Earth, or more precisely, humanity, is headed for disaster. Seeing little chance that things will change, a mysterious consortium of nations and rich individuals decides to secretly build a colony on Mars, so that if the worst happens on Earth, humanity will survive. Two married scientists are hired to manage the project. They, and the team they assemble, have to come up with answers to some tough questions about how to ensure a human colony, which they have to assume will be cut off from Earth, can be viable. Some of the solutions they come up with may be surprising.
“Devon's Island” is a very different kind of science fiction story. Far from being a space opera, most of the action takes place in corporate meeting rooms and pubs. The actual space flight only occupies the last few chapters. The book is also a bit different in having several narrators. Much of the story is related by the two leaders, Gurdeep and her wife Georgie, but there are also chapters from close to a dozen other characters' point of view, including one called Devon.
The author is quite adept at writing a narration that is largely devoid of gendered pronouns and other clues about the characters. Thus, you may find yourself surprised when a gender is referred to and you realize you've made the wrong assumption about someone based on their name or some other easily misinterpreted clue. I'm sure this is quite intentional as a way of highlighting your own gender biases.
This is quite a thought-provoking book, and one that might spark some lively discussions if read for a group. The story makes some very compelling arguments for some of the decisions the team makes about the makeup of their colony, but they're still likely to be controversial. The group represents quite a diverse set of personalities, all of whom are well drawn characters. It's all very engrossing despite the fact that most of the “action” takes place in meetings.
“Devon's Island” is available from Amazon.