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Mercury-Ben Bova

Apr 28, 2005

Ben Bova

Tor, May 2005, $24.95, 320 pp.

ISBN: 0765304120

Industrialist Saito Yamagata died from cancer, but his body was frozen, eventually nanotechnology provided a remedy, and cured him; he has a second chance at life and plans to live it to the fullest. He plans to provide mankind a venue to the solar system and ultimately the stars though a previous effort headed by Mance Bracknell a decade ago led to death and destruction, and ultimately exile of the chief engineer from Earth.

To achieve his stellar objective and avoid the earthly disaster of Mance in which millions died, Saito hires Dante Alexios to build a fleet of satellites to orbit Mercury. From these man made moons, spaceships will venture throughout space. Though he is positive he never met his space engineer, Saito wonders why Dante seems so familiar to him in a déjà vu way. At the same time, exobiologist Victor Molina learns that rocks found on Mercury include remains of a life form. Victor turns to Dante for help, but wonders why the space engineer who he swears he never met before looks so familiar. Meanwhile Bishop Elliot Danvers of New Morality plans to disgrace Molina.

Ben Bova provides an interesting science fiction thriller that will please his fans although ironically readers will know the connections between the prime characters long before most of the protagonists figure it out, which removes some of the air from the suspense. The cast is solid as readers will accept the brilliance and abilities of the different engineers to achieve their objectives including a personal agenda and the world they live in. Though not quite his best work, Mr. Bova writes a fine tale that paints an interesting picture of the future in outer space.

Harriet Klausner