I'm searching for the title of a science fiction book that I read as a teenager. We follow a man who takes up his father's challenge, a space race to find the corpse of his older brother. During his travel, his ship is "destroyed" by a kind of cloud which feeds on the metal of the ship. In the end, the hero managed to find his brother's corpse, and we learn that his biological father is some sort of Captain Nemo who died in that same space race.
I believe the author is a respected science fiction writer. I think it's a space opera.