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The Apollo Murders Paperback – 12 October 2021
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From the Publisher
- Publisher : Quercus; 1st edition (12 October 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 152940682X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1529406825
- Dimensions : 15.2 x 4.4 x 23.2 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 11,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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This story follows the what-if of Apollo 18, which history will show did not happen, but the final moon landing, the effects of the Cold War on space travel (including a fine battle in space), and the other things that the average Earthling may not have considered - what to do if there’s a death inflight?
I was disappointed I didn’t find this as good as I expected, but maybe that’s half the problem. It’s certainly a pacey read, but as I had other books on the go, it seems they took priority.
All in all, so disappointing, I gave up halfway through.
I have always enjoyed books that mix fact and fiction and this book is no different. If the Apollo 18 program had gone ahead, it could have looked something like this, and Chris Hadfield is uniquely qualified to write a book like this as he has lived so much of it himself. There were intriguing facts about astronaut training and the effects on the body during space travel, that you can't possibly describe unless you have been there and I really enjoyed that aspect of things. Throw in a female cosmonaut and an unlikely double-crosser and you have yourself a decent thriller.
5 stars from me.
Top reviews from other countries
Well done Chris, hope to see another novel written in the same vein bein published very soon.
It is a good propulsive read, the pacing and tension building to a decent if slightly overblown splashdown climax (surprisingly, there was no shark to be jumped in the waters of the Pacific). There are some loose ends left fraying, so i wonder if a sequel might be in the works.
Author, Chris Hadfield, is a much-decorated Canadian astronaut, a former fighter pilot, engineer, spacewalker, served in both the American and Russian space programs, and Commander of the International Space Station. Readers who have not followed the history of the Apollo space program and the space stations may recognize Hatfield may recognize him from the video where he played guitar and sang David Bowie's Space Oddity while floating in 0 Gravity in the ISS. This was featured in news reports at the time and can still be viewed on YouTube. He was active in the space program from 1992 until 2013.
I find it difficult to categorize this action-packed novel. This is not so much in the science fiction genre but a historical and suspenseful journey into an alternate past involving a fictional journey of Apollo 18 in 1973. The Apollo program actually ended with Apollo 17, but the story imagines what happens on a subsequent mission to the moon. The writing is filled with an overload of scientific detail and technical descriptions that will appeal more to the space enthusiast than to the casual reader of thrillers. However, the story is so suspenseful, intense, action-packed, and cinematic within a plausible, realistic storyline that it should keep most readers entranced.
A leading character is Kaz Zemeckis, a flight controller at Houston. He is assigned to oversee the mission of three astronauts to the moon and ensure their safety from Mission Control. Kaz missed his goal for going into space when he lost an eye in a training accident. Shortly before blast-off, the astronaut in charge dies in an accident, or was it accidental? The leading backup astronaut replaces him. One astronaut is to stay in the vehicle, circle the moon, and await the two walking on the moon's surface. Due to unfortunate circumstances, this will not be the two originally assigned to the task. At the last minute, the scientific exploration is hastily changed into a military one. The Russians have placed a high-resolution spy satellite in orbit and also a moon rover looking for valuable minerals on the surface. The astronauts are now ordered to disable both items in order to keep the Russians from advancing in the space race.
Kaz is suspicious that one of the astronauts is not what he pretends to be. Surrounding him in Mission Control are many real characters whose names I recognized from the past. Also, at the White House are actual historical people, all seamlessly blended into the story. At the end of the book, I was surprised that most of the characters, except for the fictional Kaz, were real people, and the Russian spy satellite and their moon rover were actually in place at the time.
In the high-tension storyline, there are startling encounters, dangers galore from the Russians, and one aboard Apollo 18 may be a murderer. Events do not go as planned, and both the Russians and the Americans are determined to retrieve an exotic, rare mineral from the moon. The Russians are angry that Apollo 18 is trying to disable their space equipment. Back at Mission Control, the sheriff and others are helping Kaz investigate the astronaut's backgrounds and try to keep on top of the changing events in space. What will the outcome be? Will the crew of Apollo 18 succeed in their mission and get home safely? Recommended to those who want adventure, history of early space exploration and moon landings, espionage, and find the technical details enhance the reality of this dramatic story.
I was glued to the pages, except for a short break to watch Captain Kirk returning from space in Jeff Bezos's space vehicle.
I was not disappointed, this book is a gripping thriller! The book explores a parallel universe where Apollo 18 flew as a military mission. It is not a "who dunnit" despite the title. I found the book very difficult to put down.
What is completely unique about the book is that Commander Hadfield gives an extremely detailed and realistic description of space flight. I have not flown fast jets, or a rocket, but I did my basic flight training our of the Space Center Executive Airport near Cape Canaveral, and my instrument training in Panama City, Florida, and I found his descriptions of various flights in these areas to be highly accurate. Anyone not interested in aviation might find the level of detail in the book, including extracts of various checklists, to be a little irritating - I loved it! At the end of the back he reveals that many of the charactors are based on real people, but surely not all, I hope!
A minor problem with the book is that some of the dialogue in the book is in Russian and Commander Hadfield adds a transliteration of the Russian spoken before a translation of the dialogue into English. I worked in Moscow and know a little Russian and would have far preferred to have the Cyrillic rather than the rather loose transliteration. I suspect most readers will find the transliteration tiresome and wonder why it was added.
This book is recommended for anyone interested in space travel or aviation who likes a good thriller. It would be a super Christmas present for any teenager dreaming of being a test pilot and an astronaut.
Well done Commander Hadfield! I hope we see a follow up in due course.