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Red Moon Hardcover – February, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What really happened to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, who died mysteriously in a plane crash? Why weren't the Russians the first to put a man on the moon? Accomplished space historian Cassutt (Who's Who in Space) offers an intriguing account of Russia's space program as a gripping, atmospheric Cold War saga. In 1965, Russian engineering student Yuri Ribko--son of combat pilot hero Col.-Gen. Nikolai Ribko--visits his mentor, Vasily Filin, in the hospital. Filin works at the Experimental Design Bureau Number 1, the organization that launched Sputnik. Coincidentally, Sergei Korolev, a genius missile designer and head of the bureau, dies under highly questionable circumstances in the same hospital. Yuri's Uncle Vladimir, an official in State Security, recruits Yuri to spy on Filin's organization for the KGB and discover who killed Korolev. Yuri finds himself torn between loyalty to his mentor and to his father, and the excitement of working for his uncle. Life is further complicated when Yuri's love, Marina, has an affair with his roommate, Lev, who is working for an opposing faction in the politically sensitive rocket program. The fiery end of Soyuz 1 and the death of space hero Gagarin, who was also in the hospital the day Korolev died, are followed by a series of ignominious Russian fiascoes, both on the ground and in space. As the foulups continue, suspicions escalate that someone is sabotaging the program. Yuri is aware he is being manipulated, but he is uncertain by whom or why. Tingling with political tension and ringing with authenticity, this dark, edge-of-your-seat thriller gives a launch-by-launch account of Russia's abortive struggle to keep abreast of NASA and win the space race. (Feb. 13)Forecasts: It's debatable whether more than a few care about the cosmonauts of yesteryear, but some interesting marketing plans, including ads in Scientific American, will help this novel; and a film or TV translation is a possibility, particularly given Cassutt's experience as a writer/producer for Max Headroom and Beverly Hills 90210.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

There have been plenty of novels set behind the Iron Curtain, and there have been plenty about the international race to land a man on the moon. It was only a matter of time until some enterprising thriller writer would combine these two plot staples. Luckily, Cassutt has done so in altogether pleasing fashion, producing a thriller that is genuinely thrilling, not to mention historically fascinating. The author, a successful television producer, has written extensively about the space race, and he is highly regarded as an expert on the Russian space program. He is also a top-notch storyteller, as is immediately apparent in this gripping tale of a man whose search for a murderer takes him deep inside the Soviet space agency. James Michener's popular novel Space may be thicker and more detailed, but this thriller is faster paced and just as engrossing. Fans of Michener's novel, or the many recent nonfiction books about the quest to conquer space, will find much to enjoy here. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (February 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312874405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312874407
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,723,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was actually surprised - the only notion I'd had before of Mr. Cassutt's work was that he co-edited a so-so SF anthology "Sacred Visions" (his story was okay, but not the best one in the collection), and here he hits me with an awesome book. Truly - hats off, stand up and applaud. And it wasn't only that the story he presented was an engrossing, detailed and pleasing one - though this is a model thriller per se and should serve as a yardstick for the guys who think they can write. No, I was impressed by something else, something that an American author doesn't pull off all that often. The reality of being Russian in those days. Rybko is so real I was strongly tempted to believe in his existence, warts and all. At once fairly intelligent and helpless in coping with Soviet multi-layered reality, with plots within plots and official smokescreens at every step, with family secrets even more sinister, he just pulled me into the book and didn't let go until the last page. A pity there's no six-star award...
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By A Customer on February 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Michael Cassutt, who penned an earlier murder mystery set within the NASA family (Missing Man), does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the shadowy world of the Russian space program. He adds verisimilitude to the story by using historical figures (Yuri Gagarin, etc.) as central characters (he's obviously done his homework) but keeps the plotting fast-paced. His background in TV/movies (Max Headroom among others) serves him well in evoking visual images through the written word. Some might wonder if today's reader wants to learn more about dead Soviet space pioneers, but then you could've said the same about Apollo 13.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought that Cassutt's "Missing Man" was a superb book, but his latest venture into the mysterious and covert world of cosmonautics is simply without peer. I've been following spaceflight history for many years now, and I can see how the author (a renowned authority on the subject) has interwoven a fictional thriller story into the largely-unrevealed world of the Russian space program of the 1960's. Without spoiling the plot, the central focus is on the alleged murder of Russia's Sergei Korolev, the real-life "Chief Designer" of that nation's space program, whose reluctant anonymity only came to an end with his death on an operating table. Without him at the helm, Russia's space program fell apart, and America reached the Moon first. Because it is based very much on fact, this book is quite astonishing reading, and it is very obvious that Cassutt has done some deep and extensive research in putting together his book. There are many surprises stitched into the story, and it has proved to be a real page-turner for me. One of the best techno-thrillers for many years, in my humble opinion.
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Format: Hardcover
I often wonder why it seems I am reading a different book from other reviewers. Several have called this a mystery of what really happened to cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, but that is a plotline in this story that does not arrive until 2/3 of the way through the story... and is truly only a minor part of this techno-thriller. The history of the Russian space program is absolutely fascinating and dictates both the plot and setting. It is a wonderfully brisk read that kept me entertained and looking for further information in the area of the history of space exploration. Highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book not only for its great pacing and story, but for the insight into the Soviet space program - some great insider stories that probably could never have been told with the real names - interesting both as a novel and as almost-history...
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Format: Paperback
I thought that Cassutt's "Missing Man" was a superb book, but his latest venture into the mysterious and covert world of cosmonautics is simply without peer. I've been following spaceflight history for many years now, and I can see how the author (a renowned authority on the subject) has interwoven a fictional thriller story into the largely-unrevealed world of the Russian space program of the 1960's. Without spoiling the plot, the central focus is on the alleged murder of Russia's Sergei Korolev, the real-life "Chief Designer" of that nation's space program, whose reluctant anonymity only came to an end with his death on an operating table. Without him at the helm, Russia's space program fell apart, and America reached the Moon first. Because it is based very much on fact, this book is quite astonishing reading, and it is very obvious that Cassutt has done some deep and extensive research in putting together his book. There are many surprises stitched into the story, and it has proved to be a real page-turner for me. One of the best techno-thrillers for many years, in my humble opinion.
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Format: Paperback
I thought that Cassutt's "Missing Man" was a superb book, but his latest venture into the mysterious and covert world of cosmonautics is simply without peer. I've been following spaceflight history for many years now, and I can see how the author (a renowned authority on the subject) has interwoven a fictional thriller story into the largely-unrevealed world of the Russian space program of the 1960's. Without spoiling the plot, the central focus is on the alleged murder of Russia's Sergei Korolev, the real-life "Chief Designer" of that nation's space program, whose reluctant anonymity only came to an end with his death on an operating table. Without him at the helm, Russia's space program fell apart, and America reached the Moon first. Because it is based very much on fact, this book is quite astonishing reading, and it is very obvious that Cassutt has done some deep and extensive research in putting together his book. There are many surprises stitched into the story, and it has proved to be a real page-turner for me. One of the best techno-thrillers for many years, in my humble opinion.
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