My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Freefall was definitely hard science fiction. It also had elements of a spy thriller and a Project Manhattan style race. That may make it sound scattershot but its not.
Spoilers ahead, you have been warned (I will keep them light however)
Just after the shuttle program is shut down we detect an alien ship in orbit of one of the moons of Jupiter. The book is about our reaction to this. The leaders of the world decide they have to send a ship there and at minimum make sure it’s no threat (the ship looks like its dead in space) and at best grab everything not nailed down.
In pursuit of this, the entire worlds supply of rockets are used over the course of two years to put our new ship and its supplies into orbit. To make the ship itself requires a massive level of resources from the five richest nations on earth. Many authors would underestimate the scope of the resources needed, but Felix R. Savage did not.
Beyond the money spent, the government (at least the US) was willing to lie, steal and kill to get the technologies needed to make the ship work.
One of my pet peeves is when books show everyone as selfish, or evil with little redeeming characteristics. While freefall does not go that far, and many of the characters exist in a shade of gray, it does veer in that direction. The main character, Jack Kildare, is a main part of the reason this does not became too much of an issue. He is a good man who really only wants to just be an astronaut.
The scope of the book, in concept and scope truly made it a pleasure to read and I am looking forward to reading the sequels.