'The Apollo Murders': What we know about retired astronaut Chris Hadfield's first novel

The thriller will be released in October

Former astronaut Chris Hadfield will release his first novel in October. Getty Images
Former astronaut Chris Hadfield will release his first novel in October. Getty Images

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield will be releasing his first novel – a thriller – later this year.

This seems like an unexpected authorial choice for the former commander of the International Space Station, who is renowned for his non-fiction works such as An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and You Are Here. That is, until we unpack the novel’s premise.

Entitled The Apollo Murders, the book is set in the early 1970s, at the height of the Cold War and the Space Race. Soviet and US crews are rushing to find a secret treasure hidden on the Moon’s surface. Houston flight controller Kaz Zemeckis tries his best to keep the Nasa crew trapped aboard the Apollo 18 calm. But, in nail-biting thriller fashion, not everyone is who they seem to be.

That's all we know about the novel at this point, but it's enough to keep us in suspense until the book's release in October.

The Apollo Murders is everything I love – high tech adventure, international intrigue, wicked danger far from home, people pushed to their limit, constant surprise – all happening in outer space at a pivotal moment in history,” Hadfield said in a statement.

"I've written the book firmly based in the little-known reality of the Cold War and the Space Race, and then let the story run away with the possibilities. I'm really looking forward to people learning what spaceflight is actually like, getting to know the characters (real and imagined), and seeing what just might have been.”

Hadfield has 35 years of experience as a military pilot and astronaut to draw from for the novel. He was the first Canadian to walk in space and has logged a total of 166 days out there. He retired in 2013, shortly after returning to Earth from the International Space Station.

He's kept busy since then. In 2013, he released an autobiography – An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything – which became a New York Times bestseller.

He then hosted the 2017 BBC show Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, where a dozen contestants went through a series of challenges to earn Hadfield’s recommendation for future applications of becoming an astronaut.

Updated: February 11, 2021 03:53 PM

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