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Gravity by Tess Gerritsen - Book Review

Title
Author
Publisher

Gravity
Tess Gerritsen
HarperCollins

Fiction-Net Rating 5 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

A young NASA doctor must combat a lethal microbe that is multiplying in the deadliest of environments - space - in this acclaimed blockbuster of medical suspense from Tess Gerritsen, best-selling author of Harvest, Life Support and Bloodstream.

Dr. Emma Watson has been training for the adventure of a lifetime - to study living beings in space - but her mission aboard the International Space Station turns into a nightmare beyond imagining when a culture of single-celled organisms begins to regenerate out of control and infects the space station crew with agonising and deadly results. Emma struggles to contain the outbreak while back on Earth her estranged husband, Jack McCallum, works frantically with NASA to bring her home. But there will be no rescue.

The contagion now threatens Earth's population and the astronauts are stranded in orbit, quarantined aboard the station - where they are dying one by one.

We Say

Tess Gerritsen's novel, Gravity, is a fast-paced book that I couldn't put down. This medical thriller is filled with shuttle missions, governmental conspiracy, biological terrorism, romance, and Man's endeavor to conquer the unknown through the International Space Station. Many novels tend to glamorise astronauts and the space program, others tend to trivialise the monumental amount of work that goes into each shuttle launch. Tess Gerritsen looks beyond the glamour to the nuts and bolts of NASA and the space program and intelligently enlightens and educates the reader while telling a fascinating tale.

Gravity is filled with believable characters and events that jump from the pages. Each character in this novel is in pursuit of his or her own dream and it is when these dreams come crashing together that disaster strikes.

The main character, Dr. Emma Watson, is an astronaut lucky enough to be chosen for a stint on the International Space Station. Her dream of going into space becomes a reality and eventually a nightmare. Although Emma's husband Jack, also a doctor, is an astronaut, he has been passed over for shuttle missions due to medical concerns. In part due to his 'grounding', the marriage becomes strained and they are in the middle of a divorce when Emma is launched into space. Once Emma is on the Space Station, it is one of the apparently benign experiments that causes the emergency. We find Emma rising to the occasion but it is her husband Jack that is forced to do the leg work to find a cure in time. While both characters are made up of hero material, Gerritsen has not created larger than life astronauts who happen to be married. Instead, we are shown real people with real problems who are able to bring out the best in each other.

Similar to the X Files, a government conspiracy is suspected when the first astronaut on the space station dies due to an unknown contagion. It becomes a race against time to save the remaining astronauts and the governmental bureaucracy becomes infuriating. While terrorism and sabotage are initially suspected, Tess Gerritsen provides enough information to keep her readers guessing. In addition, the author takes the reader through a series of high paced events that keep the reader engaged so even if you are smart enough to predict what is going to happen, you want to keep reading.

What makes this book unique is the fresh perspective. Not only does Gerritsen explore the wonders of space exploration but also the horror. While public fear of viral killers such as Ebola is common, Gerritsen combines what we already know about viruses and bacteria with the unpredictability of space. The novel examines our worst fears as a species and it is obvious that the author has researched her subject. Tess Gerritsen's intelligence and creativity leap from the pages. If Gravity is any indication of her skill as a writer, I will be looking forward to her next novel with anticipation.

I highly recommend beginning this novel when you know you will have a block of time available to finish it. Overall, a fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable novel. Well worth the time and money.

Review by: Yumi Nagasaki-Taylor

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