This genre isn’t my usual choice of reading, but when the author sent me a very nice email asking me whether I’d consider reviewing it, I found myself agreeing. (An early indicator of his effective writing!)
Celeste Three is a commercial space plane, i.e. it offers day trips into space for very wealthy tourists. When Russian oil magnate Gregory Topozian discovers his old enemy, the billionaire Viktor Karenkov, has booked a trip, he seizes on the opportunity to hijack the vehicle to a secret destination, where he can finally extract revenge for Karenkov’s crimes against him many years before.
A Quest for the Perfect Crime
Much of the book is given over to the planning and execution of the hijack as the perfect crime. This includes the need to win over one of the spacecraft’s pilots, leading to an appealing subplot about the target pilot’s widowhood and new relationship. The pilot and his new love were the two characters that most appealed to me, perhaps because they were more familiar personalities in the circles I move in than billionaire Russian businessmen.
The advent of space tourism will certainly usher in heightened security concerns. We all complain about the thoroughness of the security routines that have to be adhered to in terrestrial air trips. What would the average traveller make of a programme in which passengers have to agree, as they do in this book, to a residential training course before boarding?
I enjoyed the atmospheric build-up, and the reminder that no matter how flawless technology might be, the success of such travel ultimately depends on human strengths and weaknesses.
For Fans of James Bond
I think this book would appeal to those who enjoy James Bond style thrillers in which impressive technology, glitzy lifestyles and glamorous settings provide the backdrop to conflict between hero and villain, and in which tense action is tempered with flashes of humour.
What Would Richard Branson Think?
I’d love to know what billionaire businessman Richard Branson, with his space tourism ambitions, might make of this book. Maybe Chris Calder should send him a copy?
For more information about Chris Calder and his other books, visit his website: www.chriscalder.com.