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The Last Dance

(The Near-Earth Mysteries #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,669 ratings  ·  177 reviews
At the heart of a mystery unfolding in space, the opposing forces make a treacherous journey between Earth and Mars.

In space, mutiny means death—that’s why Inspector General Park Yerim is taking her investigation so seriously. The alleged mutineer is Captain Nicolau Aames, whose command of the massive Earth-Mars vessel Aldrin has come under fire. The vast System Initiative
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 1st 2019 by 47North
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Fay Brown I've just finished this and there wasn't any sexual content - a retelling of a relationship in one part, but from the outside no descriptions of the…moreI've just finished this and there wasn't any sexual content - a retelling of a relationship in one part, but from the outside no descriptions of the act itself! In terms of profanity, I can't say I noticed it was a feature of the book but can't say for certainty that there isn't the occasional mild swear; there are some problems in space so I wouldn't be surprised if someone made an exclamation. It certainly didn't stick out as one of those books where everyone is foul-mouthed. Hope that helps!(less)

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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,669 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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Charles  van Buren
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review of Kindle edition
Publication date: November 1, 2019
Publisher: 47North
Language: English
456 pages

This novel is hard sci-fi similar to that which I used to read in the 1960's and 70's. Rather than very distant future science, the technical details are based on logical advances in current science, particularly some work by famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Even with the emphasis on hard science, the story line and character development are not neglected. There is a fascinating
An excellent novel - I got it absolutely by chance as it featured in the Amazon prime email with the selection for the beginning of the month free prime book (which I generally ignore as I already have enough books on deck so to speak...), but the title, synopsis, and cover of this one attracted my attention and then I saw some very enthusiastic reviews, so I decided to give it a try and while the first few pages are kind of boring and almost made me put it aside, I did my usual routine on ...more
Guy Marsden
Good story but structural flaws bugged me.
Every chapter begins from the perspective of a character as if they are sharing their experience verbally but the writing style does not support this. It jumps to omniscient 3rd person and each character sounds just like the last. So for the first page or 2 of each chapter I struggled with willing suspension. It really got in the way of a fluid read. Also every character male, female, British or Brazilian spoke in the same "voice" - that of an average
Julie Davis
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last time I enjoyed a new science fiction author this much was when I read Leviathan Wakes. Like that book, this one feels like something from the Golden Age of Science fiction, while being something brand new.

Inspector General Park conducts a series of "off the record" interviews while investigating charges of mutiny against the captain of a Martian-bound spaceship. That's the framework for a series of stories that range from mystery to Martian survival to estranged love. All are building
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rejected
Starts well, but then gets very dull indeed.
Kimberly Lynne
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Got my geek on. A multi-POV tale of a Mars-bound mutiny . . . or was it? Bonus points for diverse cast.

The story is primarily told during "off the record" crew interviews about Capt. Nick Aames so that investigator Park Yerim can gain background on the personality and person of the accused. I found the second such "deposition" - that of Bosun Smitty, to track way into the technical weeds - Literally the nuts and bolts of a particular incident. Those pages read more like The Martian's "science
Roger Jackson
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Dance is an excellent science fiction and suspense novel. To me, there really was not a "mystery", so I'm not sure why that it is the subtitle. Don't go into this book expecting some big twist in the plot, or a grand mystery to solve. However, if you like science fiction, then the science it good. If you like political suspense, then you will like this for sure.

The writing is excellent. The plot is good, but not the main focus. This is a character driven story, which I prefer. The use
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A series of shorts tied together well

I hope there are more Near-Earth mysteries because this was a great background universe and the characters totally pop. The characters each have a nicely written backstory and the dialogue develops the characters.

Well put together book with a neat background universe. I'm looking at his other books.
Dave C
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Reading

I enjoyed this book. The author did an excellent job of creating characters whose stories came to life via an effective combination of introspective thoughts, off the record conversations and formal depositions.

The setting of the “Express train” between Earth and Mars was described in the very first chapter showing where this was based on astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s plan “Cyclic Trajectory Concepts,” published in 1985. I admit that I didn’t really understand the concept after reading
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good book, but Aames is too much. Not only is he the smartest guy in the room, he is the smartest on the entire ship. The concept for the Aldrin is really cool, I wonder if it will come to fruition and make Mars travel a little easier and way more fuel efficient. I liked the way the book was structured and appreciated Aames’ high expectations, but I wish that he was more imperfect and did not have ALL the answers.
S.G. Willoughby
I'm not sure how to rate this. On the one hand, this was some pretty GREAT writing. On the other hand, there was some immoral content that I strongly object to.

-The world-building! There was a lot of very technical concepts and words in this book, but I loved it! I loved how much it was based on real-world theories and the fact that the author worked for NASA (if I'm not mistaken) certainly didn't hurt the believability of it all. All the small details were what really got me. Like how
Paul DiBara
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story set in a future very close at hand. In the expanse between Earth and Mars is an expanding technological vessel, Aldrin, composed of tubes, spokes, and artificial gravity that is hanging together based on the brains, brawn, bravery and shear tenacity of the engineers, technicians and support personnel who keep everything working according to plan. This entire complex is also a traveling community with the purpose of moving people and material between the earth and a new outpost of ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
In the sea of sameness which is the contemporary science fiction literature, I think a certain degree of originality must be recognised to The Last Dance. But it is not an originality which comes flawlessly as the author takes some risks to this end and not all pay back fully.
I'll review this book along the three typical pillars of a Sci-Fi novel:
PLOT: it's good, in my opinion, and told in a rather intriguing fashion, i.e. as an investigation of an alleged mutiny aboard a spaceship shuttling
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not a regular reader of science fiction but what I'm looking for when I do read it is to encounter imagination, entertainment and hopefully if I'm lucky to gain a little knowledge. On all three counts Martin L Shoemaker has succeeded here. Reading from the author's notes and biography it is clear that he is well versed on the mechanics and requirements of space travel to Mars, indeed he describes himself as "a programmer who writes on the side."

From this technical basis he has used his
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Four and a half stars, rounded up. This is a well plotted near-future sci-fi story, grounded in very believable space science and orbital mechanics. I especially appreciated the description of Buzz Aldrin’s “Mars cycler” concept for a practical and affordable path to moving material and people between Mars and Earth in support of a viable economy. The story delivers fast-moving events without getting bogged down in descriptions of scientific details. The characters are varied and individual, the ...more
LTC Larry Davis
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivating tale where details matter

Showmaker has created a wonderful novel here, focusing on how one man's obsession with details and being right actually becomes the unifying force behind a team of space explorers. Capt. Nick Aames tended to alienate lots of folks, but those who measured up to his high standards of performance found themselves to be part of community of trust, a group where everyone had a vested interest in trusting others. And it's Aames' obsession with being right that
Linwood Ferguson
This was one of the most unique science fiction books I have read lately. It is reminiscent of some older Asimov sci-fi mysteries, modernized both in terms of science and more sophisticated in terms of society. Well rooted in science and a realistic space faring period, it avoids entirely some semi-magical late-breaking scientific solution, and instead develops characters deeply and generally realistically (I might argue that despite carefully built foundation the main character is still a bit ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi, abandoned
2019 grade Z

I actually tried to read this several times but never got past the first page. This time I put more effort into it. I still only finished 2% the book. It is such dedicated first person POV that it took me a while to even learn the gender of the protagonist (I don't care which gender but I need at least a small mental image.) Virtually every paragraph is a long boring information dump. The setting is depressing as are the characters. Sorry, I did not like it. Thankfully is was free.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4-1/2 stars, I rounded up. I got this as a Kindle First Reads, and I don't always have high expectations for those, but this one really grabbed me. The characters are well-drawn and the pacing is generally really good, though it does drag in a couple spots. I do have a quibble with how the author shifts from first-person POV--which it should be, as almost every chapter is an on- or off-the-record account told to the narrator--to third-person omniscient in some of the chapters, and it's a bit ...more
Jeff Miller
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Usually not a fan of stories told out of sequence with different narrators. This novel totally pulls it off and makes the story better. The overall idea of an after action investigation into a captain who has defied orders doesn't sound all that interesting. Yet this character driven story still has lots of excitement along with the feel of space exploration. Pretty much enjoyed from start to finish.
Will Ockelmann-Wagner
Mystery in space, can't go wrong

This book brought together some of my favorite elements in a book - an interesting mystery (or two), vignettes from different perspectives, and believable space mechanics. Definitely shades of The Martion with the space engineering challenges, but also lots of good character development as we learn more about the history of some of the players. A fun read!
Gonzalo Fernández-Victorio
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2019
This is a sci-fi novel. It narrates the investigation followed by a military inspector about mutiny in a sort of a big spaceship around 2080. Through the log of the investigation, one discovers the personality of the Captain that was leading the vessel at the time.

The story is interesting, but the narrative is irregular. The preface tells the idea of the vessel (a Martian Cycler). Which is quite interesting (personally I didn't know about Cyclers), but it is written as outside of the novel.
Sue  Rupe
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't wait to pick it and finish another chapter or section. It reminded me of the old school, the golden age of science fiction - hard science fiction. Space travel, mixed with science and chemistry. I enjoyed the way the story was told from several different viewpoints, but I found each of their 'voices' to be similar/same. I would have liked to have seen a bit more characterization in their delivery. I will hunt for any other books by this author...they are ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has it all - a variety of points of view, a mystery, a mutiny trial aboard an Earth to Mars transport, a Mars disaster/survival story, and a couple love stories thrown in. Best of all, it works! I really enjoyed this read. The author kept me wanting to learn more about these characters and why they were in this position. The Captain, Nick Aames, captivated me, especially how people could hate him and be willing to die for him in the same instant. I finished the book wanting more Aames ...more
Cathy Mosier
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Catch up if you can

A sweeping "space opera" in one volume! Excellent cast of characters! A plot line deliciously complex yet quite satisfying! Don't start reading unless you have the time to finish. It will definitely consume you!
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous sci-fi legal thriller

I began expecting a space opera. It is the beginning for sure, but this is an incredible, logic game that acts as a construction platform for a new and I think long term universe building
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humans being human, in space.

An intelligent detective interviews a ship's crew concerning their abrasive and talented captain. Stories told by friends and enemies assist the detective and reader in making a judgement. It was fun read. I'll purchase more shoemaker stories for sure. This book would make a great tv show!
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Hard science fiction, narrated by a genuine novelist. An exceptional piece of uncommon quality for this genre. A very pleasant surprise.
Becca Stott
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much to dork out to, and it’s like, still good

Wowmdeeful chrcyet development and scientifically speaking engaging. I wish I was in so e. The end. (Written without etje aid of spellcheck)
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down

Great science fiction. Good plot, good science, good characters. What more can you ask for? The ending is a bit too easy but still works.
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