This was a pretty darn good science fiction book. It involves conspiracy theories, big corporations, hackers and astronauts all in one story. I don’t think you can get much better than that. Well, maybe you could.
The book cover leads you to believe that a spaceship exists called the Star Shroud. That’s not the case. In 1986, we’re involved in some highly questionable psychic activities conducted by a corporation, the Dux Corporation, that is working for the military. The military isn’t seeing any immediate payback from their investment so they want to shutdown the whole activity. But, there’s a couple of guys who are seeing much more than what they are giving to the military. With the use of their psychic explorers, they believe they are seeing something on Pluto and have been receiving a message not from this Earth. Then in 2015, a small space craft called the New Horizons flew by Pluto and took some pictures. Unexpectedly, those photos showed a structure setting between to icy peaks just south of Pluto’s equator!It’s now 2046 and Earth has advanced considerably in its space exploration. So much so, that colonies exist on the Moon and a mission to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons is just about ready to launch. The spaceship, Athena, has been assembled in space and is the largest of any manned space craft the Earth has ever built. Then Zack (Zackary) Quick, an MIT dropout with a slight paranoia mindset, has recently hacked into some old files owned by the Dux Corporation. He finds the photos of the structure on Pluto and wonders why they were never released to the public. This would be an astounding discovery that happened way back in 2015! Realizing who’s files he’s hacked into, he realizes he’s in deep trouble. So, he uploads all the photo files to the Internet and leaves his apartment only to be caught immediately by guys in black suits and sunglasses.
Yeah, Dux Corporation works fast, very fast. Now that they have Zack, they take him to a location somewhere in North Carolina. In the meantime, Kaylan Mathewson, the designated astronaut pilot of the Athena, is flying her way back to Houston when she’s intercepted by, what appears to be, black ops jets. She then gets a radio call asking her to divert to Asheville, North Carolina. She doesn’t exactly know who’s asking her to land, but they do tell her she needs to talk to Zack whom they have in custody. So, Kaylan lands and finds Ed Johnson of the Dux Corporation running the show. He tells her what Zack has done and asks her to talk to Zack. She Kaylan and Zack have some history from MIT. When she asks why, he tells her that she and Zack will soon be going, not to Titan, but to Pluto!
The characters were pretty well developed as far as the main ones, Zack and Kaylan. There are others and they seem to be there for a purpose, so the author didn’t get too carried away with information overdose on characters. HIs story about changing a mission to Titan to a mission to Pluto in just a few days/weeks is kind of improbable. Still, the story is suspenseful and stays interesting although they are traveling a long way. It also appears that there is a sequel titled, The Star Divide. There is no release date.