Saturn Run by John Sandford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sanders Heacock Darlington aka Sandy saves the book from utter boredom. This isn't Sandford's usual genre and the multitude of characters and all the techno geek stuff makes this book extremely hard to get into.
Sandy who is extremely wealthy and who appears to be a lazy beach bum working at Caltech Astrophysics Working Group due to "Daddy" buying him a position discovers a space ship visiting Saturn. His video skills as well as his military background earn him a spot on the Space Ship Richard Nixon, when it goes to investigate.
They race to get there before the Chinese but one mishap after another cuts it close. Getting there a few weeks before the Chinese they discover that Saturn is a refueling and trade station for other species. They trade for technological blueprints and get as much info as possible before leaving.
The Chines try to steal one of the small space craft orbiting Saturn and in the process blow it up. They are immediate thrown off the Trade Station without the chance to make repairs to their ship. They pursue the Nixon and ask for their assistance, but after they are taken aboard they take over the ship. Their demands the United States turn over all the alien technology they were able to amass. When they start killing people to get the technology Sandy destroys it.
The United State President makes a deal with the Chinese and the Nixon is scuttled in space and a story about an alien plague is fabricated to explain the deaths.
But Sandy's shit eating grin says he has a secret get out of jail card.
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