Published by Mulholland Books on October 12, 2021
1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help.
NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective. Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it.
But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.
Full of the fascinating technical detail that fans of The Martian loved, and reminiscent of the thrilling claustrophobia, twists, and tension of The Hunt for Red October, The Apollo Murders is a high-stakes thriller unlike any other. Chris Hadfield captures the fierce G-forces of launch, the frozen loneliness of space, and the fear of holding on to the outside of a spacecraft orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour as only someone who has experienced all of these things in real life can.
Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime.
I had such high expectations for this book, partly due to the comparisons to The Martian, which I loved! While The Apollo Murders certainly had the level of detail that I enjoyed in The Martian, by comparison it had none of the humour or voice that made The Martian so fun and entertaining.
It was a very slow, very dry read for me. And for no reason I can explain, I did not find any of the details about planes and flying remotely interesting – but I loved the detailed writing about spaceflight and the work the astronauts were doing. So that’s something I learned about myself.
My interest, and reading pace, really picked up by the time the astronauts got to space, but that took ages. So for me, this was super slow and not that interesting for the first 150-ish pages, which is maybe too long of a read for something I wasn’t into. But as I said, once things were in place for space travel, I got more into it.
While the action picked up in the last half (or maybe more like the last third) of the story, I lacked any emotional investment or attachment to the characters. I kept thinking back to The Martian and Project Hail Mary, where I liked the characters and cared about what happened to them. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for me here.
I did enjoy the author’s note at the back of the book pointing out which characters, places, and events were based on reality, and it was an interesting and ambitious work of alternate history.