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Gravity: A Novel of Medical Suspense

Gravity: A Novel of Medical Suspense

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Gravity: A Novel of Medical Suspense

4/5 (42 Bewertungen)
433 Seiten
6 Stunden
Jul 20, 2010


A young NASA doctor must combat a lethal microbe that is multiplying in the deadliest of environments—space—in this acclaimed blockbuster of medical suspense from Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of Harvest, Life Support, and the Rizzoli and Isles series.

Dr. Emma Watson has been training for the adventure of a lifetime: to study living beings in space. But her mission aboard the International Space Station turns into a nightmare beyond imagining when a culture of single-celled organisms begins to regenerate out of control—and infects the space station crew with agonizing and deadly results. Emma struggles to contain the outbreak while back on Earth her estranged husband, Jack McCallum, works frantically with NASA to bring her home. But there will be no rescue. The contagion now threatens Earth's population, and the astronauts are stranded in orbit, quarantined aboard the station—where they are dying one by one...
Jul 20, 2010

Über den Autor

Tess Gerritsen left a successful practice as an internist to raise her children and concentrate on her writing. She gained nationwide acclaim for her first novel of medical suspense, the New York Times bestseller Harvest; she followed her debut with the bestsellers Life Support and Gravity. Her other novels include Body Double, The Sinner, The Apprentice, and The Surgeon. Tess Gerritsen lives in Maine.

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Gravity - Tess Gerritsen




[A] one-stop, nonstop read.… Moves at a furious pace, twisting unpredictably.

USA Today

"Gerritsen treats us to some of the best medical gore and speculation about extraterrestrial life found anywhere outside The X-Files."

Entertainment Weekly

Thrilling… fast-paced, scary, and loaded with insider information.

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

Seat-gripping suspense.… You won’t be able to put it down.


[A] superb thriller… cover-to-cover excitement.

The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC)

Polished and engrossing.… The medical suspense is gripping and intense.

Library Journal

"GRAVITY will elate fans of medical thrillers and science fiction as well as readers of romantic suspense.… A nonstop action tale that rivals the best of Cook and Palmer.… Exhilarating."

Midwest Book Reviews

A terrific tale.… Gerritsen blend[s] medicine and science into a fictional thriller that rings true.

Austin American-Statesman (TX)

Excellent.… Gerritsen does a bang-up job… very scary.

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

One of those rare books that scares you for all the right reasons. Fantastic.

The Providence Sunday Journal (RI)

Absolutely convincing.… As we read along, eyes popping out of our heads, all that’s missing is one of those bland NASA voices saying ‘Houston, we have a problem… .’


A breathtaking experience in pure excitement, and Gerritsen’s storytelling skills are second to none.

San Jose Mercury News


Scores a bull’s-eye.

Chicago Tribune

Gerritsen’s descriptions of horror and terror… are riveting.

The Los Angeles Times

An intricate thriller… a tale sure to fascinate.


As polished as a novel can be.

Toronto Globe and Mail

"The twists and turns are compelling.… Keep the lights burning brightly long after you’ve set Bloodstream down."

Kirkus Reviews


Grabs you and holds you from page one.… Be prepared to drop all your obligations until you finish.

—John Saul

Chilling science… Richly drawn hospital scenes.


[A] spine-tingling medical chiller.… The pieces in this adeptly crafted medical Rubik’s cube don’t click into place until the final page.

Publishers Weekly

A gripping book.

Good Housekeeping


"The best medical thriller I’ve read since Coma."

—James Patterson

"Harvest will make your heart skip a beat."

USA Today

"Harrowing.… Harvest quite literally has gut-level impact."

San Francisco Chronicle

"Harvest generates its own very high level of fear and excitement."

Chicago Tribune

"Harves t offers suspense as sharp as a scalpel’s edge. A pageturning, hold-your-breath read."

—Tami Hoag, bestselling author of A Thin Dark Line


To the men and women who have made spaceflight a reality.

Mankind’s greatest achievements

are launched on dreams.


I could not have written this book without the generous assistance of people from NASA. My warmest thanks to:

Ed Campion, NASA Public Affairs, for personally guiding me on a fascinating inside tour of Johnson Space Center.

Flight Directors Mark Kirasich (ISS) and Wayne Hale (shuttle) for insights into their demanding roles.

Ned Penley, for explaining the process of payloads selection.

John Hooper, for introducing me to the new Crew Return Vehicle.

Jim Reuter (MSFC), for explaining the space station’s environmental and life-support systems.

Flight Surgeons Tom Marshburn, M.D., and Smith Johnston, M.D., for the details of emergency medicine in weightlessness.

Jim Ruhnke, for answering my sometimes bizarre engineering questions.

Ted Sasseen (NASA retired), for sharing memories of his long career as an aerospace engineer.

•  •  •

I’m also grateful for the help of experts from a variety of other fields:

Bob Truax and Bud Meyer, the real-life rocket boys of Truax Engineering, for the inside scoop on reusable launch vehicles.

Steve Waterman, for his knowledge of decompression chambers.

Charles D. Sullivan and Jim Burkhart, for the information on amphibian viruses.

Ross Davis, M.D., for the neurosurgical details.

Bo Barber, my fountain of information about aircraft and runways. (Bo, I’ll fly with you anytime!)

•  •  •

Finally, I must once again thank:

Emily Bestler, who let me spread my wings.

Don Cleary and Jane Berkey, of the Jane Rotrosen Agency, for knowing what makes a great story.

Meg Ruley, who makes dreams come true.


My husband, Jacob. Honey, we’re in this together.



The Galápagos Rift

.30 Degrees South, 90.30 Degrees West

He was gliding on the edge of the abyss.

Below him yawned the watery blackness of a frigid underworld, where the sun had never penetrated, where the only light was the fleeting spark of a bioluminescent creature. Lying prone in the form-fitting body pan of Deep Flight IV, his head cradled in the clear acrylic nose cone, Dr. Stephen D. Ahearn had the exhilarating sensation of soaring, untethered, through the vastness of space. In the beams of his wing lights he saw the gentle and continuous drizzle of organic debris falling from the light-drenched waters far above. They were the corpses of protozoans, drifting down through thousands of feet of water to their final graveyard on the ocean floor.

Gliding through that soft rain of debris, he guided Deep Flight along the underwater canyon’s rim, keeping the abyss to his port side, the plateau floor beneath him. Though the sediment was seemingly barren, the evidence of life was every where. Etched in the ocean floor were the tracks and plow marks of wandering creatures, now safely concealed in their cloak of sediment. He saw evidence of man as well: a rusted length of chain, sinuously draped around a fallen anchor; a soda pop bottle, half-submerged in ooze. Ghostly remnants from the alien world above.

A startling sight suddenly loomed into view. It was like coming across an underwater grove of charred tree trunks. The objects were black-smoker chimneys, twenty-foot tubes formed by dissolved minerals swirling out of cracks in the earth’s crust. With the joysticks, he maneuvered Deep Flight gently starboard, to avoid the chimneys.

I’ve reached the hydrothermal vent, he said. Moving at two knots, smoker chimneys to port side.

How’s she handling? Helen’s voice crackled through his earpiece.

Beautifully. I want one of these babies for my own.

She laughed. Be prepared to write a very big check, Steve. You spot the nodule field yet? It should be dead ahead.

Ahearn was silent for a moment as he peered through the watery murk. A moment later he said, I see them.

The manganese nodules looked like lumps of coal scattered across the ocean floor. Strangely, almost bizarrely, smooth, formed by minerals solidifying around stones or grains of sand, they were a highly prized source of titanium and other precious metals. But he ignored the nodules. He was in search of a prize far more valuable.

I’m heading down into the canyon, he said.

With the joysticks, he steered Deep Flight over the plateau’s edge. As his velocity increased to two and a half knots, the wings, designed to produce the opposite effect of an airplane wing, dragged the sub downward. He began his descent into the abyss.

Eleven hundred meters, he counted off. Eleven fifty…

Watch your clearance. It’s a narrow rift. You monitoring water temperature?

It’s starting to rise. Up to fifty-five degrees now.

Still a ways from the vent. You’ll be in hot water in another two thousand meters.

A shadow suddenly swooped right past Ahearn’s face. He flinched, inadvertently jerking the joystick, sending the craft rolling to starboard. The hard jolt of the sub against the canyon wall sent a clanging shock wave through the hull.


Status? said Helen. Steve, what’s your status?

He was hyperventilating, his heart slamming in panic against the body pan. The hull. Have I damaged the hull? Through the harsh sound of his own breathing, he listened for the groan of steel giving way, for the fatal blast of water. He was thirty-six hundred feet beneath the surface, and over one hundred atmospheres of pressure were squeezing in on all sides like a fist. A breach in the hull, a burst of water, and he would be crushed.

Steve, talk to me!

Cold sweat soaked his body. He finally managed to speak. I got startled—collided with the canyon wall—

Is there any damage?

He looked out the dome. I can’t tell. I think I bumped against the cliff with the forward sonar unit.

Can you still maneuver?

He tried the joysticks, nudging the craft to port. Yes. Yes. He released a deep breath. I think I’m okay. Something swam right past my dome. Got me rattled.


It went by so fast! Just this streak—like a snake whipping by.

Did it look like a fish’s head on an eel’s body?

Yes. Yes, that’s what I saw.

"Then it was an eelpout. Thermarces cerberus."

Cerberus, thought Ahearn with a shudder. The threeheaded dog guarding the gates of hell.

It’s attracted to the heat and sulfur, said Helen. You’ll see more of them as you get closer to the vent.

If you say so. Ahearn knew next to nothing about marine biology. The creatures now drifting past his acrylic head dome were merely objects of curiosity to him, living signposts pointing the way to his goal. With both hands steady at the controls now, he maneuvered Deep Flight IV deeper into the abyss.

Two thousand meters. Three thousand.

What if he had damaged the hull?

Four thousand meters, the crushing pressure of water increasing linearly as he descended. The water was blacker now, colored by plumes of sulfur from the vent below. The wing lights scarcely penetrated that thick mineral suspension. Blinded by the swirls of sediment, he maneuvered out of the sulfur-tinged water, and his visibility improved. He was descending to one side of the hydrothermal vent, out of the plume of magma-heated water, yet the external temperature continued to climb.

One hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

Another streak of movement slashed across his field of vision. This time he managed to maintain his grip on the controls. He saw more eelpouts, like fat snakes hanging head down as though suspended in space. The water spewing from the vent below was rich in heated hydrogen sulfide, a chemical that was toxic and incompatible with life. But even in these black and poisonous waters, life had managed to bloom, in shapes fantastic and beautiful. Attached to the canyon wall were swaying Riftia worms, six feet long, topped with feathery scarlet headdresses. He saw clusters of giant clams, whiteshelled, with tongues of velvety red peeking out. And he saw crabs, eerily pale and ghostlike as they scuttled among the crevices.

Even with the air-conditioning unit running, he was starting to feel the heat.

Six thousand meters. Water temperature one hundred eighty degrees. In the plume itself, heated by boiling magma, the temperatures would be over five hundred degrees. That life could exist even here, in utter darkness, in these poisonous and superheated waters, seemed miraculous.

I’m at six thousand sixty, he said. I don’t see it.

In his earphones, Helen’s voice was faint and crackling. There’s a shelf jutting out from the wall. You should see it at around six thousand eighty meters.

I’m looking.

Slow your descent. It’ll come up quickly.

Six thousand seventy, still looking. It’s like pea soup down here. Maybe I’m at the wrong position.

…sonar readings…collapsing above you! Her frantic message was lost in static.

I didn’t copy that. Repeat.

"The canyon wall is giving way! There’s debris falling toward you. Get out of there!"

The loud pings of rocks hitting the hull made him jam the joysticks forward in panic. A massive shadow plummeted down through the murk just ahead and bounced off a canyon shelf, sending a fresh rain of debris into the abyss. The pings accelerated. Then there was a deafening clang, and the accompanying jolt was like a fist slamming into him.

His head jerked, his jaw slamming into the body pan. He felt himself tilting sideways, heard the sickening groan of metal as the starboard wing scraped over jutting rocks. The sub kept rolling, sediment swirling past the dome in a disorienting cloud.

He hit the emergency-weight-drop lever and fumbled with the joysticks, directing the sub to ascend. Deep Flight IV lurched forward, metal screeching against rock, and came to an unexpected halt. He was frozen in place, the sub tilted starboard. Frantically he worked at the joysticks, thrusters at full ahead.

No response.

He paused, his heart pounding as he struggled to maintain control over his rising panic. Why wasn’t he moving? Why was the sub not responding? He forced himself to scan the two digital display units. Battery power intact. AC unit still functioning. Depth gauge reading, six thousand eighty-two meters.

The sediment slowly cleared, and shapes took form in the beam of his port wing light. Peering straight ahead through the dome, he saw an alien landscape of jagged black stones and bloodred Riftia worms. He craned his neck sideways to look at his starboard wing. What he saw sent his stomach into a sickening tumble.

The wing was tightly wedged between two rocks. He could not move forward. Nor could he move backward. I am trapped in a tomb, nineteen thousand feet under the sea.

…copy? Steve, do you copy?

He heard his own voice, weak with fear: Can’t move— starboard wing wedged—

…port-side wing flaps. A little yaw might wiggle you loose.

I’ve tried it. I’ve tried everything. I’m not moving.

There was dead silence over the earphones. Had he lost them? Had he been cut off? He thought of the ship far above, the deck gently rolling on the swells. He thought of sunshine. It had been a beautiful sunny day on the surface, birds gliding overhead. The sea a bottomless blue…

Now a man’s voice came on. It was that of Palmer Gabriel, the man who had financed the expedition, speaking calmly and in control, as always. We’re starting rescue procedures, Steve. The other sub is already being lowered. We’ll get you up to the surface as soon as we can. There was a pause, then: Can you see anything? What are your surroundings?

I—I’m resting on a shelf just above the vent.

How much detail can you make out?


You’re at six thousand eighty-two meters. Right at the depth we were interested in. What about that shelf you’re on? The rocks?

I am going to die, and he is asking about the fucking rocks.

Steve, use the strobe. Tell us what you see.

He forced his gaze to the instrument panel and flicked the strobe switch.

Bright bursts of light flashed in the murk. He stared at the newly revealed landscape flickering before his retinas. Earlier he had focused on the worms. Now his attention shifted to the immense field of debris scattered across the shelf floor. The rocks were coal black, like manganese nodules, but these had jagged edges, like congealed shards of glass. Peering to his right, at the freshly fractured rocks trapping his wing, he suddenly realized what he was looking at.

Helen’s right, he whispered.

I didn’t copy that.

She was right! The iridium source—I have it in clear view—

You’re fading out. Recommend you . . . Gabriel’s voice broke up into static and went dead.

I did not copy. Repeat, I did not copy! said Ahearn.

There was no answer.

He heard the pounding of his heart, the roar of his own breathing. Slow down, slow down. Using up my oxygen too fast…

Beyond the acrylic dome, life drifted past in a delicate dance through poisonous water. As the minutes stretched to hours, he watched the Riftia worms sway, scarlet plumes combing for nutrients. He saw an eyeless crab slowly scuttle across the field of stones.

The lights dimmed. The air-conditioning fans abruptly fell silent.

The battery was dying.

He turned off the strobe light. Only the faint beam of the port wing light was shining now. In a few minutes he would begin to feel the heat of that one-hundred-eighty-degree magma-charged water. It would radiate through the hull, would slowly cook him alive in his own sweat. Already he felt a drop trickle from his scalp and slide down his cheek. He kept his gaze focused on that single crab, delicately prancing its way across the stony shelf.

The wing light flickered.

And went out.



July 7

Two Years Later


Through the thunder of the solid propellant rocket boosters and the teeth-jarring rattle of the orbiter, the command abort sprang so clearly into Mission Specialist Emma Watson’s mind she might have heard it shouted through her comm unit. None of the crew had, in fact, said the word aloud, but in that instant she knew the choice had to be made, and quickly. She hadn’t heard the verdict yet from Commander Bob Kittredge or Pilot Jill Hewitt, seated in the cockpit in front of her. She didn’t need to. They had worked so long together as a team they could read each other’s minds, and the amber warning lights flashing on the shuttle’s flight console clearly dictated their next actions.

Seconds before, Endeavour had reached Max Q, the point during launch of greatest aerodynamic stress, when the orbiter, thrusting against the resistance of the atmosphere, begins to shudder violently. Kittredge had briefly throttled back to seventy percent to ease the vibrations. Now the console warning lights told them they’d lost two of their three main engines. Even with one main engine and two solid rocket boosters still firing, they would never make it to orbit.

They had to abort the launch.

"Control, this is Endeavour, said Kittredge, his voice crisp and steady. Not a hint of apprehension. Unable to throttle up. Left and center MEs* went out at Max Q. We are stuck in the bucket. Going to RTLS abort."

"Roger, Endeavour. We confirm two MEs out. Proceed to RTLS abort after SRB burnout."

Emma was already rifling through the stack of checklists, and she retrieved the card for Return to Launch Site Abort. The crew knew every step of the procedure by heart, but in the frantic pace of an emergency abort, some vital action might be forgotten. The checklist was their security blanket.

Her heart racing, Emma scanned the appropriate path of action, clearly marked in blue. A two-engine-down RTLS abort was survivable—but only theoretically. A sequence of near miracles had to happen next. First they had to dump fuel and cut off the last main engine before separating from the huge external fuel tank. Then Kittredge would pitch the orbiter around to a heads-up attitude, pointing back toward the launch site. He would have one chance, and only one, to guide them to a safe touchdown at Kennedy. A single mistake would send Endeavour plunging into the sea.

Their lives were now in the hands of Commander Kittredge.

His voice, in constant communication with Mission Control, still sounded steady, even a little bored, as they approached the two-minute mark. The next crisis point. The CRT display flashed the Pc<50 signal. The solid rocket boosters were burning out, on schedule.

Emma felt it at once, the startling deceleration as the boosters consumed the last of the fuel. Then a brilliant flash of light in the window made her squint as the SRBs exploded away from the tank.

The roar of launch fell ominously silent, the violent shudder calming to a smooth, almost tranquil ride. In the abrupt calm, she was aware of her own pulse accelerating, her heart thudding like a fist against her chest restraint.

"Control, this is Endeavour, said Kittredge, still unnaturally calm. We have SRB sep."

Roger, we see it.

Initiating abort. Kittredge depressed the Abort push button, the rotary switch already positioned at the RTLS option.

Over her comm unit, Emma heard Jill Hewitt call out, Emma, let’s hear the checklist!

I’ve got it. Emma began to read aloud, and the sound of her own voice was as startlingly calm as Kittredge’s and Hewitt’s. Anyone listening to their dialogue would never have guessed they faced catastrophe. They had assumed machine mode, their panic suppressed, every action guided by rote memory and training. Their onboard computers would automatically set their return course. They were continuing downrange, still climbing to four hundred thousand feet as they dissipated fuel.

Now she felt the dizzying spin as the orbiter began its pitch-around maneuver, rolling tail over nose. The horizon, which had been upside down, suddenly righted itself as they turned back toward Kennedy, almost four hundred miles away.

"Endeavour, this is Control. Go for main engine cutoff."

Roger, responded Kittredge. MECO now.

On the instrument panel, the three engine-status indicators suddenly flashed red. He had shut off the main engines, and in twenty seconds, the external fuel tank would drop away into the sea.

Altitude dropping fast, thought Emma. But we’re headed for home.

She gave a start. A warning buzzed, and new panel lights flashed on the console.

Control, we’ve lost computer number three! cried Hewitt. We have lost a nav-state vector! Repeat, we’ve lost a nav-state vector!

It could be an inertial-measurement malf, said Andy Mercer, the other mission specialist seated beside Emma. Take it off-line.

No! It might be a broken data bus! cut in Emma. I say we engage the backup.

Agreed, snapped Kittredge.

Going to backup, said Hewitt. She switched to computer number five.

The vector reappeared. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief.

The burst of explosive charges signaled the separation of the empty fuel tank. They couldn’t see it fall away into the sea, but they knew another crisis point had just passed. The orbiter was flying free now, a fat and awkward bird gliding homeward.

Hewitt barked, Shit! We’ve lost an APU!

Emma’s chin jerked up as a new buzzer sounded. An auxiliary power unit was out. Then another alarm screamed, and her gaze flew in panic to the consoles. A multitude of amber warning lights were flashing. On the video screens, all the data had vanished. Instead there were only ominous black and white stripes. A catastrophic computer failure. They were flying without navigation data. Without flap control.

Andy and I are on the APU malf! yelled Emma.

Reengage backup!

Hewitt flicked the switch and cursed. I’m getting no joy, guys. Nothing’s happening—

Do it again!

Still not reengaging.

She’s banking! cried Emma, and felt her stomach lurch sideways.

Kittredge wrestled with the joystick, but they had already rolled too far starboard. The horizon reeled to vertical and flipped upside down. Emma’s stomach lurched again as they spun right side up. The next rotation came faster, the horizon twisting in a sickening whirl of sky and sea and sky.

A death spiral.

She heard Hewitt groan, heard Kittredge say, with flat resignation, I’ve lost her.

Then the fatal spin accelerated, plunging to an abrupt and shocking end.

There was only silence.

•  •  •

An amused voice said over their comm units, Sorry, guys. You didn’t make it that time.

Emma yanked off her headset. That wasn’t fair, Hazel!

Jill Hewitt chimed in with a protesting, "Hey, you meant to kill us. There was no way to save it."

Emma was the first crew member to scramble out of the shuttle flight simulator. With the others right behind her, she marched into the windowless control room, where their three instructors sat at the row of consoles.

Team Leader Hazel Barra, wearing a mischievous smile, swiveled around to face Commander Kittredge’s irate crew of four. Though Hazel looked like a buxom earth mother with her gloriously frizzy brown hair, she was, in truth, a ruthless gameplayer who ran her flight crews through the most difficult of simulations and seemed to count it as a victory whenever the crew failed to survive. Hazel was well aware of the fact that every launch could end in disaster, and she wanted her astronauts equipped with the skills to survive. Losing one of her teams was a nightmare she hoped never to face.

That sim really was below the belt, Hazel, complained Kittredge.

Hey, you guys keep surviving. We have to knock down your cockiness a notch.

Come on, said Andy. "Two engines down on liftoff? A broken data bus? An APU out? And then you throw in a failed number five computer? How many malfs and nits is that? It’s not realistic."

Patrick, one of the other instructors, swiveled around with a grin. You guys didn’t even notice the other stuff we did.

What else was there?

I threw in a nit on your oxygen tank sensor. None of you saw the change in the pressure gauge, did you?

Kittredge gave a laugh. When did we have time? We were juggling a dozen other malfunctions.

Hazel raised a stout arm in a call for a truce. Okay, guys. Maybe we did overdo it. Frankly, we were surprised you got as far as you did with the RTLS abort. We wanted to throw in another wrench, to make it more interesting.

You threw in the whole damn toolbox, snorted Hewitt.

The truth is, said Patrick, you guys are a little cocky.

"The word is confident," said Emma.

Which is good, Hazel admitted. It’s good to be confident. You showed great teamwork at the integrated sim last week. Even Gordon Obie said he was impressed.

The Sphinx said that? Kittredge’s eyebrow lifted in surprise. Gordon Obie was the director of Flight Crew Operations, a man so bafflingly silent and aloof that no one at JSC really knew him. He would sit through entire mission management meetings without uttering a single word, yet no one doubted he was mentally recording every detail. Among the astronauts, Obie was viewed with both awe and more than a little fear. With his power over final flight assignments, he could make or break your career. The fact that he had praised Kittredge’s team was good news indeed.

In her next breath, though, Hazel kicked the pedestal out from under them. However, she said, Obie is also concerned that you guys are too lighthearted about this. That it’s still a game to you.

What does Obie expect us to do? said Hewitt. Obsess over the ten thousand ways we could crash and burn?

Disaster is not theoretical.

Hazel’s statement, so quietly spoken, made them fall momentarily silent. Since Challenger, every member of the astronaut corps was fully aware that it was only a matter of time before there was another major mishap. Human beings sitting atop rockets primed to explode with five million pounds of thrust can’t afford to be sanguine about the hazards of their profession. Yet they seldom spoke about dying in space; to talk about it was to admit its possibility, to acknowledge that the next Challenger might carry one’s name on the crew roster.

Hazel realized she’d thrown a damper on their high spirits. It was not a good way to end a training session, and now she backpedaled on her earlier criticism.

"I’m only saying this because you guys are already so well integrated. I have to work hard to trip you up. You’ve got three months till launch, and you’re already in good shape. But I want you in even better shape."

In other words, guys, said Patrick from his console. Not so cocky.

Bob Kittredge dipped his head in mock humility. We’ll go home now and put on the hair shirts.

Overconfidence is dangerous, said Hazel. She rose from the chair and stood up to face Kittredge. A veteran of three shuttle flights, Kittredge was half a head taller, and he had the confident bearing of a naval pilot, which he had once been. Hazel was not intimidated by Kittredge, or by any of her astronauts. Whether they were rocket scientists or military heroes, they inspired in her the same maternal concern: the wish that they make it back from their missions alive.

She said, You’re so good at command, Bob, you’ve lulled your crew into thinking it’s easy.

"No, they make it look easy. Because they’re good."

We’ll see. The integrated sim’s on for Tuesday, with Hawley and Higuchi aboard. We’ll be pulling some new tricks out of the hat.

Kittredge grinned. Okay, try to kill us. But be fair about it.

Fate seldom plays fair, Hazel said solemnly. Don’t expect me to.

•  •  •

Emma and Bob Kittredge sat in a booth in the Fly By Night saloon, sipping beers as they dissected the day’s simulations. It was a ritual they’d established eleven months ago, early in their team building, when the four of them had first come together as the crew for shuttle flight 162. Every Friday evening, they would meet in the Fly By Night, located just up NASA Road 1 from Johnson Space Center, and review the progress of their training. What they’d done right, what still needed improvement. Kittredge, who’d personally selected each member of his crew, had started the ritual. Though they were already working together more than sixty hours a week, he never seemed eager to go home. Emma had thought it was because the recently divorced Kittredge now lived alone and dreaded returning to his empty house. But as she’d come to know him better, she realized these meetings were simply his way of prolonging the adrenaline high of his job. Kittredge lived to fly. For sheer entertainment he read the painfully dry shuttle manuals. He spent every free moment at the controls of one of NASA’s T-38s. It was almost as if he resented the force of gravity binding his feet to the earth.

He couldn’t understand why the rest of his crew might want to go home at the end of the day, and tonight he seemed a little melancholy that just the two of them were sitting at their usual table in the Fly By Night. Jill Hewitt was at her nephew’s piano recital, and Andy Mercer was home celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary. Only Emma and Kittredge had shown up at the appointed hour, and now that they’d finished hashing over the week’s sims, there was a long silence between them. The conversation had run out of shop talk and therefore out of steam.

I’m taking one of the T-38s up to White Sands tomorrow, he said. You want to join me?

Can’t. I have an appointment with my lawyer.

So you and Jack are forging ahead with it?

She sighed. The momentum’s established. Jack has his lawyer, and I have mine. This divorce has turned into a runaway train.

"It sounds like you’re having second

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  • (4/5)

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    Have to admit all the other books I have read by Tess Gerritsen have been Police based books with the normal murders and bad guys involved.This one is set in Space and the International Space Station. A group of astronauts are on the space station when an accident happens and an organism is released and starts infecting the group......killing them off one by one.The doctor (Emma Watson) on the Space Station and the NASA ground staff (led by Emmas husband - Jack McCallum) try to find what the organism is and how it can be stopped from killing the crew. However they do not know the full truth re the killer organism and what the ties are between it and USAMRIID.Will they get the truth to save the crew before it is too late?A definate read whether it is by the poolside on holiday or just curled up on the sofa.....but put time aside for it as it will be worth it.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (4/5)
    Very good book that is a little scary. I love anything to do with space and this does not disappoint.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting book, different from the other pieces that I’ve read of Gerritsen’s. A little slow at some points yet others made the book hard to put down!
  • (5/5)
    An excellent medical thriller set on the International Space Station where somehow a deadly virus has gotten loose and infects an astronaut, following this a rescue shuttle is sent to bring him back to earth , however before the shuttle docks with the ISS the infected astronaut dies. They then store the corpse on the shuttle pending their return trip to earth, which gets delayed and suddenly the shuttle crew is now also infected. The Army arrives at NASA to take over due to the biological danger and a race to save the remaining astronauts and keep ISS operational ensues.A very enjoyable and unique thriller, definitely a good page turner that's hard to put down.
  • (3/5)
    One can't hold her americanism against Tess Gerritsen, but this is very, very American: I don't think it actually is a screenplay or the novelisation of a made-for-tv-movie, but that's how it reads. Broad-stroke characterisation, snappy, acronym-laden dialogue, racy plot. I found it rather tedious at first, but when I stopped trying so hard, I found it hummed along nicely.I would call the graphic events described in this thriller more horrific (and in places disgusting) than thrilling, but then I'm not a surgeon, and I'm prepared to admit to being squeamish even among laymen.You will turn the pages, but in the end you might wonder why you bothered.
  • (5/5)
    ** This review does not contain spoilers. All the info can be read on the back cover. **Gravity is a medical thriller by Tess Gerritsen, themed around the crew of the International Space Station who take care of biological experiments in microgravity. The exposure of the crew and the ship, to an unknown organism, leaves the crew stranded in orbit while they die one after the other. Their nightmare begins. The people down at NASA fight frantically against time to bring them home, against quarantine and against all odds.This fiction plays out on earth and in space, a classic duality between the known and unknown, order and chaos, the familiar and the feared. It shows us the need to explore where we never dreamed of before, versus conquering our fears in order to reach those places. There is no progress without risk, but are the costs worth it?This is a memorable book indeed! The suspense builds just right to make it a page-turner. Gerritsen's medical background, combined with her space flight research, makes for an educational and tactful portmanteau that is splattered with horror at times. The characters Emma and Jack, estranged husband and wife, absorb some of the manic disaster with a romanticism both for each other and the stars.The characters have personality and depth, although more background story for some of them would have been nice, you are always pressed back into the urgency of the situation. The steady progression of the plot never leaves you bored, while the shallow story arcs don't diverge from the most important fact: bringing them home.My only criticism is that, due to the nature of NASA who use a lot of acronyms, you need to flip to the 5-page glossary occasionally, but less so half-way into the book (or when you memorized the acronyms). It interferes a bit with your reading pace, but I can hardly fault the story for it.Gravity is a well written story with amiable characters placed in an impossible situation, and then it gets worse. I can recommend this book to any speculative fiction lovers and adventure seekers.
  • (4/5)
    The rescue attempts have all but failed, and one by one the astronauts are dying...what happens next will amaze you! This is a fabulous read, nice and easy, but yet, keeps you on the edge of your seat. Reading this, you won't be disappointed.
  • (4/5)
    A good read through out. Enjoyed it from the beginning
  • (5/5)
    Great book, intriguing subject. You will enjoy reading this book!
  • (5/5)
    Unputdownable! Like a fast paced movie playing on my mind as I read trough every graphic narrative.
  • (5/5)
    I must admit this one caught me totally by surprise, and would definitely qualify as the best Gerritsen I've read yet. Emma Watson (not the actress) is sent to the International Space Station as a replacement for an astronaut who had to return to earth for his wife's funeral. When she arrives, she soon discovers one of the experiments on the vessel has gone horribly wrong: an alien virus is loose and is slowly infecting and killing all on board. It becomes a race as she and her husband (who is still on earth) try to find a way to save her from a certain gruesome end. This is truly a page turner, and keeps you guessing (and gasping) to the very end. I highly recommend this one for thrill-seekers in books.
  • (3/5)
    This book follows already established genre of panspermia-is-here-to-kill-you but with a very unusual approach to writing. It reads more like an episode of House M.D. than a typical sci-fi novel, which does not make it better or worse, just different and in some way original. One striking choice that the author made was to include tons of gore of a medical kind so it is not for the faint hearted readers. And on top of that the book keeps the romantic story line believable and relevant to the main plot. I give it only three stars since the book does a bit weak on original ideas and the overly medical writing style is often unnecessary.
  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Can't miss reading a TG medical thriller

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Great medical writer. Difficult to put her novels down. All with great, intriguing plots.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (4/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Of all of the Tess Gerritsen novels I've read, this one is the best. The Bone Garden is a close second. The story follows a couple of NASA doctors and their chase to figure out why and how a biohazard is endangering the International Space Station and the astronauts there. Intrigue, biology, and a host of interesting characters lead you on an adventure into other worlds. Fascinating details about how the space program functions, the effects of microgravity on people and science, deep sea life, outer space and medical emergencies. This book has it all. Good read.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Stephen King has it right when he said you should figure in the price of electricity wen you buy your first book by Tess because you will be up all night. I first thought I dont know if I would enjoy a med suspence on space travel but it didn't take long to not want to put this book down!

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (4/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Gravity is the 12th stand-alone novel by Tess Gerritsen. When Dr Emma Watson ends up on the crew of the Russian-American space station, it’s a dream come true for her. But nothing runs smoothly: the payload experiments are going wrong, crew are getting sick and dying and half the module is on low power due to problems with the solar array. Gerritsen is the master of the medical thriller, and this time, the scene is out of this world. Once again, she gives us an excellent plot with a few great twists; politics and intrigue, in a unique environment and under extraordinary conditions. A Gerritsen winner

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (3/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Tess Gerritsen used to be a doctor, so it comes as no great surprise that the medical aspects of her latest thriller are absolutely convincing--even if most of the action happens in a place where few doctors have ever practiced--outer space. Dr. Emma Watson and five other hand-picked astronauts are about to take part in the trip of a lifetime--studying living creatures in space. But an alien life form, found in the deepest crevices of the ocean floor, is accidentally brought aboard the shuttle Atlantis. This mutated alien life form makes the creatures in Aliens look like backyard pets.Soon the crew are suffering severe stomach pains, violent convulsions, and eyes so bloodshot that a gallon of Murine wouldn't help. Gerritsen brilliantly describes the difficulties of treating sick people inside a space module, and how the lack of gravity affects the process of taking blood and inserting a nasal tube. Dr. Watson does her best, but her colleagues die off one by one and the people at NASA don't want to risk bringing the platform back to earth. Only Emma's husband, a doctor/astronaut himself, refuses to give up on her. As we read along, eyes popping out of our heads, all that's missing is one of those bland NASA voices saying, "Houston, we have a problem--we're being attacked by tiny little creatures that are part human, part frog, and part mouse."

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    I found this book strangely compelling and I couldn't put it down. It was not the kind of story I had expected from Gerrritsen at all, as I'd only read her more medical/forensic thrillers, but I'm very glad she ventured into a bit of Sci Fi. She is a writer who evolves wonderfully and I'm moved to give her five stars for capturing my interest and imagination with this one.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (4/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    I haven't read any medical/suspense books in ages. My treadmill is next to a bookcase and I just pulled this out and started reading. I've been reading a lot of non-fiction so this was a great distraction. And we know how much I like my medical lingo.Gravity leads us into the world of NASA as we watch Emma Watson and her team preparing to be sent into space to stay for 4 months on the ISS (International Space Station). Watson is a physician who is in the middle of a ugly divorce from her husband, fellow physician Jack. We can still see the hearts around them when they talk though...angry hearts but hearts nonetheless.Circumstances occur that cause Emma to be sent into space earlier, with another team. Once there, it's routing space station stuff, until experiments start going wrong. What happens next is an outbreak of "something" that is killing astronauts very quickly and very gruesomely. Everything is fast paced and we learn what this killer bug is at a breakneck speed.Pretty exciting and fun book to read.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (4/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    A seemingly benign experiment on the ISS transforms into a nightmare as it grows beyond the expected and threatens to kill all the astronauts, and maybe make it back to earth.There's no reason to be dubious of Gerritsen's earlier books. While I love the Rizzoli/Isles thrillers, I think I liked this one even more. There's tension on every page, it's easy to root for the characters, and there's so much detail about the medical aspects as well as the NASA & astronaut aspects that it feels like it must be real. Great thriller, great science fiction. Write more science fiction, Tess!

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (3/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Dr. Emma Watson is training for her dream trip, a trip to the International Space Station. When tragedy strikes the family of an astronaut already on the space station, Emma's trip is fast-tracked. But when Emma reaches the Space Station her dream trip turns into a nightmare. A deadly virus is attacking the astronauts. Will Emma be able to stop the virus before it destroys the entire space station?Gravity turned out to be a little more in the realm of science fiction than what I normally read, so you'll have to take into consideration my bias as you read my review today. I listened to it on audio book, read by William Dufris. I thought he did a very nice job with one exception. He had a tendency to get overly dramatic. For people who like sci-fi more than me, this may be o.k., but the Doubting Thomas in me found it a tad over the top.For the most part, Gravity is very well written. This is the second Tess Gerritsen book that I've read and the style is strong in both. As a layman, I didn't notice any problems with logic. What I didn't particularly care for in this novel was the use of a couple of cliches. To avoid any spoilers (even though the book is 10 years old), I'll not mention what the cliches were exactly, but I will say they pretty much gave the plot away for me. I really didn't incur much surprise. What the plot does contain is food for thought. There are some rather disturbing issues that come up in the course of the plot. And you can't help wondering, which choice is the BEST choice? Is there a RIGHT and a WRONG?What Gerritsen doesn't disappoint on in this novel is character. She has a knack with developing sympathetic characters. She is also rather creative in naming her characters, but I'd like to see her have faith that her readers will connect the significance of their names, without her needing to point it out specifically.There was also a sub-plot in this novel that I really would have liked more development for. Typically I'm saying the sub-plot could be eliminated. In this case, it was paramount to the main plot, but I found myself wanting to know more about the characters involved in that part of the book.I think Gravity is probably an excellent choice for someone who appreciates the science-fiction element more than I do. I'm going to check out more of Gerritsen's medical thrillers that are a little more grounded in the crime fiction a little less in the science-fiction.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (3/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    An exciting tale about alien life forms and love.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (3/5)
    Not my favorite Tess Gerritsen novel, but it was okay. I'm not a huge sci-fi person, so when I starting reading about weird things inside the characters bodies, I got a little turned off. The good part was, it was a great story line of being in space, and the inner workings of NASA and the interest that captivated. Will always love Gerritsen's novels, this just wasn't one on the top of my list.
  • (1/5)
    Very dissapointing, even though it was scientifically/technically well researched. I read it a second time and it wasn't until I was in the last chapter that I realised I'd already read it before and hadn't liked it the first time either.