cover image Orbit


John J. Nance. Simon & Schuster, $25 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-5052-8

Bestseller Nance, a seasoned author of aviation thrillers (Fire Flight), takes his plots and counterplots into space in this solid effort set in 2009. Civilian Kip Dawson is excited that he's won a seat as a passenger aboard American Space Adventure's Intrepid. But, once the space plane reaches orbit, an apparent meteorite strike kills the pilot and disables radio communication. Skulduggery involving the police, the FBI and anti-satellite weapons complicates the situation, while Kip's on-board log makes it clear that he's a good deal more than just a space tourist. Meanwhile, the discovery that there's someone alive aboard Intrepid launches a frantic three-way race among NASA, ASA and the Russians. Revelations come thick and fast, and the conspiracy-mongering may put off some readers who have been carried along by the excellent pacing, technical details and characterization. The book remains, however, an absorbing and tightly-written piece of storytelling, with a particularly engaging and well-developed protagonist.