The third and (probable) close to Hickam’s lunar war epic wraps up loose ends aplenty amid a welter of rescues, revelations and big explosions.
Readers hoping for nonstop action will only be fitfully satisfied here. The unveiling of a plot by a band of genetically optimized “crowhopper” soldiers and their twisted creators to take over the moon and drop a big asteroid on Earth take a back seat to long, frequent conversations and ruminations. These primarily involve the romantic triangle of hunky young engineer Crater Trueblood, firebrand tycoon Maria Medaris and emotionally scarred ex-crowhopper Crescent Claudine Besette. Along with amusing banter (“Don’t let your pride get in the way, Crater. That bank account she opened for you should tell you her real feelings for you”) and credible futuristic technology, Hickam again displays a knack for suspenseful scenes out in the “big suck” of space—when he puts his mind to it. His previously firm grasp of physics slips at the climax, though, and he ties off Crescent’s romantic dilemma with a decidedly unethical act.
Tidy at the close but even more of a patchwork than the previous episodes. (Science fiction. 11-14)