Amusingly, despite the title/series, Moonrise is only tangentially about the Moonbase, despite a large chunk of the book taking place there. Really, it’s about the bizarre broken family and corporate dynamic of Masterson Aerospace and the rise of nanotechnology in Ben Bova’s universe. From what I remember of other books in the series (from more than a decade ago), the rise of technology and the idea of it being banned on Earth for religious reasons is a fairly major plot point from here on out, so it’s interesting to see how that all began.
That being said, wow I had some issues with the characters in Moonrise. I didn’t expect someone I disagreed with and disliked more than Dan Randolph… but both Paul ( RIP ) and Greg give him a run for their money. Greg is a fundamentally broken person, with some mix of mental health issues and his mother is probably doing him no favors. I liked Paul’s son/Greg’s half brother Doug Stavenger though. He’s overly idealistic, but that’s actually refreshing, and he does seem to really care about making the world a better place. So I’ll give him that.
Despite my misgivings about Paul’s character, I will say that one of the best scenes I’ve read yet in the Grand Tour is relatively early in the book, showing flashbacks of Paul trekking across the lunar surface, trying to get back to Moonbase before he runs out of oxygen. It’s an intense scene that really underscores just how alien and desolate an environment that the Moon is and shows up how terrifying nanomachines can be in the wrong hands .
Overall, it’s not my favorite of the series, but it’s still probably worth reading, just for the bits of insight into the roots of the whole Grand Tour universe.