A Hybrid Science Fiction Mystery Novel set aboard a vessel which is as much a city as it is a ship.N.C.I.S In Space Space Pace Ace Sort of, in a way, if you close one eye and look at it sideways For I.G Park Yergim the case begins with an order to catch a shuttle in seven minutes to take her to the I.S Aldrin to investigate the charge of mutiny against the Captain and crew of that vessel and render her verdict Unfortunately, events continue to race ahead as Admirals, billionaires, and conniving Space Proffesionals all push her to see Captain Aames and his crew as mutineers and the Captain secluded himself in his cabin. Good Reading I enjoyed this book The author did an excellent job of creating characters whose stories came to life via an effective combination of introspective thoughts, off the record conversations and formal depositions.The setting of the Express train between Earth and Mars was described in the very first chapter showing where this was based on astronaut Buzz Aldrin s plan Cyclic Trajectory Concepts, published in 1985 I admit that I didn t really understand the concept after reading chapter 1 By the time I finished the book, I understood it completely and can see why it s a viable concept that is currently being discussed and considered The author did a wonderful job of creating this setting and bringing it to life from both a scientific and a personal perspective.As I read chapter 2, I kept thinking I knew this story and had seen it elsewhere but I couldn t remember where It took a little digging through my Kindle when I discovered Chapter 2 previously Appeared as the short story Racing to Mars from the authors collection of short stories Blue Collar Space It seems strange that I couldn t find any reference to this in the authors notes or any other part of the book there is a reference to another short story from that same collection regarding the first landing on Mars.I see there is another pending book from the same author associated with this story While this book does have a concrete conclusion and there is no real need to read another, I would add it to my reading queue when it arrives as the setting and characters are all interesting and worth keeping track of. An excellent novel I got it absolutely by chance as it featured in the prime email with the selection for the beginning of the month free prime book which I generally ignore as I already have enough books on deck so to speak , but the title, synopsis, and cover of this one attracted my attention and then I saw some very enthusiastic reviews, so I decided to give it a try and while the first few pages are kind of boring and almost made me put it aside, I did my usual routine on promising books that do not hook me early and started browsing every few pages at random and immediately the novel hooked me with the first story of the doctor and from then on it indeed became a novel not to be put down unless there is no other choice and I finished it in two sittings.The narration mostly alternates between the Inspector General Park Yerim investigating the supposed mutiny on Aldrin and various characters recounting their most memorable past experiences with the presumed leader of the mutiny, Aldrin s captain Nicolau Aames though it eventually gets to the present, the events leading here and their resolution I definitely do not want to spoil anything since except for the ending which is sort of telegraphed maybe 50 pages before, the book keeps throwing surprises and hard science sf at the reader in a way I haven t seen in a while, way that reminded me why I love sf and at least used to read 100 novels in the genre a year a while ago The only weakness except for the boring first few pages is the somewhat telegraphed ending, though it definitely was a cool and appropriate one and as the novel is advertised as a first volume though it is self contained I definitely hope there will be in this milieu and I would eagerly get them asap this time considering how impressive The Last dance was.Highly, highly recommended and a top 10 of the year I m not a regular reader of science fiction but what I m looking for when I do read it is to encounter imagination, entertainment and hopefully if I m lucky to gain a little knowledge On all three counts Martin L Shoemaker has succeeded here Reading from the author s notes and biography it is clear that he is well versed on the mechanics and requirements of space travel to Mars, indeed he describes himself as a programmer who writes on the side From this technical basis he has used his imagination to envisage how later in the 21st Century space travel to Mars might look However at the heart of the book is an examination of some pretty basic human attributes including greed, duplicity, power, loyalty and trust Of all it is the latter that predominates in this story for ultimately it is the most important thing that one must have in others and especially the captain of a vessel as it leaves the Earth for outer space.The plot revolves around the investigation of General Park Yerim into an alleged mutiny on board the Earth Mars vessel Aldrin by Captain Nicolau Aames Through the testimonies of fellow crew members a picture emerges not only of the enigmatic captain in all his complexities but also the commercial and vested interests that are so keen to secure a conviction.This may be a long book but once into the story it becomes increasingly engrossing and it has that readable factor that perhaps some titles of this genre sometimes lack At no time did I think that the concepts and plot lines were unrealistic and not possible If you are a bit wary of science fiction then you need not be put off by this book and I m sure it will delight both regular readers of this genre and those who are not. This was one of the most unique science fiction books I have read lately It is reminiscent of some older Asimov sci fi mysteries, modernized both in terms of science and sophisticated in terms of society Well rooted in science and a realistic space faring period, it avoids entirely some semi magical late breaking scientific solution, and instead develops characters deeply and generally realistically I might argue that despite carefully built foundation the main character is still a bit difficult to believe, though Told largely with flashbacks they are carefully integrated and reveal at a pace that seems natural, but is far strongly than a chronological telling would be.After suffering through a ton of recent sci fi authors, and discovering only repetition in many, this was both a surprise and a pleasure. This is a sci fi novel It narrates the investigation followed by a military inspector about mutiny in a sort of a big spaceship around 2080 Through the log of the investigation, one discovers the personality of the Captain that was leading the vessel at the time.The story is interesting, but the narrative is irregular The preface tells the idea of the vessel a Martian Cycler Which is quite interesting personally I didn t know about Cyclers , but it is written as outside of the novel Similarly, the rings, the rendezvous, the nanobots, or even the captain figure are attractive But then the story is told in a weird way, as a collection of anecdotes, with little evolution And the final 10% of the book seems the definition of a Deus Ex Machina Don t get me wrong For me the book was gripping and easy to read And I will follow the author.But it is not great Can t fault itThere is no single flaw in any part of this book It s a very complex story, perfectly executed.Stupid people won t like it, but they don t generally read science fiction to start with.That the characters are as well drawn as the science is clearly explained may be its only drawback This is the work of a person who understands people Of all the current and past science fiction authors of whom I am aware, only C.J Cherryh and the late Sherri S Tepper have such a firm grip on characterization.So if you like a complex story well told, buy this book Do not buy it second hand Buy it from the author, so that he gets paid It s the least you can do for such good reading. Good story but structural flaws bugged me.Every chapter begins from the perspective of a character as if they are sharing their experience verbally but the writing style does not support this It jumps to omniscient 3rd person and each character sounds just like the last So for the first page or 2 of each chapter I struggled with willing suspension It really got in the way of a fluid read Also every character male, female, British or Brazilian spoke in the same voice that of an average white guy, so they all blended together for me.Nonetheless I read all the way through and the story moved forward at a good clip and the science was credible which was a plus. A story set in a future very close at hand In the expanse between Earth and Mars is an expanding technological vessel, Aldrin, composed of tubes, spokes, and artificial gravity that is hanging together based on the brains, brawn, bravery and shear tenacity of the engineers, technicians and support personnel who keep everything working according to plan This entire complex is also a traveling community with the purpose of moving people and material between the earth and a new outpost of humanity on our sister planet, Mars.That is the setting The story is as complex as the technology and the trajectory of the massive vessel itself With virtually no margin for error a commander with extreme organizational talents is needed to keep building and moving Captain Nicolau Aames is the hard minded man in the hot seat in ways than one Despite his safety record and ability to achieve all technological goals he did not endear himself to his crew or his superiors In fact, he has been charged with mutiny.But wait His crew rallies to his side No one loves him but they all respect him and most believe they have become better people and competent in their vocations because of his stern and no nonsense ways On the other hand his superiors and peers regard him as a renegade and egotist who believes himself superior to all others.Enter General Park Yerim, Inspector General She has been charged with investigating the circumstances and is fully expected to come down hard on the captain While Captain Aames is charged with mutiny, should IG Yerim charge him, his crew, who run the vessel Aldrin may mutiny en mass.The narrative is focused on the efforts of IG Yerim to undercover the facts and beyond that, to determine what makes Captain Aames tick and why his crew is so loyal.This is not a dry recitation of facts but rather an exploration of personalities There are also episodes of drama, violence and near catastrophe.I enjoyed it enormously. At the heart of a mystery unfolding in space, the opposing forces make a treacherous journey between Earth and Mars.In space, mutiny means death that s why Inspector General Park Yerim is taking her investigation so seriously The alleged mutineer is Captain Nicolau Aames, whose command of the massive Earth Mars vessel Aldrin has come under fire The vast System Initiative says he disobeyed orders, but his crew swears he s in the right.En route to Mars, Park gathers testimony from the Aldrin s diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Aames s character his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself in the thrall of powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a fiery cosmic dance.Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction All eyes are on her one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for the Aldrin and the future of space travel.