“Gripping. Impossible to put down.”— Jack McDevitt
“Leave it to Edward M. Lerner to take a notion, run with it, squeeze every ramification out of it, and put it altogether in an irresistible page-turner. Dark Secret is a crackerjack novel—hard science fiction at its best.”— Robert J. Sawyer
When the experimental ship Clermont is urgently recalled from a long-range test flight, neither Dana McElwain nor Blake Westford, its captain and crew, imagines that they are about to embark on a much more urgent voyage—or that this new mission will determine the fate of the human race.
A gamma-ray burst—the deadly beam of radiation spawned seven thousand years earlier in the death throes of doomed neutron stars—is about to wipe the Solar System clean of all life. Only the Clermont’s prototype Dark Energy Drive might carry anyone, and any of humanity’s legacy, to safety before that extinction.
And then what? Where beyond the Solar System is safe? What if the price of survival is to become less … human?
“Dark Secret is a unique tale of catastrophe and survival on multiple levels, gripping and harrowing yet ultimately inspiring. Lerner shows what it might really be like to be forced from an out-of-control frying pan into a far worse fire, and how humanity might endure even if what the refugees bring with them is worse than what they find.”— Stanley Schmidt
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About the Author
Edward M. Lerner has degrees in physics and computer science (and, curiously enough, an MBA). Now writing SF full time, Lerner worked in high tech for thirty years (including seven years as a NASA contractor), in positions ranging from engineer to senior vice president. That experience includes techie havens (such as Bell Labs, Hughes Aircraft, and Northrop Grumman), an Internet company, and a software start-up. Sooner or later, it all shows up in his fiction.
Table of ContentsDARK (Landing Day) 7
DOOMED (About seventy years earlier) 19
DETOUR (About forty-five years later) 77
DISCORD (About twenty-four years later) 109
DECISIONS (Landing Day, plus one) 137
DYSTOPIA (Spring, Year Four) 163
DEFIANCE (Autumn, Year Ten) 231
EPILOGUE (Spring, Year Eleven) 279
Afterword and Acknowledgments 285