July 13, 1969. Three days before Apollo 11 lifts off from Cape Canaveral, the Soviet Union launches Luna 15, a rocket carrying the lunar lander, Firebird. They later claim it was a failed robotic probe, concealing a final attempt at beating America in the moon race and sealing the fate of its lone occupant, Grigor Belinsky, a cosmonaut blackmailed into flying the one-way mission. July, 2019. A multinational mission lands on the moon's Sea of Crises. American astronaut Janet Luckman leads a team in search of the Mother Lode: lunar ice, laced with Helium-3-a desperately needed energy source. The future of humanity rides on Luckman's success. Luckman discovers the Firebird and recovers its flight log, but the body of its mystery cosmonaut (Belinsky) is missing. Facing a 51 hour deadline, the dangerous lunar environment and a traitorous crew member bent on murder, she struggles to find the Mother Lode and uncover Belinsky's fate. A firestorm erupts on Earth as both American and Russian authorities attempt to hide the truth about Firebird. As renowned scientist, Milo Jefferson, investigates the Firebird mystery in Moscow, he finds himself in a hall of mirrors created by the sinister genius leading Russia's new Tsarist government: Mikhail Rabikoff. Rabikoff knows that the revelation of Belinsky's fate could topple his regime and will risk the fate of humanity in his attempt to elude Jefferson's inquiries and destroy the truth.
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RED MOON is the result of my lifelong fascination with space travel, and the Soviet space program in particular. The notion of firing men into space crammed in low-tech contraptions like the cannonball-like Vostok has always struck me as appealingly Jules Vernian. When I was in high school in the 1970s, I even wrote to the Soviet Embassy for information. They responded with this big package of propaganda, which I'm sure landed me on an FBI list!
The germ of inspiration for RED MOON came from a short story called "Sea of Crises," written by my close friend, L. George Daniels, in 1973. The story remained stuck in the back of my mind until I attended a Sotheby's art exhibition in 1993 and wandered into the basement. I was stunned to find a bunch of Soviet space hardware being prepared for sale! I ran into a bald, thickset little man and asked him, "excuse me, sir, but is that REALLY Alexei Leonov's spare EVA suit?" And he said, "da-- I am Leonov." Leonov, in 1965, was the first man to walk in space.
Inspired, I contacted L. George Daniels and suggested we develop RED MOON as a screenplay. We wrote an outline that was a straightforward account of the Moon race from the Soviet perspective. I pitched it to my screen-writing teacher, Pam Wallace (co-authored "Witness"). She said, "why am I supposed to care about this?" I thought hard and came up with the 2019 story line involving a return to the Moon and a search for the Mother Lode, which we wrapped around the 1969 Soviet account. This was too "big" for a screenplay, so I started writing it as a novel in late '97, with contributions from Dan. My dream became reality in November 2000, when RED MOON was a "launch title" for the new FireWord Publishing house.
I think you'll enjoy RED MOON. It's a big, sprawling epic of mankind's onetime obsession with exploring space, an obsession we need to regain if our species is going to survive.About the Author:
David S. Michaels is a journalist and historian who has written numerous articles on technology, space flight, and world history. A California native, he now resides in Lancaster, PA with his wife and three daughters. RED MOON, his first novel, is based on seven years’ research into the secret Soviet lunar program.
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