An epic space novel by the acclaimed science-fiction writer, this is the story his readers have been waiting for...
Published in 1992, MARS was the story of the thrilling first manned journey to the mysterious planet which has fascinated astronomers since the dawn of time. Arthur C. Clarke called it 'a splendid book'; it was a bestseller throughout the world.
Now, in RETURN TO MARS, a carefully picked international crew of astronauts, engineers and scientists is on its way back. Leading them is Jamie Waterman, the man who defied the accepted wisdom of the scientific community - and the direct orders of his superiors - to discover life on the planet.
But there are those who still resent his success; others who have their own reasons to ensure that Waterman, with his almost mystic idealism, does not make the final decisions about Second Mars Expedition. And among the crew is someone whose mental instability could lead to catastrophe for them all.
The sequel to Bova's popular Mars (1992) returns Navajo Jamie Waterman to the Red Planet as the mission director in tenuous command of a crew of scientists and astronauts jockeying for political power, romantic liaisons and scientific renown. And as anonymous journal entries also indicate, one of the explorers is seriously deranged. Waterman's chief rival on the mission is C. Dexter Trumball, the heir of the man who substantially funded the flight. Trumball has promised his wealthy father that the mission will make money, and he is determined to win his father's love and respect, even if it means turning Mars into a tourist attraction. For ideological reasons, Waterman is equally bent on keeping Mars free of tourists, especially his beloved "cliff dwellings"--a nearly inaccessible structural anomaly that he believes will prove there was once intelligent life on the planet. Waterman must struggle to find the Navajo way of negotiating the crew's various desires and manias. He must also contend with the powers-that-be back on Earth to ensure that scientific concerns continue to supersede crass commercial interests. Bova makes the speculative hard science aspects of this novel vivid and appealing. His characters, however, are less enchanting, and the inclusion of a saboteur seems like overkill, since the environment he describes is more than capable of destroying anyone for simple carelessness. The novel ends with plenty of room for a sequel to pick up and continue the saga.