Haywood Floyd's grandson; Chris Floyd and Rolf Van Der Berg go to explore Europa, even after powerful aliens have told them not to and every other attempt has ended in death. In 2061 Heywood Floyd is a celebrity space man who has been invited along on a millionaire's attempt to be the first person to ever land on Halley's comet, using the new space ship; Universe.
Floyd became famous because in 2010 he commanded a ship called The Leonov on an expedition to Jupiter to investigate alien life. Once he reached Jupiter he was warned by the aliens that they were going to ignite Jupiter and turn it into another star. Floyd managed to get his ship and crew out of the blast rage of Jupiter's ignition, and named the new star Lucifer.
A scientist called Rolf Van der Berg is helping terraform one of Jupiter's moons now that the Star, Lucifer, has made it potentially habitable. After studying pictures of a Mountain on the moon Europa's surface. called Zeus, he discovers that it's a giant diamond. He tells his uncle Paul Kreuger who uses his connections to get Rolf onto the next investigation of Europa, led by Chris Floyd, Haywood Floyd's grandson. A moon shrouded in secrecy. Humanity was instructed by the aliens who ignited Jupiter to not go to Europa; any landing attempt has ended in Death.
Rolf goes on the Investigation mission filled with excitement, but this soon turns to regret when a terrorist highjacks the ship forcing it to crash into the icy surface of Europa. The survivors try to remain alive whilst they radio the space ship Universe for help.
Rolf partners with other survivors, including Chris Floyd, to investigate Europa more closely as this may be humanities only chance. Rolf wants to investigate the giant diamond, Mount Zeus, which he does. It is confirmed to be a piece or carbon that was compacted into a diamond by Jupiter's core then spat out when it was turned into Lucifer. Chris wants to explore the Monolith that has been found on the surface. Unlike the other monoliths this one is on its side and has been named ‘the great wall'.
Haywood Floyd is still on the space ship Universe when he hears about what his son being marooned on Europa. He has a dream where a mini monolith is at the foot of his bed calling out to him.
Chris and Rolf find one of the previous attempts to land on Europa, the Chinese ship Tsien, but it has been completely stripped of all metal components. They find that these components have been used by the native inheritance of Europa. The Europan's are large creature with tentacles and fur. They use the Great wall to shelter themselves from harsh winds, and the metal to build structures.
A ghostly version of Heywood Floyd appears to Chris Floyd telling him to stay away from the Europans and that they will soon be rescued.
The Space ship Universe saves the marooned crew on Europa and takes them back to Ganymede safely. Rolf starts a business collecting other fragments of Jupiter's Diamond core that are in orbit around the planet and Haywood retires happily.
It is revealed that there are now two versions of Haywood Floyd. The mini monolith copied him to create that ghostly vision, and now one lives inside the Europan monolith with the characters from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The monolith that was on the moon in 2001: A Space Odyssey was brought to Earth in 2006 and is now a public art piece in Manhattan. The star Lucifer goes cold in the year 3001, and the Manhattan monolith awakes.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked the idea of a secret moon that no one can resist exploring.
Best scene in story:
I enjoyed hearing about the Europans and seeing what their society behind the wall was like.
Opinion about the main character:
Haywood Floyd is a very blank character. He never has many opinions of his own and is really just a vessel for the reader to live through.