My review: The Dark Side of the Moon: Alan Jacobson
During a routine training session two astronauts would lose their lives from a dire explosion. Hector Santos and Aaron Uziel are on a training mission finding themselves having to crash land. Before they can catch their breaths and recoup they are taken into custody because of their crash landing and find themselves about to embark on the ride and mission of a lifetime. Imagine the fact that in 1972 Apollo 17 returned to Earth with 200 pounds of rock as well as something that would change the world. Secrets have a way of coming out and the military hid what they found but now a NASA contractor leaked the information to conspiring foreign powers, a mole in their mist, and placing this in their hands the most powerful and deadly weapon of mass destruction yet. Author Alan Jacobson’s research is far reaching into the way space flights are prepared for, the training involved, the dangers incurred and what happens when things go wrong and shares his incites and that of those embarking on this trip teaching readers all about space travel to the moon and sharing the dark side of the moon with us by creating vividly depicted scenes.
Karen Vail and OPSIG Team Black will become involved in order to find out who the mole is and has sabotaged the moon flight that Hector DeSantos and Aaron Uziel and two other astronauts are preparing for. Not realizing that when they get up into outer space and headed for the moon that they would find their readings off, possibly not be able to land and worse not be able to return to earth.
Their missions is to make sure that caesarium is never brought back to Earth even though is was deposited on the moon millions of years ago by an asteroid of meteor strike. Their job is to sever communications with the Change 5. They are to disable the Change so that it cannot return to Earth and Hector and Uzi would join Shroud and Carson as part of the crew. Things spiral out of control both on Earth and on the Moon as things go wrong even before the land and then Hector’s father, is kidnapped but they are keeping it from him. As a General the Russians feel that they can bargain for his life.
Karen Vail and her colleague Alexandra Rusakov will have to find the mole and destroy the spy ring that planted malware on the ships that are now headed for the Moon. The Patriot and The Raptor they are called and the technical problems and the loss of fuel and communications might cost lives.
Getting Lukas DeSantos would be a great tactical advantage for those that wanted to make sure that he would sabotage the mission for his father’s life. They take Lukas, let Hector know they have his father, and the ransom is leveraging him to allow them to gain access to caesarium or make him do something to take down the mission.
FBI Director Douglas Knox, Secretary McNamara discuss the fact that the Russians have Lukas DeSantos and the possible ramifications. Eisenbach and Kirmani would deal with the training that would help the astronauts and Uzi and Hector learn about the Hercules and the Orion that were already on the launch pad ready to take off. As Vail finds Jason Lansford the mole but getting him into custody would take time, many attempts as Rodman and Zheng and Vail would take time before they could bring him down. Lansford went to China and the day after he arrived, there’s surveillance footage of him in Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport in Spain headed for Paris. Another flight on Vueling Airlines to Moscow. Lansford was now going to undergo interrogation and they realized the reason for his loyalty to Russia and why he was working for them had to do with a family issue. Supposedly he had no choice but to do what they wanted but we were not playing fair either and his family’s life was being held as the trump card.
Did someone place a code that could cause trouble for the rocket or the spacecraft? Did someone put that code into the operating system? Lies, betrayals, disloyalties and not everyone or everything is what is seems.
Where would this code go and whom was it given to and where was it placed? Jason Lansford claims to not know everything about this but what he does know will shock readers. What about his background check? The people he worked for wanted whatever projects he was working on for NASA and the military. Design plans for the operating system and the hash algorithm, a private key of sorts and the astronauts, holds the corresponding public key used to verify the algorithm’s signature? How would Lansford get hold of classified documents? Did he do more than just insert code into the operating system? What’s the truth?
The research into space travel, how to understand the various codes, the iphone app and the amount of code on it is extensive. Then a startling revelation about Lansford comes to light and things change as we learn that the Russian Federation is behind this plot and the Federation learned something about someone close to Lansford making him the perfect mole. This person had exceptional programming skills and they held on to him and Lansford became their mole Jessie Kerwin is dangerous and when they learned her part and capture her the end result is shocking.
Shroud explains that he has to secure a sample of caesarium and run the diagnostic tests, and then transmit what he finds to ground control but they have a fuel issue. Then they have to prevent the Chang’e 5 from getting off the surface of the moon or prevent their robotic rover from obtaining it. Their options stated and then they know the Russians are headed their way and want to bring this back to earth. The exciting part related is that they found the Apollo 17 LRV or the Moon Buggy on the moon plus artifacts left by the two astronauts on that flight. Then Karen becomes a target and her home is invaded and someone placed something on the router antenna in her garage and finding out who it was will it lead him or her to learn more about why and how will they get this person?
Uglov is their mark and what they learn when they interview him comes after someone sabotages Karen’s car and she and Rusakov are in a serious accident. Uglov is finally in their custody and the plan to capture him is ingenious but since this is a classified mission you will have to learn just how they got him when you read the book.
The company behind the plot has a bigger stake and Vail knows that it’s the job of the US mission to make sure that they fail. Billions are at stake for this Russian company. China and Russia are racing to get the caesarium and Russia is on the way with cosmonauts to make sure that the US mission fails. Who wins? Who is behind what is happening and just when you think you have it all figured out watch out for the twist that author Alan Jacobson sends your way.
The Russian plan mission to the Moon for the summer, the same time China will change Chang’e. But, the Russian spy who works for the company behind this all, saw the plans that the US was making lasers for the Moon orbit. Now the Chinese Space Agency has this information. Will the Chang’e 5 be able to land is these lasers are turned on?
General Eisenbach and Captain Kirmani are handling the information given to Uzi and Hector about the Russian craft in lunar orbit. When the two countries meet the interaction is something that you won’t believe and when they reveal to Hector that his father has been taken and the ransom is to let them succeed in their mission you won’t believe his response and the end result.
There are many other plays and organizations behind the truth about what is happening and who wants this rock and what they plan to do with it. The FBI/CIA and there are others that appear to be working to help the crew on reenter earth but there are mechanical issues, sabotage, fuel issues and lack of communication as someone really wants to end it all for the US but who and what will be the final fate of Lukas DeSantos and will he understand his son’s decision when things get tense? The interaction between the Russians and Americans are strained and the final outcome is explosive as one side takes action and the final fate of the US and the world is at stake but will the one person who holds the power to create the ending freeze or commits his loyalty to our country?
The ending lets you know that there might be more to come and the final reaction of those in charge will shock readers as threats are made, ultimatums are issued and the fate of the world is in check. The Dark Side of the Moon is not a place it’s a dangerous thing! How far will they go to prevent what the Russians have in place? Who succeeds? Who wins this battle? Learn when you take the trip along with the crew to the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine