In a nutshell, this book tells the story of Jakub Prochazka, a simple man, chosen to be the first man Czech Republic send up into space to investigate a cloud (Chopra), left behind by a comet. Whilst travelling towards the dust cloud, Jakub meets/imagines a giant alien spider, who he names Hanus, and they go on to discuss the nature of humans, and Jakub’s life.

To be honest, I wasn’t overly keen on this book when it came through – I was worried it was going to get a little philosophical and deep, but it doesn’t. I have to say, I absolutely loved this book. Jakub always seems a little confused as to why he was chosen to be the hero – he’s certainly no Bruce Willis or action hero, and as we – with Hanus – delve into Jakub’s childhood, his relationships with his grandparents, father, and his wife, we come to understand why he is who he is, and why he is as he is.

The author also lets us see the other side of Jakub’s life – his wife, who he absolutely adores, and how she is feeling back on earth – how she felt whilst Jakub was training.

I didn’t expect to get drawn into this book so much, I also unexpectedly was given a short lesson on iron curtain, and the history of the Czech Republic through Jakub’s eyes. There are quite a few plot twists to keep you on your toes, none of which I saw coming.

I think this is a beautiful book, it is funny, sad, and thoughtful – the author draws you in, makes you love the characters – all of them – good, bad and maybe imaginary.  This book is not one let pass you by.

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