Monday, July 13, 2020

read: The Relentless Moon (4 stars)

The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut #3)The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit right up front that Mary Robinette Kowal is one author whose books I will buy practically sight-unseen. This goes double for books in this series, which are already tickling my desires for hard science fiction, retro settings, alternate history and realistic space flight action. This book did not disappoint.

But it did surprise. Since I obtained the book without learning too much about it, I didn't realize that the first-person narrative had shifted to a different astronaut in the IAC, International Aerospace Coalition. The scene switches from Elma York, The Lady Astronaut, currently on her way to Mars, to Nicole Wargin, who is not only a veteran astronaut, but the wife of the governor of Kansas, who may also be considering a run for President. Nicole is just as capable as Elma, but she comes with a different set of strengths and weaknesses that the author uses to great affect throughout the story.

One of this books unique charms is that it becomes essentially a locked-room mystery. After plenty of politicking and setup on Earth and an almost routine flight to the Moon, the action is firmly set at Artemis Base, a growing and thriving outpost of mankind. The first step of our escape from a soon to be uninhabitable Earth. Soon, what seem to be a set of unrelated accidents start developing into a pattern of sabotage and attempted murder that is probably the work of an outlaw group known as Earth First. But who among the highly trained astronauts and specially picked colonists is or are the saboteurs? The clues come slowly, but compellingly. This is a great story with almost everyone acting rationally.

Recommended for fans of early space flight, NASA and good writing.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Books for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.

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