An accident aboard the International Space Station has the ground crew ordering the evacuation of the station’s three astronauts. As a last minute decision, American astronaut Walli Beckwith decides to stay aboard. To repeated orders to return to earth she only replies with a Bartleby-like, “I prefer not to.”
Walli has been an outstanding astronaut and prior to that she was at the top of her class at the Naval Academy and a successful fighter pilot. Taking the space station hostage is totally out of character for Walli.
She goes about doing general maintenance and daily upkeep on the station and prepares for a live (a few second delay) public announcement detailing her reasons and what she wants to see happen before she returns to earth (where she will certainly be facing lengthy prison time as the ISS truly is international and other countries have already indicated they wish to try her.
What Walli wants is for the United States to lead and international agency (such as the U.N.) in stopping rebel movement and environmental destruction in another country. This is no small chore for any government and it has not been on the political agenda for the U.S. … until now, of course. First she grabs headlines by ‘stealing’ the international space station, and then she spurs public opinion with a hard media focus and watches as the tide turns. But she may not be around to see what ultimately happens as one of the accidents aboard the aging stations is about to bring her life to an abrupt end.
Other than a little dust jacket copy, I had no idea what I was getting into when I approached this book. This reads a lot like a summer blockbuster action movie. Maybe that’s a little bit good and a little bit bad? It’s exciting and it moves a long quickly. There are clear ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’ And throughout it all, there’s mostly positivity flowing. But on the other side of ‘blockbuster’ feel, we have a very methodical story – you can fairly easily predict what is going to happen next and moments are spaced pretty evenly. And of course each dangerous moment could mean death for our protagonist.
I definitely got caught up in the story and enjoyed it, but the ending was a bit heavy-handed for me. Everything wrapped up nicer than a Disney cartoon which pushed the believability over the edge for me. But if you like a little Pollyanna in your scifi, this is the ticket.
Looking for a good book? Holdout by Jeffrey Kluger is a fast-paced action/adventure film book that will hold your attention and put you through a few emotional paces and then test your credulity.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Jeffrey Kluger
hardcover, 352 pages