Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book only accidentally. It was so good I tore through all 582 pages in less than 3 days, including a work day.
Bookshelves: action-with-a-body-count, creepy-horror-stuff, detective, manly-men-kicking-ass, noir, sci-fi, space, space-opera, futuristic
Leviathan Wakes was waiting among the rest of my library holds, little tag with my name on it tucked between the pages. Huh? Oh, right. I must have accidentally touch-screened this one when I was requesting Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan (entirely different but also very good, so my new mission may be to read all books with “leviathan” in the title). I read the jacket blurb, decided it sounded interesting, and lugged it home.
What a ride. In the not-so-distant future, our solar system has been colonized. Detective Miller, working for an Earth-based private security company on Ceres, is assigned to find a young woman whose parents don’t like their daughter being a revolutionary and have the money to have her kidnapped and returned to them, whether she likes it or not. Meanwhile, Executive Officer Holden of the ice mining ship Canterbury unwittingly finds this same woman’s trail when he follows the emergency beacon coming from a derelict ship tucked up by an asteroid, right before his own ship is vaporized and Holden, all by himself, starts an interplanetary war.
That’s, like, the first two chapters. Things move right along from there.
It’s all here: Two big planetary powers nagged by a rebel resistance force and the exploited stations on various moons and big space rocks, g-forces and gadgetry, thugs and smugglers and general bad guys, Epstein drives and stealth transponders. Lots of action, some day-to-day of life in a space colony, some political back-and-forth, smidge of romance, a wee bit of horror vis-à-vis an alien life form (no spoilers!), grand heroics. It’s a bit on the noir side too, with bits such as “If the woman still had a soul, it had been pressed thin enough to see through” and “His voice sounded like it had been dragged down an alley by its ankles.” The alternating POV is well done, with chapters switching off between Miller and Holden.
I see now that this book and its sequels were the basis for the “Expanse” series on the SyFy channel. I might have known that sooner if I ever watched TV, but since I discovered it anyway I’m not going to change my ways. This might be my new favorite series.
“There’s a right thing to do,” Holden said.
“You don’t have a right thing, friend,” Miller said. “You’ve got a whole plateful of maybe a little less wrong.”
Waldo: A remote manipulator, like robot hands controlled by a human.
Steganography: Hiding a message within another message, such as secret code in a shopping list, or writing with invisible ink. The message is doubly safe, because to start with it doesn’t draw attention as a possible secret.
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