REVIEWS+

Vessel

Atria. May 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781501168772. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501168789. SF
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OrangeReviewStarAfter nine years, astronaut Capt. Catherine Wells is coming back to Earth, alone, with no memory of what happened to her other four crew members nor any recollection of landing and exploring the planet Trappist1-f, reached through a space-time wormhole. It's been six years since NASA believed that Catherine and all her fellow crew members were killed in an event on the planet's surface. Since her supposed death, husband David and daughter Aimee, now 17, have moved on with their lives, and Catherine discovers that her best friend Maggie has moved in with them, so her homecoming is ambivalent to say the least. After the quarantine period is over, Catherine begins suffering periods of lost time and finding herself in places she should not be. Only one other person, Commander Iris Addy, had previously been through the wormhole to the Trappist-1 system, but she came back mentally unstable and was soon dismissed from NASA. Before her own career and life end in ruins, Catherine needs to find out what is causing her problems and whether Addy's problems and her own might be connected to the Trappist-1 system.
VERDICT Sf aficionados will savor this surprising page-turner. The attempt to resolve the personal relationship problems inherent after long separations from friends, spouse, and child is compelling. Highly recommended.

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