, but every time I pick up one of Campbell's books I am gripped by his storytelling skills and find it hard to put down again. This one finishes on a cliffhanger, but I will try to resist buying any more for a while – too many other books in my reading pile!
Incidentally, in an interview at the end of the book, the author lists his favourite TV series. The one in first place is no great surprise (the original Star Trek), but in second place comes The Prisoner (1960s British mystery) and in third The Avengers (not the comic strip characters, but another 1960s British series). I can't disagree with any of those, and I enthusiastically endorse his comment on The Avengers: "Emma Peel. Best. SF. Female. Character. Ever."