I’ve always loved Tess Gerritsen’s writing and her murder mysteries are fabulous. Here she diverges into a bit of science fiction and pulls off a great novel which I would mark as a ‘must read.’
Whether it’s inner space in the depths of the ocean where this tale begins, or in outer space where it ends, there is little room for error, whether it is in navigating your undersea pod, working with experimental organisms, or piloting a space shuttle. It’s in just such a place that Dr. Emma Watson gives her all in a battle to survive in battling a genetically modified organism that goes wild in the zero gravity of her space station. As a former parasitologist, I loved the references to know beasties such as hydatid cysts which nobody wants growing inside their bodies. The author’s creature makes this nasty earthling bug look almost like a cuddly lamb by comparison.
The cold, calculating character of the expedition leader, Diana Estes, her warm fuzzy lover boy astronaut Mike Griggs and the nervous isolation of Japanese astronaut Kenichi Hirai, all make for tension and dynamism leading up to the ‘accident’. It’s the other scientist astronauts: Emma Watson, Kittredge, Jill Hewitt, Mercer and the Russian, Nicolai who begin the battle for survival against a string of accidents, errors and the implacable growth of a deadly microbe.
What begins as a fairly unified team quickly falls apart as the infection spreads from one astronaut to another, as the attempted rescue fails and the space station is breached and cut off from Earth by a freak accident. In the end, only Emma’s lucky observation on the experimental lab mice gives a hint at a way to prevent disaster from reaching Earth and wiping out millions. He fate and that of her former husband, Jack McCallum, astronaut in forced retirement, will be tied together in a dramatic final attempt to save the space station and the mission.
You’ll love author Gerritsen’s plot and wealth of knowledge, all superbly tied together, right down to the surprise cure and dramatic ending.
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