Moonrise is the first of a series of 7 books written by Ben Bova over a period from 1993 to 2004. He did not write the books in chronological order, but you should read them that way. Although the author never lists them as a "Moon" series, to make things easier, the first 5 will be listed that way.
The Moon is a difficult place to live, and an even more hostile place to make a living, and a profit. This is the story of a family, of incredible new technology, murder and mystery, faith and hope, huge profits, corporate back-stabbing - you name it - this book has it all, set on the moon!
Paul Stavenger is an astronaut. He is a bit of a womanizer, and has fallen for Joanna Masterson, the wife of Gregory Masterson, a corporate giant and quite the son-of-a-bitch as well. Masterson commits suicide (?), Joanna marries Paul Stavenger, and the problems start.
Joanna and her dead husband had a son, Gregory who blames Paul for his fathers death. Unfortunately, Gregory is not capable of taking over the company - everyone knows that and the Board of Directors votes Paul Chairman of the Board shortly after he marries Joanna. At the same time that all this is happening, a base is being built on the moon with Masterson money. And that's where most of the book takes place.
This is the story of Moonbase, how it was built, and how it was saved by Paul Stavenger. The secret to Moonbase, and its success is the use of nano-technology. Incredibly small, microscopic robots that can be programed to make things out of the "stuff" the moon is made of, also are the cause of espionage and treachery that cost Paul Stavenger his life. And, because of the death of Paul Stavenger, events are set in motion that threaten the entire project.
Lucky for everyone living there, Joanna and Paul have a son of their own who eventually grows up and takes on the salvation of Moonbase as his personal crusade. Of course, Gregory, his brother, also has an interest in Moonbase, but not for the same reasons.
This is a very detailed and complex story that is wonderfully carried out by an excellent cast of characters. As usual, Ben Bova takes the time to develop the location, the people and the plot to get the reader involved immediately, and keep interest throughout the book. It's a long one (560 pages in paperback) but well worth the time taken to read it.
I especially liked the strong character of Joanna Masterson Stavenger, wife, businesswoman and mother. And her son, Douglas, product of her marriage to Paul, is the true hero of the tale. Gregory, the first son, is a wonderful exercise in the twisted personality - very difficult to understand and impossible to like.
Woven into these characters and plots and sub-plots are problems with technology, the United Nations, politics on a global scale, religious fanatacism and insanity. I really could not find one thing missing from this book, and as soon as I finished it, rushed out and got the sequel! Hope you will do the same - this is a great read!!