This is the tale of the first manned mission to Mars.
From the very start, the book is gripping. I had a hard time putting it down.
It tells the tale of the crew selection, training, and then journey to the allready setup station on Mars.
There is a religious undertone, which I didnt realise was intentional. And the whole posiblity of Christianity being up-ended if life was found on Mars.
There is a love interrest between two of the crew, but because of religious differences, they dont get on.
There are very large egos, battles of personalities.
When the launch happens, there is a huge buggerup, when a bomb explodes, and puts the mission is serious danger, as one of the solar panels is damaged, and a lot of oxygen is lost through a hole in the hull. A crew member is allso seriously injured.
It causes a loss of oxygen as the ship has to be repressurized, and the solar panel that is left, can barely operate the air scrubbers.
the crew all suspect each other of planting the bomb, and the whole situation is insanely tense, and each crew member gets increasingly paranoid. as the oxygen grows less and less, they have to face the idea of slowly suffocating... in the end, they have to decide that the resident doctor, has to put them induced coma, which freaks everyone out, since they suspect her for the bombing as much as anyone else.
when the crew is in coma, she finds alien bacteria in the water, and starts hearing sounds in the ship. she all alone in the ship.
so at this point i had allready had intense freak-outs of claustrophobia, and i have a fear of suffocating, so i totally got involved in the story.
i'm not going to give the end away, but i read the last few pages in tears.
eventhough my other half wasnt all that blown away by it, i thought it was the best book i've read in years.
the storyline is involved and well thought-out. the characters are real and relateable. the tension is crazy, and you get equally paranoid with the crew-members. the talk of christianity is there, but not all that annoying. the scientific research is good and accurate, and the authors had done their homework.
maybe it's just the mushy chick in me, but i found the ending satisfying.
i rate it a 10/10.