The Last Dance by Martin L. Shoemaker


At the heart of a mystery unfolding in space, the opposing forces make a treacherous journey between Earth and Mars.

In space, mutiny means death—that’s why Inspector General Park Yerim is taking her investigation so seriously. The alleged mutineer is Captain Nicolau Aames, whose command of the massive Earth-Mars vessel Aldrin has come under fire. The vast System Initiative says he disobeyed orders, but his crew swears he’s in the right.

En route to Mars, Park gathers testimony from the Aldrin’s diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Aames’s character: his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions. As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself in the thrall of powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a fiery cosmic dance.

Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction. All eyes are on her: one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for the Aldrin and the future of space travel.

My Review:

Rounded up to 4.5 stars.

The story is centred around General Inspector Park Yerim, on whose shoulders it has fallen to investigate allegations of mutiny brought against spaceship Captain Nick Aames. The story is told predominantly through a series of ‘off-the-record’ accounts by crew members of previous events in which the captain played major parts. It is through these accounts that the investigator and the reader come to form an understanding of the complex character of Captain Aames. Interspersed with these accounts the story reverts to the present and the investigation. Inspector Parks is in a difficult position – under pressure from all sides and finding herself being stonewalled and under threat.

Each account is almost a short story in itself and very interesting. The writing, dialogue, character-building and scene-setting were all brilliantly done. And I loved the very ending despite guessing it.

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much. This author was previously unknown to me, but I will now be looking up his back-catalogue.

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