By David Pedreira
A realistic and chilling vision of life on the Moon, where dust kills as easily as the vacuum of space…but murder is even quicker—a fast-paced, cinematic science fiction thriller, this debut novel combines the inventiveness of The Martian, the intrigue of The Expanse, and the thrills of Red Rising.
The Moon smells like gunpowder. Every lunar walker since Apollo 11 has noticed it: a burnt-metal scent that reminds them of war. Caden Dechert, the chief of the U.S. mining operation on the edge of the Sea of Serenity, thinks the smell is just a trick of the mind—a reminder of his harrowing days as a Marine in the war-torn Middle East back on Earth.
It’s 2072, and lunar helium-3 mining is powering the fusion reactors that are bringing Earth back from environmental disaster. But competing for the richest prize in the history of the world has destroyed the oldest rule in space: Safety for All. When a bomb kills one of Dechert’s diggers on Mare Serenitatis, the haunted veteran goes on the hunt to expose the culprit before more blood is spilled.
But as Dechert races to solve the first murder in the history of the Moon, he gets caught in the crosshairs of two global powers spoiling for a fight. Reluctant to be the match that lights this powder-keg, Dechert knows his life and those of his crew are meaningless to the politicians. Even worse, he knows the killer is still out there, hunting.
In his desperate attempts to save his crew and prevent the catastrophe he sees coming, the former Marine uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that, with one spark, can ignite a full lunar war, wipe out his team . . . and perhaps plunge the Earth back into darkness.
Summary from Goodreads.
Set in the year 2072, America, China, India and Russia all have bases on the moon. What brought these nations to finally colonise the moon? A substance called lunar helium-3, a vital component of the world recovering from catastrophic environmental disasters that made living in most places in the planet inhospitable.
While Gunpowder Moon is certainly a science-fiction novel, I certainly think of it as a thriller that just happens to be taking place on the moon. Unfortunately, the book did not always seem to think like this though. While the synopsis says that it is a race to solve the first murder on the moon, for around about 90% of it, it did not feel like a sense of urgency was anywhere.
I struggled to connect with any of the characters, and even now as I sit to write this review, I struggle to remember how many there were and what any of their names were. Considering I only finished it this morning so I should have it very fresh in my mind shows how unmemorable the characters were. Unfortunately, I find that if I do not enjoy the characters then the book is always going to be a struggle. I should clarify that when I mean enjoy, I do not mean that they have to be the ‘good guy’ or whatever, I just need to find them interesting and complete regardless of their occupation or purpose in the story.
While it has a very good premise, up until the very end I found it to be a slow burn, but unfortunately I was not sucked into the story enough to care about the ending.
Have you read Gunpowder Moon? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.
Check it out on Goodreads here.
Purchase it on Amazon here.