Podcast version – listen on the go!
Astronaut David Dixon’s first mission to space goes horribly wrong when shots are fired on a Russian space station. He finds himself making an emergency landing from orbit and becomes the most wanted man on Earth.
Desperate to unravel the plot he’s found himself in, he takes his pursuers on a wild chase from space to the backstreets of Rio and beyond. Dixon’s survival relies on his skills as a pilot and willingness to do whatever it takes – crashing a passenger jet into the Mexican desert to pulling off an incredible heist in Low Earth Orbit.
If space doesn’t kill David Dixon, Earth will.
I really enjoy Andrew Mayne books. He has a way of sucking me into his stories and his humor is OFF the charts. I found myself actually laughing out loud a few times.
I felt I was holding my breath this whole story. There was something exciting happening nearly every page. In fact, it was almost too much at times and the character kept finding himself in more and more impossible situations. In fact, there were times I was like, there is no way this character is getting out of this and Mayne proved me wrong by finding a unique and fun way to release the character back into the wild.
So, David Dixon is a bit of a geek. Mayne doesn’t really describe what he looks like, or if he did, I missed it because I was too distracted trying to figure out how the character was going to escape his latest trap, but I imagined David being attractive, but not overly so, more like a charming geek. He doesn’t exactly turn women’s heads but he’s attractive enough that women are not immediately turned off by him.
David is a hard-core geek. He’s always wanted to be an astronaut and he has to jump through several hoops for that to finally happen. And when it finally happens, it’s by accident. David is an understudy, for lack of a better term, a back up plan in case something happens to the astronaut that the big dudes picked for the job. And that’s exactly what happens, the astronaut that was supposed to have gone on the mission gets food poisoning the night before the launch and David is called in to replace him. While getting ready, David spots his superior and hero stuffing a gun into his gear. David is pretty sure that’s not part of the approved items for the mission but he doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to get this guy he looks up to into trouble and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his first mission. He’s also wondering, did this mission just get dangerous?
The crazy starts after getting into outer space and they run into some trouble and are not going to be able to dock with the original space station and instead, have to dock at the Russian station or there is a good possibility they will die. After docking to the Russian station, David is asked (forced) to stay on the rocket while his two comrades step foot onto the station to try and see how they can get back to Earth. Not long after his comrades have been on the station, shots ring out and the woman comes stumbling back to the ship, gives David a microchip and tells him to leave and go back to Earth. He doesn’t want to leave without her or his hero boss but he realizes that if he doesn’t leave, he will die and he detaches from the Russian space station.
He barely makes it back to Earth and crash lands in Rio. His landing is publicized so his enemies know where he is and immediately begins chasing him. David asks some kids to help him escape from the people hunting him and he heads to the stadium based on a mysterious message he received on the rocket before he landed. Only, when he gets there, he can’t tell if the person he’s supposed to meet is friend or foe.
Turns out he’s foe.
Once David has eluded the people who’s chasing him, for the moment, he contacts a Senator that he knows backed the space program that he participated in. He finds out that the chip that the woman handed him back on the Russian space station is a “key” of sorts that will unlock nuclear weapons trained on the US. After the Senator promises to help him get the chip into the right hands, because you can’t trust anyone in the government, they are all corrupt, (sounds familiar), he feels relieved and hopeful that his nightmare journey is over.
Only, the Senator gets killed and he’s back on the run. He turns to a reporter that is a thorn in the US space program’s side and together they form an alliance to try and find a man who basically helped create the space program and who is not only an insider, but a powerful insider.
The whole story was one exciting adventure after another and it was interesting and fun to see David think quick on his feet and MacGyver his way out of situations. It was always clever and somewhat believable but then again, I’m not a bit science fiction reader so it may not have been believable to readers that actually knew what they were reading.
I love these types of stories but there is no way I could write something like this. I’m not imaginative enough to wiggle my character out of a seemingly impossible situation. I don’t have the problem-solving skills to make it not only feasible but plausible. Mayne does a good job of not only helping his character to escape but to make it plausible enough for me NOT to roll my eyes at the creative solution. I envy this type of writing as I think it’s exciting and fun and it’s entertaining to see Mayne torment his characters so much.
Though this was a plot-driven story, Mayne does a good job of hinting at a love interest with the super smart reporter and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series to see if, or how, that relationship develops. But this story is more action and adventure focused so if you’re looking for a fun, fast, exciting read, this is the book for you.
And if you’re a science fiction geek, this book is outta of this world – give it a read.