Rating: 3 Stars (Average over 2 books) 

Publisher: Self Published 

Genre: Sci-Fi 

Tags: Sci-Fi, Mars

Length: 257 + 

Reviewer: John 

Purchase At:  amazon


Retired astronaut Adam Alston can’t support his family. When NASA comes knocking for a mission leader, it’s a match made in heaven – especially since their A-list team declined the haphazard mission.

And so did their B-list. But Adam doesn’t know that. And neither does his family.

Ride along as four modern-day astronauts prepare and launch a quickly assembled adventure to discover what the Mars Curiosity Rover found right before it died. With time running out, the fate of humanity rests in the hands of four doomed travelers.

Who will make it back… and why won’t the others?


This is a review for 2 books.



Something extraordinary is discovered upon Mars. It motivates the US Administration to take the bold step of sending a manned mission to the Red Planet and everything that unfolds as a consequence to this discovery is contained within these two books by John Dreese.

The author does a good job with the world building and character development. He makes the human interactions seem quite believable and realistic, especially with the political machinations. A fair amount of research has obviously been undertaken by the author to produce these two works.

*** Spoiler Alert ***


In spite of all this, I sometimes found these two books to be frustrating reads for the following reasons;

1) Always something catastrophically going wrong sure gets damned annoying as an often-used, expedient plot development device. e.g.;

That closing door on Mars that results in Murch’s and then his partner’s death. This would never have happened to Murch’s partner, a professional, experienced astronauts, they would have wedged that rolling door open.

Before you’d jack up a car and certainly before you would crawl under it, you’d place chocks around a wheel or two and you would place something solid under it and de-tension the jack until both the solid object and the jack would be taking the weight of the vehicle – at least people who are smart would do so. We are talking about astronauts, they would be plenty smart.

2) Dog species most likely to survive and dominate with humans gone. Many people seem to feel that survivability/thrivability will be mainly a matter of strength and power. However, I believe that it will come down to more a matter of speed and hunting prowess, i.e. sight hounds, e.g. greyhounds, whippets etc.

3) RTG thermodynamics is based upon normal radioactive decay. Losing containment would not have increased the amount of heat being injected into the surrounding environment but there could be an increase in alpha radiation, you know, the one that is stopped by a sheet of paper.

4) Number one button would be “return home”. Why would old Apollo technology beat our hero back to Earth? I suppose he could have returned via Mars (pressed the wrong button initially), but, if that was the case, then it should have been explained in the story.

5) Little girl dying from pancreatic cancer. Like AIDS, the cancer doesn’t kill us, it’s organ failure/toxicity/disruptive effects upon our body’s systems that kills us – she was too far gone to have been cured by that drug’s effects upon cancerous cells, in fact, the increase in toxicity, due to the drug’s interaction, would have killed the poor little mite for sure.

There are too many coincidences, improbable accidents and lazy plot devices for my liking which affected my overall rating.

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