First in a five book series about a civilization before ours that never left a trace….until a body was found on the Moon(that’s the cover). The last book is 2005’s “Mission To Minerva.”
In the 21st century a crew from the UN Space Arm is doing an excavation project on the Moon. They find a human body buried in the dust. They name it Charlie. Back on Earth the scientists from various fields gather in Houston including Victor Hunt from England. It’s determined the body is fifty thousand years old.
The arguments and theories fly back and forth and one biologist-anthropologist is positive Charlie originated on Earth even though there isn’t a trace that a race of men preceded mankind. Because the body was found on the Moon, Charlie’s people are named Lunarians.
The Moon project finds more skeletons and on Earth Charlie’s diary is a real challenge to figure out. Other items found in his spacesuit include numbers that look like a calendar. Turns out the asteroid belt was a planet named Minerva which may have been involved in a nuclear conflict. That could have caused some craters on the Moon.
They think they have the calendar figured out and then to complicate things even more a large spaceship has been found on Ganymede. There are preserved species on board that are twenty-five million years old and appear to be from Earth.. There is also a reference to a race of giants. Hunt is sent to Ganymede with a stopover on the Moon.
This an absorbing read that shows how discoveries are made complete with the disagreements and the right and wrong conclusions. You’ll feel like you’re in on it all. Those who are looking for more science in SF but not to the point that talks down to the reader, check this one out. You’ll probably find yourself looking for the rest of the series.