The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut Universe #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal

This is the third in her alternate US space history (think 1960’s) after a meteor hits the Earth causing major life loss and the impending doom of the greenhouse effect on steroids. The first two books follow Elma York, the first Lady Astronaut, focusing on her struggle to be accepted as an astronaut, navigating race relations, handling a crippling anxiety, and her solid loving relationship with her NASA husband.

At the end of the second book, Elma goes to Mars, and so is stuck on a space ship and so Kowal moves us over to one of her friends, Nicole Wargin, the wife of the Kansas Governor and pilot. She is back and forth from the moon, but she and her husband are fighting the Earth First group that claims resources for space exploration should be routed towards those on Earth still suffering from the meteor.

On Elma’s latest mission, small accidents happen, and soon it becomes clear there’s a traitor on the moon.

There’s always three ways in which I find this series fascinating: the astronaut lingo, descriptions of gear, small realistic space details (like what happens when you vomit in zero gravity) and other well-researched space related stuff; the alternate timeline implications of the meteor hitting us in the 1960’s such that civil rights, politics, development of vaccines, etc are affected; and thirdly the mystery.

The mystery here is one of finding a traitor, and Kowal does a fairly good job of setting up the cast of characters and giving you a sense of danger coupled with sadness of betrayal from within such a tight knit group.

We also see a rather heart-rending view of how anorexia, even when diagnosed and accounted for, can overcome someone under stress.

This is a fabulous series. Do yourself a favor. Read it in order.

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