Jim's Books

The Defector

Chris Hadfield

The Defector
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ISBN: 9781529423099


Israel, late 1973. As the Yom Kippur War flares into life, a state-of-the-art Soviet MIG fighter is racing at breakneck speed over the arid scrublands below - and promptly disappears. NASA Flight Controller and former US Navy test pilot Kaz Zemeckis watches the scene from the ground - and is quickly pulled into a dizzying, high-stakes game of spies, lies and a possible high-level defection that plays out across three continents.

Reviewed on 22nd February 2024

Chris Hadfield’s second novel sees the return of the stars of his first, for an unrelated story which begins in Israel in 1973.

It’s an uncomfortable start to a novel at the current time, and then an uncomfortable continuation for different reasons. Politically I’m not sure the timing of this story is great, despite its historical setting.

The style is slightly refined over the first book. There are still a couple of more technical passages, but for the most part it focusses on the people.

The plot however feels a bit bolted together. There’s a lot of coincidence going on, which in one particular case felt like it was leading to more plot but actually just fizzled out leaving me feeling like it was just there as an unnecessary tie-in back to the first novel. It seemed like Hadfield had decided against a late plot twist and instead just kept all the setup for it. Perhaps as a result, the climax of the novel feels rushed and somewhat anti-climactic.

Overall I didn’t enjoy it to the same level as the first novel. I think the change of setting away from space probably is a big part of that - this is a much more military thriller than it is science fiction. I could totally believe that the plot of this book was a thing that actually happened.

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