The alien protomolecule is clear evidence of an intelligence beyond human reckoning. No one knows what exactly is being built on Venus, but whatever it is, it is vast, powerful, and terrifying.
When a creature of unknown origin and seemingly impossible physiology attacks soldiers on Ganymede, the fragile balance of power in the Solar System shatters. Now, the race is on to discover if the protomolecule has escaped Venus, or if someone is building an army of super-soldiers.
Jim Holden is the center of it all. In spite of everything, he’s still the best man for the job to find out what happened on Ganymede. Either way, the protomolecule is loose and Holden must find a way to stop it before war engulfs the entire system.
CALIBAN’S WAR is an action-packed space adventure following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed Leviathan Wakes.
Reviewer: Michael Cummings
When I reviewed Leviathan Wakes, I mentioned that I sat on that book for too long and was kicking myself for it. This time, I didn’t make that mistake, and now I have to live with the repercussions – waiting another year for the third volume. Readers of Leviathan Wakes will be able to step into the pages of this book without pause. The writing duo that makes up James S.A. Corey took an approach I have to respect – there’s no backstory, no summation of the previous novel, not even an awkward chapter of “well, you remember when we did this thing just happened a day ago for us but was up to a year ago for the reader?” It also means that the 600+ pages of this book are written with the intent of making this story move forward. Book two begins with the tensions between Mars and Earth still high. On the breadbasket and nursery of the outer Solar System, Ganymede, the tensions is broken with an attack by a creature that is very reminiscent of Eros. Is this a sign that the protovirus has spread out from Venus, or is this another example of greed gone wrong? While Leviathan Wakes was well balanced between Holden and Miller, this second book is more wholly Holden’s story. There are four other characters with POV time, but Holden is a solid 30% of the book, and like before, he doesn’t always know when to keep his mouth shut – which is probably why we like him. He’s the cocky know it all who’s too busy trying to do the right thing to notice when he’s totally messing it all up. Our new cast members, besides the always lovable band of rogues that is the crew of the Rocinante, include a Martian gunnery sergeant, an Earther politician, and a botanist from Ganymede, Pax. Which, sadly, is why I reluctantly did not give this a full five stars. The story of Caliban’s War begins and centers around the disappearance of Pax’s daughter, Mei, which as far as plot devices go is a great one. I know as a father I wouldn’t let a little thing like interplanetary hostilities or marauding alien viruses get in my way if one of my girl’s was kidnapped. What bothered me, as readers of Leviathan Wakes will understand, is that this is the second time in a row we’ve used the missing daughter gambit to justify our adventure. I have nothing but respect for the collective brains that made this book, I just wish that they had done something a little different this time. Yes, without getting spoilerly, the plot device works, probably even better than it did it in the first book. It makes sense of what we learn and it fits – its just too bad we’ve done this before. Is there fighting? Of course! Are there starships on fire off the shoulders of Orion? Sort of, if by Orion you mean Jupiter. Is it space opera? You bet. Spaceships whiz and the fate of worlds – and humanity – can be seen in the balance. If that’s your thing, then there’s no good excuse for why you aren’t reading the Expanse series with me.