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Farside, the side of the moon that never faces Earth, is the ideal location for an astronomical observatory. It is also the setting for a tangled web of politics, personal ambition, love, jealousy, and murder.

Telescopes on Earth have detected an Earth-sized planet circling a star some 30 light-years away. Now the race is on to get pictures of that distant world, photographs and spectra that show whether or not the planet is truly like Earth - and if it bears life. Farside observatory will have the largest optical telescope in the solar system as well as a vast array of radio antennas, the most sensitive radio telescope possible, insulated from the interference of Earth's radio chatter by a thousand kilometers of the moon's solid body.

Building Farside is a complex, often dangerous task. On the airless surface of the moon, under constant bombardment by hard radiation and in-falling micrometeoroids, builders must work in cumbersome spacesuits and use robotic machines as much as possible. Breakdowns - mechanical and emotional - are commonplace. Accidents happen, some of them fatal. But what they ultimately find will stun everyone, and the human race will never be the same.

©2013 Ben Bova (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc

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