I’ve read a number of books by both of these authors and I’ll admit that they both have a weird way of writing stories. There’s always something different about their books, but I honestly can’t say what it is. This one is no different. This is a different kind of story although it will start out just like any other space story, but then it turns scary, very scary!
Earth has gone beyond the Moon and currently has a colony on Mars. There are routine scheduled flights between Earth and Mars to ensure the colony is sustained. That’s what you would expect from any kind of venture like a Mars colony. The next mission to Mars is scheduled for about four months from now and will be commanded by Commander David Bryce. He works for the ORB (Orbital Development Group) which is apparently in charge of all Earth space mission under contract to the government. His upcoming mission was to be in four months, as stated, until it wasn’t!
They came to get Commander Bryce while he was enjoying some family time. Four guys in sunglasses and dark suits that didn’t talk a whole lot. They took him all the way to an a waiting jet aircraft which took off very, very fast to deliver him to Washington D. C. From there he was driven to an underground garage and then to an interesting and unexpected meeting that changed his life forever!
During the meeting, Commander Bryce was informed that his mission had changed. Instead of a launch in four months, he was going to launch in one week. His orders came direct from the President of the United States. He wasn’t going to Mars, but to investigate an unknown space object currently heading towards the sun. This object appeared to be an alien spaceship about a mile and a half long. Earth had nothing closely resembling that size in space. So, it had to come from some where, obviously not Earth. Specifically, David and his crew were to reach the Interloper (the name given to this alien vessel), board it and find why it’s here, who sent it and why they want. While he had expected his trip to Mars to last some where around eighteen months, his ship, Beyond III, would only require four months to reach the alien vessel if it didn’t stray from its current course. Once at the objective, they would stay twelve days, and then have to slingshot around Mercury in order to return to Earth. Any deviation from that schedule would likely mean the Beyond III wouldn’t make it back to Earth!
So, that’s the mission and it seems a pretty straight-forward operation if you can classify Earth’s first contact with an alien vessel as a normal mission. Before leaving all the crew had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) which prevented them from talking about the mission to anyone outside the crew. The general public wasn’t aware of the alien vessel and wasn’t going to be told about it until David and his crew could find out more to tell them. David was confident that his crew could accomplish the mission until he found that his co-pilot had been suddenly changed. Now a Lennon Baxter was assigned as his co-pilot and mission specialist. Apparently his former co-pilot had a car accident braking a leg and fracturing a few ribs. David didn’t know this new person and he was highly suspicious how she just happened to be available on such short notice while apparently being highly qualified for the position. It turns out that Lennon Baxter is working for someone other than David!
Along with the Beyond III mission, you’ll also read about Atlas Donovan, a young man who is in pursuit of some strange artifacts. He’s gone all over Earth trying to find evidence of a possible alien spaceship that had either crash or exploded over southeast Asia in 1966. He was in possession of several small pieces of what he thought were parts of the spaceship, but he was searching for more. He didn’t know about the recent finding in space, the other alien spaceship, but he just wanted to prove his theory that Earth had been previously visited by aliens. Honestly, I don’t know what his part of the story has to do with the Beyond III mission, but it’s a thread you’ll have to read.
There are also other things going on in the background that are kept very secret, but it doesn’t seem all that necessary. For example, Lennon Baxter was assigned to the Beyond III mission because she was a former special operator working for a former General. She gets reinstated into dark ops because she has been instructed to make sure the alien vessel is destroyed. No explanation as to why that must be done. Commander Bryce isn’t aware of Lennon Baxter’s dual mission or the fact that she had some special weapons and explosives aboard the Beyond III. This part of the book also seems kind of necessary as you’ll eventually find out.
So, what happens when the Beyond III reaches the Interloper? You’ll want to know now, but you won’t later. it’s an alien vessel heading for our sun and that should be just fine, until it turns towards Earth! This ship can’t reach Earth! It must not reach Earth!
I’m not sure I’m going to read the next book in this series. I just don’t like somethings about the story. I’ll leave it a that, but book 2, “Signal”, is available on Amazon and unfortunately I do have it on my reading list, for now!