She was born to kill, born to die.
Crescent is a crowhopper—a genetically modified mercenary programmed for ruthless warfare. When she’s taken prisoner by Crater Trueblood instead of being killed in battle, she thinks it’s a disaster.
Crater is weary of war. He’s a miner, not a soldier. He’d rather be mining Helium-3 than battling the infernal crowhoppers. But after he captures Crescent and brings her to Moontown, he’s surprised how much he enjoys her company. When she’s falsely accused of murder, he becomes an outlaw to help her escape.
The unlikely pair escapes into the “big suck” and wind up trekking with a caravan of mining pioneers toward a lunar ghost town called Endless Dust. To survive, they must do more than navigate the beautiful, desolate moonscape and battle a persistent band of crowhoppers sent to capture or kill them. They must decide what—and who—is truly worth fighting for.
“Expertly blending space opera and hard sci-fi, romance, and even mystery . . . this is fast-paced, packed with intriguing ideas . . .” —Peter Gutierrez, Booklist Review
“Classic Golden Age science fiction high-adventure. It brought back memories of reading Asimov . . . that same sense of wonder. I absolutely loved it.” —Michael Scott, New York Times Best-selling Author, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series
About the Author
Homer Hickam (also known as Homer H. Hickam, Jr.) is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books, including the #1 New York Times memoir Rocket Boys, which was adapted into the popular film October Sky. A writer since grade school, he is also a Vietnam veteran, a former coal miner, a scuba instructor, an avid amateur paleontologist, and a retired engineer. He lives in Alabama and the Virgin Islands.
Read an Excerpt
SECOND IN THE HELIUM-3 SERIES
By HOMER HICKAM
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013Homer Hickam
All rights reserved.
A full tide of glittering stars and fluorescent galaxies washed across the darkness of eternity, the flood of heaven a welcome distraction to Crater Trueblood, who lay in a crumbling ditch waiting to kill or be killed. Actually, it wasn't a ditch at all but an ancient rille that had fallen inward between two faults in the moon's crust, but the Colonel had called it a ditch and Crater supposed it didn't matter much what it was called, considering it was just a place to hide before a battle began.
To his left and right, thirty heel-3 miners-turned-irregular-soldiers gripped their electric railgun rifles and lay in the gray, gritty dust, waiting for the signal to attack. Crater brought his helmet scanner down to the crater-pocked plain that fronted the dustway, the main heel-3 convoy road that crossed a thousand miles of the moon from Moontown to Armstrong City. To the west, snaking around a low hill, a convoy of heel-3 trucks was trundling along toward a feature on the dustway known as the Sinking Ship, a big, brown rock that looked like the prow of a ship sinking into the dust. The convoy was bait for the enemy. If all went according to the Colonel's plan, the convoy would be ambushed by the crow-hoppers, who would then be ambushed themselves. Crater saw the glint of something metallic on the other side of a low hill. The Colonel's plan was working. The crowhoppers were coming.
"Crater!" the Colonel snapped. "Have a look at the battleputer."
Crater didn't understand why the Colonel wanted him to look at the battleputer, but he slid back from the ragged lip of the rille and had a look over the shoulder of the battleputer operator, a fellow who went by the name of Cat Tramon. The view was a signal from a flying drone. In the light gravity of the moon, the drone, no bigger than a small Earthly bird, pulsed along using laser bursts to keep it aloft while it scanned the ragged surface below. Cat gave the hand signal for enemy approaching to the Colonel.
Colonel John High Eagle Medaris, in dust-covered coveralls and an old scarred helmet, nodded his approval. Infrared signatures showed the creatures moving across the plain, threading through a crater field. "I count twenty moving into position to ambush the convoy, Colonel," Cat said. "No evidence of spiderwalkers."
Crater was glad they weren't going to have to face the eight-legged war machines the crowhoppers sometimes rode into battle. In past battles, he'd fought these mechanical beasts with artificial intelligence and snapping pincers and thought himself lucky to have survived. The crowhoppers on foot were tough enough.
Crater studied the battleputer screen and saw the signature of a jumpcar parked a mile to the rear behind the rim of a large crater. Its landing two weeks ago had been reported by a Lunatic—one of those hardy moon pioneers who lived alone in the wayback—which caused the Colonel to send out the drone, then call up the Moontown Irregulars who, like Crater, were Helium-3 miners employed by the Colonel's company. The crowhoppers were part of an invading force mostly destroyed by Lunar Council forces over a three-year period. The genetically tweaked troops, sent by the Unified Countries of the World to take over the lunar Helium-3 supply, were reeling after a series of setbacks. This group, then, was a desperate remnant of a defeated army.
Crater saw the glowing figures on the battleputer begin to disperse. "They're fanning out," Cat warned. "Moving into ambush position."
"Tell me when they're set," Colonel Medaris answered. "Then we'll go at 'em."
Crater glanced back at the Colonel. The old man's expression was intent, even eager for the coming battle. The Colonel was undeniably a great man. He'd pioneered the Helium-3 scrapes on the moon, founded Moontown, and built many companies large and small. But he was also a man who did not seem to mind the blood and stink of war. General Robert E. Lee, the "Gray Fox" of the American Civil War, said, "It is well war is so horrible else we would become too fond of it." Crater wondered what General Lee would make of the Colonel. He was well fond of war and did not seem to mind its horrors, nor the body count of friend and foe, as long as he was victorious.
"All right, Crater," the Colonel barked. "You've seen enough. Get back in line."
"Here we go again," Asteroid Al said to Crater as he crawled back into the rille, then added, "I hope this is the last battle."
Crater gripped his old friend's shoulder. "There can't be many crowhoppers left, Al."
"We keep thinking that, then we're called up to fight some more. I've had it, Crater. I'm a heel-3 miner, not a soldier. I can't take much more of this."
"Today you're a soldier. You've got to think and act like a soldier to stay alive."
"Silence in the ranks!" the Colonel growled.
"Get scragged, you old reprobate," Asteroid Al muttered.
"What did you say, Al?" the Colonel barked. "Keep your focus, man."
Al shook his head, gritted his teeth, and clutched his rifle. Crater looked down the line and saw one of the Irregulars climb out of the rille and crawl back toward a small crater. Since he was in charge of that section of the line, Crater moved to stop the man.
"Crater!" the Colonel snapped. "Who told you to go anywhere?"
Crater ignored the Colonel and kept crawling. He stopped the retreating trooper by putting his gloved hand on his shoulder, but then Crater saw it wasn't a man at all but a boy. "Get back in line," Crater said.
The wild-eyed boy stared back at him.
"What's your name, soldier?" Crater demanded.
"F-Freddy Hook," the boy croaked.
"Hook? Are you Liu Sho Hook's boy?"
"Your mom's the best blue banger—I mean foreman—on the scrapes. What are you doing out here?"
"V-Volunteered. I came in by jumpcar just a few hours ago with the other new fellows. Mom didn't want me to go but I thought it was my duty."
Your duty, Crater thought, is to grow up and be a good man. But he didn't say that. The boy was here, he had a rifle, and he was needed to fill out the ranks. "You're going to get back in line now, Freddy."
"I'm scared," Freddy said.
Crater made the necessary eye movements toward the heads-up display screen on his helmet to turn his do4u to the private frequency of an experienced fighter named Doom. Before coming to the moon, Doom, once a citizen of the Republic of North India, had been a mercenary in several Earthly armies. "Doom, I need you," he said.
Doom crawled over and Crater pointed at the boy. "Someone needs to look after Freddy. I'd do it but I think the Colonel's got something planned for me. He's been on my case all day."
"With pleasure," Doom said and moved to lie beside Freddy. He patted him on the back, then pointed at the power setting on the boy's rifle. "Move that to the highest level. You must not wound a crowhopper. You must kill him or he will kill you."
The boy fumbled with the setting, then looked up for approval. Doom smiled at him. "We are going to get back in line now. You will be fine, Freddy. Just stay with me."
"Y-Yes, sir." Freddy gulped.
"Crater," the Colonel hissed. "Stop playing around and get back up here. I want you to take charge of the attack."
Crater clambered over to the Colonel and switched to his private channel. "Why me?"
"Why not you? My orders are simple. Kill them all. Remember it's only crowhoppers. It isn't as if they are real humans."
Crater couldn't argue with the Colonel's opinion. Crowhoppers were a foul bunch, fond of killing, and it
Excerpted from CRESCENT by HOMER HICKAM. Copyright © 2013 by Homer Hickam. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Crescent is the second installment of Homer Hickam's Helium-3 series. It is highly recommend that you read the first book first. Crescent does not pick up where Crater left off, instead taking place three years later. It's still the exact same world—same futuristic moon colony—with the exact same characters, but you can tell how much it's changed. War has broken out on Earth, on the moon, and everywhere in-between. Crater Trueblood, our protagonist from before, is a part-time helium-3 miner and a part-time soldier, fighting under Colonel John High Eagle Medaris against the crowhoppers, genetically-engineered troops sent by the UCW—the Unified Counties of the World, an alliance formed by over thirty nations on Earth. The reason for the war was that the UCW wanted control over the moon, and the residents of the moon were not going to let that happen. With that little bit of premise, I will not tell you the story. If you are eager to learn it, you can look up a synopsis on any book-selling website, or check out most other reviews. I, however, would just recommend reading the books. What I will tell you, however, is that Crescent is amazing and it was definitely worth the wait. The main characters are now a few years older, and you can tell how much they've changed. Crater is no longer the super-naive kid anymore, but instead has grown into a wiser, slightly pessimistic young man who has seen too much in his short time. While the characters have clearly grown up, you can tell that they're the exact same people, just older. I, more than anyone, know how much even a simple year can completely change a person. Crescent is an adventurous tale, once again taking the reader back to this alternate future that I love so much. I feel like it's a little more mature than Crater was, possibly simply because the characters themselves are older. The book can be humorous at times, and the author gave multiple nods to the first book through inside jokes. My biggest complaint with the entire book is that it ended. I mean, come on! It was so very good the entire way through, and then ol' Homer had to go ahead and end it! When I finished the last chapter I jumped out of my chair and started shouting at the author for ending the book, and ending it where he did of all places. Now, of course, the next Helium-3 novel is to be the final book in the series. I am going to be truly sad when it's over, because I love this trilogy. I assume that the next novel will once again jump ahead in time a few years, and I absolutely cannot wait. Unfortunately, I have to. It comes out in a year. Congratulations, Mr. Hickam, your world has once again stolen my heart. I eagerly look forward to the final installment, though I'll probably cry at the end because the series will be over. You're a brilliant writer. Keep up the good work. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make some turnip paste.
We continue the story Homer Hickam began in Crater with this second novel of the series except now, the miners on the moon have been dragged into a war. And instead of correcting the errors present in book 1, Homer has apparently decided they are a trademark of this particular series and has carried them even further. There is even more nonsense about evolution and even more things which are clearly pure fantasy - which is OK, if that's all you're looking for in what is supposed to be a "Christian" fiction novel. Unfortunately, that IS what I was looking for... I just didn't get it. Thomas Nelson is supposedly a Christian publishing company but there is more fantasy and fiction than anything Biblical in these pages. And they advertise it as a dystopian but there is little convincing evidence of that in the storyline. Perhaps on Earth… but we don’t get to read much about that. I would go over all of the things that disappoint me about this series but you can read my review of book 1 if you really want to know. Suffice to say I am greatly saddened by the clear lack of Christ-like writing. But since it IS fiction and it IS published in a world where even the most devout Christians are being led astray daily, I really SHOULD NOT be surprised. I will post my warning to parents again though, because it deserves being said! PARENTS… A WARNING: If you chose to introduce this book to your teens or pre-teens - be aware that, as they read about the thrilling adventure and the extreme danger that faces our two main characters, it will be far too easy for them to be caught up in the story and confused by the false concepts presented. If you are a strong believer in the bible, keep that in mind when considering these novels for your young adults.
Name:Rushingwater Age:23 moons Color:tortoiseshell Eye Color:light green Qualities:Good hunter,very smart,fast,pretty,active,and loyal. I would like to join your clan.I would like to apply for med.cat or warrior.(I prefer med.cat,but warrior is fine.) IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS JUST ASK Thanks:)
Gender she-cat Age 15 moons Mate no Kits no Mom fogstar Dad fastrunner Past ask Anything else ask
Name: Shatteredfur, Age: 29 moons, Rank: Med cat, Looks: Tabby with fur that looks like its shattered with colors, Family: Bramblebarries (Mother), Redpelt (Father), Runningfoot, Rabbittail, and Grassjump. (Sisters). Anything else: Just ask
3 moon old. Light blue eyes. White fur. All of family is dead.