Leviathan Wakes: Book One of the Expanse series

I loved this book. It is pure old school space adventure, action and excitement that in my opinion really works. Here’s the plot:
Jim Holden is XO on a ship that finds The Scopuli, a derelict vessel that holds an ominous and far-reaching secret. He reveals unwisely reveals some of this secret and suddenly everyone in the solar system seems to be trying to kill him. And each other. It seems that a girl called Julie Mao somehow escaped the destruction of The Scopuli and as well as simply trying to survive, Jim and his plucky crew decide to try and find her.

Meanwhile, in a city inside the hollowed-out dwarf planet Ceres, a burnt out detective called Miller is assigned to hunt for a missing girl. Her name is Julie Mao (same name as above, in case you have the attention span of a small child).

Things escalate and collide and explode and develop and so forth.

As I said at the start, this book is awesome. It was quite refreshing to read something that simply sets out to be readable adventure. This is Space Opera but one that is confined to our solar system and to sub-light speeds. It is a very believable, well realized, and almost familiar setting. Most of the action is set around the mining colonies in or near the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. When the war kicks off between the older established inner planets with their huge advanced space fleets and the less powerful but more adaptable outer planets there is also a sort of race issue going on. Those who grew up in a lesser gravity are noticeably taller and thinner. Like space supermodels. This difference between ‘Belters’ and Inner Planet types is soon put into perspective when an even bigger threat looms but never fully goes away.

Holden and his crew are superbly fleshed out characters and you really get to know and understand them as they embark on one set of adventures after another. At first Miller is a tiny bit of a cliche – down on his luck once great detective but now drinks too much, kind of a guy. But then he starts to develop in some pretty unsuspected ways.

The secret at the core of the book is great too but I can’t really reveal it. At first it seems to just be about who is trying to start a system-wide war but then there’s a whole new angle. A cool one at that.

I can’t recommend this book enough if you are simply after a damn good read. There are battles between ships, shootouts in ships and on/in planets, secret organisations, powerful companies, corrupt governments, pirates, rebels, and a whole load of other stuff I can’t mention. Some of the scenes and set pieces are just genius in their levels of excitement.

As an added bonus, the sequel has just come out.

In summary then: brilliant.

To buy in the US:
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse)

For the UK:
Leviathan Wakes: Book One of the Expanse series


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