The story begins briskly, with some intriguing espionage, an assassination attempt on the space station, and a nuclear holocaust on Earth. The astronauts are faced with a daunting decision: to die quietly on the space station or to travel to Earth in the hopes that it's possible to survive in a radiated wasteland. But once they arrive on Earth, the story slows down considerably. In fact, once the astonauts arrive on Earth, the story ceases to be a work of speculative fiction as the book jacket contends, and instead becomes a defense of religion, specifically Christianity and Judaism.
It has its moments of excitement: a kidnapping, an attempted rape, and some murders--note that the only excitement comes in the form of violence. Zinovy's internal struggles, unfortunately, are rendered pointless as readers know immediately what his ultimate choice will be.
Atheist or agnostic readers may struggle with this book. Jaques's rhetoric is often condescending to non-religious people; the contention that the lives of non-religious people are empty and joyless is repeated often throughout the book. Unfortunately, this sapped a great deal of my enjoyment, and I expect others like myself will have a similar experience.
However, it must be said that the book is well-written and well-edited. Although, I can't help but think that it would have worked better as a series of essays rather than a work of fiction. I recommend this book to religious readers who want a book that reaffirms their faith.
Copy source: provided free by the author
Genre: science fiction