The Rock Rats, by Ben Bova (Tor, 2003)

Ben Bova continues the story of the near future with the second book in his Asteroid Wars series. Industrialist genius Dan Randolph is dead, thanks to the treachery of his great rival, Martin Humphries. However, his successor, Pancho Barnes, has taken up the fight to open up the resources of the Asteroid Belt. At stake is the fate of the Earth, and untold riches. It’s a classic story of David versus Goliath, as Humphries’ attempts to control the independent asteroid miners turns into an all-out conflict. In the very center of it are Lars Fuchs and his wife, Amanda, who Humphries has always wanted for his own.
This book answers a lot of questions, and raises a few more, even as it fleshes out the time period between Bova’s other books. In particular, this elaborates on the back story for his previous book, Venus. As always, it’s an exciting read, filled with rich characterization and precise science, proving why Bova is one of the masters of the field.

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