EXPLORE Outer Space in Smythe’s Intense Thriller

In this day and age, it seems that a book about space exploration would be dull when there are plenty of incredible space films that you’d rather be seeing (Gravity, Sunshine, Alien, Prometheus—yes, I liked Prometheus). But James Smythe’s incredible Anomaly Quartet proves that space literature isn’t dead.
The first installment, The Explorer, follows journalist Cormac on the first space expedition in decades, treating the entire endeavor like a reality TV stunt. The crew will be traveling to the farthest point man has ever traveled in space, hoping to reinvigorate the world’s desire for space travel after a disastrous expedition all but killed the global space craze. But this hopeful quest turns out to be a disaster as well. For, as we learn in the opening 50 pages, that Cormac is all alone on the ship, his fellow crew members having all died off (each in their own dramatic way, which he quickly recaps).
But there was also a secondary reason for this expedition. Scientist Guy has devoted his life to researching an anomaly he’s found in distant space, and this expedition will give him the opportunity to see it firsthand and potentially send some answers back to Earth. While things for Guy don’t turn out so well, Cormac inadvertently learns a few things about the mysterious anomaly.
Smythe packs his novel with mind-bending twists and the eerie kind of paranoia that can only be found in deep space. But he also works in an emotional through-line for Cormac that packs it’s own little punch. The Explorer’s revelations make you want to relieve the book a second time upon completing. And when you’ve gotten as much as you can out of The Explorer, check out the recently released second installment The Echo (which is an incredible novel in its own right).

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