When the Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou-7, carrying three astronauts, mysteriously explodes during launch, it is regarded as a great tragedy - for China. Sometime later, American shuttle Liberty puts a commercial communications satellite into orbit which soon suffers a crippling blast. While trying to recover the damaged satellite, Liberty itself suffers the Shenzhou-7's fate and plunges to earth, killing all the astronauts within. NASA officials and other intelligence agencies are deeply disturbed at this tragic repetition of the Columbia incident, but never suspect that these disparate disasters could somehow be linked.
Meanwhile, Nolan Kilkenny, a Navy SEAL turned civilian software expert, is busy working on perfecting holographic imaging software for submarines when he gets a startling email from his fiancťe, astronaut Kelsey Newton, currently aboard the International Space Station. The chilling news sends Kilkenny racing to the CIA and then on a wild chase crisscrossing the globe as he and his partner, Roxanne Tao, attempt to prove something thatís right out of science fiction, even as the lives of the crew onboard the ISS hang in the balance.
Tom Graceís cutting-edge technological thriller will blow away readers with its beautifully slick blend of fact and fiction. Grace has done his research well and reveals to his captivated readers how, in todayís times, space industry has become increasingly commercial with nations and corporations, both big and small, all vying to claim their own part of space. As a result, this formerly educative arena has been transformed into a multi-billion dollar cutthroat business concern. The author develops on this factual premise with authentic facts and details taken from Star Wars (the space-based weapons program) and raises the interesting question of whether man is ready to take this new, definitive and colossally destructive way to war. The tension in the story comes from whether the truth will be discovered in time, rather than what form the truth will take. The novelís pace is fast throughout, even during the end. As such, the conclusion tends to leave the readers abruptly dazed and feeling somewhat cheated. Otherwise, itís an invigorating, informative and interesting read.