2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Moon is always topical but the recent wave of Moon programming on the television - following the sad deaths of Neil Armstrong and Patrick Moore - has made me keener than ever to read a Moon conspiracy thriller. Not even the movies Apollo 18 (please never confuse this with Apollo 13) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon have dampened my curiosity in our orbiting satellite. Indeed, the most damage to my fascination was caused by last year's horror YA 172 Hours on the Moon which made me wish that the Moon was actually a lot further away than 384,400 km (give or take). But when I heard the premise of The Cassandra Project I was hooked.
Was Neil Armstrong really the first man to walk on the Moon? Could it be that there were earlier landings in 1969? If so, why on Earth would anyone, in the heat of a space race, want to cover them up? What could make an astronaut hold his tongue for fifty years? Jerry Culpepper loves his job as NASA's press publications director but when, at a time of doubt concerning the future of the Agency, he gets a whiff of a mystery he starts to ask unpopular questions. Set in the near future, few astronauts and engineers of the 1960s are still alive. It's at the end of their lives that they might want to get a weight off their chest, or at the very least hint of something extraordinary - whether it's true or not.
As Culpepper digs he comes up against the boss of NASA plus her boss - the President of the United States. Surely if there is a conspiracy, he would know about it? There is one man, though, who believes Jerry and is prepared to put his wallet where his mouth is. Billionaire Bucky Blackstone wants to believe and he wants to get to the Moon himself to discover the Truth.
The Cassandra Project is fast and snappy, moving between a cast of many, comprising press, astronauts, scientists and their families, politicians and dreamers, all with a vested interest in the truth or the lies. The clues are revealed or denied drip by drip, the different groups circling one another, bluffing, double bluffing, rarely, one suspects, telling the truth.
This novel is a joy to read not only because the conspiracy investigation is so fascinating, or because Bucky's plan to go to the Moon is so thrilling, but also because the characters are lively, witty, intelligent and curious. The science is there, as is the NASA history, in intriguing detail but it is mixed with dialogue that often raises a laugh. Arrogant billionaire Bucky could so easily be the villain of the piece but he is likeable throughout, as are his staff. Even the President has his good points. As for our nominal hero, Jerry, he is a PR man but he has dreams, and they're ones I empathise with.
In the UK at least this is a pricey hardback with a paperback possibly a long way off. Nevertheless, I thought The Cassandra Project was well worth the money, hooking me from the first page and delivering until the last. I'll be seeking out more from both authors.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2013
A couple of reviewers have expressed disappointment that the McDevitt/Resnick collaboration lacked depth of character. I can see what they mean, but claim the excuse that bith authors are quite famed for their mastery of the situation and suspense. they do not let readers down.
It is a conspiracy about who really reached the moon first and what did they do there? The three protagonists are a NASA public relations chief, the 2020 President of the USA and a Trumplike billionaire who has set up his own lunar program. The cons first. The descriptions of space travel are sparse to the point of ebbing ignored. There is no description of the private space vehicle and its re-entry is along the lines of - soon the craft landed and taxied to a hanger. The second con is that there is a mystery,or at least an alleged conspiracy, that is internationally discussed and yet only the three protagonists have nay influence. I bet any historical mystery involving Lunar exploration will have millions of geeks digging and hacking away.
Put that aside. The characters are reasonably well drawn and motivated. The mystery is revealed in steps which uncover another quetsion to be answered. The writing is smooth and I was kept interested. Maybe it could have been a little shorter but it did not drag. As a non-American I was fascinated by the take on 1970's politics and the revelation when it came was satisfying.
on 15 November 2013
I got through this book in about three sessions, desperate to find out what was going on. The plotting, the settings and most of the characters convinced, and for about two-thirds of the story, it would be difficult to fault it. Perhaps inevitably when the big revelation(s) start to happen in the last third, I thought there was a sense of a solution being constructed to explain the mystery, rather than the other way round. Some of the motivations, particularly of the "historical" characters, seemed forced or improbable. As to the biggest revelation of the lot, I THINK that McDevitt and Resnick had their tongues firmly in their (respective) cheeks when they devised it. A thumping good read, but not, ultimately, totally convincing. I've read everything McDevitt has written, but hadn't discovered Resnick - I'll certainly now start in on his books with every expectation of enjoying them.
on 5 April 2014
It was with some trepidation that I purchased this offering from Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick. Recently I have tended to use McDevitt as a yardstick against other writers in this genre. The last offering from McDevitt i.e. namely "Starhawk" I found to be disappointing and I am still at odds to see how such a well known author could have produced such a book (See my review on "Starhawk") Therefore I was pleasantly surprised, no, delighted to read "Cassandra". The plot moves along at a good pace, and in fact I had a job to put the book down. Nice twist at the end JM.
Please note characters' names i.e. "Culpepper" also in "Moonfall" also "Michael Shara" and "Shara Michaels" in "Seeker" and "Firebird" !!!
on 10 December 2013
This is a very American book, so filled with US politics, billionaire entrepreneurs etc. Beyond that, it is a neat 'conspiracy' tale, which gradually unwinds to re-write some surprising corners of history. I read it in one evening and quite enjoyed it.
No black helicopters, no ninjas, no shoot-outs and, as far as I could see, no stupid people beyond some TV anchor-folk...
I gave 4x rather than 5x due to a really silly detail which would be a spoiler if explained here.
on 5 April 2014
I first came across Jack Mc Devitt's work by chance some years ago when I picked up a copy of award-winning 'The Hercules Text'. I've been a fan ever since, and this latest addition does not disappoint. An intriguing Nasa-based story with a mystery of truly galactic proportions at it's heart, Mc Devitt creates some truly memorable moments and characters here. Rates as one of the best Sci-Fi novels I've read in quite some time, hence the rating,