LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S. A. Corey

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The invention of the Epstein Drive made it possible for humanity to spread beyond Earth. Now there are stations and colonies stretching from our planet to Mars. Joe Miller is a cop on Ceres, one of the stations that houses the Belters, workers born off world and recognized by their lanky forms and unique dialects. Miller has been hired to find a girl whose last known address was Ceres itself until she seemingly vanished, ignoring all attempts at contact from her lunar-based parents. The job is an easy one, an off-books one too. But when the investigation changes from a simple wayward young adult to one Miller suspects has deeper ramifications, he’s told to back off.

At the same time, an ice hauler about to return from its latest job answers a distress beacon that turns out to be something much more menacing. Jim Holden, XO of the Canterbury, leads the rescue attempt and barely manages to escape with his ship and team intact when the Cant is destroyed. Holden and his team’s discovery on the abandoned Scopuli and witness to the Canterbury’s destruction make them prime targets for those responsible but revealing what they know could lead to all out war between Earth and Mars.

This first in The Expanse series is a whopper of a read, one that crosses genre borders and boundaries with ease. A science fiction epic and first in what George R. R. Martin calls a “…kickass space opera…” Leviathan Wakes is also part noir mystery and part horror.

Miller, a cop with a definite chip on his shoulder, bucks authority and bends the rules at will. He becomes obsessed with finding this girl, imagining that through his investigation he’s gotten to know her and has built a connection with her that’s more intimate than any he shares with his colleagues or acquaintances. Of course when told to back off he’s going to ignore it, he’s stubborn and bullheaded just like all of his noir detective predecessors.

In Holden, the authors have built a character who is in many ways the polar opposite of Miller. The rules are there for a reason, justice and right will prevail, and Holden will do anything he can to ensure this remains the case. As narrators go, they provide the reader with two very different views of the world of The Expanse. Miller is a Belter through and through. Holden is military and was born on Earth. The only piece missing so far is Mars.

I have to say, I am absolutely loving the series and the current Syfy TV adaptation as well.

1/16 Becky LeJeune

LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S. A. Corey. Orbit; First Edition edition (June 15, 2011).  ISBN 978-0316129084 592p.

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