James S.A. Corey – Nemesis Games: The Expanse, Book.5
This book turns inward, as if in acknowledgement of each previous volume’s rapidly increasing scale and scope. After returning from their three-year journey to Ilus, and with the Rocinante in for several months of repairs, the crew members go their own ways for a while. This narrative device helps to develop the characters’ backstories, as well as show how different the social and political dynamics are on Earth, Mars, and in the Belt.
But with a colonization rush underway to the thousand new worlds reachable through the ring, each of the three governments are finding themselves increasingly irrelevant. Mars and Earth are both losing population, and the Belters’ very way of life is becoming obsolete—why live on a moon or a station when there are planets full of room with gravity, atmospheres, and real sunshine?
Suspicious events happening on each of the characters’ sojourns turn out to have common threads, climaxing in an extinction-level terrorist attack on Earth by a rogue Belter faction that kills billions. The Rocinante’s crew, after a series of individual adventures, reunites in haphazard fashion. The talk in chapter after chapter of how the crew have become each others’ family is overwrought to the point of annoyance, but the shoe fits. Roughly a decade has gone by in their lives since the beginning of the series. The characters are starting to get some gray hairs, they are often tired and weary, and have changed in ways they’ll never get back. About the only constant they’ve had is each other and the Rocinante.
Solar system politics have changed too, and like the characters, they can’t change back. The old days are gone. The book ends at this point, with everything set up for the big battle to come, presumably in volume 6 unless the authors find a way to milk this story arc for longer. As of this writing, The Expanse book series has 8 volumes. The 9th volume, due this year, is intended to be the finale.