Jack McDevitt's and Mike Resnick build on a McDevitt strength: having characters in the future solve a puzzle from their own past. In this case the puzzle is in our past as well. Something seems not quite right about some of the Apollo space missions. Pictures of the moon's dark side from that time have been carefully altered. And retired NASA personnel share some strange recollections of events surrounding the missions.
Jerry Culpepper finds his NASA public relations job increasingly difficult. Discussion of the Apollo anomalies is growing in the media and Jerry has a growing suspicion that some of his NASA colleagues are not telling the truth. He walks away from his government career to work for Bucky Blackstone, an eccentric billionaire funding his own attempt to reach the Moon. All the while, more hidden information becomes available to the media and their audience. Who was really the first man from Earth to land on the moon? And what did he find there?
This book has many of the elements that made McDevitt's A Talent For War
such a good story. An important historical event may not be what it seems, painstaking research in archives with careful comparison of different accounts is necessary, and some of the answers are startling. The pace seems slow and events unsurprising until late in the story when a main character guesses the truth. The characters are believable and comfortable to be with, though mostly unremarkable. The book's reinterpretation of the U.S. space program is imaginative and entertaining.
I recommend the book to historical fiction readers as well as science fiction fans. It's a good read.