Across the Void by S.K. Vaughn
Commander Maryam “May” Knox awakes from a medically induced coma alone, adrift in space on a rapidly failing ship, with little to no memory of who she is or why she’s there.
Slowly, she pieces together that she’s the captain of the ship, Hawking II; that she was bound for Europa—one of Jupiter’s moons—on a research mission; and that she’s the only survivor of either an accident—or worse, a deliberate massacre—that has decimated her entire crew. With resources running low, and her physical strength severely compromised, May must rely on someone back home to help her. The problem is: everyone thinks she’s dead.
Back on Earth, it’s been weeks since Hawking II has communicated with NASA, and Dr. Stephen Knox is on bereavement leave to deal with the apparent death of his estranged wife, whose decision to participate in the Europa mission strained their marriage past the point of no return. But when he gets word that NASA has received a transmission from May, Stephen comes rushing to her aid.
What he doesn’t know is that not everyone wants May to make it back alive. Even more terrifying: she might not be alone on that ship.
Across the Void immediately reminded me of The Martian meets the Netflix show Another Life. May wakes up on a seemingly empty ship with only the AI to help her get back home. And both have memory loss. We also get frequent flashbacks of the past leading up to the Hawking II launch. A couple times it was a bit confusing, trying to figure out when the scene was supposed to take place. But it did flow well, as the reader learns along with May what happened in her past and in her current situation.
This standalone, scifi novel was a lot of fun. There is plenty of drama and intense suspense. The story was engaging and plot-driven. It’s an impressive-sized book, and though not always fast-paced it kept my attention. And though a couple things were predictable, it didn’t lessen the tension. The climactic ending builds to an exciting and satisfying ending.