The Apollo Murders

A Novel

Instant Sunday Times Bestseller
#1 Globe and Mail Bestseller

  • Language:
  • English (United States)
    Mulholland Books (Little, Brown/Hachette)
  • English (United Kingdom/Australia)
    Quercus (Hachette)
  • English (Canada)
    Random House
  • Czech
  • German
  • Dutch
    The House of Books
  • Greek
  • Finnish
  • French (Canada)
  • French (France)
  • Hungarian
    Gabo Kiadó
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Slovenian
  • Turkish
About The Apollo Murders:

New York Times bestselling astronaut Chris Hadfield is back with an exceptional Cold War thriller from the dark heart of the Space Race.

1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny module, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help.

As Russian and American crews sprint for a secret bounty hidden away on the lunar surface, old rivalries blossom and the political stakes are stretched to breaking point back on Earth. Houston flight controller Kazimieras ‘Kaz’ Zemeckis must do all he can to keep the NASA crew together, while staying one step ahead of his Soviet rivals. But not everyone on board Apollo 18 is quite who they appear to be.

Full of the fascinating technical detail that fans of The Martian loved, and reminiscent of the thrilling claustrophobia, twists and tension of The Hunt for Red OctoberThe Apollo Murders puts you right there in the moment. Experience the fierce G-forces of launch, the frozen loneliness of Space and the fear of holding on to the outside of a spacecraft orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour, as told by a former Commander of the International Space Station who has done all of those things in real life.

Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime.

Awards, Nominations, and Distinctions:

Starred ReviewPublishers Weekly

Starred ReviewLibrary Journal

Best Books of the Month – Apple Books

#1 National BestsellerThe Globe and Mail

Thriller of the Year PickThe Times

BestsellerSunday Times

Shortlist – Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize


Critical Praise:

"A nail-biting Cold War thriller set against a desperate Apollo mission that never really happened...or did it? It’s a very rare book that combines so many things I love, from taut suspense and highly realistic action, to the golden age of space exploration. I couldn't put it down."

James Cameron, writer and director of Avatar and Titanic

"There’s maybe one person on Earth with the writing chops and the expertise to write a to-the-Moon thriller this exciting, this authentic. Chris Hadfield is that guy."

Linwood Barclay, New York Times bestselling author of Find You First

"Not to be missed. Even in fiction there is authenticity. It is either there... or it is not. With Chris Hadfield it is, because everything he describes he has really seen."

Frederick Forsyth, New York Times bestselling author of The Day of the Jackal and The Fox

"An explosive thriller from a writer who has actually been to Space and back...Strap in for the ride."

Gregg Hurwitz, New York Times bestselling author of the Orphan X novels

"Former astronaut Chris Hadfield gives us a relentlessly exciting, deeply intriguing insider’s look at the prime years of the Apollo space program, ingeniously weaving together three of the coldest, darkest things in existence—Cold War politics, space, and murder. Hadfield also gives us a hero in former test pilot Kaz who is willing to risk both career and life to stop a trail of blood extending from the earth to the moon. Nothing short of brilliant!"

Stephen Mack Jones, author of the August Snow thriller series

"Chris Hadfield has deftly combined fact and fiction in a gripping tale of high-stakes treachery. Told against the background of the amazing Apollo space program — this story of Cold War tensions, dark secrets, and an ego gone over the edge builds to an explosive and satisfying finale."

John Verdon, internationally bestselling author of the Dave Gurney series

"Col. Hadfield’s bona fides are unimpeachable—but it’s his inventive action sequences and keen eye for illuminating details that propel THE APOLLO MURDERS ever skyward. Strap in and brace yourself, because with Hadfield at the stick, you’re in for a stellar thrill ride that’ll leave you breathless."

Chris Holm, author of The Killing Kind

"Chris Hadfield's twisty thriller blasts off and turns the cold war hot, as superpower conflict erupts in the cramped confines of the Apollo module. America's final moon mission confronts even greater challenges: an armed Soviet orbiter, an aggressive moon rover, and a cosmonaut determined to draw a line in the regolith. Old-school tech is the background for machine guns in space and knife fights on the moon -- and it's all entirely plausible, written by someone who could have been there."

Mike Cooper, author of The Downside

This thriller set in the world of space aeronautics feels chillingly real. No surprise—it was penned by an actual former astronaut....We were glued to shuttle-era astronaut Chris Hadfield’s suspenseful story. The Apollo Murders has all the political backstabbing and cloak-and-dagger intrigue you’d want from a Cold War thriller, mixed with a good, old-fashioned “...IN SPAAAACE!” adventure story. And these two elements go together brilliantly."

Apple Books

"Hadfield draws on his expertise as an astronaut to add authenticity and realism to his debut thriller. Fans of Clive Cussler and Andy Weir will enjoy this genre-bender combining military fiction, the detective novel, and techno-thriller."

Library Journal

Bestseller Hadfield (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth) makes his fiction debut with a spectacular alternate history thriller...His mastery of the details enables him to generate high levels of tension from just a description of a welding error, which cascades into something significant. This is an intelligent and surprising nail-biter that Tom Clancy fans will relish."

Publishers Weekly

"Real-life astronaut Hadfield’s first novel is surprisingly ambitious. We might have expected him to draw on his expertise to tell a story involving astronauts and space travel, but to set the story during the Cold War (1973, to be precise)? Interesting. To use Apollo 18, one of several canceled NASA missions to the moon, as its backdrop? Intriguing. To incorporate real people (flight director Gene Kranz, CIA director James Schlesinger) into the story? Clever. To incorporate a murder mystery and a race between nations to find a rare treasure on the moon? Gutsy. Rich in the kind of scientific and technical details that made Andy Weir’s The Martian (2014) and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora (2015) such treats, the book also features very well-drawn characters, natural-sounding dialogue, and a story that leads the reader to expect a spectacular conclusion (and delivers it). Perfect for fans of sf/mystery combos."


"One of the most accomplished astronauts in the world, Chris Hadfield has drawn on his wealth of experience to produce a cold-war thriller riven with detail and authenticity."

Living magazine

"Since Hadfield has himself flown in a space shuttle and served aboard the International Space Station, he writes with authority but also with a surprisingly astute grasp of what makes a thriller work."

Financial Times

"The Apollo Murders is as dizzying and exhilarating as a journey into orbit. You can tell from the care and attention to every layer of detail that it’s written by the kind of highly trained, methodical, process-oriented individual almost genetically predisposed to become first a military test pilot and then an ice-for-blood spacefarer. Yet it’s in the parts that could have been written from life where the book is at its most supple, driven and gripping. The Saturn V launch sequence is a remarkable piece of writing, as rich in atmosphere and detail as the account of the Apollo 11 launch in Michael Collins’ memoir Carrying The Fire."

The Quietus

"Hadfield puts a rocket under the genre with a riveting space thriller....a breathtaking plot full of twists and turns."

Business Post (Ireland)

"A debut space-adventure story outstanding in its genre."

New York Review of Books

"Laden with all sorts of insider space lore and grounded with Hadfield’s first-hand knowledge of space living, this thriller moves hard and nuts will love this book."

The Globe and Mail (Margaret Cannon)

"This is such a terrifically confident, well-written thriller that to find it is the author’s debut is unexpected; and, as a bonus, it’s classier than most other Cold War novels because Hadfield (who spent time in Russia) gives us fully realised Soviet characters."

Sunday Times

"Chris Hadfield explains the hugely complex engineering and technical details of space flight and astronaut training with a remarkable clarity and lightness of touch. He also manages to brilliantly recreate the claustrophobic atmosphere of three humans confined in what is really nothing more than an elaborately engineered and extremely vulnerable tin can....he has written possibly the most authentically voiced work yet of murder and mayhem in deep space. Totally gripping from first page to last, this is an accomplished debut."

Irish Independent

"In his fiction debut, Chris Hadfield, a former commander of the International Space Station, impressively uses unfamiliar historic and technical detail not as mere window dressing but to drive an adroitly handled blend of twists and Cold War politics. Lift-off."

Times (United Kingdom)

"A gripping and convincing thriller."

The Daily Mail

"The Apollo Murders is a brilliant and powerful literary debut from former astronaut Chris Hadfield, who blew me away with this amazing first novel. The Apollo Murders contains a fantastic and complex story that blends several genres into an exciting and clever read that takes the reader on a wild and thrilling adventure into space."

The Unseen Library

"It felt like I was experiencing liftoff. I have never read a more gripping or graphic account of 3400 gallons a second of rocket fuel burning 300 feet beneath where you're seated."

Brian Williams, former anchor of MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

"A ruddy good read."

Belfast Telegraph

About the Author(s):

Colonel Chris Hadfield is one of the most seasoned and accomplished astronauts in the world. A multiple New York Times bestselling author, his books An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, You Are Here and The Apollo Murders have sold over a million copies worldwide.

As well as his time as a Cold War pilot, Chris is a veteran of three spaceflights. He crewed the US Space Shuttle twice, piloted the Russian Soyuz, helped build space station Mir, conducted two space walks, and served as Commander of the International Space Station. He was also NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia.

Chris is the co-creator and host of the BBC series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes? and helped create and host, along with actor Will Smith, the National Geographic series One Strange RockHis zero-gravity version of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ has received more than 50 million views, and his TED talk on fear over 10 million.

He advises SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and other space companies, chairs the board of the Open Lunar Foundation, leads the CDL-Space international tech incubator, and teaches a MasterClass on space operations.

Other Editions:
  • English Audio

  • English Hardcover (Canada)

  • English Hardcover (UK/ANZ)

  • English Paperback (Canada)

  • English Paperback (U.S.)

  • English Paperback (UK/ANZ)

  • French (Canada)

  • German

  • Italian

  • Japanese (Volume 1)

  • Japanese (Volume 2)

Other Books by Chris Hadfield:
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

  • The Darkest Dark

  • The Defector

  • You Are Here