“A surprising page-turner...Compelling. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review), Debut of the Month
An astronaut returns to Earth after losing her entire crew to an inexplicable disaster, but is her version of what happened in space the truth? Or is there more to the story…A tense, psychological thriller perfect for fans of Dark Matter and The Martian.
After Catherine Wells’s ship experiences a deadly incident in deep space and loses contact with NASA, the entire world believes her dead. Miraculously—and mysteriously—she survived, but with little memory of what happened. Her reentry after a decade away is a turbulent one: her husband has moved on with another woman and the young daughter she left behind has grown into a teenager she barely recognizes. Catherine, too, is different. The long years alone changed her, and as she readjusts to being home, sometimes she feels disconnected and even, at times, deep rage toward her family and colleagues. There are periods of time she can’t account for, too, and she begins waking up in increasingly strange and worrisome locations, like restricted areas of NASA. Suddenly she’s questioning everything that happened up in space: how her crewmates died, how she survived, and now, what’s happening to her back on Earth.
Smart, gripping, and compelling, this page-turning sci-fi thriller will leave you breathless.
In this tense, character-driven debut, an astronaut's miraculous return to Earth after an interstellar mission gone awry sparks questions about the disastrous events that left her the voyage's only survivor. As Catherine Wells struggles to reconnect with her family after nine years away, she's haunted by missing memories regarding the mission, occasional blackout episodes, and terrifying violent urges. Her personal life and career spiral out of control. Meanwhile, Cal Morganson, responsible for an upcoming follow-up mission, investigates Catherine, convinced she's hiding something. Together, they must unlock her lost memories to discover what happened to the Sagittarius's crew before tragedy strikes again. By focusing on the emotional impact of Catherine's long absence and inability to return to her old life, and by maintaining ambiguity regarding her psychological stability, Nichols keeps this story relatively down-to-earth, only gradually revealing the truth behind the disaster and Catherine's increasingly unpredictable behavior. The scientific component is kept plausible but light in favor of character drama, interpersonal relationships, and the underlying mystery. The story's overall strength is undermined by insufficient worldbuilding and a rushed final act leading into an open-ended conclusion, but there's still a lot here to appeal to fans of near-future drama.