From Publishers Weekly
This thoroughly readable near-future space thriller takes place in 2006, with Space Station Alpha a going concern and the Chinese sending men into space. Billionaire Tad Mikleszewski has failed in efforts to launch a privately owned space booster, but he is determined to get into orbit, even if it means paying the Russians for a ride on one of their rockets. Meanwhile, American astronaut Kelly Gessner is preparing for a shuttle voyage, actress Rachel Dunne will be doing shots for her next film aboard Alpha and Kelly's ex-lover Mark Koskinen is riding herd on Westerners at the Russian Star City space center. All of this takes place as a biowar plague known as X-Pox rages, and preparations for the launch are disrupted by weather, illness, sexual chemistry, politics, bureaucracy and Russian muggers. Once in space, Tad (aka Tango Midnight) sets up camp in an Alpha module, where he intends to develop an X-Pox antidote. An accident releases the deadly virus, trapping Tad in the module, and Mark is recruited to save him via a complex docking maneuver. The book is stronger on technical detail ("BAACC will put Shenzhou-Harmony in a minus-Z orientation") and pacing than on characterization, and the climax seems rushed, but it will satisfy space fans with a taste for thrillers, or thriller fans with a taste for space.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
By 2006, Space Station Alpha is obliged to cater to tourists and celebrities and even serve as a movie set to stay solvent. American shuttle launches then strongly resemble headlines now, and, as the novel opens, attempts at a privately operated booster have just failed. Meanwhile, the Russian booster Soyez
will take anyone up for the right price, but you can't depend on it. On Earth, X-POX, a bioweapon-turned-epidemic, is paring global population and stressing global infrastructure. Biotech billionaire Tadeusz Mileszewski ("Tango Midnight") justifies his dream of going into space by taking anti-X-POX medications with him, but an explosion traps him in a lab module flooded with deadly spores. It takes the shuttle, the
Soyez, and a Chinese booster to keep a thriller from becoming a tragedy. Although heavy on technical detail and space-style action (watch and wait for 11 hours, then pray everything goes right when you have to do something in the twelfth) at the expense of characterization, a tale to please space advocates, anyway. Frieda MurrayCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved