The New York Times–bestselling and six-time Hugo Award–winning author’s epic Grand Tour adventure continues.
Jamie Waterman is returning to the red planet, this time in charge of an expedition in which he hopes to demonstrate that one can study Martian life not only for the sake of the pursuit but more, that it can be profitable. Waterman also hopes to revisit a part of the canyon where he thought he spied a primitive cliff dwelling during the first Martian mission.
But this second voyage to Mars brings trouble right away as Waterman clashes with Dex Trumball, the son of a billionaire who is backing the expedition. Dex wants to turn the planet into a tourist attraction, while Waterman wants to preserve the planet solely for scientific research.
As their rivalry heats up—both professionally and personally—Waterman is faced with betrayal and sabotage. But the planet still guards its most closely held secrets . . . discoveries that could change what everyone thought they knew about Mars—and life in space . . .
“Bova shines in making science not only comprehensible but entertaining.” —The New York Times Book Review
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.