This is a book I've read a few (4-5) years ago and I do not believe it's from the Golden Age of SciFi. A guy working for the Space Survey Service (?) in charge of exploring new stellar systems stumbles upon a spaceship lost for centuries then is killed by greedy treasure hunters (?). An antiques / space souvenirs dealer finds a coffee mug and uniform patches of the long lost ship and traces them back to the Survey officer. He then buys the dead man's survey ship and is able to crack its memory banks and find the wreck which leads him to its sistership wreck orbiting around a planet where the descendants of the two ships live in complete ignorance of the rest of mankind. Thanks for your help :)

  • Do you know when you read it, or when the novel may have been published. We can always use more details! Can I suggest you take a look at this guide to see if you can edit in any additional information?
    – Edlothiad
    Jan 10, 2018 at 9:51
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    For some reason, this sounds like something Andre Norton might have written. Can't give a title, but it's where I'd start looking.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jan 10, 2018 at 12:04
  • A Bertram Chandler write a long series of books involving the Federation Survey Service ... Jan 10, 2018 at 12:11
  • @JohnRennie - Most likely Star Loot if it is Chandler.
    – JohnP
    Jan 10, 2018 at 14:47
  • There's a strong correlation to part of the plot in one of the books in Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm series; it'd be Up Jim River or On the Razor's Edge, if so (been a little while since I read them). Probably too new to be what you're looking for, but seems worth mentioning at least.
    – RDFozz
    Jan 10, 2018 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


Seeker by Jack McDevitt (2005). The initial clue that the ship was rediscovered is indeed a cup. The main characters are antiquities dealers Chase Kolpath and Alex Benedict.

The Seeker was an ancient FTL ship (this series is set in the 12th millennium AD or thereabouts) that established one of humanity's first interstellar colonies -- Margolia. There's been no contact in the intervening 9000 years or so and most people now believe Margolia is long dead if it ever existed.

They eventually discover that

the original planet became uninhabitable, but some of the colony moved to a different planet where they still survive.

  • YES!! This is the one. Thanks a lot!!!
    – user94933
    Jan 11, 2018 at 9:05

This is Seeker, by Jack McDevitt. It's one of the Alex Benedict series. See https://alanjchick.wordpress.com/jack-mcdevitts-alex-benedict-series/.

  • The poster asked me to post it as an answer, so I did. I guess he wants me to have credit because I answered first, but did it in the comments. Jan 11, 2018 at 17:46
  • I see that now. :)
    – JohnP
    Jan 11, 2018 at 18:11

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