Fascinated with the secrets still surrounding the Soviet Union's race against the Americans to put a man on the moon, Jed Mercurio proposes a compelling scenario: What if the Americans weren't the first? And with its inscrutable but intriguing hero, Yefgeni Yeremin, a brilliant Soviet cosmonaut, Ascent allows us to imagine what that terrifying journey might have been like.Yeremin, a Soviet MiG pilot, rises from the privation of a Stalingrad orphanage to the heights of the cosmonaut corps. During the Korean War, as a member of an elite squadron, he shoots down the most American fighter jets-a feat that should make him a national hero, but because the Soviets' involvement in the war is secret, Yeremin's victories go unreported. When he is recalled from obscurity to join the race to the moon, he realizes it is his chance for immortality. In hyptic, deceptively spare prose, Mercurio tells a haunting tale that questions the power of ideology and the nature of fate.
Jed Mercurio trained as a doctor and joined the Royal Air Force while at medical school. He adapted his first novel, Bodies, into an award-winning drama for the BBC and is currently developing an American version for the Showtime Network. He lives outside London. Todd McLaren was involved in radio for more than twenty years in cities on both coasts, including Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He left broadcasting for a full-time career in voice-overs, where he has been heard on more than 5,000 TV and radio commercials, as well as TV promos; narrations for documentaries on such networks as A&E, Discovery, and the History Channel; and films, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit?