January, 1958. A man wakes to find himself lying on the ground in a railway station. He cannot remember how he got there. He has forgotten where he lives. He does not even know his own name.
At Cape Canaveral, a countdown has begun. On launch pad 26B sits Explorer I, America's best hope to match the Soviet Sputnik and regain the lead in the race for the skies above.
Bound together by the past, separated by the war, and caught up in the mighty struggle between the superpowers, four old friends from Harvard sit at the very center in the this dangerous heart of the cold war. And as Luke Lucas relearns the story of his life, he uncovers long-kept secrets about his wife, his best friend, the woman he once loved more than life itself... and realizes that his fate is tied to the rocket that stands ready on launch pad 26B at the Cape. Luke knew something that someone was desperate for him to forget, and unless he is able to discover that terrible, deadly secret, Luke may be left powerless to save the launch of Explorer - and with it, America's future.
The Jupiter C missile stands on the launch pad at Complex 26, Cape Canaveral. For secrecy, it is draped in vast canvas shrouds that hide everything but its tail, which is that of the Army's familiar Redstone rocket. But the rest of it, under the concealing cloak, is quite unique.
He woke up scared.
Worse than that: he was terrified. His heart was pounding, his breath came in gasps, and his body was taut. It was like a nightmare, except that waking brought no sense of relief. He felt that something dreadful had happened, but he did not know what it was.
He opened his eyes. A faint light from another room dimly illuminated his surroundings, and he made out vague shapes, familiar but sinister. Somewhere nearby, water ran in a cistern.
He tried to make himself calm. He swallowed, took regular breaths, and attempted to think straight. He was lying on a hard floor. He was cold, he hurt everywhere, and he had some kind of hangover, with a ...
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